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Synology SRM 1.3 Software Review Part V – USB Storage Services & Conclusion

20 mai 2022 à 01:10

 

Synology Router Manager 1.3 Review Chapters

SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, ALL Parts - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 1, Design & Control - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 2, Safety & Security - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 3, Network Management - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 4, Safe Access - HERE

Synology SRM 1.3 Review – USB & Storage Services

One feature of Synology routers and SRM 1.3 in general that I really, REALLY think doesn’t get anywhere near the respect it deserves is the USB support. Coming from the network storage pedigree that Synology has, you would expect their router to support some level of storage by adding a USB drive. Hell, most ISP routers and $50 amazon unbranded routers have USB ports. However, unlike the painful simply breadcrumb and white screen file list arrangement that most routers with a USB port provide, SRM 1.3 provides several personal NAS class storage management tools. This combined with a number of the router service tools able to use the storage for their records and logs (as well as the use of the USB for failover/phone-tethering), you might see why I am also super annoyed that the latest generation Synology RT6600ax router only has one port. Ultimately though (short of that niche failover support for business), SRM 1.3 is at its best when that USB is used with a storage drive.

A connected drive can be accessed and interacted with by both Windows and Mac operating systems, with access being made possible in a bunch of different ways, ranging from network access to web browser targets and even WebDav for remote internet access.

Much like Synology NAS, you can set the system to periodically index the storage drive for multimedia, as well as regularly scan the media for creating thumbnails. SRM 1.3 allows the connected media to be visible by DLNA/uPnP network players (so most home consoles, smart TVs, sound systems and phones), though remote access and any kind of transcoding if completely off the table with this level of hardware of course!

Using the File Station application provides you with a genuinely complete file management tool, that allows you to intuitively browse the files, create shared folders, Copy, Paste, Archive, extract and view media files in the web browser. It is completely the same as the File Station tool that is included with every Synology NAS and is a joy to use!

Although using USB storage via a router (when cloud storage and NAS storage are now very mainstream) seems a bit old skool, if you are placing this router in your home network and do not have any form of network-attached storage or substantial cloud space available (eg in the terabytes), this port serves as an excellent alternative. Plus, given the low cost of USB external drives that are bus-powered (available in up to 4-5TB currently), this drive can be used as a backup drive for all/most of your devices when combined with the Synology mobile apps available, as well as a means to share those files locally or remotely over the internet with colleagues and family in just 2-3 clicks.

Additionally, you can map the storage as a network drive on both Windows and Mac systems, so you do not even need to log into the SRM 1.3 GUI interface to read/write to it. Even if an external USB drive will only hit around 120-160MB/s (unless it’s SSD based of course), that will be fine as a single WiFi 6 80-160Mhz connection will saturate between 120-240MB/s under perfect conditions.

You can even access the storage on the UB storage connected to the Synology RT6600ax, RT2600ac and MR2200ac router with the DS File mobile application for iOS and Android, meaning you can interact with your files on the go, as well as trigger automated photo backups from your phone with the extra options built into File Station/DS File.

SRM 1.3 also supports the brand’s download station tool which allows you to action files to be downloaded from anywhere on the internet onto your connected USB drive. These download options take many forms (FTP, HTTP, RSS feeds, Torrents, NZB, etc) and can be managed from this single portal in the web browser or via the DS Get application for iOS and Android. I have been using Download station on my NAS for downloading the latest episodes of podcasts for years now and always found Download Station on Synology to be one of the best tools out there for managing internet-wide downloads. It does have a search functionality built-in, but (like more download manager applications like this on other NAS brand’s systems), I would use caution, as Synology cannot fully verify the sources (though you can list others, such as the InternetArchive which is an ever-growing rich source of historical data).

The support of USB storage on SRM 1.3 might sound a little archaic in the age of Google Drive, DropBox and NAS drives becoming increasingly affordable, but I am still hugely gratified to know that the development that Synology has made into their storage systems has been extended to SRM. As mentioned earlier, you might well be looking at a Synology router for your home for its Safe Access, performance and coverage, but it also means you have the option for a surprisingly robust and multi-featured storage system too by just adding a USB Drive. Plus SRM also features the means to backup your existing router configuration in case you need to experiment with your ports/settings and want to roll back easily, which can be stored on your local client machine or the USB. It’s just a shame that the most recent RT6600ax that has SRM 1.3 onboard only has a single USB (forcing users to have to make a tough decision on storage vs a phone sim dongle/tethered-phone for a WAN failover, but nevertheless the USB support in SRM 1.3 is unparalleled.

Synology SRM 1.3 Review – Conclusion & Verdict

When reviewing and judging Synology Router Manager 1.3, you have to somewhat separate your feelings about Synology router hardware (the RT6600ax, RT2600ac and MR2200ac) a little. This is because, although the Synology router hardware may seem a little safe-to-middling at times vs current hardware in the market, the software they provide has always been absolute class. SRM 1.3 continues this pedigree with a user interface that manages to do the nearly unthinkable – it manages to make the process of managing your network easy and actually ENGAGING! That’s one of the biggest hurdles of managing a router and your network security in general, it’s a massive chore that is fraught with technical jargon, hurdles and screens saying ‘no’, ‘invalid’ or ‘not available’. Synology has crafted a genuinely intuitive and accessible router software system here and although a lot of that is thanks to their years in NAS software, they have certainly improved upon previous revisions in SRM too. When it comes to the features that SRM arrives with, clearly ‘Safe Access’ is one of the killer apps of the SRM 1.3. But it doesn’t stand alone and thanks to the integrations of ‘network switch’ style controls and a wide array of custom network settings, it really feels like more of a complete version in 1.3. Additions of long-overdue features such as vLAN and customs, custom SSIDs and the DS Router application’s improved layout/controls are smaller steps in SRM 1.3’s development than some would like, but with the software feeling that pinch more responsive and the layout of the controls getting tweaked to be more intuitive, that just means that SRM 1.3 is just adding polish to an already fantastic management system. Additionally, the latest generation of Synology router hardware means that new configuration options and the extent to which you can use SRM 1.3’s services have been drastically increased in time for version 1.3. At the time of writing, we are still awaiting the SRM 1.3 update to extend to the full Synology router series (thereby enabling mesh with the likes of the MR2200ac), but that shouldn’t be too long and with that, the option for SRM 1.3 to manage a grander mesh wireless network in your home/office will be hugely beneficial. In short, still highly recommend it SRM 1.3 in 2022/2023.

PROs of the SRM 1.3 CONs of SRM 1.3
Incredibly easy to use, intuitive and very responsive

‘Safe Access’ puts all other Parental Control and filtering services to shame (and it’s included subscription-free)

vLAN and multiple connected SSID created are now available

Multiple Failover Options available

USB Support in SRM 1.3 is huge and shouldn’t be overlooked

Guest WiFi Portal and Generated reports have a real business/enterprise feel to them

The free VPN Plus licence is pretty generous vs other routers/platforms

Good range of support, guidance and suggested setup tools

Can be setup, accessed and controlled locally & remotely. As well as via multiple mobile apps, desktops web browsers or SSH

Mesh Support with MR2200ac is still not available at the time of writing as the SRM 1.3 update is not on all routers yet

Similar hardware routers from Netgear (even older NightHawk generations) allowed container applications (plex, smart home tools, etc)

Not strictly plug n play

 

Synology Router Manager 1.3 Review Chapters

SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, ALL Parts - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 1, Design & Control - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 2, Safety & Security - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 3, Network Management - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 4, Safe Access - HERE

Synology Router Portfolio

RT6600ax

RT2600ac

MR2200ac

Class / band
compatible standards
AX6600 / Tri-band
IEEE 802.11ax / ac / a / b / g / n
AC2600 / dual band
IEEE 802.11ac / a / b / g / n
AC2200 / Tri-band
IEEE 802.11ac / a / b / g / n
Maximum communication speed
(5GHz band 1)
4800Mbps

(160Mhz)

1,733Mbps
(4str / 80MHz)
867Mbps
(2str / 80MHz)
Maximum communication speed
(5GHz band 2)
1200Mbps incompatible 867Mbps
(2str / 80MHz)
Maximum communication speed
(2.4GHz band)
600Mbps 800Mbps
(4str / 40MHz / 256QAM)
400Mbps
(2str / 40MHz / 256QAM)
WAN terminal 1000BASE-T x 1 1000BASE-T x 1 1000BASE-T x 1
LAN terminal 2.5GBASE-T x 1 * 1
1000BASE-T x 3
1000BASE-T x 4 * 2 1000BASE-T x 1
USB terminal USB 3.0 Standard-A x 1 USB 3.0 Standard-A x 1
USB 2.0 Standard-A x 1
USB 3.0 Standard-A x 1
CPU Qualcomm IPQ6018
Arm Cortex-A53 4-core 1.8GHz
Qualcomm IPQ8065
Qualcomm Krait 300 2 core 1.7GHz
Qualcomm IPQ4019
Arm Cortex-A7 4 core 717MHz
RAM 1GB DDR3 DDR3 512MB DDR3 256MB

You can watch the FULL review of the latest WiFi 6 Router from Synology, the RT6600ax, over on YouTube below:

Alternatively, you can watch my full review of Synology SRM 1.3 on this NAS in the video below:

 

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Synology SRM 1.3 Software Review Part IV – The Safe Access Application

19 mai 2022 à 01:10

 

Synology Router Manager 1.3 Review Chapters

SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, ALL Parts - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 1, Design & Control - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 2, Safety & Security - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 3, Network Management - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 5, USB Storage Services & Conclusion - HERE 

Synology SRM 1.3 Review – Safe Access

Synology has featured ‘Safe Access’ in SRM pretty much since the beginning. It takes the basic logic that most routers have of being able to ‘see’ devices that are connected to the network and change how, what, where and when they can access ANYTHING. I know that sounds a bit ‘control freak’, but this is more commonly referred to as Parental Controls in more basic routers. However, ‘Safe Access’ is so far ahead of this in terms of its design, control and deployment that what you actually have here is something hugely suited for home and business that most routers barely come close to (with some companies such as TP-Link and Linksys charging monthly subscription fees for on top of the router purchase). At its core, Safe Access allows you to create profiles of users (so, your family or professional employees for example), band their connected devices under that profile, and then allow you to create custom levels of access to everything (internet or network) that suits their role/maturity. This logic can also be applied to creating profiles that suit network hardware (NAS, Switches, IP Cameras, etc) which can be duplicated and/or amended as needed.

Once a profile is created (and even during the process) you can ensure that the user/hardware it is intended for will only be able to access specific networks/SSIDs on the hardware that is connected with their profile. As new devices appear on the device history page, these can be assigned to the existing profiles or you can start a new profile up at any time.

Once a range of profiles for the devices and people in your router network, Safe Access allows you to monitor their access (both Live and historical information if you have enabled the feature) and start to change the rules of their access, which genuinely has a large amount of advantages for home users with young children in the house that needs their web access to be more structured and/or employees that need enough access to do their job, but not enough not too!

The full range of controls and access protocols that you have the ability to adapt/limit/restrict access to is pretty awesome. These include pre-set site filtering options (with databases updated regularly) that quickly create blanket access rules for sites online (As well as the option to customize and add/remove pages that you want). Then there are scheduled access times that will bar that profile/users from complete access at pre-set times. Interestingly, you CAN set rules that allow a profiled user to, upon hitting an access-rule that was the result of restrictions and guidelines you put on that profile, request access and that will be pushed to the appropriate admin/power user to allow/deny (linked with notifications) and can be accessed and actioned from in the DS Router 2.0 mobile app too.

Click to view slideshow.

However the most intriguing for parents looking at this router will be the Time Quota feature. This is a system that allows you to bestow X amount of time per day to a profile that can be strictly shared to all their devices (i.e a 3-hour quote cannot be repeated on 3 devices if all three come under 1 profile user, it is shared).

