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Panduan Lengkap untuk Canadas Robo Advisors Anda menginginkan cara yang mudah dan mudah digunakan untuk menyabot uang dengan RRSP atau TFSA tanpa harus mempelajari banyak barang investasi Mungkin Anda mencari layanan keuangan yang sesuai dengan gaya hidup Anda dan memungkinkan Anda untuk mendapatkan Saran online tanpa harus menunggu di bank atau duduk di telepon berjam-jam Mungkin Anda sudah terbiasa dengan investasi indeks DIY dengan biaya rendah (alias kentang kentang investasi) dan hanya mencari cara tercepat dan termudah untuk menerapkannya. Intinya Adalah bahwa jika Anda memiliki minat untuk berinvestasi di masa depan, Anda harus memperhatikan secara serius apa yang mungkin ditawarkan oleh penasehat Robo (atau robo) milik Canadas. Hal ini terutama berlaku jika Anda merasa nyaman dengan teknologi dan menginginkan solusi finansial yang mudah diakses dan akan memakan waktu kurang dari sepuluh menit dalam sebulan untuk diimplementasikan. Sebelum saya sampai di sela-sela penasehat robo dan membandingkan beberapa pilihan yang ada, saya harus menunjukkan bahwa pertumbuhan luar biasa yang telah dilihat oleh perusahaan baru ini selama beberapa tahun terakhir tidak terjadi secara kebetulan. Saya pikir penasehat robo adalah alternatif yang sangat baik untuk cara tradisional mengelola uang dan mereka secara khusus mewakili nilai yang luar biasa untuk sebagian besar milenium Kanada. Jika Anda tetap menantikan sampai akhir artikel, kami memiliki beberapa penawaran menarik yang hanya untuk pembaca muda dan hemat 8211 yang ingin menyederhanakan kehidupan investasi mereka dengan menggunakan penasihat robo Gunakan Daftar Isi kami di bawah untuk beralih ke bagian tertentu, cukup Gulir ke bawah untuk membaca artikel secara keseluruhan. Apa itu Heck adalah Penasihat Robo yang saya rasakan untuk orang-orang yang telah memulai bisnis pengelolaan keuangan online berbiaya rendah ini. Jika Anda belum memotretnya, saya menyukai apa yang mereka lakukan dan apa yang mereka tawarkan. Sayangnya, di dunia investasi yang penuh dengan istilah BS, mitos yang berbahaya, dan usaha pemasaran yang menggelikan, ketakutan saya sebenarnya adalah bahwa orang akan mundur dari nama yang menyesatkan ini yang telah ditampar pada mereka sebelum memahami betapa hebatnya itu. Penasihat Robo terdengar seperti ATM yang secara robotik mengomel beberapa barang terkait keuangan generik dengan cara Siri-esque sebelum mengambil banyak uang Anda. Atau mungkin itu membangkitkan gambar R2D2 yang meludahkan sejumlah nomor angka yang tidak akan berarti apa-apa bagi Anda dan kemungkinan besar akan membuat Anda sakit kepala. Plus, saya menjamin penasihat keuangan layanan penuh Anda (atau teman dengan minat terbaik Anda sebagaimana mereka mungkin merujuk pada diri mereka sendiri) akan memberi tahu siapa saja yang akan mendengarkan bahwa penasihat robo hanyalah robot tak berperasaan yang tidak akan memberi Anda bantuan pribadi seperti Saran bagus yang mereka berikan. (Mereka penuh dengan itu, tapi lebih pada itu nanti.) Uang adalah topik emosional yang inheren, dan akibatnya tidak ada yang mau memikirkan penghematan yang diperoleh dengan susah payah yang dikelola oleh robot saya mendapatkannya. Saya benar-benar . Saran Keuangan Online dan Strategi Investasi Otomatis Mawar oleh Nama Lain Apa pun robo di penasehat robo mengacu pada fakta bahwa tidak ada manusia yang akan memilih saham portofolio investasi Anda. Saya tidak bisa cukup menekankan bahwa ini adalah hal yang sangat baik. Manusia sangat buruk dalam memilih saham dan aset investable lainnya. Manajer uang profesional hampir sama buruknya dengan orang lain saat memilih menginvestasikan uang dan menginvestasikannya. Saya tahu ini kedengaran gila, namun ada puluhan studi akademis yang membuktikan fakta ini secara meyakinkan. Tolong lakukan penelitian Anda sendiri jika Anda tidak mempercayai saya 8211 atau untuk saat ini, terima bahwa tidak memiliki persediaan saham untuk Anda akan menjadi keuntungan besar bagi Anda. Penasihat Robo dioperasikan oleh manusia. Anda akan berkomunikasi dengan manusia. Anda akan mengirim email dengan manusia. Anda akan berbicara di telepon atau melalui Skype dengan manusia nyata jika Anda memilihnya. Anda mungkin sering bertemu dengan orang-orang secara tatap muka tapi siapa yang punya waktu untuk hari-hari ini? Tidak seorang pun akan memilih untuk bekerja dengan penasihat robo jika mereka tidak mengenal pribadi dan atau robot dengan cara apa pun. Orang hanya peduli dengan uang mereka terlalu banyak. Penasihat Robo mengelola ratusan juta dolar di Kanada saja, dan miliaran di seluruh dunia. Orang mempercayai orang-orang ini. Penasihat Canadas robo tunduk pada beberapa peraturan yang cukup serius. Dari semua penelitian yang telah saya lakukan, semua pemain utama sama amannya digunakan sebagai salah satu institusi keuangan Canadas lainnya. Saya pikir nilainya diulang pada saat ini bahwa penasehat robo TIDAK ROBOT dan bahwa jika Anda memiliki masalah atau ingin berbicara dengan seseorang, setiap pemain utama memberi Anda banyak cara untuk melakukan itu. Pemerintah Kanada sangat menyadari model investasi investasi online dan diatur dengan baik. Jadi, meski namanya terdengar agak menyeramkan, tolong lakukan yang terbaik agar tidak membiarkan hal itu menghalangi Anda. Apa yang Bisa Mereka Lakukan untuk Anda Singkatnya, Penasihat Robo dapat memberi Anda rencana dasar, membantu menjawab banyak jika tidak semua pertanyaan Anda ketika harus menginvestasikan uang Anda, dan kemudian memberi Anda cara mudah untuk mengubah sebagian gaji Anda. Menjadi portofolio investasi yang cukup bagus. Kedengarannya sederhana 8211 tapi cukup bagus. Ini masalah besar karena kebanyakan orang Kanada mengerti bahwa mereka harus menabung dan berinvestasi untuk masa depan, tapi mereka diintimidasi oleh semua bahasa yang membingungkan, energi amp waktu yang terlibat dalam menyiapkan akun, dan mengelola logistik untuk benar-benar menangani investasi mereka sendiri. Portofolio. Sebagai akibat dari intimidasi ini, jawaban yang diberikan oleh manajer uang dan perusahaan investasi sejak dahulu kala adalah menyerahkan uang investasi Anda kepada seseorang yang mengenakan jas. Mereka akan memegangi tangan Anda, katakan bahwa semuanya akan baik-baik saja, dan hanya itu yang bisa membantu Anda menavigasi perairan berombak yang penuh dengan akronim dan grafik finansial yang hanya bisa dikenali oleh Ph.D fisika. Sebagai imbalan atas kombinasi saran dan keahlian ini, Anda tidak akan dikenakan biaya apapun. Itu benar itu gratis pada titik pengiriman pula. Yang Anda akhirnya akan membayar adalah sedikit 2-3 dari investasi Anda, tapi itu semua barang angka dan Anda berhasil melakukannya. Pada dasarnya cukup mudah dimengerti jika Anda tidak mendapatkannya dan mengajukan pertanyaan tentang hal itu Anda agak aneh dan Mungkin tidak terlalu pintar kan saya berharap bisa melebih-lebihkan dengan sarkasme saya yang menetes, tapi sayangnya ini adalah pilihan yang mayoritas orang Kanada pilih untuk waktu yang lama dan tetap terus memilih sebenarnya. Namun, bantuan sedang dalam perjalanan. Penasihat Robo tidak akan melakukan segalanya untuk Anda bahwa perencana keuangan layanan penuh akan tetapi mereka akan melakukan sebagian besar dan melakukannya dengan harga yang jauh lebih murah. Heres takeaway nyata untuk sebagian besar pembaca muda kita (ish): penasihat Robo akan memberikan 