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Whats the difference between NAS and a normal external hard drive?

Discussion in 'Networking' started by najibk, Aug 17, 2010.

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  1. najibk

    najibk Thread Starter

    Aug 17, 2010
    Hi. I am looking to buy an external hard drive and connect it to my network of computers. I am basically just gonna place on it a bunch of files that all the computers will need to access every now and then. I had originally thought of just buying a normal external hard drive and plugging into my router through the usb port. Then all the computers would be able to access it through the wireless network.
    But now im wondering whether one of these: http://www.wdc.com/en/products/index.asp?cat=14 would be better?
    Whats the difference? What advantages would they provide over the setup I was originally considering?
    Thanks for the help!
  2. Elvandil


    Aug 1, 2003
    If your router allows a direct connection of a drive for the network to use, then that is really "NAS" as far as I can see. The chief advantage of NAS is that the data is available to all the network and no individual PC needs to be running to maintain access to it.
  3. TerryNet

    TerryNet Terry Moderator

    Mar 23, 2005
    A NAS with an ethernet connection will work with any router or switch. To be a NAS a USB connected external drive needs to be connected to a computer or to a router with the proper USB port. Make sure your router's USB port is for data, and not just for a printer as some of them are.
  4. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

    Oct 19, 2002
    While some routers offer a limited NAS capability, a real NAS will typically be MUCH faster. I have several routers with USB ports that offer a shared drive capability, however the real NAS in the network is about 15 times as fast in data transfers! :D
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