Safe Access still continues to be a great feature even several versions into SRM and after years of testing and measuring against the parental controls of many other routers I have reviewed, this still wins by a country mile! Before we conclude this review, let’s discuss the storage support of SRM 1.3 and see what the famous NAS brand Synology brings to the table here. When reviewing and judging Synology Router Manager 1.3, you have to somewhat separate your feelings about Synology router hardware (the RT6600ax, RT2600ac and MR2200ac) a little. This is because, although the Synology router hardware may seem a little safe-to-middling at times vs current hardware in the market, the software they provide has always been absolute class. SRM 1.3 continues this pedigree with a user interface that manages to do the nearly unthinkable – it manages to make the process of managing your network easy and actually ENGAGING! That’s one of the biggest hurdles of managing a router and your network security in general, it’s a massive chore that is fraught with technical jargon, hurdles and screens saying ‘no’, ‘invalid’ or ‘not available’. Synology has crafted a genuinely intuitive and accessible router software system here and although a lot of that is thanks to their years in NAS software, they have certainly improved upon previous revisions in SRM too. When it comes to the features that SRM arrives with, clearly ‘Safe Access’ is one of the killer apps of the SRM 1.3. But it doesn’t stand alone and thanks to the integrations of ‘network switch’ style controls and a wide array of custom network settings, it really feels like more of a complete version in 1.3. Additions of long-overdue features such as vLAN and customs, custom SSIDs and the DS Router application’s improved layout/controls are smaller steps in SRM 1.3’s development than some would like, but with the software feeling that pinch more responsive and the layout of the controls getting tweaked to be more intuitive, that just means that SRM 1.3 is just adding polish to an already fantastic management system. Additionally, the latest generation of Synology router hardware means that new configuration options and the extent to which you can use SRM 1.3’s services have been drastically increased in time for version 1.3. At the time of writing, we are still awaiting the SRM 1.3 update to extend to the full Synology router series (thereby enabling mesh with the likes of the MR2200ac), but that shouldn’t be too long and with that, the option for SRM 1.3 to manage a grander mesh wireless network in your home/office will be hugely beneficial. In short, still highly recommend it SRM 1.3 in 2022/2023.

 

Synology Router Manager 1.3 Review Chapters

SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, ALL Parts - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 1, Design & Control - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 2, Safety & Security - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 3, Network Management - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 5, USB Storage Services & Conclusion - HERE 

You can watch the FULL review of the latest WiFi 6 Router from Synology, the RT6600ax, over on YouTube below:

Alternatively, you can watch my full review of Synology SRM 1.3 on this NAS in the video below:

Synology SRM 1.3 Software Review Part III – Network Management

18 mai 2022 à 01:10

 

Synology Router Manager 1.3 Review Chapters

SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, ALL Parts - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 1, Design & Control - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 2, Safety & Security - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 4, Safe Access - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 5, USB Storage Services & Conclusion - HERE 

Synology SRM 1.3 Review – Network Management

The more premium a router is (i.e expensive!) the more you find that they start to feature features and services that are more often found in switches. Indeed, it still surprises me that Synology has yet to make the jump towards its own range of switches in the way that the other NAS brand QNAP has. That said, the network management and control that is featured in SRM 1.3 is quite extensive for a router, even if the complaints surrounding how long it has taken Synology to feature virtual network creation have been fairly constant these last few years. The Network Center application largely provides the bulk of network management resources, opening up into a brief overview of available connectivity and enabled SSIDs. There is also a live graph of activity covering uploads, downloads, system hardware resources and the status of those individual physical ports.

If you dig a little into the Port Status area, you are able to see any live connections and the bandwidth currently available on that connected line. This was one area of design that I was a little underwhelmed by on Synology’s part. Aside from the user interface in the Network Center application featuring a few different options whether you used the router on its own or as an additional access point (which makes sense logically), SRM 1.3 still lacks a larger topographical overview of the network, virtual networks and SSIDs. I appreciate that this would fall more into ‘network switch’ territory, but with the RT6600ax router with SRM 1.3 supporting 5 virtual networks, 15 SSIDs on a network, 4 LAN ports and the ability to bond them together in a custom way – that would be MUCH easier to comprehend graphically or in a breadcrumb/tree style.

There IS however a clear and quick-to-setup means to create a failover connection involving multiple ports. Although in the diagram below WAN and LAN 1 were featured, this is customizable via dropdowns. Additionally, you can factor in the USB SIM dongle or Mobile Phone USB tethering services to be used as a failover for the WAN and a wired internet connection. This failover also has a few straightforward rules and system policies for how the switch would take place in the event of your primary connection dropping, as well as what happens when it gets stored. Fairly straightforward stuff, but presented very well in SRM 1.3 and makes having a backup internet connection a lot more justifiable and easy to implement.

The newly added virtual network creation (vLAN) support in SRM 1.3 is pretty straightforward and (as this system is a router) also benefits from a few extra things (as well as supporting a few things you might expect), such as:

  • The ability to assign custom VLAN IDs
  • The option to completely block a vLAN to access the SRM 1.3 Controls/GUI
  • The option to block any communication/visibility between one vLAN and all other networks
  • The option to bond (attach) a physical port to a specific vLAN
  • The option to connect the vLAN with an existing SSID or create a new one during the creation wizard
  • Later in the access and user panels, you can permit levels of access to virtual networks

Again, this is all not really groundbreaking stuff, but 1) it’s something people have requested in SRM for a while, 2) brings a lot of network switch functionality to a router and 3) is presented in that special Synology ay that makes it remarkably straight forward. Bearing in mind we are talking about vLAN creation (something very few domestic users will ever know how/need to do) being made as easy as setting up an old Hotmail email account, I respect the effort.

Click to view slideshow.

Once additional networks have been created, they are displayed in a list on the main Network center page, each able to be completely reconfigured or their identities and ports changed with ease. Again, I am surprised that Synology was not able to show this information in a bit more of a pictorial fashion (something the likes of Netgear and QNAP have shown on their routers and switches for years).

As you might expect, creating a new SSID is INCREDIBLY easy in SRM 1.3 and you can create a whole lot of them too. Each can have its own identity, security protocol (eg WPA 3 Enterprise style or something more modest for legacy devices), and assignment to a specific frequency or band (eg 2.4-5Ghz and/or over 80Mhz or 160Mhz) to ensure that the right wireless connections are getting the benefits of the better coverage. That really is just scratching the surface of it and it’s impressively detailed in its configuration options.

As you might expect, SRM 1.3 (of course) features port forwarding rules that can be changed and allows you to create those more targeting but tactically placed means of accessing your network when needed, whilst keeping the safeguards in place. This is something that Synology cannot really make very user friendly and frank it should not be! Aside from the fact that a basic-mid level of understanding of port placement and protocol is needed, too much bad news surrounding ransomware injections from the likes of Asustor and QNAP in the last year or two has demonstrated the folly of inexperienced users punching holes in their firewalls etc (or worse still, brand’s offering to do it for you with little warning to the consequences). A standard by often vital feature, that is getting the respectful treatment it deserves here.

For those of you that have high priority internet connections running into your home or business premises, there is a specialized setting for giving PoS to IPTV (so online TV services and VoIP (voice over IP) phone lines. Along with numerous profiles for each that can be selected from a drop-down, you can also create custom profiles manually. This will likely be only of use to specific users and perhaps a greater range of external internet services might be added over time (as they increase in popularity) but still a handy feature for some and a nice extra for business lines certainly to ensure that phone calls over the internet are clear as/when needed, rather than giving a specific port priority of service generally, which might lead to unnecessary network throttling for everyone else accidentally. Better to identify a service specifically, rather than the port.

Talking of identification, as devices are connected and disconnected from the machine SRM keeps a record and along with names, will try to assign a device identity (classing it as a phone, laptop, printer, NAS, etc), which will be useful later to know what devices are on which network (As well as assigning access to these later in the ‘Safe Access’ tool. This is by no means full proof in how accurate it will identify devices and you can add custom icons as needed.

Returning to external checks and monitoring, SRM 1.3 also includes a few bits and bobs in the ‘Network Tools’ area for monitoring how packets of data are moving externally. These include a Traceroute service for when you connect with a website, so that you can see where data you get travelled along the way, particularly routers. A traceroute provides a map of how data on the internet travels from its source to its destination and although is often limited by connections along the route, can be a handy way to troubleshoot, as well as test site identities. Next, there is a ping measurement tool that allows you to measure the reply speed in milliseconds from a site to test your connection to/from a given internet location. Finally, there is an incredibly easy to use Wake on LAN (WoL) service that will automatically list available devices that are on the network and allow you to power them on/off if they support that feature. Again, this is now exactly groundbreaking, but it is presented in a very easy to understand way, which is what SRM 1.3 seems to constantly strive for and (for the most part) succeed at.

Click to view slideshow.

The last thing I want to touch on is the ability to generate remarkably professional reports of system activity (as well as internet, user, device and specific network service activity) in a scheduled and repeatable form. These generated reports can be tailored to a specific date or time, and can also have the range of data/services that they include be customized too. So, if you want a once a day, or once a week report that details the network behaviour of your staff, this can be set up automatically to be emailed to you on the frequency of your choosing.

Alternatively, you can create a much more general and system/network-wide report that covered the activity of everything in-house (as well as external connections where appropriate) and from there get a good understanding of the main active users/devices. This is all presented in a great balance of textual and graphical language and is something that IT admins will be able to use and learn from. Synology provides an even better and more dynamic version of this kind of reporting in their multi-site/system monitoring platform ‘Active Insight’ (a paid subscription platform), so I am impressed that Synology has not attempted to play this tool behind a license or cloud wall.

Click to view slideshow.

There is also a fairly common feature in SSRM and on the Synology routers to create a guest WiFi SSID that allows you to create a network that has lower network importance, access and connectivity to the rest of the system. This is hardly new, but it is worth highlighting that this Guest WiFi mode is a great deal more customizable than many I have seen and you can change a great deal of the rules, timing and allowed behaviour permitted on it.

You can even very quickly create a custom login portal screen (much like many of the public WiFi spaces you may have logged into previously) with SRM 1.3 and this adds an interesting extra degree of policy to your business class router operation.

The network management of SRM 1.3 is still good and something that those inexperienced in this rather double-niche area of I.T will certainly find beneficial. Those more aware of this subject are likely to want to look past the user-friendly GUI and ask for the more aggressive customization tools (many of which are absent and/or are more at home in a network switch, such as port trunking or even semi-automated loop detection when switches are introduced to the router LANs), but when you have here is still remarkably well presented, very responsive, more customizable than I thought it would be and you are still getting a decent mix of a router and switch features packed into a single software platform in SRM 1.3. Let’s sink our teeth into Safe Access – possibly one of the main reasons that mainly look at the Synology Router series.

 

Synology Router Manager 1.3 Review Chapters

SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, ALL Parts - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 1, Design & Control - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 2, Safety & Security - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 4, Safe Access - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 5, USB Storage Services & Conclusion - HERE 

You can watch the FULL review of the latest WiFi 6 Router from Synology, the RT6600ax, over on YouTube below:

Alternatively, you can watch my full review of Synology SRM 1.3 on this NAS in the video below:

Synology SRM 1.3 Software Review Part II – Safety & Security

17 mai 2022 à 01:10

 

Synology Router Manager 1.3 Review Chapters

SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, ALL Parts - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 1, Design & Control - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 3, Network Management - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 4, Safe Access - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 5, USB Storage Services & Conclusion - HERE 

Synology SRM 1.3 Review – General Security & Safety

Regardless of whether you are a home or business user, the security of your network is going to be one of your priorities very early on. Both internal network security with the devices that are exchanging packets of data via the router, right the way to how the router governs and manages the stream of data coming from your internet connection, if a router isn’t particularly secure, you will all too quickly find out! Worse still, if you are an inexperienced network technology user or a business lacking in-house IT support, then the ease of configuring a router to be as secure as possible within your specific network environment is going to be even more of an uphill battle. SRM 1.3 tackles this in several very clear ways. First off, despite its incredibly user-friendly browser GUI, the majority of its more potentially insecure architecture elements (i.e those that if you mishandle them or let them open could be disastrous in the wrong hands) are either disabled by default or are locked behind more advanced configuration windows/portals. Some are more obvious than others, such as port forwarding (common to all routers and not something anyone should touch without reason) settings and IP/Mac address blocking, which are all quite useful, but common. However, there are little things of note that are impressively specific to SRM 1.3, such as the power-use admin account being disabled by default. Something that even now in 2022 is still not the case for many routers (including ISP ones) and with those same power user crenedtials printed on the base of the router.

Additionally, all devices (both current and for a period, historical) are monitored in SRM and this allows you to monitor their behaviour, block them, label for for later use in ‘Safe Access’ or simply keep an eye on their behaviour.

If you had additional SRM 1.3 software user accounts, there are several options for restricting an accounts access (IP locking, resritcing individual app/storage access, removing SRM 1.3 dashboard access, etc) and that also extends to auto-block methods that will change the parameters for a scenario where someone is trying to log into an account erroniously.