98 informasi yang Anda butuhkan untuk memulai investasi dan membangun sarang telur. Jika Anda membutuhkan lebih banyak saran daripada yang bisa mereka berikan, Anda dapat membaca situs web ini, membaca buku, atau menyewa seorang profesional seperti perencana tarif saja atau pengacara untuk membantu Anda mengisi kekosongan khusus pada barang-barang seperti surat wasiat, asuransi, Meninggalkan anak-anak warisan, atau beberapa kebutuhan finansial niche lainnya. Pilihan investasi jauh lebih baik daripada reksa dana Saran ringan yang bisa bervariasi dari satu perusahaan ke perusahaan lain. Menurut pendapat saya, jika Anda cukup peduli untuk bisa membaca blog keuangan, saran ringan akan baik-baik saja untuk Anda. Cara yang paling mudah digunakan untuk menginvestasikan uang Anda yang pernah saya lihat. Metode yang sangat mudah untuk mendapatkan uang dari paycheque Anda, dan menjadi investasi yang tepat untuk Anda. Kurang waktu kurang stres lebih mudah untuk bertahan. Situs web yang menarik secara visual yang membuat hidup sederhana di komputer, tablet, atau ponsel cerdas. Cara aman dan aman untuk berinvestasi dan menumbuhkan uang Anda untuk jangka panjang. Tapi Betapa Amannya Kita Berbicara Berikut Apakah penasihat robo aman dengan cara yang sama seperti Paman Don Anda memiliki investasi super aman di peternakan Alpaca beberapa tahun yang lalu (Anda masih mendapatkan pembayaran pemegang saham Anda dengan sarung tangan dicukur setiap tahun dengan benar) Tidak seperti mereka Aman sama seperti bank lain atau perusahaan investasi di luar sana. Heres mengapa saya merasa nyaman mengatakan bahwa: Semua penasihat robo sedikit seperti etalase. Gudang atau back office adalah pihak ketiga yang merupakan anggota Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF). Jika Anda tidak yakin apa itu CIPF, inilah yang dikatakan situs web mereka: Insolvensi agen investasi tidak terlalu sering terjadi. Sebenarnya, sejak awal CPIF pada tahun 1969 hanya ada 20 anggota insolvensi. CIPF telah membayar klaim dan atau biaya terkait sebesar 43 juta, setelah dikurangi pemulihan, dan tidak ada pelanggan yang memenuhi syarat yang telah kehilangan harta benda. Bahkan jika skenario terburuk terjadi dan kebangkrutan terjadi, robos8217 clients8217 uang disimpan terpisah dari neraca perusahaan. Bahkan sebelum sampai pada titik itu, kemungkinan besar penasihat robo Kanada atau entitas keuangan utama akan membeli perusahaan robek yang tertekan hanya untuk mendapatkan akun klien mereka sehingga bisa memindahkan uang Anda ke perusahaan baru atau 8220storefront8221 namun pada akhirnya tidak kehilangan sepeser pun . Semua robos yang saya lihat sangat transparan dan spesifik di situs web mereka saat membahas dengan tepat di mana uang Anda dipegang dan mengapa Anda dilindungi sebagai konsumen Kanada. Model penasehat robo telah digunakan di seluruh dunia selama beberapa tahun sekarang. Misalnya, American Robo Betterment telah ada sejak tahun 2008, dan sekarang memiliki lebih dari 3 miliar aset yang dikelola. Orang-orang ini akan berada di sekitar untuk jangka panjang, dan mereka TIDAK masih mengerjakan kinks. Model ini diuji dan disempurnakan dan akan terus menjadi lebih baik. Jika seorang penasihat robo dibeli atau bangkrut, aset Anda akan baik-baik saja dari semua yang telah saya baca. Apa Robot Ini Menginvestasikan Uang Saya Di 1 Tidak ada robot yang menginvestasikan uang Anda. 2 Ada cara yang telah disepakati sebelumnya untuk menginvestasikan uang Anda yang akan Anda pilih dan kemudian seseorang, bersamaan dengan komputer yang akan dijalankan atas nama Anda. Pada dasarnya, semua penasehat robo telah melakukannya adalah dengan mengambil teori investasi kentang sofa yang para blogger keuangan culun pribadi seperti Anda benar-benar telah mengoceh selama bertahun-tahun dan membuat mereka lebih mudah berinvestasi. Tentu, mereka tidak akan menawarkan layanan ini secara gratis, jadi ada Biaya yang relatif kecil terlampir. Setiap penasihat robo akan menawarkan layanan ini sedikit berbeda dan mengenakan harga yang sedikit berbeda untuk melakukannya (lebih dari itu dalam sedetik), namun pada akar mereka, setiap robot berusaha mengambil dolar investasi Anda, belajar tentang tujuan Anda, dan Kemudian merekomendasikan portofolio indeks-ETF dasar bahwa masing-masing dolar investasi Anda akan dipecah menjadi maju. Jika Anda memikirkan diri sendiri bahwa ini sangat mirip dengan e-book gratis kami tentang Investasi ETF. Atau portofolio model Dan Bortolottis (alias Canadian Couch Potato). Maka Anda akan benar. Baik Dan maupun saya sendiri yang menemukan hal ini kami (bersama dengan banyak blogger finansial lainnya) hanya berusaha menyederhanakan teori yang diajukan oleh orang-orang super cerdas seperti Eugene Fama, Harry Markowitz, dan John Bogle. Semua ketiganya berhasil memenangkan Hadiah Nobel dan menciptakan salah satu kerajaan pengelolaan keuangan terbesar di dunia. Penasihat Robo akan memasukkan uang Anda ke dalam portofolio yang sangat mirip dengan (jika tidak persis) yang akan saya rekomendasikan. Pendekatan ini akan membantu Anda mengungguli setidaknya 90 investor Kanada yang ingin berinvestasi melalui reksadana dan atau memilih saham mereka sendiri. Bergantung pada studi apa yang Anda baca, Anda mungkin akan mengungguli 98 investor ini dalam jangka panjang (baca e-book gratis untuk informasi lebih lanjut mengenai hal ini). Masing-masing penasehat robo utama akan memastikan bahwa sebagian uang Anda dimasukkan ke dalam bursa saham Kanada ETFs, ETF pasar saham internasional, dan investasi yang lebih konservatif seperti obligasi dan GIC. Masing-masing akan melakukan ini dengan cara yang sedikit unik, namun tanpa terlalu tahu detailnya, yang benar-benar perlu Anda ketahui adalah bahwa ada banyak bukti, sains, dan kesederhanaan di balik strategi pengelolaan keuangan yang akan diterapkan pada uang Anda. . Untuk apa nilainya, saya mendukung pendekatan ini sepenuh hati, dan saya belum menemukan seorang blogger keuangan Kanada yang tidak. Mengapa Penasihat Robo Itu Kesepakatan yang Baik Bila dibandingkan dengan cara kebanyakan orang Kanada masih memilih untuk mengelola uang mereka, penasehat robo adalah kesepakatan yang fantastis. Apa yang sebenarnya terjadi adalah berapa banyak investasi Anda yang Anda inginkan untuk mengorbankan setiap tahun sebagai imbalan atas saran keuangan dan membantu mendapatkan uang dari gaji Anda dan menjadi portofolio investasi Setiap penasihat robo memiliki cara mereka sendiri untuk menagih layanan mereka. Beberapa mengenakan tarif flat, sementara yang lain mengenakan biaya persentase tertentu, dan pasangan mengenakan kombinasi keduanya. Apa yang sama-sama dimiliki oleh semua robo adalah bahwa mereka hanyalah cara yang jauh lebih murah untuk diinvestasikan daripada reksa dana bank tradisional. Semakin besar sarang telur Anda tumbuh semakin benar ini. Jika hanya seseorang yang memiliki kalkulator super praktis yang tidak hanya akan memungkinkan Anda membandingkan biaya investasi dengan masing-masing penasehat robo yang berbeda, namun juga membandingkan biaya yang terkait dengan reksa dana bank tradisional oh tunggu ada Terima kasih kepada Sandi Martin dari Spring Personal Keuangan dan John Robertson dari Nilai Sederhana. Kami memiliki alat yang hebat yang memungkinkan Anda untuk dengan mudah melihat perusahaan mana yang menawarkan harga terendah untuk keadaan spesifik Anda (yang tidak sama dengan perusahaan terbaik untuk