When it comes to what services, features and applications the router with SRM 1.3 is running, there is a single portal full control list that allows you to quickly disable these quickly in the event you need to shut everything down tight or just want to troubleshoot each service one by one. This list of services and level of control will differ on whether you are using the router as a primary or secondary system, but this single page means to shut down any active internet/network service is really handy.

Then there are the inbuilt firewall settings that allow you to use present configurations for securing your internet access point, as well as the means to create a much more customized set of firewall rules. It has to be said that the bulk of things covered in security in SRM 1.3 so far are available on the bulk of prosumer routers, just not presented in a way as user-friendly as here and not to the same extent in most cases.

Then there is the inclusion of the Synology VPN software within SRM 1.3. VPN Plus allows your Synology Router to host a powerful VPN server that is easy to set up and manage. It supports SSTP, OpenVPN, L2TP over IPSec, as well as Synology’s own SSL VPN protocol and lightweight desktop client. Web-based portal VPN gives users direct access to company intranet sites and there is even an option to provide employees with browser-based remote desktop access. The Synology VPN is a service that supports SSL fast authentication and encryption access to webpages, files, and applications on the Internet (as well as local networks). Here, you can customize things like the Client IP range, Self-owned domain name, ports, security level, authentication, and others. You can also enable split tunnelling, which allows users to connect to destination webpages, applications, and servers in certain local subnets or local IP ranges.

Click to view slideshow.

Each Client VPN Access License allows one concurrent user account to use Synology WebVPN, SSL VPN and SSTP, with permanent validity upon activation. Every Synology product that supports VPN Plus comes with a free license. To add more concurrent user accounts at no additional cost, simply sign in to Synology Router Manager (SRM) as an administrator to activate additional free licenses. You can assign permissions to more user accounts than installed licenses. All the accounts are given access on a first-come, first-served basis. When the license quota is reached, no more accounts will be given access until other accounts are disconnected from all Synology SSL VPN, WebVPN, and SSTP services. Once a user account is connected to VPN Plus and starts using any of the three features, it will be allowed to use any of the other features on the same or different devices at once without requiring extra licenses. Each additional connection beyond the first requires registration of a free license.

Features Pre-installed free license Additional free client VPN access licenses
Service Synology SSL VPN 1 concurrent account Up to product specifications
WebVPN
SSTP
OpenVPN Unlimited connections (up to product specifications)
L2TP over IPsec
PPTP
Management Real-time traffic monitor V
Connection history V
Service-based permissions V
Bandwidth control V
Block list V

For those that want to get even more beefed up in the security stakes when accessing the controls and complete GUI of SRM 1.3, you also have the option to create/install a secure tunnel with free and easy installation of the Let’s Encrypt certificates from within the control panel. This is a small extra that you can of course manage for the most part with many other paid certificates if you prefer, but it is still good to have this option available from within the software and that it guides you through the process too.

Speaking of guiding the user through the process, SRM 1.3 also includes the Security Advisor tool (much like the one found in NAS and DSM) that analyzes your system and then provides you with details on how you can strengthen the safeguards, settings and setup of your router. The extent to which it will check and report can be configured in its settings menu, but even in the default configuration, it is quite thorough.

Upon completion of a scan, SRM 1.3 will then provide suggestions on what you need to correct/improve upon. Again, a lot of this is going to be a bit comment-internet-sense-101 (eg don’t use ‘password’ as your password), but it does include several more business-focused recommendations if you chose that level of scanning. The scanning with the security advisor can be triggered manually or set to a regular schedule from with the software and can also be linked to notifications if a potential vulnerability or router weakness is highlighted. This then allows you to connect with the router, access the severity of it and then proceed accordingly.

When it comes to accessing the router and SRM 1.3, local access (eg from on the same network) will be relatively straight forward and unless you have blocked SRM access on a specific account or your IP/Subnet/etc are different to the system, you should have fairly direct and secure access up to this point. But what about remote/internet access? Sometimes you will want to access the router and SRM 1.3 to quickly access a setting/service (perhaps for IT troubleshooting or simply a family memory having difficulty with the network). In that case, you can use the popular Synology Quick Connect service (much like their NAS) to tunnel into the router and SRM 1.3 securely from anywhere in the world, via Synology’s encrypted servers. This is a completely free service that is included with ALL Synology products and can also be customized to only allow access via very specific means and by very specific people too.

Then you have ‘Safe Access’, one of the jewels of the crown in SRM 1.3. I will go into more detail on the Safe Access service later on, but in terms of security, alongside a whole bunch of ways to craft a safe and trusted internet access point for your router users, Safe Access also allows you to enable forced Google Safe Browsing and enable the Threat Intelligence database tool. So, let’s go through these two forms of network protection, what they do and how they help.

The safe search functionality allows you to automatically shift the results of popular internet search tools and some social platforms to automatically enable ‘safe’ mode or disable any NSFW content. This will also overwrite any custom policies that users logged into those sites will have (i.e having a Google account logged in and set to show all results’ will be overwritten by the router enforcing safe search rules). This is a feature that is widely available on ISP routers and other paid premium routers, HOWEVER, on those you lack the scaled options of off/low/moderate/high, as well as the option to scale these to individual users/devices on the system and different policies to different sites. Eg you want your employees to have full and unrestricted access to YouTube and Social sites for marketing purposes, but want adult content restricted on typical Google search results in the workplace.

Now Synology’s Threat Prevention dynamically guards the security of your Synology Router as data is handled and manages packets on network devices by inspecting Internet traffic to detect and drop malicious packets and also records network events, for statistical analyses regarding malicious sources to check their severity. Threat prevention is arguably less advanced in its architecture compared with Safe Access, ut is still a great tool in a much broader way.

Click to view slideshow.

Understanding the difference between these two approaches to protect your network and your network client base is quite straightforward. They represent two different approaches to your network security. Safe Access is DNS-and IP-based. It integrates several external databases (including Google Safe Browsing) that identify domains and IPs related to malware, phishing, botnets, command and control servers, social engineering, etc. When a device in the network attempts to access the blacklisted destinations, Synology Router prevents the connection from even being established. Threat Prevention, on the other hand, is signature-based. It monitors incoming and outgoing traffic using Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) – not just checking the domain or IP – and is able to drop any malicious packet detected in real-time. In addition to Internet attacks, Threat Prevention can alert you to inappropriate user behaviour, such as sending passwords through unencrypted HTTP traffic. Both packages work automatically. You can review the event logs and adjust the actions, but even if you don’t, they still silently protect you in the background.

The know target lists and algorithms that each of these tools (and other connected databases that feed into the intelligent actions and alerts) are updated regularly in the system database and by default, these are automatically downloaded to their latest versions. It is recommended that you never change these settings.

Overall the background and passive security settings that are configurable in SRM 1.3 are not an enormous leak, at least in terms of the broad result, than more premium routers in the market. What sets SRM 1.3 out from them though is that it is presented in a much more user-friendly fashion, is considerably more scalable and provides a considerable amount of flexibility that most other routers would limit to an ON/OFF switch. The Threat Prevention tool is can be a little underwhelming (perhaps needing more attention than it has, especially compared with Safe Search) but overall the security and safety of internet connectivity via a Synology router and SRM 1.3 is still very good.

 

Synology Router Manager 1.3 Review Chapters

SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, ALL Parts - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 1, Design & Control - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 3, Network Management - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 4, Safe Access - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 5, USB Storage Services & Conclusion - HERE 

You can watch the FULL review of the latest WiFi 6 Router from Synology, the RT6600ax, over on YouTube below:

Alternatively, you can watch my full review of Synology SRM 1.3 on this NAS in the video below:

TrueNAS/iXsystems NAS Q&A – Your Question’s Answered

11 mars 2022 à 01:43

A TrueNAS and iXsystems Questions & Answers Interview



If you have been on the fence about moving into the world of using the open-source platform TrueNAS for your private server, there is a good chance that the rather elite level server software is leaving you a pinch intrigued. The big ZFS optimized software that is available to download completely for free OR as part of a business targeted solution from iXsystems seemingly promises significantly more freedom and flexibility than off-the-shelf commercial NAS solutions, but there is no denying that regardless of whether you are an existing NAS user that is thinking of going down the ‘custom build’ route OR someone who thinks they are I.T verses enough to DiY it on day 1, that TrueNAS can be fantastically intimidating. Later in 2022, I will be exploring TrueNAS in huge detail, looking at what the platform offers to new users, how it compares with popular NAS brands like Synology & QNAP and hopefully helping to demystify this more community-supported platform. In this first Q&A, in what I hope will be many in 2022/2023, I have canvased YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and directly here on NASCompares for traditional NAS users burning questions about TrueNAS. I spoke with Morgan Littlewood, SVP for Product Management over at iXsystems, and put your questions to him. Below are those questions and his responses. If you have any further questions that are not covered in today’s Q&A, or have follow-ups to those that were asked, then fire them in the comments. We will have our full review of TrueNAS coming very soon here on NASCompares, along with a hardware review of the iXsystems Truenas Mini X+, so don’t forget to subscribe for that. But, let’s crack on with the Q&A.


Note – Today’s Questions come from you, the viewer/reader via the site or social media platforms. Where possible I have kept the questions in their original verbatim form. Where changes have been made, it has been for the sake of clarity in the question for structure.

Why are the hardware requirements for TrueNAS higher than EXT4 based Systems that also run on Linux?


TrueNAS is optimised for reliability and performance. Less RAM can be used, but it is not recommended. We don’t recommend anything that may result in a poor experience. ZFS is more robust and resource-intensive than EXT4 on account of its much safer Copy-on-Write architecture. Snapshots and clones are much simpler, and data safety during hardware and power failures is much higher.


Find the answer in the video Q&A here:  04:18

Why are the RAM and CPU requirements so high compared to other systems (from Synology or QNAP for example) that can arrive with Intel Celeron’s and even ARM processors?


TrueNAS is a fully Open Source system based on FreeBSD (TrueNAS CORE) or Linux (TrueNAS SCALE) with OpenZFS. The software is professional-grade and is not optimised for minimum personal electronics cost. The software can run on virtually any hardware, including all drivers, even QNAP hardware. Less CPU and RAM will result in lower performance.


Find the answer in the video Q&A here:  06:08 


In light of a recent spate of off-the-shelf NAS Ransomware Attacks on the likes of Asustor, Terramaster and QNAP, is there any reason that I should think that a TrueNAS build system is less susceptible?


Yes, QNAP (and Synology) have a consumer-grade architecture with poor isolations between apps and the Operating System. Hackers can break into these systems through the complex apps and get access to the underlying OS as a root user.  TrueNAS is professionally architected to avoid these and other issues. Complex apps are isolated to Plugins, Apps, and VMs with no host access. Unlike QNAP and Synology, all software is Open Source and visible to security experts for inspection. It is still important that users follow the best practices our software and documentation encourage.


Find the answer in the video Q&A here:  08:25

If TrueNAS (aka FreeNAS) is free and can be used on a custom build server, why should I spend more on hardware to buy an iXsystems system?


TrueNAS is Open Source and customers have a choice. Running TrueNAS on used equipment is the lowest-cost approach. TrueNAS on Minis or new server hardware will be similar in cost. TrueNAS Minis have the advantage of being thoroughly tested and supported by iXsystems. There is additional software for managing enclosures which are themselves optimised for storage (e.g., whisper-quiet fans). Any revenues from TrueNAS Mini contribute back our support of the TrueNAS Open Source project.


Find the answer in the video Q&A here: 10:32


Does TrueNAS have Mobile Applications?


TrueNAS is an Open System. There are many mobile apps that use the SMB, NFS, and WebDav interfaces into TrueNAS. Mobile browsers can access the TrueNAS or TrueCommand UIs.


Find the answer in the video Q&A here: 13:57 

Does TrueNAS have any preset minimums in place regarding that, if left unaddressed, inhibit the system in any way (remote access, application support, etc)?


If there is insufficient boot drive space, the software updates will be inhibited. Insufficient RAM will inhibit VMs from performing well.


Find the answer in the video Q&A here: 15:09

Aside from S.M.A.R.T and single drive benchmarks, does TrueNAS have more/better self-testing and benchmarking tools? e.g in an internal means to measure the performance of a RAID configuration?


We recommend FIO for performance testing of the ZFS pool, which is built into TrueNAS. Any other testing can be performed remotely on the system via its various protocols.


Find the answer in the video Q&A here:  17:40


What is the hardware entry point for a home user to start using TrueNAS?


TrueNAS is not targeted at small home users with one or two drives. Rather, it is for home users with many Terabytes of data, typically video or photo enthusiasts and/or users with a background in IT. We recommend either a used server or a TrueNAS Mini for home use. The TrueNAS Mini-E is the lowest cost, and the TrueNAS Mini-X has more power and flexibility. 