Anda, tapi mungkin akan membantu Anda memutuskannya). Juga, sementara perbedaan pada kalkulator ini sangat penting, ingatlah bahwa perbedaan itu akan bertambah dari waktu ke waktu. Kalkulator menunjukkan setelah 10 tahun, namun pasanglah jumlah tersebut ke kalkulator bunga majemuk dasar selama 25-30 tahun, dan perbedaan antara robo dan bank besar menjadi sangat besar (enam angka untuk sebagian besar investor pensiun jangka panjang). Jelas penasihat robo dapat menghemat biaya signifikan dibandingkan dengan rekan bank tradisional mereka karena mereka tidak memiliki batu bata dan biaya tambahan mortir, jumlah karyawan, atau pemegang saham yang merasa lapar dengan dividen yang dilakukan bank-bank besar. Mereka kemudian bisa melewati penghematan ini ke konsumen. Salah satu variabel yang tidak memperhitungkan kalkulasi Sandi dan Johns adalah bahwa portofolio penasihat robo yang dikelola secara pasif ini kemungkinan besar memiliki tingkat pengembalian keseluruhan yang lebih tinggi dibandingkan reksadana bank karena algoritma dana kentang kentang mereka dan itu sebagai tambahan terhadap biaya yang lebih rendah. Secara pribadi saya percaya bahwa orang Kanada yang lebih muda dan lebih tua yang merasa nyaman di lingkungan online hanya akan mendapati platform penasehat robo lebih mudah untuk berinteraksi dibandingkan dengan bank-bank besar dan perusahaan investasi. Itulah satu-satunya tujuan mereka. Saya tidak bisa cukup menekankan betapa intuitif dan estetis penasehat robo terkemuka. Hal ini dikatakan, saya pikir kemungkinan besar bank-bank besar akan segera mengikuti petunjuk BMO dan mengajukan opsi konsultasi robo mereka sendiri yang menyalin bagian terbaik dari apa yang ada di luar sana (atau membeli beberapa pemimpin saat ini). Secara keseluruhan, karena saya lebih memilih fleksibilitas bekerja dengan platform online dibandingkan dengan pembicaraan tatap muka, saya benar-benar akan membayar lebih untuk model online saja. Fakta bahwa uang saya diinvestasikan jauh lebih efektif daripada menggunakan dana reksa dana bank besar, dan saya melihat pemotongan biaya yang besar, berarti ini bahkan tidak mendekati perbandingan saya. Jika Robo Advisors Sangat Bagus, Mengapa Anda Masih DIY Setelah mengoceh tentang apa saran penasehat robo, Anda bisa melakukan tindakan ganda saat mengatakan bahwa saya tidak berencana untuk menggunakannya. Saya masih akan terus berinvestasi menggunakan metode kentang Do It Yourself couch yang kami jelaskan di e-book gratis kami. Yang sedang berkata, saya sekarang mulai merekomendasikan rute penasihat robo untuk 80 atau lebih dari teman-teman saya. Mengapa cukup baik untuk teman-teman saya tapi bukan untuk saya. Ini semua adalah masalah nilai dan rintangan yang menghalangi Anda untuk secara konsisten mengubah bagian dari cek dua mingguan atau bulanan Anda menjadi portofolio investasi. Siapa pun dapat membangun portofolio investasi yang sama persis untuk diri mereka sendiri sehingga mereka bisa melewati penasihat robo sebagian besar dari robo bahkan sejauh menunjukkan pilihan portofolio yang tepat yang tersedia di situs mereka atau selama konsultasi pertama yang Anda lakukan dengan mereka Ada sangat Sedikit yang baru atau asli ketika sampai ke sisi investasi operasi penasehat robo. Satu hal yang benar-benar saya kagumi dari semua penasihat robo utama di Kanada adalah bahwa mereka sepenuhnya berada di depan saya karena mengakui bahwa Anda dapat menerapkan portofolio ETF indeks DIY secara signifikan lebih murah daripada biaya yang harus dikeluarkan oleh mereka. Secara pribadi, saya merasa sangat nyaman untuk menyiapkan akun pialang diskon online saya sendiri dan mengelola portofolio saya (dan ini terlihat cukup mirip dengan yang akan direkomendasikan kepada saya melalui layanan konsultasi robo). Yang sedang berkata, Im jenis kutu buku dan bukan target audiens untuk perusahaan-perusahaan ini. Jadi, untuk rekap sejauh ini, investasi indeks DIY pasti lebih murah daripada menggunakan penasihat robo. Saya tetap berpendapat bahwa saya tidak berpikir itu terlalu sulit bagi DIY dengan menggunakan portofolio dasar indeks ETF. Saya akan membandingkan keseluruhan tingkat kesulitan dengan matematika kelas 910. Apakah DIY atau Robo lebih baik untuk Anda? Akhirnya, bagaimana saya memilih untuk mengelola investasi saya mungkin tidak penting bagi Anda apa yang seharusnya penting adalah opsi mana yang akan memberi Anda hasil terbaik ke depan. Heres beberapa pertanyaan singkat untuk membantu Anda memutuskan bagaimana menginvestasikan uang Anda (dengan asumsi Anda telah sampai pada kesimpulan yang sama dengan yang saya miliki dan menentukan pemetikan saham mungkin merupakan ide yang mengerikan, dan reksa dana sudah dekat). 1) Apakah Anda ingin mengerjakan matematika Gr.910 sendiri Tolong jangan menjawab pertanyaan ini berdasarkan harga diri. Serius tanyakan pada diri Anda apakah Anda ingin membuat komitmen ini 4-12 kali setahun ketika Anda menyeimbangkan portofolio investasi Anda. Jika tidak, pergilah dengan robo. (Im baik dengan matematika Gr 910, tapi jangan meminta saya untuk melakukan pelajaran tingkat dasar dalam mempelajari bahasa asing). 2) Apakah Anda ingin melakukan beberapa jam membaca dan menulis dokumen untuk memahami investasi indeks dan bagaimana melakukannya. Terapkan itu Jika Anda tidak, maka pergilah dengan sebuah robo. 3) Jika strategi lebih mudah bagi Anda, apakah akan membuat perbedaan besar dalam seberapa berhasil Anda menerapkan dan bertahan dengannya Pikirkan untuk pergi ke gym. Jika gym Anda 15 menit lebih dekat ke rumah Anda, apakah Anda akan sedikit lebih mungkin atau lebih cenderung menggunakannya Jika kenyamanan dan kemudahan penggunaan merupakan faktor utama bagi Anda, pergilah dengan membawa robo. 4) Jika Anda tidak terlalu percaya diri dalam hal investasi seperti ETF, RRSP, TFSA, dll dan berpikir akan sangat menyenangkan jika seseorang mengirim email atau mengobrol secara online dengan dari waktu ke waktu, lalu pergi dengan robo . Masing-masing dari empat pertanyaan ini mungkin tampak seperti kentang kecil untuk Anda, tapi sebenarnya tidak. Membuat investasi lebih mudah bernilai BANYAK nilai bagi mayoritas orang Kanada. Tentu, mungkin akan menghabiskan biaya sekitar 5-5 dari portofolio Anda setiap tahunnya, tapi jika membuat perbedaan antara Anda menginvestasikan 5.000, dan tidak memulai sama sekali, itu adalah masalah yang sangat kecil. Plus, jangan lupa bahwa Anda masih jauh di depan nasihat finansial tradisional dalam model investasi. Jika ada satu hal yang saya temukan sejak saya mulai menulis blog keuangan pribadi, orang-orang bisa benar-benar bermaksud berkomentar di internet. Jika ada kenyataan kedua yang saya pelajari, kebanyakan orang muda saya yang berinteraksi dengan saya sangat tidak ingin mengelola investasi mereka sendiri. Mereka ingin mengaturnya dan melupakannya dan kemudian kembali mengunjunginya lagi beberapa tahun sebelum mereka pensiun. Inilah sebabnya mengapa pensiun di tempat kerja sangat diminati. Saya juga memperhatikan bahwa banyak orang Kanada mendapatkan ledakan energi, membaca banyak hal, dan kemudian gagal untuk menindaklanjutinya dan menjalankan strategi investasi yang telah mereka baca dengan sangat banyak. Atau mereka terjebak dalam hal-hal seperti pilihan ETF yang spesifik dan kemudian mereka mulai berpikir bahwa mungkin memilih beberapa saham bukanlah gagasan yang buruk, dll. Bagi sebagian besar orang Kanada ini, model penasehat robo adalah berkah dari Tuhan dan mungkin akan membuat keputusan yang benar-benar Perbedaan yang signifikan dalam kehidupan masyarakat (seperti pensiun atau mencapai kemandirian finansial beberapa tahun lebih cepat dari jenis perbedaan). Membandingkan Canadas Robo Advisors Heres bagaimana pesaing utama kami ditumpuk ketika saya bertanya kepada mereka apa yang membuat penawaran masing-masing berbeda dari pesaing mereka: Nest Wealths Randy Cass: Kami adalah satu-satunya platform untuk mengenakan harga berlangganan datar tanpa memperhitungkan aset yang diinvestasikan. Kami percaya bahwa tidak perlu lagi menagih pemotongan untuk melakukan pekerjaan yang sama dengan 1.000.000 yang kami lakukan pada 150.000. CEO kami telah mengelola portofolio selama 15 tahun. Hampir semua orang di perusahaan kami telah terlibat dalam industri ini sebelumnya. Inti kami, kami adalah perusahaan jasa keuangan yang menggunakan teknologi untuk memberikan produk dan pengalaman yang lebih baik kepada klien kami. Yang lain cenderung melihat diri mereka sebagai perusahaan teknologi yang kebetulan berada dalam layanan keuangan. Kami adalah satu-satunya penasihat robo yang telah membuat pilihan yang disengaja untuk menyimpan semua uang klien kami di bawah naungan sebuah Bank Kanada yang besar ini memberi mereka ketenangan saat mereka tertidur di malam hari. Kami adalah satu-satunya penasihat robo yang menciptakan portofolio yang disesuaikan untuk setiap klien. Tidak ada portofolio pra-paket atau menempatkan orang dalam keranjang yang cocok dengan 8216closest8217. Setiap individu harus memiliki portofolio yang mencerminkan risiko, tujuan dan situasi keuangan mereka. Kami hanya menggunakan ETFs blue chips terbaik dengan biaya terendah. Kami adalah permainan yang paling murni dalam Teori Pasar Efisien. Kami tidak memiliki afiliasi dengan perusahaan dana besar dan tidak menggunakan produk ETF dari mereka yang memiliki kepemilikan saham langsung atau tidak langsung di perusahaan kami. Kami adalah solusi pengelolaan kekayaan digital independen terbesar di Kanada. Biaya rendah hanyalah bagian dari solusi terbaik. Bagian lainnya memastikan portofolio dibangun menggunakan ETF terbaik dalam kombinasi terbaik. Kami memiliki kebebasan penuh, memilih ETFs kami dan membangun portofolio kami hanya dengan menggunakan data objektif. Kekayaan Mallory Greene: Lebih dari 10.000 klien memiliki aset 400M di bawah manajemen terbesar di Kanada. 32 juta dana (termasuk investasi besar-besaran dari mega financial titan Power Financial) memungkinkan konsumen untuk percaya diri percaya WealthSimple. Hanya aplikasi seluler di Kanada yang memungkinkan Anda mendaftar ke akun investasi. Saham pecahan: Memungkinkan kita untuk menginvestasikan saldo rekening yang lebih kecil. Kami tidak memiliki minimum akun. Mendapatkan broker kami sendiri: ShareOwner 8211 Hanya layanan investasi otomatis yang mengendalikan ujung ke ujung pengalaman investasi bagi klien, mulai dari eksekusi perdagangan dan penjagaan hingga konstruksi portofolio dan saran, yang memungkinkan inovasi masa depan di semua elemen investasi. Saran: bantuan manusia. Penasihat berasal dari broker layanan penuh dunia yang mengelola klien bernilai bersih tinggi. Tidak ada komisi 35 karyawan, 15 pengembang bangunan penuh waktu membangun teknologi. Semuanya otomatis dari rebalancing ke reinvestasi dividen, bahkan efisiensi pajak. Kami menawarkan saran 8211 klien kami dapat menghubungi tim Concierge Kekayaan khusus setiap saat untuk mendiskusikan tujuan dan sasaran keuangan mereka. Kami senang berbicara dengan mereka melalui telepon, teks, email atau Skype 8211 apa pun yang paling sesuai untuk mereka. Portofolio Investasi Bertanggung Jawab Sosial (SRI) berinvestasi pada perusahaan yang melakukan bisnis dengan cara yang memenuhi ambang batas tanggung jawab sosial tertentu. Kami merancang portofolio SRI menggunakan ETF yang memprioritaskan emisi karbon rendah, memajukan inovasi teknologi bersih, dan mendorong pertumbuhan yang berkelanjutan di pasar negara berkembang. WealthBars Denny Hollick Percaya bahwa kita adalah yang paling fokus pada perencanaan keuangan dibandingkan dengan investasi saja. Masalah yang ingin kita hadapi adalah bahwa menginvestasikan dan membangun portofolio terdiversifikasi hanyalah 12 dari pertempuran pengelolaan uang yang baik. Bagian lain dari pertempuran adalah elemen pembinaan, perencanaan, dan nasehat yang sangat manusiawi. WealthBar bekerja keras untuk mengatasi separuh persamaan lainnya dengan menawarkan penasihat keuangan khusus untuk bekerja dengan masing-masing klien. Inilah yang membedakan WealthBar dari para penasihat robo lainnya: Salah satu penasehat robo di Amerika Utara yang menempatkan penasihat keuangan di pusat hubungan kita dengan klien kita 8211 dan tidak memiliki biaya tambahan. Penasihat keuangan kami ada untuk membantu klien membuat rencana keuangan, membantu mereka memilih akun yang tepat, investasi, menghadapi situasi kehidupan utama, pengoptimalan pajak, atau bahkan sekadar mengobrol tentang betapa mengerikannya Canucks di babak playoff. Setiap klien mendapatkan penasihat khusus yang ada di sana untuk membantu Anda membuat keputusan keuangan yang tepat dan memastikan Anda memiliki rencana yang benar-benar mengarah pada tujuan Anda. Nilai yang diberikan penasihat dapat membantu klien kita menghemat ribuan pajak.258 Ada pembeda kunci lain, yaitu akses ke kolam investasi pribadi kita. Jika saya bisa mengatakannya sendiri, saya mencintai mereka. Sebelum hari WealthBar, ini hanya diperuntukkan bagi investor bernilai bersih tinggi dengan lebih dari 1M 8211 kami menawarkan ini kepada siapa saja yang memiliki lebih dari 10.000 orang. Mereka berisi kelas aset yang bisa Anda dapatkan secara publik seperti ekuitas pribadi dan aset keras real estat. Hasilnya adalah bahwa hal itu secara signifikan kurang mudah berubah, tanpa mengorbankan terlalu banyak pertumbuhan. Mereka tumbuh hampir 8 tahun lalu, dan bahkan di bulan Januari, salah satu bulan terburuk sejak 20082009, hanya turun -1,4 sementara pasar turun secara signifikan lebih banyak. Rasio biaya pada ini sedikit lebih tinggi, tapi layak untuk siapa saja yang menginginkan perlindungan ekstra dari volatilitas 8211 I8217m secara pribadi 100 dalam portofolio inti NWM. ModernAdvisor8217s Navid Boostani Program Springboard mereka memungkinkan pengguna melakukan demo investasi online dan mempelajari cara kerjanya, dengan menggunakan dana ModernAdvisor8217s terlebih dahulu. Setiap akun Springboard dimulai dengan 1.000 dan lebih dari tiga bulan, Anda mengalami secara real-time bagaimana dana akan dilakukan jika diinvestasikan pada preferensi risiko dan tujuan investasi Anda. ModernAdvisor adalah peserta terbaru untuk industri penasehat robo. Mereka menawarkan biaya yang paling kompetitif untuk ukuran portofolio minimal 100.000 di 0,4. ModernAdvisor menawarkan investasi yang bertanggung jawab secara sosial kepada pengguna dengan biaya rendah yang sama dengan investasi konvensional. Sekitar 75 sampai 95 persen portofolio Anda dapat memenuhi syarat untuk investasi yang bertanggung jawab. ModernAdvisor akan memberi tahu Anda berapa biaya tersembunyi yang Anda bayarkan terhadap investasi reksa dana Anda saat ini, dengan menggunakan alat Fee Analyzer mereka. Berdasarkan risk appetite dan jumlah investasi awal Anda, ModernAdvisor menghasilkan grafik yang menunjukkan proyeksi berapa banyak yang akan Anda hemat dengan berinvestasi bersama