Find the answer in the video Q&A here: 19:22

What are the benefits of running a smaller 4 Disk NAS on TrueNAS compared to Synology DS920+?



The Synology 920+ is a 4-Bay, 4 core Celeron processor with 4-8GB RAM. It uses a combination of BTRFS and RAID to store its data. It is a nice little hardware package with a non-production file system that is less reliable. Synology then mates BTRFS with RAID-5 which is also less reliable in the presence of power outages and bit rot. This combination makes the data storage less resilient, scalable, and portable. The TrueNAS Mini-X system is a step up from the Synology 920+ in reliability and flexibility. It has 7-Bays, 4 Cores, and 16-32GB of ECC protected RAM. It uses OpenZFS 2.0 which is more reliable by design and enables open, efficient replication to any OpenZFS system, plus the normal Rsync tools. ECC RAM is used to avoid any corrupted data or files and provide rapid detection of any faulty hardware. Without ECC, silent errors that are very difficult to troubleshoot and fix can occur.


TrueNAS has recommended drives, but does not make it difficult to use third-party drives, used or new. We’ve seen Synology move to branded drives with poor support of other drives. TrueNAS supports a ZFS Write Log function which makes the system very reliable even during power failures. Data that is written and acknowledged is always safe. The use of RAID-5 and BTRFS does not provide this level of protection


Find the answer in the video Q&A here: 21:07

Which Drives do you use in your pre-populated systems and is the warranty on these inclusive with that of the system?


TrueNAS Minis use WD Red Plus HDDs and a variety of different SSDs. The system warranty includes all pre-populated drives for a single throat to choke experience. We have found the WD Red Plus drives to be very reliable in conjunction with OpenZFS.


Find the answer in the video Q&A here:  23:16


With TrueNAS Scale, will RDMA/RoCEv2 be supported? 


RDMA is a very useful technology for accessing data in RAM on another system. For accessing data on HDDs and Flash, there is only a minor benefit. TrueNAS SCALE will support RDMA in a future release based on customer/community demand.


Find the answer in the video Q&A here:  25:05

Do iXsystems and/or TrueNAS adequately support flash server use and if so, does it have intelligent wear monitoring?


SSD wear monitoring is available, but it’s really a band-aid for systems with poor flash characteristics. OpenZFS does two things that ensure a much longer flash life:

  1. Writes to flash are distributed evenly over the drives in the system through the use of ZFS VDEVs
  2. Small writes (e.g., 4K) are aggregated into larger writes (e.g., 64K) as part of the writing process. This reduces the stress on the flash media enormously. Even QLC drives can sustain heavy workloads with OpenZFS.

Find the answer in the video Q&A here: 26:04

How migratable is a TrueNAS RAID array between systems? I.e If my Intel i5/16GB DDR4 6 Drive RAID6 Drive configuration based system suffers a motherboard failure, how smooth/easy/possible is installing these 6 drives in another system? And does the hardware configuration need to match?


Great question. This is the beauty of OpenZFS. There are two ways to migrate data efficiently:


ZFS replication: this is incremental, very efficient, and can be done between two systems with different sizes and even different OSes. You can replicate the entire pool or specific data sets within it. Replication is efficient, making it feasible to do every ten minutes or every night.


Drive Transfer: A ZFS pool can be exported to its set of drives. The drives can then be removed and placed in another system, server, or JBOD and imported as a new ZFS pool with all data intact. The new system does not need to use any similar motherboard, RAID card, OSes, and it can even be a VM with access to the drives. If there are any drive errors, these can be repaired by the ZFS checksum and scrubbing processes. 


You can ZFS replicate or transfer a TrueNAS pool to an Ubuntu VM running on VMware. This is the difference provided by an Open Software model with a professional-grade architecture. The software is designed to give users the flexibility they want and not lock them into a proprietary ecosystem. TrueNAS enables data to be maintained well through several generations of hardware using these techniques. This is critical for long-lived data like family photos, videos, and professional work product. For businesses, it is very important that TrueNAS enables scalability from a few drives to over 1,000 drives in a single system. Large archive/backup systems can support many workgroup systems with the same software and tools. Synology is particularly limited in the scalability of its systems.


Find the answer in the video Q&A here:  28:16

Does TrueNAS have an active homebrew scene?


Yes, there is a very active community of users doing three things:

  1. Building their own hardware platforms with new and second-hand parts. We have a few users that have re-used QNAP systems.
  2. Assisting with software development. Some users will find a bug and then resolve it themselves. The software is largely in Python and C. Most users will just report the bug via our Community.
  3. Developing or building Apps that run well on TrueNAS. Most of these Apps are now docker containers or combinations of containers.

Find the answer in the video Q&A here:  31:32


What are the benefits of an Open Source NAS over an off-the-shelf NAS system?


The role of a NAS is the long term retention and sharing of data.  Videos, photos, financial, and medical records all need to be retained for tens of years…even multiple lifetimes.  This can’t be done with a single box and will require an evolving family of platforms and backup strategies. Open Source provides the benefits of long term evolution and migration options.  Data can be replicated and migrated easily between systems. New systems can be built with second-hand hardware and free Open Source software.  The user has control of their own destiny. That is Open Source economics. TrueNAS embraces Open Source economics and allows you to choose the hardware platform that best suits your applications and your budgets.


Find the answer in the video Q&A here:  33:35

How does the TrueNAS Community help a new user?


The TrueNAS Community is a fantastic resource for the average user. Because TrueNAS is Open Source, there are thousands of users that both have operating experience, but extremely good knowledge of how the software works and how to resolve systems integration issues, recover data, and troubleshoot hardware.  When you are trying to do something new with your system, it’s common to find that hundreds of people have already worked out how to set something up, or have the experience to tell you that you can’t get it to work. Community members can save themselves many hours of work and have a fun conversation. The TrueNAS forum is moderated to make sure forum posts are polite and welcoming.


Find the answer in the video Q&A here:  35:48


 


You can watch the original Q&A with Morgan Littlewood of iXsystems below:


 



If you have any further questions about TrueNAS that were not addressed in this Q&A, fire them below in the comments and we will have them featured in a follow-up interview this spring/summer. Thanks for reading.


 


 

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QNAP TS-133 NAS Review – Is Size Everything?

4 mars 2022 à 01:23

The QNAP TS-133 NAS Drive Review


The QNAP TS-133 is a new NAS, sure, but there have been ALOT of these systems for a while now and why should you care about this one? It’s a valid question. Although network-attached storage (NAS) has been around for quite a number of years, the average buyer has diversified quite dramatically. NAS systems once started life as mini servers for professionals and small/medium business (SMB) users to allow them to have their very own alternative to smaller subscription business cloud systems. However, when NAS first started becoming more home-user-friendly, a huge range of solutions quickly developed that were tailored to different user requirements, budgets and scales. One area of NAS that still continues to have a moderate (if slightly entry-level) following is that of single bay (AKA 1-Bay) NAS drives that serve as the first step for many into owning their own private server. Arriving at a considerably more affordable price point than their larger, RAID enabled brothers and sisters, 1-Bay NAS drives such as the QNAP TS-133 provide a base level introduction to the software and services available in a NAS, whilst streamlining the hardware for efficiency. Many might argue that you can just buy a bigger and more powerful NAS, then just install a single HDD, but those users would be rather missing the point. Today I want to review the QNAP TS-133 NAS drive, Discuss design, hardware, what it can do and what it can’t do. Right now, at the start of 2022, the QNAP TS-133 is the most powerful 1-Bay NAS that you can buy commercially (again, in the context of 1 HDD NAS systems) but arrives a pinch more expensive than most. So, let’s review the TS-133 NAS and decide whether it deserves your data in 2022/2023.


Hardware Highlights:


  • ARM 4-core Cortex-A55 1.8GHz processor
  • 2GB DDR4 (Max)
  • 2x SATA HDD/SSD Bay
  • Top Loaded Drive Injection
  • 1x RJ45 1GbE
  • 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1
  • 1x USB 2.0
  • Support of the USB-to-5GbE Adapter
  • Low Noise single 80mm Fan
  • 36W External PSU and Reported 2.74/7.32W Power Use (Idle/Active)
  • 7.38 × 2.6 × 6.2 inch Chassis Size

QNAP TS-133 NAS Review – Quick Conclusion


As long as you keep your feet on the ground a little and stay realistic, the QNAP TS-133 NAS Drive is indeed a very impressive piece of kit. We are talking about a combined hardware and software solution that you can purchase with a 4TB drive from the likes of Seagate or WD inside all in for a little over $200. It can run plex media server, it has surveillance software included in QVR Elite, AI-powered photo recognition (with the system featuring a dedicated AI engine for these tasks), multi-tiered backup handing in Hybrid Backup Sync 3, host a DLNA media server, connect and synchronize with cloud services in a bunch of ways, access to a bunch of tailored mobile apps and a whole lot of other services that would take too long to mention. Also, the TS-133 NAS is the first system in the commercial NAS market to feature this new Cortex A55 processor, as well as twice (and in some cases) four times the memory of alternative systems in the same tier with it’s 2GB DDR4 RAM. As long as you have realistic expectations about how busy you are going to be, how hard you intend to push the device and how much you expect it to do at any one time, I think the QNAP TS-133 NAS is easily the most powerful and capable 1-Bay NAS in the market to buy right now. The non-upgradable memory is a pain, the lack of 2.5GbE is perplexing and the continued appearance of USB 2.0 is a tad infuriating, but the TS-133 seemingly makes up for it with a wide variety of applications supported, a remarkably subtle and discreet deployment and in the hands of the right low-level user, this might well be the best NAS QNAP have produced in the value tier for years!

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 7/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
PRICE - 9/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.2
PROS
👍🏻Currently the most powerful 1-Bay NAS Drive in the market
👍🏻A 1-Bay with 2GB of DDR4 Memory is pretty rare in the Value tier
👍🏻
👍🏻Exceptionally low noise and power use
👍🏻
👍🏻Runs the latest version of QTS 5
👍🏻
👍🏻First Value Tier NAS in the market to use the Cortex A55 Processor
👍🏻
👍🏻Quad-Core Processor is a nice bonus
👍🏻
👍🏻Inclusive AI-powered component built into the hardware
👍🏻
👍🏻Support for NAS-to-NAS/USB/Cloud backups and also supported Hybrid Storage and mounting
CONS
👎🏻1GbE in 2022 event at the value tier is underwhelming
👎🏻USB 2.0 Ports is equally underwhelming
👎🏻
👎🏻Lack of RAID will put some users off (applicable to all 1-Bay’s though)

QNAP TS-133 NAS Review – PACKAGING & ACCESSORIES


Let’s start by how the TS-133 is presented. The retail box of the QNAP TS-133 NAS is definitely a change of scene from the plain brown box design of bigger releases by the brand and this is almost certainly down to the system being more readily available for buyers to see in retail outlets. The majority of NAS solutions are eShop purchases, but more affordable solutions such as the TS-133 are going to be considerably more high street accessible in your local tech shop. The packaging is a mix of European graphical shouting and eastern specification details. Maybe lacking a little of the subtlety of the TS-130 and TS-128A that came before it, it is still a nice looking box that I would stop to look at, to be honest.



Another area that the QNAP TS-133 NAS differs from bigger and more expensive releases is in how the unit is packaged. As this is a smaller and more compact unit, as well as more cost-sensitive, the protective packaging on this system is all cardboard (no hard foam framework) and it is packed pretty tight with the NAS, accessories and documents. Once you have unpacked it, good luck getting it all back in there!



The accessories of the QNAP TS-133 NAS are pretty standard stuff, with the kit including screws for 2.5″/3.5″ storage media, documentation on your warranty, warranty extension option, setup guide, 1 metre Cat 5e RJ45 LAN cable and the external PSU that the NAS arrives with. Once again, the box was pretty tiny and I am surprised how much they crammed in there.



Once everything is all laid out on the desk, you get a better idea of the scale of the QNAP TS-133 NAS. This kit does not include any HDD/SSDs, but the support of media is pretty wide and this NAS supports upto 20TB via a single Hard Drive in the available bay – though DO remember that hard drives greater than around 8TB (and Pro series drives of all capacities) will be noticeably noisier in operation and the TS-133 will not be able to hide this.