mereka dan bukan dengan reksa dana. Sarang Nest Wealth, WealthSimple, and WealthBar bukan satu-satunya penasihat robo di luar sana, tapi dari apa yang bisa saya katakan, mereka mengendalikan sebagian besar pasar robo di Kanada. Ini bukan untuk mengatakan bahwa yang lain tidak layak lihat. Robo lain di Kanada termasuk: BMO SmartFolio Questrades Portfolio IQ Invisor Kemudian ada beberapa hampir robos yang menawarkan produk dan layanan tertentu yang serupa dengan penasehat robo, namun secara substansial berbeda dalam satu atau lain cara. Sebagai contoh, Tangerine menawarkan portofolio kunci-kunci yang merupakan cara lain yang relatif sederhana untuk memasukkan uang Anda ke dalam portofolio yang terdiversifikasi, namun secara pribadi saya tidak merasa kompetitif dengan penasihat utama robo yang sekarang ada di luar sana. Shareowner adalah tempat lain yang mengkhususkan diri pada investasi murah (catatan: ShareOwner dimiliki oleh WealthSimple) namun tidak menawarkan layanan konsultasi yang sama seperti tiga pemimpin pasar yang kami fokuskan. Keseluruhan Pikiran dan Rekomendasi Robo Advisors benar-benar proposisi nilai yang sempurna untuk orang-orang yang tidak ingin membayar biaya konyol dan persentase untuk saran keuangan dasar (batuk bank-bank besar dan perusahaan investasi besar di Kanada batuk) namun diintimidasi dengan berkelana sepenuhnya sendiri Buatlah portofolio kentang sofa DIY. Dengan peraturan investasi baru seperti Canadas CRM2 ikut bermain, dan gagasan tentang biaya investor semakin lama semakin lama, kurasa robot terdepan berada dalam posisi bagus untuk menguntungkan investor (terutama investor muda yang lebih suka berinteraksi online) menjadi Dididik tentang berapa banyak yang bisa mereka hemat dengan pergi dengan rute saran ringan ini. Saya tahu bahwa ini adalah polisi berpemandangan lengkap, tapi daripada merekomendasikan salah satu penasehat robo ini kepada semua investor Kanada, lebih fokus pada fakta bahwa semuanya sangat sesuai dengan pilihan tradisional di luar sana. . Jika Anda masih bingung dengan pilihan tradisional apa, pikirkan cukup banyak lembaga keuangan yang menghabiskan banyak dolar untuk membeli hak penamaan ke stadion dan arena, atau memiliki banyak lokasi mal. Sejujurnya, saya tidak berpikir Anda benar-benar bisa salah dengan Robco Kanada terkemuka di pasar. Untuk membuat pilihan akhir, Id melihat situs web dan platform mereka, dan setelah mempersempit daftar, bicaralah beberapa dari mereka dan rasakan yang mana yang terbaik bagi Anda. Akhirnya apa yang benar-benar mendasari adalah layanan mana yang akan membuat Anda paling mungkin untuk menghemat dan menginvestasikan lebih banyak gaji Anda. Manakah dari salah satu robos yang benar-benar mengilhami Anda untuk pergi ke situs web atau aplikasi mereka dan menggunakannya karena itu masuk akal untuk Anda yang mana Robo meraih Anda dengan cara ini mungkin adalah salah satu yang akan memberi Anda hasil terbaik saat Anda pensiun pada 20-40 tahun. Mereka masing-masing menawarkan lonceng dan peluit yang unik, namun pada akhirnya semua tentang mengetahui diri Anda dan membuatnya semudah mungkin untuk memenuhi tujuan spesifik Anda. Saya masih lebih suka indeks DIY berinvestasi dalam ruang hampa namun sangat penting untuk diingat bahwa Anda arent dalam ruang hampa. Anda adalah Anda, dan kemungkinan besar jika Anda adalah orang Kanada kelas menengah rata-rata yang Anda punya banyak hal di pikiran Anda, dan Anda benar-benar yakin ingin terjun ke arus DIY. Thats baik-baik saja Canadas robo advisor adalah taruhan terbaik Anda berikutnya. Penawaran GRATIS Eksklusif untuk Pembaca Muda dan Hemat Adalah jenis masalah besar atau setidaknya itulah yang kami sampaikan kepada orang-orang penasihat robo itu. Jadi jika Anda ingin melihat apa yang ditawarkan oleh penasihat Canadas robo Secara GRATIS, lihatlah transaksi hebat ini: 1) Kekayaan Sederhana akan membiarkan Anda mengelola 20.000 secara gratis jika Anda cukup klik di sini dan memutuskan untuk membuka akun dengan mereka. 2) WealthBar dengan senang hati akan mengizinkan pembaca Muda dan Hemat untuk mengelola 20K secara gratis selama setahun penuh, kepada siapa saja yang menyebutkan kepada penasihat mereka bahwa mereka mendaftar setelah membaca artikel ini dan menggunakan tautan ini. 3) Akhirnya, klik di sini untuk membuka akun di ModernAdvisor dan langsung mendapatkan 50.000 orang yang dikelola secara gratis 8211 selama setahun penuh 8211 hanya karena Anda adalah pembaca muda dan hemat yang setia. 4) JustWealth juga baru saja mendaftar untuk memberikan pembaca dengan penghematan dan penghematan Young dan Thrifty. Ketika Anda mengklik di sini dan memberi mereka kesempatan mencoba mereka masuk ke akun Anda Dengan orang-orang ini bersedia mengizinkan Anda untuk mencoba layanan mereka secara gratis, apa yang harus Anda kehilangan Jika Anda memiliki pertanyaan tentang penasihat Canadas robo, kirimkan mereka ke dalam komentar Di bawah, atau kirimkan email kepada kami, dan jawab mereka di sini juga. If any new robo-advisor shakes up the Canadian market, or there is a major shift in the robo scene, well let you know about it. August 2016 Update Robos have continued to gain steam with both investors and the media with the aforementioned CRM2 beginning to kick in. I have yet to read an article that argues that Canadas Robo Advisors have any real issue with safety or concerns about anyone losing money. As far as I know, all of the Robo Advisors we list in our article continue to honour Young and Thrifty-specific bonuses for our readers. There is still time to try these services for free if you simply mention that Young and Thrifty sent you. In addition to those freebies, read on below for a great offer on behalf of new Canadian Robo Justwealth. Finally Questrade wanted to get in on the action with their Portfolio IQ product and if you open an account by clicking here. Questrade will offer you your first month managed for FREE. One cool new trend that I heard about on Preet Banerjees Mostly Money, Mostly Canadian podcast (check it out if you havent already) is that many fee-only advisors are using the robos service as the investment management aspect of their value proposition to clients. Basically what this means is that people are finally starting to realize that all of this ridiculous propaganda that mutual fund pushers have been throwing out there for decades is ridiculous, and that ethical advisors are now trying to make a much better argument. Essentially, theyre saying, Look, our value isnt in picking a hot stock or fund we know that this passive investing strategy (aka couch potato investing) is scientifically proven to be the best long-term strategy for a relatively small-scale investor like yourself. Instead of talking about that, were going to set up a really simple contribution system for you and leave it alone. Then were going to put all our energy into other good stuff like tax management, insurance coverage, wills, and other financial matters that have often been ignored because people were so focused on investments. I hope this trend continues, as it would really diversify current financial advice offerings, and allow people to really choose the model that best fits their needs. One new market entrant took the time to chat with us with is named Justwealth. (As far as I know, you dont actually have to have wealth in your name to join the robo advisor club, but then again I dont