The external PSU of the QNAP TS-133 NAS is a 36W block style and fairly generic. Having an external PSU will ensure that the heat that it might generate is not inside the chassis (resulting in increased fan operation to compensate, potentially lower CPU efficiency and a noisier experience). Equally, thanks to the modest CPU inside this system, compact design and modest connections, this system is exceeding low in power consumption in both idle and active use – something that those looking for a NAS for their mobile home, boat, easy-deployment storage and mobile work desk space will appreciate.



Overall, the QNAP TS-133 NAS retail kit is all fairly standard stuff and although I wasn’t exactly bowled over by it, it contains everything you are going to need (aside from media) to set this device up in your home or office space. Let’s talk about the design of the TS-133.

QNAP TS-133 NAS Review – Design


The chassis that the QNAP TS-133 NAS features is a modified version of the TS-130 chassis that arrived back in 2020/2021. It is a surprisingly compact plastic casing, white in colour and features a mesh/quilt patterned black stick that details the system information at a glance via LEDs. The system does not have any side panel ventilation, instead opting for a larger system of smaller vents located around the entire chassis. I definitely prefer this colour scheme and slightly sharper edges of the TS-133 over the baby-blue TS-130 NAS Chassis.



Indeed, although some users are less keen on white chassis (as they can show dust and marks much more) this plastic chassis here is very low noise (will touch on this later) and will merge into more hardware environments very easily. It reminds me a lot of the 1-HDD WD My Cloud/My Book design and how it is designed to be understated and fit into your other desk/office hardware easily. This does as much quite well – though maybe it would have been nice for other colours to be available? A missed home user opportunity perhaps (it sounds crazy, but enough users have asked me this very question to wonder).



The top right of the front of the QNAP TS-133 NAS features individual LED indicators that denote different activities. These LEDs can be dimmed/deactivated in the QTS system and denote the following:

  • System Activity
  • Network Activity
  • Storage Media Activity

Despite QNAP being one of the last brands to still feature LCD screens on some of their systems to give real-time information such as system temp, IPS, warning details etc, the budget level ranges such as this one have never and almost certainly will never have that kind of on-system digital UI.



Ventilation on the QNAP TS-133 NAS is an interesting subject (I mean, relatively interesting, I am not mad!). As this system is noticeably smaller than more other NAS drives AND it features a more power-efficient CPU, heat is going to be more of a concern than usual. Although the system is quite small, there is quite a lot of passive ventilated airflow working in conjunction with the active rear cooling fan. Although the bulk of the ventilation is based on the bottom of the device, the chassis is indented on either side, allowing the air to pass over the vertically stacked HDD bay inside and through the vents at the base as needed.



When the QNAP TS-133 NAS is in operation, the cooler air is pulled from the base, over the drive media and internal component heatsinks, then pulled through the rear cooling fan out the rear of the system. As the system does not feature any trays that would allow air to exit or ventilated side panels, it means that this airflow can’t escape any other way. The system uses a closed chassis and this ventilation is a big part of how the more efficient components maintain ideal operational temperature.



So, that is the design of the QNAP TS-133 NAS. It is certainly designed in a much more modest and understated than beefier NAS’, such as the TS-251D or TS-453D, but for compact deployment where you will want as little impact as possible in noise or physical space, it’s a solid bit of design. Let’s discuss the connectivity of the TS-133 NAS.


QNAP TS-133 NAS Review – Ports & Connections


As mentioned, the QNAP TS-133 NAS features a rear-mounted active cooling fan. This fan and the covering vent cover around 40% of the rear of the chassis and is surprisingly low noise. When you first boot the device up, it will spin at the maximum speed for a few seconds (as it tests that its functions are fully operational) and although the fan at the height of its speed is audible, it is still not the worse I have heard. In the 8 hours of hardware/software testing that I performed on this device (including software overviews, storage setups, Plex media server and more), I never heard the fan spin up particularly and the only particularly noticeable noise was the single Seagate Ironwolf hard drive I installed inside, which the TS-133 was unable to disguise/suppress.



For all of my positivity about the QNAP TS-133 NAS up to this point, it is worth highlighting that in terms of connectivity (and I am aware this is a much more modest, affordable and compact system), the external connectivity on the rear of this NAS is pretty underwhelming. QNAP in the last 18-24 months have revealed a number of innovative solutions to their Home, Prosumer and SMB (small-medium business) ranges that have largely led the way on connectivity – whilst still maintaining the same price point as fewer connectivity equipped systems from rival Synology. However, the TS-133 makes very little change in the connectivity compared with its 18-24 month older predecessor (the QNAP TS-130) and the 1GbE network port on the TS-133 is a particular blow. With Internet Service Providers rolling out 1Gb+ internet speeds in many countries AND providers such as Virgin in the UK releasing 2.5GbE equipped routers, we are fast reaching a point where one of the prime benefits of NAS vs Cloud (namely, the fact you can access a NAS faster than the cloud) is potentially being undone. Even if the TS-133 NAS is designed as an affordable solution, QNAP released several units in 2020/2021 that has 2.5GbE at the same price as 1GbE – so why does this system still have just 1GbE RJ45?



The System hardware inside the QNAP TS-133 NAS can certainly saturate 1GbE/100MB/s+ with/without encryption externally and alongside the benefits of even a modest non-pro HDD or SSD in this 1-bay allowing speeds of 24-360MB/s  easily, QNAP also state that you CAN use the USB-to-5GbE adapter (optional purchase). So there does not seem to be any CPU limitations to using greater than gigabit connectivity and therefore its absence in even a modest device like this in 2022 is a tad disappointing.



Then, after the slight disappointment of 1x 1GbE, I then saw that the TS-133 arrives with 1x USB 2.0 port – IN 2022! Now, I am not unreasonable. I appreciate that 1) this is an affordable solution 2) that the processor and its hardware limits/chipset might be stretched and 3) that the system DOES also feature a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Port type-A too. However, given that this device can be used with USB backups, USB 3.2 Gen 1 network adapters, expansion chassis and more, having one of the USB expansion ports with considerably lower bandwidth version 2.0 ports is a real pain. They can still be used for things such as USB printers or UPS Heatbeat/alert connectivity, but as this system lacks any HDMI out (As the CPU does not feature any kind of embedded graphics), you cannot even use these for a KVM setup.



Overall, the connectivity on the QNAP TS-133 NAS is… well… fine. It’s fine and jsut about passable for an entry-level/affordable solution that is not exactly designed to knock your socks off. Nevertheless, it is not exactly going to blow you away in the bandwidth department. Next, let’s talk about the internal hardware.


QNAP TS-133 NAS Review – Internal Hardware


The internal hardware of the QNAP TS-133 NAS is understandably modest and although the system supports a good % of the QNAP QTS applications, it has to be said that its ability to multitask and/or support multiple users at once is noticeably less than an Intel/AMD x86 system would be. The single media bay of the TS-133 NAS allows a drive to be held in place (there is no tray and hot-swapping is not supported) internally via a SATA connection. To gain access, flip the device over and then unscrew the single base level flathead screw. It is that straight forward and after it is removed, the chassis can simply be slid apart into two pieces to reveal the media bay.



The drive bay is connected with a SATA combined power and data connector (no loose cables) and you can install either a 3.5″ or 2.5″ SATA HDD/SSD. The system is designed around an aluminium framework that is full of spacing for the airflow to work around and between the internal media, controller board and component covering heatsinks. The TS-233 2-Bay version of this system featured two trays that allowed the much easier screwless installation of media, whereas things are a little bare-bones in the TS-133 NAS. This is not the end of the world and only adds around 2-3 minutes to your installation though.



Now, some users do not consider a 1-Bay NAS system a suitable 24×7 server system for anyone, as the single HDD architecture means that you cannot take advantage of RAID (redundant array of independent disks) that allows you to have a safety net in the event that a HDD/SSD fails (nothing lasts forever). However, I would also be keen to highlight that RAID is NOT a BACKUP! If you are storing data that you deem irreplaceable (eg photos of family or events) or mission-critical (client/customer data for your business), then you NEED to have at least one (ideally x2) copy of your data at all times. So, although the loss of RAID in the TS-133 NAS is going to be a bit of a bummer for some, it DOES still arrive with support of Backups between the NAS and USB/Cloud/NAS, with the option to create many, many scheduled jobs in the HBS3 program. These can be conducted in either direction and although lack the short recovery of service that a RAID can provide, they are real BACKUPS and will be your saviour in the event of a critical system failure, ransomware attack, malware attack, theft and more.



The CPU of the QNAP TS-133 NAS is a Cortex A55 processor that is 64bit ARM in architecture, quad-core and has a clock-seed/frequency of 1.8Ghz per core. This CPU is one that is designed for long, long use whilst using a very small amount of power. ARM processors are often popular on mobile devices, tablets, Chromebooks and ultimately devices that are designed with efficiency in mind. However, this CPU (much like the A53 Realtek RTD1295 in it’s predecessor, the TS-130) is a server optimized processor and although would be outpaced by the likes of a Celeron, Pentium or Ryzen, it is ideal for keeping within the price point of most cost-effective buyers, whilst still providing a wide variety of supported software and services.



There are several versions of this CPU architecture in the market, but they all share a lot of functional similarities. ARM processors compress the instructions that are handled by the processor in order to use less power in their operation for the rest of the system. So, on the one hand, it means less power is used when typically operations are required HOWEVER it also means that it cannot handle particularly complex tasks, as they are either impossible to compress or the act of compressing these instructions takes way too long. The use of efficient CPUs like this in modern value NAS is not new (all the NAS brands do it), but this is the first time we have seen this particular CPU in a 2022 Value series NAS and almost certainly this will be a familiar architecture moving forward from the likes of Synology and Asustor soon.



Under the same CPU is an area of flash memory where the QNAP operating system lives (at least till it is initialized with storage media) and allows the system to be restored if needed, as well as set up from scratch without the use of the internet. This is fairly common in QNAP NAS systems and I can confirm that when the review unit arrived here in the studio, it featured the latest version of QTS 5 onboard.



The QNAP TS-133 NAS also features DDR4 memory that works in conjunction with the CPU to support your software and services when using the NAS (much like any other computer device). However, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that the TS-133 arrives with 2GB of DDR4 memory – which is noticeably more than most brands currently offer at this price point for a 1-bay (with the majority of others under £100 arriving with just 256MB or 512MB). However, the bad news is that you cannot upgrade this memory (as it is soldered to the controller board), so although 2GB is still more than other modest/Value NAS systems like this, you are going to hit a glass ceiling pretty quickly if you plan on using this system particularly aggressively. When I had a small handful of applications running on the TS-133 (media, surveillance and 1 backup task), I only had 0.7GB of memory left available according to the task manager. So, that 2GB memory DOES allow you to run several tasks, but if you are considering a larger body of software, users or scheduled tasks to be regularly performed, you might find this system will hit a wall sooner than you might like. Like most modest systems, the TS-133 is about staying realistic about how much you are paying for, the hardware that money gets you and what it can realistically be capable of. For the hardware on offer and my software experiences, I was pleased with what this system could do. I just wish there was the option of adding more memory later on. Let’s talk about software.