know the secret handshake either so) Click Here in order to snag Justwealth8217s exclusive offer to Young and Thrifty readers of a 50 deposit straight into their account Heres what Chief Investment Officer James Gauthier had to say about his companys offerings: Justwealth has vast experience in the area of personal wealth management. Our investment professionals have previously managed tens of billions of dollars for large financial institutions on behalf of Canadian retail and high net worth investors. Justwealth offers more portfolios (61) than any other online Portfolio Manager by a wide margin. This ensures that we have a portfolio that is perfectly aligned with an investors investment objective we dont try to put square pegs in round holes We also use more ETFs (29) and ETF providers (7) than any other online Portfolio Manager. We are able to manage all account types and have portfolios and investment strategies designed specifically for investors with non-registered (taxable) accounts. We offer our innovative Education Target Date Portfolios for RESP accounts, and are the only Portfolio Manager in Canada (online or traditional) with an investment solution that matures in the exact year that a child begins post-secondary education. Every client of Justwealth receives their own Personal Portfolio Manager who takes the time to fully understand the investment needs of their clients and services them on an ongoing basis. We make financial planning and investment counselling available to every client. We treat clients the same way that we would wish to be treated ourselves: Justly We do not receive any forms of commissions, kickbacks or trailer fees. We do not have any arrangements or give preferential treatment to any ETF providers. We will not attempt to sell our clients insurance or accept any referral fees for other financial services. All investment decisions are made in the best interest of the client. Justwealth is a proud member of the Portfolio Manager Alliance of Canada (PMAC). After reaching out to the folks we had previously contacted about any new offerings, Wealthsimple responded by telling us that they: Now have 15,000 clients amp 500M in Assets under Management. Won the Webby Award for Top Financial Services Website in the world. Launched a Portfolio Review Service that allows users to submit their investment portfolio to be reviewed by Wealthsimple8217s team of registered Portfolio Managers. Launched Wealthsimple for Advisors: An automated platform for financial advisors to manage their clients investment portfolios. Integration with Mint Platform: First financial institution to offer secure, read-only Mint access to their clients. If any other robo advisors wish to have us update their offerings, please let us know and well get them up there. Also, Im always interested in hearing about Canadas robo advisors from the consumer side of things. If youve compared robo advisors and come to certain conclusions, or if you just want to say great things about the folks that youre sticking with, please dont be shy about leaving an update in the comment section or emailing us directly through our Contact Us page. Stay tuned as always for periodic updates on Canadas robo advising industry going forward. 1) Do any of Canada8217s robo advisors offer Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs) At this time, only WealthBar offers RDSPs and theyre only available if you open another account such as a TFSA, RRSP, or unregistered account with them first. 2) Which of Canada8217s robo advisors offer Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) At this time WealthBar, WealthSimple, and Nest Wealth all offer RESP options. Modern Advisor currently does not, but did say that it was something they were working on. 73 Comments Randy Cass on March 28, 2016 at 9:52 am Kyle, As the founder of Nest Wealth, I want to thank you for the great job you8217ve done here of breaking down the new services available. Articles like this are hugely important when you realize the vast majority of Canadians are still unaware of the choices they have when it comes to investing their savings. Education is a huge part of change and the amount of work you clearly put into this article will go a long way to helping on that front. 8211 Randy Kyle on March 29, 2016 at 5:46 pm Thanks for stopping by We8217ll keep on keepin on. You guys keep disrupting the traditional terrible deal that Canadians are getting when it comes to financial planning and investment options Larry on March 30, 2016 at 11:09 am Rob on April 2, 2016 at 7:04 am Great article and totally on board. I8217ve been with Wealthsimple for over a year now, and it8217s been the best financial decision I8217ve ever made. I was 8220managing8221 my own money, refusing to give 2-4 for a mutual fund at my bank. I was glued to BNN, CNBC, and my stock app on my phone. It was time consuming and emotionally exhausting, not to mention (in my case) money losing Oliver on April 2, 2016 at 10:57 am I8217ve been using a robo-advisor (Invisor) for almost a year now, and have had far more human interaction with them than I ever did with my bank. It8217s also refreshing to feel like I8217m getting objective investing advice rather than being sold whatever mutual funds my bank is trying to push on people at a given moment. Interested to see the longer term impact these organizations will have on how people invest in the future Kyle on April 2, 2016 at 8:33 pm Thanks Oliver Tell the folks from Invisor to get in contact with us if they want to let readers know why they are awesome Kyle on April 2, 2016 at 8:36 pm You8217re not alone Rob. IF you look at the statistical averages, it8217s very difficult for individual investors to outperform their benchmark index. Glad to hear that you8217ve been so happy at Wealthsimple Kyle on April 2, 2016 at 8:37 pm Hello Christopher, I8217ll add your answer to the main article as soon as I hear back from the robos. Brian on April 5, 2016 at 10:48 pm Great article. While I agree with the general premise that regular investing in lost cost ETFs is better than doing nothing or investing in mutual funds I still think that there is an additional layer of complexity that is rarely discussed when comparing robo-advisors. I have compared the portfolios between companies at similar risk levels and they are widely divergent with respect to asset allocation. I think over the long term these differences will lead to performance differences that will trump fees. This is the main reason I am still sitting on the fence. I would be interested to see a comparison of portfolios between companies. Any thoughts on which most closely approximates the ideal asset allocation. Or is it too early too tell I feel longer term performance is still a huge wildcard. Kyle on April 6, 2016 at 8:38 am I think it8217s very difficult to compare the portfolios of each of the robos without actually owning an account and having them assess your risk tolerance and overall financial situation. I mean a couple do completely customized portfolios, so without talking to them how could you compare portfolios right Also tough to say what the 8220ideal asset allocation8221 actually is, is it not I8217ve read dozens of books by really smart people that completely disagree on what the optimal allocation level is 8211 heck, the Ph.Ds can8217t even agree on if goldprecious