QNAP TS-133 NAS Review – Software & Services


I have rather laboured the point about the internal hardware of the TS-133, but this is mostly because many users will not understand the difference between power and capability, and this is very often an area where a buyer will fall into the tricky area of Budget Vs Cheap. I believe that this NAS falls into the category of value, not cheap – but let me explain. The QNAP TS-133 is more than just hardware and arrives with the QTS 5 NAS software. This service package and GUI is included in the price of the TS-133 (along with numerous mobile and client applications for multiple platforms) and is a relatively easy user interface to navigate (though not quite as user friendly as their more expensive rival Synology and DSM of course) and is an operating system that will support those users in both home and business circles. it is important to understand that when you buy the TS-133 server (or indeed any QNAP NAS) that it arrives with the QTS software platform included, BUT with constant updates and hundreds of applications included that NEED to be updated in their lifetime for reasons of security and increased services. If you want to use the QTS system, it is highly recommended that you always enable the myriad of security councillor, scanning and network security tools included. These are all tested and maintained 1st party QNAP apps and 3rd party applications. This is further improved with desktop client programs for PC/Mac and mobile applications for iOS and Android – ALL INCLUDED and downloadable at any time. The TS-133 can perform most modern applications that you would want from a modern NAS. I reviewed QNAP QTS 5 late last year over on YouTube (and here on the blog) and although these reviews were based on a more powerful QNAP NAS, the bulk of the services and features covered are supported by the TS-133 – just on a smaller scale:

FULL Written QNAP QTS 5 Review FULL Video Review of QNAP QTS 5

Of course, with such modest hardware under the bonnet, how much of the QNAP software can this system hope to run? I can say that it definitely runs well/better than the TS-130, however as mentioned, the 2GB of DDR4 memory that the TS-133 arrives with (which cannot be upgraded) will likely use a significant chunk of that just to run a small handful of applications at once. The QNAP TS-133 is more than just hardware and arrives with the QTS 5 NAS software. Along with a bunch of others, the key tools, the TS-133 can perform most modern applications that you would want from a modern NAS, such as:

First Party QNAP Applications for the TS-133

  • QSync for Backing up multiple Devices to the NAS on a schedule/as needed
  • Hyper Backup Sync 3
  • QuMagie for photo collections and AI-enabled face/thing recognition
  • Multimedia Console for managing media sharing, streaming, transcoding and indexing
  • File Station for File Management, sharing and permission allocation
  • Download Station for managing HTTP/FTP/NZB/BT downloads, as well as RSS feeds for podcasts and updates
  • QFiling and QSirch to better organize files and remove duplicates/waste
  • Cloud Drive for Migrating and Synchronizing between Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, etc
  • Photo Station to organize and catalogue photo collections
  • Music Station to organize, playback and stream music media to network/internet devices
  • Video Station to playback media over the network/internet
  • Container Station for management micro/compact virtual environments
  • QVR Elite for Surveillance/CCTV/NVR use with IP Cameras
  • MANY more QNAP Apps

Third-Party Applications for the TS-133

  • Plex Media Server(no transcoding natively)
  • Emby
  • iTunes Server
  • Acronis True Image Backup
  • Malware Remover
  • SugarCRM
  • TVMosaic

Overall, I cannot especially fault the range of applications that the QNAP TS-133 NAS arrive with, as at this price point for all these to be included with the hardware (more than just applications, but it has evolved into an entire operating system with services, client tools and wide-ranging usage options). It is still a device that requires a higher than average understanding of technology and its position of trying to hold your hand in the menus, whilst simultaneously throwing setup options at you (with each saying that are important and you need to stay secure) means that it can be a pinch intimidating. You should not by a device like this and think that the end of your data storage, security and backups ends at the point of plugging it in – that way leads to the loss of data and lots of lost nights of sleep, but still, for this price point it is really hard to fault the value here for the combination of hardware and software.


QNAP TS-133 NAS Review – Conclusion & Verdict


As long as you keep your feet on the ground a little and stay realistic, the QNAP TS-133 NAS Drive is indeed a very impressive piece of kit. We are talking about a combined hardware and software solution that you can purchase with a 4TB drive from the likes of Seagate or WD inside all in for a little over $200. It can run plex media server, it has surveillance software included in QVR Elite, AI-powered photo recognition (with the system featuring a dedicated AI engine for these tasks), multi-tiered backup handing in Hybrid Backup Sync 3, host a DLNA media server, connect and synchronize with cloud services in a bunch of ways, access to a bunch of tailored mobile apps and a whole lot of other services that would take too long to mention. Also, the TS-133 NAS is the first system in the commercial NAS market to feature this new Cortex A55 processor, as well as twice (and in some cases) four times the memory of alternative systems in the same tier with it’s 2GB DDR4 RAM. As long as you have realistic expectations about how busy you are going to be, how hard you intend to push the device and how much you expect it to do at any one time, I think the QNAP TS-133 NAS is easily the most powerful and capable 1-Bay NAS in the market to buy right now. The non-upgradable memory is a pain, the lack of 2.5GbE is perplexing and the continued appearance of USB 2.0 is a tad infuriating, but the TS-133 seemingly makes up for it with a wide variety of applications supported, a remarkably subtle and discreet deployment and in the hands of the right low-level user, this might well be the best NAS QNAP have produced in the value tier for years!


PROs of the QNAP TS-133 NAS CONs of the QNAP TS-133 NAS
Currently the most powerful 1-Bay NAS Drive in the market

A 1-Bay with 2GB of DDR4 Memory is pretty rare in the Value tier


Exceptionally low noise and power use


Runs the latest version of QTS 5


First Value Tier NAS in the market to use the Cortex A55 Processor


Quad-Core Processor is a nice bonus


Inclusive AI-powered component built into the hardware


Support for NAS-to-NAS/USB/Cloud backups and also supported Hybrid Storage and mounting

1GbE in 2022 event at the value tier is underwhelming

USB 2.0 Ports is equally underwhelming


Lack of RAID will put some users off (applicable to all 1-Bay’s though)


 


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QNAP TS-233 NAS Drive Review – Cheap & Cheerful?

25 février 2022 à 11:25

The QNAP TS-233 NAS Drive Review


Making the switch from the likes of Google Drive, DropBox and the rest can be rather intimidating. You have reached a point where you have used up the meagre amount of free space they offer you, looking at the monthly cost and thinking “nah, I’ll get my own”. For the more budget-focused NAS buyer, the recently released TS-233 NAS from QNAP has quite a lot of appeal. Budget (AKA value, AKA cheap, AKA low priced) NAS drives have always held a very popular area of the home user private server market – arriving at a price point that is comparable to maybe 2-3 years of cloud storage subscription, but with the added benefit of you actually owning the storage space and not renting, these systems ate ones that supply a light introduction to private server ownership. Whether you are looking at just a simple backup and media streaming device, a NAS to add to your existing storage setup as a backup or 1-2 specific tools (AI photo powered storage/recognition, surveillance, plex, etc), more cost-effective solutions like these can be very appealing. However, all too often that low, low price tag (at least in comparison to more powerful prosumer/SMB devices) can indicate that the device is going to arrive with some fairly low-end hardware and what you save in £/$/€ , you lose in the time it takes to get things done. So, today I want to talk about QNAP’s latest budget buyer offering, the TS-233 NAS, talk about the hardware, the software, what it can do, what it can’t and ultimately whether it deserves your data? Let’s go.


Hardware Highlights:


  • ARM 4-core Cortex-A55 2.0GHz processor
  • 2GB DDR4 (Max)
  • 2x SATA HDD/SSD Bay
  • Top Loaded Drive Injection
  • 1x RJ45 1GbE
  • 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1
  • 2x USB 2.0
  • Support of the USB-to-5GbE Adapter
  • Compact 188.6 × 90.1 × 156.2mm White Closed Chassis
  • Low Noise single 80mm Fan
  • 65W External PSU and Reported 3.43/10.81W Power Use (Idle/Active)

QNAP TS-233 NAS Review – Quick Conclusion


Overall – I would say that the QNAP TS-233 NAS Drive IS good value, although maybe not as good a value as we have seen in previous releases from the brand. On the plus side, this is by far the most modern CPU that we have seen from a NAS brand in the ‘value’ tier. After a few years of fatigue from everyone using the Realtek RTD1966, this newer and more powerful/capable Cortex A55 is a breath of fresh air and allows a larger range of QNAP services and simultaneous services to be used at once. Equally, QTS 5 seems to have taken a lot of the criticism that people have had towards QNAP in 2021, its ‘default heavy’ security, over-flexibility in its design that gave some users too much rope to hang themselves and presets – then tightened many of them up, changed how users are informed of issues, bolstered the default security tools and increased its recommendations on backup tiers. QTS still has a steeper learning curve than other NAS brands, but now thing seems a lot tighter on day 1 and changing some options that users might use carelessly has been a big part of that. The 2GB of DDR4 memory in the system is a welcome day 1 inclusion too, when many affordable systems from competitors have 512GB or 1GB (which in 2022 is rather mind-boggling), however, the lack of scalability in that memory to go higher, the default 1GbE and those USB 2.0 ports are a touch surprising from a brand that generally tends to push the envelope in the hardware department more than many others. Overall, a solid release, if a little tame and safe at times. If you are looking at entering the QNAP NAS ecosystem and are on a tight budget, the TS-233 is a solid release and excellent value.

SOFTWARE - 8/10
HARDWARE - 7/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
PRICE - 9/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.2
PROS
👍🏻Good value hardware and software at this pricepoint
👍🏻2GB of DDR4 Memory at the affordable tier is very welcome
👍🏻
👍🏻Runs the latest version of QTS 5
👍🏻
👍🏻First Value Tier NAS in the market to use the Cortex A55 Processor
👍🏻
👍🏻Quad-Core Processor is a nice bonus
👍🏻
👍🏻Inclusive AI-powered component built into the hardware
👍🏻
👍🏻USB 3.2 Gen 1 Port and Copy Button always good at the value tier
👍🏻
👍🏻Support for NAS-to-NAS/USB/Cloud backups and also supported Hybrid Storage and mounting
CONS
👎🏻1GbE in 2022 event at the value tier is underwhelming
👎🏻2x USB 2.0 Ports is equally underwhelming

QNAP TS-233 NAS Review – PACKAGING & ACCESSORIES


The retail box of the QNAP TS-233 NAS is definitely a change of scene from the plain brown box design of bigger releases by the brand and this is almost certainly down to the system being more readily available for buyers to see in retail outlets. The majority of NAS solutions are eShop purchases, but more affordable solutions such as the TS-233 are going to be considerably more high street accessible in your local tech shop. The packaging is a mix of European graphical shouting and eastern specification details. Maybe lacking a little of the subtlety of the TS-230 and TS-228A that came before it, it is still a nice looking box that I would stop to look at, to be honest.



Another area that the QNAP TS-233 NAS differs from bigger and more expensive releases is in how the unit is packaged. As this is a smaller and more compact unit, as well as more cost-sensitive, the protective packaging on this system is all cardboard (no hard foam framework) and it is packed pretty tight with the NAS, accessories and documents. Once you have unpacked it, good luck getting it all back in there!



The accessories of the QNAP TS-233 NAS are pretty standard stuff, with the kit including screws for 2.5″/3.5″ storage media, documentation on your warranty, warranty extension option, setup guide, 1 metre Cat 5e RJ45 LAN cable and the external PSU that the NAS arrives with. Once again, the box was pretty tiny and I am surprised how much they crammed in there.



Once everything is all laid out on the desk, you get a better idea of the scale of the QNAP TS-233 NAS. This kit does not include any HDD/SSDs, but the support of media is pretty wide and this NAS supports upto 20TB HDDs in each bay – though DO remember that hard drives greater than around 8TB (and Pro series drives of all capacities) will be noticeably noisier in operation and the TS-233 will not be able to hide this.



The external PSU of the QNAP TS-233 NAS is a 65W block style and fairly generic. Having an external PSU will ensure that the heat that it might generate is not inside the chassis (resulting in increased fan operation to compensate, potentially lower CPU efficiency and a noisier experience). Equally, thanks to the modest CPU inside this system, compact design and modest connections, this system is exceeding low in power consumption in both idle and active use – something that those looking for a NAS for their mobile home, boat, easy-deployment storage and mobile work desk space will appreciate.



Overall, the QNAP TS-233 NAS retail kit is all fairly standard stuff and although I wasn’t exactly bowled over by it, it contains everything you are going to need (aside from media) to set this device up in your home or office space. Let’s talk about the design of the TS-233.


QNAP TS-233 NAS Review – Design


The chassis that the QNAP TS-233 NAS features is a modified version of the TS-230 chassis that arrived back in 2019/2020. It is a surprisingly compact plastic casing, white in colour and features a mesh/quilt patterned black stick that details the system information at a glance via LEDs. The system does not have any side panel ventilation, instead opting for a larger system of smaller vents located around the entire chassis. I definitely prefer this colour scheme and slightly sharper edges of the TS-233 over the baby-blue TS-230 NAS Chassis.



Indeed, although some users are less keen on white chassis (as they can show dust and marks much more) this plastic chassis here is very low noise (will touch on this later) and will merge into more hardware environments very easily. It reminds me a lot of the WD My Cloud/My Book design and how it is designed to be understated and fit into your other desk/office hardware easily. This does as much quite well – though maybe it would have been nice for other colours to be available? A missed home user opportunity perhaps (it sounds crazy, but enough users have asked me this very question to wonder).



The top right of the front of the QNAP TS-233 NAS features individual LED indicators that denote different activities. These LEDs can be dimmed/deactivated in the QTS system and denote the following:

  • System Activity
  • Network Activity
  • Active Copy Processes
  • Storage Media Activity

Despite QNAP being one of the last brands to still feature LCD screens on some of their systems to give real-time information such as system temp, IPS, warning details etc, the budget level ranges such as this one have never and almost certainly will never have that kind of on-system digital UI.



One thing I am particularly happy is available on the more cost-effective QNAP TS-233 NAS is the front-mounted, USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gb/s) USB port and a manual copy button. Now, USB backups are one of the easiest backup options that home and small business users to add to their NAS system and have a duplicate copy of some/all of the important data that otherwise ONLY exists on their NAS (and possibly partially on their client hardware). The QNAP TS-233 have multiple back-ups and sync options in place that you can use (NAS to Cloud, NAS to NAS, NAS to USB, etc) and many choose USB backups (even smaller ones that only backup particularly mission-critical data only) as an easy first step. Now, this backup operation can easily be set up to trigger automatically to a connected drive when connected or to work on a daily/hourly schedule if you choose. However many old fashion/skool users get a certain degree of comfort in the action of PRESSING the USB backup button to action a backup manually (without having to log into the GUI every time via a web browser or mobile app). Once you have set up the first time on the system what you want the system to do when you press that button (eg X particular files or X particular folders in X direction and with X file type/size exceptions), after that it will always act this command. An often overlooked feature and one I am glad is still featured on this more affordable NAS.



Ventilation on the QNAP TS-233 NAS is an interesting subject (I mean, relatively interesting, I am not mad!). As this system is noticeably smaller than more other NAS drives AND it features a more power-efficient CPU, heat is going to be more of a concern than usual. Although the system is quite small, there is quite a lot of passive ventilated airflow working in conjunction with the active rear cooling fan. Although the bulk of the ventilation is based on the bottom of the device, the chassis is indented on either side, allowing the air to pass over the vertically stacked HDD bays inside and through the vents at the base as needed.



When the QNAP TS-233 NAS is in operation, the cooler air is pulled from the base, over the drive media and internal component heatsinks, then pulled through the rear cooling fan out the rear of the system. As the system does not feature any trays that would allow air to exit or ventilated side panels, it means that this airflow can’t escape any other way. The system uses a closed chassis and this ventilation is a big part of how the more efficient components maintain ideal operational temperature.



So, that is the design of the QNAP TS-233 NAS. It is certainly designed in a much more modest and understated than beefier NAS’, such as the TS-253D or TS-473A, but for compact deployment where you will want as little impact as possible in noise or physical space, it’s a solid bit of design. Let’s discuss the connectivity of the TS-233 NAS.


QNAP TS-233 NAS Review – Ports & Connections


As mentioned, the QNAP TS-233 NAS features a rear-mounted active cooling fan. This fan and the covering vent cover around 50% of the rear of the chassis and is surprisingly low noise. When you first boot the device up, it will spin at the maximum speed for a few seconds (as it tests that its functions are fully operational) and although the fan at the height of its speed is audible, it is still not the worse I have heard. In the 11 hours of hardware/software testing that I performed on this device (including software overviews, storage setups, Plex media server and more), I never heard the fan spin up particularly and the only particularly noticeable noise was the 2x WD Red HDDs I installed inside, which the TS-233 was unable to disguise/suppress.



For all of my positivity about the QNAP TS-233 NAS up to this point, it is worth highlighting that in terms of connectivity (and I am aware this is a much more modest, affordable and compact system), the external connectivity on the rear of this NAS is pretty underwhelming. QNAP in the last 18-24 months have revealed a number of innovative solutions to their Home, Prosumer and SMB (small-medium business) ranges that have largely led the way on connectivity – whilst still maintaining the same price point as fewer connectivity equipped systems from rival Synology. However, the TS-233 makes very little change in the connectivity compared with its 2+ years older predecessor (the QNAP TS-230) and the 1GbE network port on the TS-233 is a particular blow. With Internet Service Providers rolling out 1Gb+ internet speeds in many countries AND providers such as Virgin in the UK releasing 2.5GbE equipped routers, we are fast reaching a point where one of the prime benefits of NAS vs Cloud (namely, the fact you can access a NAS faster than the cloud) is potentially being undone. Even if the TS-233 NAS is designed as an affordable solution, QNAP released several units in 2020/2021 that has 2.5GbE at the same price as 1GbE – so why does this system still have just 1GbE RJ45?



The System hardware inside the QNAP TS-233 NAS can certainly saturate 1GbE/100MB/s+ with/without encryption externally and alongside the benefits of a RAID configuration inside this 2-Bay allowing speeds of 250-450MB/s  easily, QNAP also state that you CAN use the USB-to-5GbE adapter (optional purchase). So there does not seem to be any CPU limitations to using greater than gigabit connectivity and therefore its absence in even a modest device like this in 2022 is a tad disappointing.



Then, after the slight disappointment of 1x 1GbE, I then saw that the TS-233 arrives with 2x USB 2.0 ports – IN 2022! Now, I am not unreasonable. I appreciate that 1) this is an affordable solution 2) that the processor and its hardware limits/chipset might be stretched and 3) that the system DOES have a front-mounted USB 3.2 Gen 1 Port. However, given that this device can be used with USB backups, USB 3.2 Gen 1 network adapters, expansion chassis and more, having two considerably lower bandwidth USB 2.0 ports is a real pain. They can still be used for things such as USB printers or UPS Heatbeat/alert connectivity, but as this system lacks any HDMI out (As the CPU does not feature any kind of embedded graphics), you cannot even use these for a KVM setup.



Overall, the connectivity on the QNAP TS-233 NAS is… well… fine. It’s fine and jsut about passable for an entry-level/affordable solution that is not exactly designed to knock your socks off. Nevertheless, it is not exactly going to blow you away in the bandwidth department. Next, let’s talk about the internal hardware.


QNAP TS-233 NAS Review – Internal Hardware


The internal hardware of the QNAP TS-233 NAS is understandably modest and although the system supports a good % of the QNAP QTS applications, it has to be said that its ability to multitask and/or support multiple users at once is noticeably less than an Intel/AMD x86 system would be. The 2 drive bays of the TS-233 NAS are held in screwless trays inside the chassis and can be accessed by powering down the system (hot swapping is not supported) and then unscrewing the single base level flathead screw. It is that straight forward and after it is removed, the chassis can simply be slid apart into two pieces to reveal the media bays.



Drive bays are connected with a SATA combined power and data connector (no loose cables) and you can install either a 3.5″ or 2.5″ SATA HDD/SSD. The system is designed around an aluminium framework that is full of spacing for the airflow to work around and between the internal media, controller board and component covering heatsinks. Each drive bay slides in easily and it is very hard to get the installation of media in the QNAP TS-233 NAS wrong!



Hard drive installation is very straightforward, with each tray featuring removable side panels that clip into place (with pins surrounded by rubberized washers that minimize vibration) around each HDD. If you want to install 3.5″ media, you will need to use the screws provided in the retail kit and the 4 screw-holes at the base of each tray. The system can operate with a single drive if you prefer, though then you would lose the option of a RAID configuration for redundancy or improvements in performance and/or storage capacity.



The CPU of the QNAP TS-233 NAS is a Cortex A55 processor that is 64bit ARM in architecture, quad-core and has a clock-seed/frequency of 2.0Ghz per core. This CPU is one that is designed for long, long use whilst using a very small amount of power. ARM processors are often popular on mobile devices, tablets, Chromebooks and ultimately devices that are designed with efficiency in mind. However, this CPU (much like the A53 Realtek RTD1296 in it’s predecessor, the TS-230) is a server optimized processor and although would be outpaced by the likes of a Celeron, Pentium or Ryzen, it is ideal for keeping within the price point of most cost-effective buyers, whilst still providing a wide variety of supported software and services.



There are several versions of this CPU architecture in the market, but they all share a lot of functional similarities. ARM processors compress the instructions that are handled by the processor in order to use less power in their operation for the rest of the system. So, on the one hand, it means less power is used when typically operations are required HOWEVER it also means taht it cannot handle particularly complex tasks, as they are either impossible to compress or the act of compressing these instructions takes way too long. The use of efficient CPUs like this in modern value NAS is not new (all the NAS brands do it), but this is the first time we have seen this particular CPU in a 2022 Value series NAS and almost certainly this will be a familiar architecture moving forward from the likes of Synology and Asustor soon.



Under the same CPU is an area of flash memory where the QNAP operating system lives (at least till it is initialized with storage media) and allows the system to be restored if needed, as well as set up from scratch without the use of the internet. This is fairly common in QNAP NAS systems and I can confirm that when the review unit arrived here in the studio, it featured the latest version of QTS 5 onboard.



The QNAP TS-233 NAS also features DDR4 memory that works in conjunction with the CPU to support your software and services when using the NAS (much like any other computer device). However, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that the TS-233 arrives with 2GB of DDR4 memory – which is noticeably more than most brands currently offer at this price point for a 2-Bay (with the majority of others under £180 arriving with just 1GB). However, the bad news is that you cannot upgrade this memory (as it is soldered to the controller board), so although 2GB is still more than other modest/Value NAS systems like this, you are going to hit a glass ceiling pretty quickly if you plan on using this system particularly aggressively. When I had a small handful of applications running on the TS-233 (media, surveillance and 1 backup task), I only had 0.7GB of memory left available according to the task manager. So, that 2GB memory DOES allow you to run several tasks, but if you are considering a larger body of software, users or scheduled tasks to be regularly performed, you might find this system will hit a wall sooner than you might like. Like most modest systems, the TS-233 is about staying realistic about how much you are paying for, the hardware that money gets you and what it can realistically be capable of. For the hardware on offer and my software experiences, I was pleased with what this system could do. I just wish there was the option of adding more memory later on. Let’s talk about software.


QNAP TS-233 NAS Review – Software & Services


I have rather laboured the point about the internal hardware of the TS-233, but this is mostly because many users will not understand the difference between power and capability, and this is very often an area where a buyer will fall into the tricky area of Budget Vs Cheap. I believe that this NAS falls into the category of value, not cheap – but let me explain. The QNAP TS-233 is more than just hardware and arrives with the QTS 5 NAS software. This service package and GUI is included in the price of the TS-233 (along with numerous mobile and client applications for multiple platforms) and is a relatively easy user interface to navigate (though not quite as user friendly as their more expensive rival Synolgoy and DSM of course) and is an operating system that will support those users in both home and business circles. it is important to understand that when you buy the TS-233 server (or indeed any QNAP NAS) that it arrives with the QTS software platform included, BUT with constant updates and hundreds of applications included that NEED to be updated in their lifetime for reasons of security and increased services. If you want to use the QTS system, it is highly recommended that you always enable the myriad of security councillor, scanning and network security tools included. These are all tested and maintained 1st party QNAP apps and 3rd party applications. This is further improved with desktop client programs for PC/Mac and mobile applications for iOS and Android – ALL INCLUDED and downloadable at any time. The TS-233 can perform most modern applications that you would want from a modern NAS. I reviewed QNAP QTS 5 late last year over on YouTube (and here on the blog) and although these reviews were based on a more powerful QNAP NAS, the bulk of the services and features covered are supported by the TS-233 – just on a smaller scale:

FULL Written QNAP QTS 5 Review FULL Video Review of QNAP QTS 5

Of course, with such modest hardware under the bonnet, how much of the QNAP software can this system hope to run? I can say that it definitely runs well/better than the TS-230, however as mentioned, the 2GB of DDR4 memory that the TS-233 arrives with (which cannot be upgraded) will likely use a significant chunk of that just to run a small handful of applications at once. The QNAP TS-233 is more than just hardware and arrives with the QTS 5 NAS software. Along with a bunch of others, the key tools, the TS-233 can perform most modern applications that you would want from a modern NAS, such as:

First Party QNAP Applications for the TS-233

  • QSync for Backing up multiple Devices to the NAS on a schedule/as needed
  • Hyper Backup Sync 3
  • QuMagie for photo collections and AI-enabled face/thing recognition
  • Multimedia Console for managing media sharing, streaming, transcoding and indexing
  • File Station for File Management, sharing and permission allocation
  • Download Station for managing HTTP/FTP/NZB/BT downloads, as well as RSS feeds for podcasts and updates
  • QFiling and QSirch to better organize files and remove duplicates/waste
  • Cloud Drive for Migrating and Synchronizing between Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, etc
  • Photo Station to organize and catalogue photo collections
  • Music Station to organize, playback and stream music media to network/internet devices
  • Video Station to playback media over the network/internet
  • Container Station for management micro/compact virtual environments
  • QVR Elite for Surveillance/CCTV/NVR use with IP Cameras
  • MANY more QNAP Apps

Third-Party Applications for the TS-233

  • Plex Media Server(no transcoding natively)
  • Emby
  • iTunes Server
  • Acronis True Image Backup
  • Malware Remover
  • SugarCRM
  • TVMosaic

Overall, I cannot especially fault the range of applications that the QNAP TS-233 NAS arrive with, as at this price point for all these to be included with the hardware (more than just applications, but it has evolved into an entire operating system with services, client tools and wide-ranging usage options). It is still a device that requires a higher than average understanding of technology and its position of trying to hold your hand in the menus, whilst simultaneously throwing setup options at you (with each saying that are important and you need to stay secure) means that it can be a pinch intimidating. You should not by a device like this and think that the end of your data storage, security and backups ends at the point of plugging it in – that way leads to the loss of data and lots of lost nights of sleep, but still, for this price point it is really hard to fault the value here for the combination of hardware and software.