metals should have any place at all in a portfolio In my opinion, all the major robos allow you diversify your dollars across a pretty wide spectrum. Ben on May 5, 2016 at 10:48 pm Any updated promo codes for the ones that expired at the end of April (specifically ModernAdvisor but others too) EC on September 28, 2016 at 1:30 pm You mention monthly contributions a few times in this article. Would you still advise using a robo advisor for a one-time investment of 100,000 I am no longer working but still have 20 years to invest. In other words, I no longer have the income to support monthly payments but I could transfer money in from a shitty RRSP. Lynn on September 28, 2016 at 1:34 pm You might want to mention that WealthSimple8217s offer only lasts two years (perhaps NestWealth too). It8217s not noted in article or on their link, I only found out after I went through the lengthly process of opening an account for my small business. Kyle on September 28, 2016 at 6:57 pm While I cannot recommend a specific security to you EC, I can say with certainty that in a vacuum, using a robo advisor to invest a lump sum is a great idea. It will keep your costs super low and their 8220light advice8221 would be more than enough to explain what your options were and why they would make their eventual recommendation. Brandon Jones on October 1, 2016 at 10:13 am We are a retired couple who have a total of 750,000 in two RRIFs. We depend on that money (in combination with CPP and OAS) to provide a steady monthly income. Can a robo-advisor help in our case geo on October 2, 2016 at 12:38 pm If I am a high net worth individual near retirement do you see the other aspects of full service (retirement planning, RIF8217s8230) outweighing the low fees of robo investing. Kyle on October 3, 2016 at 3:10 pm That8217s a great question Geo, and to be honest I8217d say it depends on your needs. What I would do is contact a fee-based financial planner and see what they would quote you for the exact services you want. At that point you can compare to the percentage savings on your investments. I really like fee-only combined with robo package. Kyle on October 3, 2016 at 11:03 pm I can8217t see why a robo advisor wouldn8217t work just fine for you Brandon. It really depends on what sort of fees your current advisorinvestments are charging you if you want to make a comparison. Bob on October 6, 2016 at 10:42 am So if you put your money into the markets in 2007, you are just climbing out of your deep dark hole many found themselves in who were buy and hold ivestors. How do Robo Advisor8217s protect your capital other than by basic diversification through a group of ETF8217s I know, I know, everyone loves to say it8217s impossible to time the markets I8217m wondering how popular these new services will be ifwhen we have another meltdown of the markets Kyle on October 7, 2016 at 10:23 am The short answer is that they won8217t protect it all Bob. That being said, I8217m not sure your overall views of the market are correct. You mention that people who were in the market in 2007 are 8220just climbing out8221, but in fact if they stayed fully invested throughout the 8220Great Recession8221 then they long ago climbed out and are now flying pretty high. The average annual return over the last 20 years (which included the crash you mention and the tech crash of 992000) is just slightly lower than the overall average for the last 100 years. Your question is a logical one though, basically the real question is can Robos help mitigate our 8220lizard brains8221 (check out guys like Daniel Kahneman and Robert Thaler on this) that want to cut and run when we see stock markets go down The answer is I8217m not really sure. I hope that people will listen to the humans on the other end of the computer when they show them the math behind buy and hold, but I8217m not really sure they will. I guess probably about as many listened to their 8220in-person advisors8221 when the last crash happened Jay on October 19, 2016 at 2:18 am Hi Kyle. Is there any plan to update this guide Your list appears incomplete when compared to the recent globe and mail article from Oct. 12 titled 8220The 2016 robo-adviser guide8221 (theglobeandmailglobe-investorfunds-and-etfsetfseverything-you-need-to-know-about-robo-advisersarticle32302639 ). Thx 8211 just wanted to ensure you were aware you were missing some Jay Kyle on October 19, 2016 at 3:08 pm Hi Jay, we will be updating the guide for sure. The problem at this point is honestly that I don8217t think a lot of those Globe and Mail options are going to get off the ground very far, and I don8217t want to overwhelm people with options. The ones that we8217ve reviewed have been in the market for a while and we8217re confident in their ability over the long haul. I8217m keeping track of what the Globe reports though Matthew Boyd on November 7, 2016 at 5:31 pm Hi kyle, great read, thanks. Im new to all of this and i think the robo investing may be best for me. You certainly endorse them strongly but im very paranoid given the books ive read so far about investing (hidden fees in mutual funds etc). For that reason i have a somewhat awkward question. Do you receive an affiliate commision from any of the companies you have recommended above If so would you mind commenting on why you would still stand by your recommendations I hope these questions dont cause offence im just really paranoid about choosing the right strategy (i literally have no investment experience). Thanks again for an interesting article im looking forward to reading your ebook. All the best, Mat Kyle on November 8, 2016 at 10:10 am No offence taken. You are certainly right to be paranoid about investing fees (I have been labelled this way myself multiple times). When I wrote this article I was not getting any commission fees from the robos. Two robos have since offered me a commission which I have accepted. While I8217m not sure legally if I can disclose the amount in each case due to some wording in the contracts, it is closer to one digit than three digits per account opened. Here8217s why I would argue you can still trust the integrity of the information: 1) If it8217s not apparent which robos gave me a commission and which haven8217t, then that speaks pretty well I would think. 2) I know that I could make much much more convincing people to purchase mutual funds (as you noted) so if my main goal were to become rich I wouldn8217t be writing this. 3) I freely admit that I personally choose to invest in a way that actually minimizes fees to the bare minimum 8211 but requires more work. Again, if my goal was to convince you that robos were the only way to invest I doubt that I8217d include that comparison. 