QNAP TS-233 NAS Review – Conclusion & Verdict


Overall – I would say that the QNAP TS-233 NAS Drive IS good value, although maybe not as good a value as we have seen in previous releases from the brand. On the plus side, this is by far the most modern CPU that we have seen from a NAS brand in the ‘value’ tier. After a few years of fatigue from everyone using the Realtek RTD1966, this newer and more powerful/capable Cortex A55 is a breath of fresh air and allows a larger range of QNAP services and simultaneous services to be used at once. Equally, QTS 5 seems to have taken a lot of the criticism that people have had towards QNAP in 2021, its ‘default heavy’ security, over-flexibility in its design that gave some users too much rope to hang themselves and presets – then tightened many of them up, changed how users are informed of issues, bolstered the default security tools and increased its recommendations on backup tiers. QTS still has a steeper learning curve than other NAS brands, but now thing seems a lot tighter on day 1 and changing some options that users might use carelessly has been a big part of that. The 2GB of DDR4 memory in the system is a welcome day 1 inclusion too, when many affordable systems from competitors have 512GB or 1GB (which in 2022 is rather mind-boggling), however, the lack of scalability in that memory to go higher, the default 1GbE and those USB 2.0 ports are a touch surprising from a brand that generally tends to push the envelope in the hardware department more than many others. Overall, a solid release, if a little tame and safe at times. If you are looking at entering the QNAP NAS ecosystem and are on a tight budget, the TS-233 is a solid release and excellent value.

PROs of the QNAP TS-233 NAS CONs of the QNAP TS-233 NAS
Good value hardware and software at this pricepoint

2GB of DDR4 Memory at the affordable tier is very welcome


Runs the latest version of QTS 5


First Value Tier NAS in the market to use the Cortex A55 Processor


Quad-Core Processor is a nice bonus


Inclusive AI-powered component built into the hardware


USB 3.2 Gen 1 Port and Copy Button always good at the value tier


Support for NAS-to-NAS/USB/Cloud backups and also supported Hybrid Storage and mounting

1GbE in 2022 event at the value tier is underwhelming

2x USB 2.0 Ports is equally underwhelming


 


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The QNAP TS-233 – A New Value Series 2-Bay NAS Drive for 2022

14 février 2022 à 01:43

QNAP TS-233 2-Bay NAS Drive Revealed, Coming Soon!


UPDATE – The QNAP TS-233 NAS is now released and my FULL Review is now published and can be found HERE



If you are someone who has been looking at buying their first NAS drive, but targeting something a little more ‘affordable’ or ‘value’ in scope, then it’s been a bit of a tough choice lately. There ARE most cost-effective solutions available right now from the big name brands, but many are coming up on 2 years since release and this can easily lead buyers to wonder ‘is something better about to arrive?’ New releases in the world of network-attached storage (NAS) were a little thin in the closing stages of 2021 compared with previous years. Whether it is the manufacturers switching focus from the hardware to the software, relying more and more on existing models to support their NAS operating system and GUI, or because 2020/2021 had been rather complicated years to track consumer trends and existing units in the field because the pandemic has massively effected consumer priorities. Whatever the reason, news on new releases from the big NAS brands have started to arrive a lot later than we expected and with many users sitting on their money, waiting for something new and shiny to buy, it is only now at the start of 2022 that we are seeing some new kit start to emerge. Step forward to a new affordable 2-Bay NAS solution from QNAP, the TS-233 NAS Drive. Featuring a modified take on an existing chassis, the arrival of a new efficient yet capable CPU (that I expect we will see cropping up a lot more as the year goes on) and a few hardware factors that are very ‘QNAP’ in design, the newly announced TS-233 sounds like it will be the perfect budget NAS for those making their first steps into a home or small business server.


What are the Hardware Specifications of the QNAP TS-233 NAS?



The hardware of the TS-233 NAS is not exactly going to blow you away, it has to be said. QNAP, along with many other brands, has been in the market for producing these affordable solutions in desktop form for a while (in the last 5-6 years we have seen the TAS-268, the TS-228A and the TS-230) and although each one is an improvement over the one before it, it is generally very small improvements. This is because these solutions are all too often produced to be extremely ‘budget aware’ and with the rising cost of components generally outpacing how much growth in their ability can be stretched between generations (not without increasing the cost fo the device significantly), the hardware specifications of the TS-233 are pretty modest.

TS-233">
  • TS-233 active spec_value" data-sku-name="TS-233">ARM 4-core Cortex-A55 2.0GHz processor
  • TS-233">2GB DDR4 (Max)
  • TS-233">2x SATA HDD/SSD Bay
  • TS-233">Top Loaded Drive Injection
  • TS-233">1x RJ45 1GbE
  • TS-233">1x USB 3.2 Gen 1
  • TS-233">2x USB 2.0
  • TS-233">Support of the USB-to-5GbE Adapter
  • TS-233">Compact 188.6 × 90.1 × 156.2mm White Closed Chassis
  • TS-233">Low Noise single 80mm Fan
  • TS-233">65W External PSU and Reported 3.43/10.81W Power Use (Idle/Active)

Now, although I am pleased by that CPU as an upgrade over the current ‘Value’ devices from ALL brands having the same Realtek RTD1296 processor, the rest of the system seems remarkably similar to the current TS-230 NAS from QNAP in their value series. The lack of 25GbE on this system is particularly surprising in 2022. Especially given the brands big, BIG push towards 2.5GbE on the rest of their hardware in the last two years.

How Does the QNAP TS-233 compare with the TS-230 NAS?


The new TS-233 from QNAP looks set to serve as a follow up to the now almost 2 years old TS-230. On the face of it, these two NAS are incredibly similar and for the most part it really comes down to one core difference between them – the CPU. Though both the new and old system uses a 64bit ARM chip, this newer generation ARM A55 Cortex 4-Core processor is more efficient AND  arrives at a higher clock speed per core (2.0Ghz vs 1.4Ghz), which means that it is going to use less resources than it’s predecessor in most tasks. Here is how the two NAS drives compare:

MODEL QNAP TS-233

QNAP TS-230

CPU

ARM 4-core Cortex-A55

Realtek RTD1296
CORES 4 4
CLOCK SPEED 2.0GHz processor 1.4GHz processor
MEMORY 2GB DDR4 (Max) 2GB DDR4 (Max)
BAYS x2 SATA x2 SATA
PORTS
LAN 1x 1GbE 1x 1GbE
USB 2.0 x2 x1
USB 3.2 Gen 1 x1 x2
PSU 65W External 65W External
IDLE POWER USE 3.43W 4.48W
ACTIVE POWER USE 10.81W 12.27W
SIZE (mm) 188.64 × 90.18 × 156.26 188.64 × 90.18 × 156.26
WARRANTY 2yrs 2yrs

That Realtek RTD1296 was certainly a popular chip in the more affordable NAS ranges in the last two years (appearing across pretty much ALL the NAS brands). This was largely down to it being modest in power/price, yet supporting 4K transcoding, snapshots, container applications, multiple tiers of backup operations with full Hybrid Backup 3 support and can even support Plex Media Server in 2020 and 2021 (though transcoding will not be possible). However, with a newer refresh of affordable NAS ranges, it should not come as a surprise that a more capable processor will arrive and the A55 Cortex in the TS-230 NAS can seemingly do everything the older Realtek A53 processor can do, just doing it quicker and utilizing fewer resources. Though I will highlight that I am not a big fan of this system still arriving with 1GbE AND the fact that it only has a single USB 3.2 Gen 1 port (the older TS-230 NAS had 2x).

What Are the Software Specifications of the QNAP TS-233 NAS?


It is a valid question! With such modest hardware under the bonnet, how much of the QNAP software can this system hope to run? If it can run things as well/better than the TS-230, then that would indicate that it should be able to run a good 50-60% of the QNAP applications. However, the 2GB of DDR4 memory that the TS-233 arrives with (which cannot be upgraded) will likely use a significant chunk of that just to run a small handful of applications at once. The QNAP TS-233 is more than just hardware and arrives with the QTS 5 NAS software. This software is included in the price of the TS-233 and is a great user interface and operating system for those users in both home and business circles. it is important to understand that when you buy the TS-233 server (or indeed any QNAP NAS), it arrives with the QTS software platform, with constant updates and hundreds of applications included. These are all tested and maintained 1st party QNAP apps and 3rd party applications. This is further improved with desktop client programs for PC/Mac and mobile applications for iOS and Android – ALL INCLUDED and downloadable at any time. The TS-233 can perform most modern applications that you would want from a modern NAS, such as:

First Party QNAP Applications for the TS-233

  • QSync for Backing up multiple Devices to the NAS on a schedule/as needed
  • Hyper Backup Sync 3
  • QuMagie for photo collections and AI-enabled face/thing recognition
  • Multimedia Console for managing media sharing, streaming, transcoding and indexing
  • File Station for File Management, sharing and permission allocation
  • Download Station for managing HTTP/FTP/NZB/BT downloads, as well as RSS feeds for podcasts and updates
  • QFiling and QSirch to better organize files and remove duplicates/waste
  • Cloud Drive for Migrating and Synchronizing between Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, etc
  • Photo Station to organize and catalogue photo collections
  • Music Station to organize, playback and stream music media to network/internet devices
  • Video Station to playback media over the network/internet
  • Container Station for management micro/compact virtual environments
  • QVR Elite for Surveillance/CCTV/NVR use with IP Cameras
  • MANY more QNAP Apps

Third-Party Applications for the TS-233

  • Plex Media Server(no transcoding natively)
  • Emby
  • iTunes Server
  • Acronis True Image Backup
  • Malware Remover
  • SugarCRM
  • TVMosaic

Desktop Client Applications from QNAP

  • QSync for Mac and Windows
  • QVR Elite Client for PC/Mac
  • QFinder Pro for Mac/PC

Mobile Applications for iOS and Android

  • Qfile – File manager
  • QPhoto – Photo Manager
  • QVideo – Video Manager
  • QMusic – Music Manager
  • QRemote – Remote Control App over the Network
  • QNotes – Central note-taking app, for collaboration between users

It is a pretty widespread range of applications and services to choose from. However until I have one in the studio, we will have to wait and see how far this system can be pushed. A common factor that gets overlooked when people buy these more affordable systems, is that they are good for running 1,2 or 3 things at once – but 2GB of memory being spread across users and processes all at once can quickly lead to a bottleneck that more powerful x86 64bit processors (such as Intel or AMD CPUs in more expensive Prosumer/SMB systems) can easily deal with. So, yes, the QNAP TS-233 can likely do all of these services and functions listed, but you have to keep your expectations realistic when trying to do many things at once!


When Will the QNAP TS-233 NAS Drive Be Released and the Price?



Despite its remarkable similarity to the QNAP TS-230, I think this newer TS-233 will arrive at a higher price point – this is largely due to it arriving with the hardware architecture a pinch earlier than most brands, as well as hardware shortages making components at the point of manufacturer hardware to get and most costly. This is not exclusive to the TS-233 but something we are going to see a lot more in 2022 as the knock-on effects of these shortages over 2020-2021 (when hardware/components were acquired for 2022 hardware) need to be levelled against the RRP on these newer systems launching. It’s a sad but annoying truth! However, this is still going to be a NAS aimed at the Home and small business owner, so a price around the £160-180 price point (without your local TAX) is fairly likely. Details on the QNAP TS-233 NAS are still so thin that as an estimation of a release date is just too thin on the ground. The TS-233 NAS is already listed on the QNAP Taiwanese pages, so it is likely that if it is going to be released in the rest of the world (almost certainly!), that it will be added shortly and released some time in Feb/March of 2022.


 


 

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This description contains links to Amazon. These links will take you to some of the products mentioned in today's content. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Visit the NASCompares Deal Finder to find the best place to buy this device in your region, based on Service, Support and Reputation - Just Search for your NAS Drive in the Box Below


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Need Advice on Data Storage from an Expert?

We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7] Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.  

 


 

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