4) Feel free to search out the robos on your own, and that way I actually don8217t get any referral fee (you also don8217t get our special bonuses either). I don8217t ethically mind taking compensation from robos if they offer because I know that I8217m helping to grow the overall market for a product that I support and recommend to my students and friends 8211 so if I get a small amount of the overall money flowing into a growing industry I sleep well at night. Jordan on November 25, 2016 at 11:33 am New to Robo-Advisors8230.and new to ETFs8230 I have some funds to invest8230anywhere from 50k to 250k.. but am a bit fuzzy on the value of Robo-Advisors over either using my own brokerage account that does NOT charge any commissions on ETFs investing or using a commission based Financial Advisor (not associated with a bank, they would mostly put my money in Mutual funds though. Is the value simply that ROBOs will invest in ETFs and automatically adjust the portfolio based on my risk assessment So on a 100k portfolio I would be paying roughly 650-1000 per year so the ROBO can automatically adjust the portfolio If I choose some ETfs myself, some of the fees are far less than what ROBOs are charging. Is it the time needed to follow the investment that is the true value Did I understand this correctly What else am I missing I am sure I echo many other passive investors. Many thanks Kyle on November 26, 2016 at 12:44 pm Take a look at my section compa ring Robos to DIY Jordan. Basically what you are paying for is the advice that comes with a Robo (ie TFSA vs RRSP), the easy with which you can invest (no worrying about buying and selling), and the automatic re balancing. Also, if you use our offers, you8217ll be paying quite a bit less than 650 on your first 100K. Alicia on December 1, 2016 at 9:43 am Loved the article as it was exactly what I was looking for- an overview of the different Canadian options. A bonus that there are perks when mentioning young and thrifty, I will continue to follow I am thinking Robo is the way to go for me but as I am hoping to use some (in all honesty most) of the money made towards a home in the next few years amp I had a novice question: I know that the general recommendation is to invest your money for longer term to see greater returns8230 Do you know if there are any penalties or fees associated with pulling your money out planning for shorter investments (I am leaning towards wealthsimple but am not set on this yet). This was always a barrier for me with RRSP ect. I was hesitant to put anything of substance in, knowing that if I need the money or if the perfect home came up I would ultimately be penalized for touching it. Kyle on December 2, 2016 at 3:20 pm Hi Alica, your big question is actually several little questions rolled into one. You will have to ask the specific robo that you talk to about specific penalties associated with pulling money out. I8217m pretty sure most of them are almost fee-free at this point 8211 however robos are not the CRA. If you withdrawn RRSP money it counts as income 8211 unless (and this is key) 8211 it is to buy your first home or to go to post-secondary education. If that8217s the case check out our articles on the Home Buyer8217s Plan and Life Long Learner8217s Plan. Ultimately what you need to do is come up with a plan (maybe with an advisor, maybe just do your own homework) on what your short-term and long-term financial goals are 8211 and then plan accordingly. Ryan Rego on December 28, 2016 at 3:31 pm Hi Kyle, great article I am a millennial who has been doing some DIY investing using Questrade (buying only ETFs). Currently, I have the time and enjoy doing it myself, but I will probably use Wealthsimple when it becomes too much work. However, I had a question that I thought maybe you could answer. I know ETFs follow a more passive strategy, but when looking at their portfolio turnover, some were as high as 30-40 (e.g, iShares Core SampPTSX 8211 XIC, quote.morningstar.caQuickTakesETFetfoperations.aspxtXIC038regionCAN038cultureen-CA ). Any thoughts on why its so high Kyle on December 28, 2016 at 9:57 pm It simply reflects the automatic rebalancing necessary to reflect the underlying index.Cisco CleanAir - Cisco Unified Wireless Network Design Guide Spectrum intelligence (SI) is a core technology designed to proactively manage the challenges of a shared wireless spectrum. Essentially, SI brings advanced interference identification algorithms similar to those used in the military to the commercial wireless networking world. SI provides visibility to all the users of the shared spectrum, both Wi-Fi devices and foreign interferers. For every device that operates in the unlicensed band, SI tells you: What is it Where is it How does it impact the Wi-Fi network Cisco has taken the bold step to integrate SI directly into the Wi-Fi silicon and infrastructure solution. The integrated solution, referred to as Cisco CleanAir, means that for the first time WLAN IT manager is able to identify and locate non-802.11 interference sources, which raises the bar on the ease of management and security of wireless networks. Most importantly, an integrated SI sets the stage for a new breed of Radio Resource Management (RRM). Unlike previous RRM solutions that could only understand and adapt to other Wi-Fi devices, SI opens the path for a second-generation RRM solution that is fully aware of all the users of the wireless spectrum, and is able to optimize performance in the face of these varied devices. The first important point that needs to be made is that from a design perspective. CleanAir enabled access points (APs) are just that APs and the performance is virtually identical to the 1140 APs. Designing for Wi-Fi coverage is the same with both. CleanAir or interference identification processes are a passive process. CleanAir is based on the receiver, and for classification to function, the source needs to be loud enough to be received at 10 dB above the noise floor. If your network is deployed in such a way that your clients and APs can hear one another, then CleanAir can hear well enough to alert you to troubling interference within your network. The coverage requirements for CleanAir are detailed in this document. There are some special cases depending on the CleanAir implementation route you ultimately choose. The technology has been designed to compliment the current best practices in Wi-Fi deployment. This includes the deployment models of other widely used technologies such as Adaptive wIPS, Voice, and location deployments. Cisco recommends that you have knowledge of CAPWAP and Cisco Unified Wireless Network (CUWN). The information in this document is based on these software and hardware versions: CleanAir capable APs are Aironet 3502e, 3501e, 3502i, and 3501i Cisco WLAN Controller (WLC) running version 7.0.98.0 Cisco Wireless Control System (WCS) running version 7.0.164.0 Cisco Mobility Services Engine (MSE) running version 7.0 Refer to Cisco Technical Tips Conventions for more information on document conventions. CleanAir is a system, not a feature. CleanAir software and hardware components provide the ability to accurately measure Wi-Fi Channel quality and identify non-Wi-Fi sources of channel interference. This cannot be done with a Standard Wi-Fi chipset. In order to understand design goals and requirements for successful implementation it is necessary to understand how CleanAir works at a high level. For those already familiar with Ciscos Spectrum Expert technology, CleanAir is a natural evolutionary step. But, it is a completely new technology in that this is an enterprise-based distributed spectrum analysis technology. As such, it is similar to Cisco Spectrum Expert in some respects but very different in others. The components, functions, and features are discussed in this document. The new CleanAir capable APs are Aironet 3502e, 3501e, 3502i, and 3501i. The e designates External Antenna, the I designates Internal antenna. Both are fully functional next generation 802.11n APs and run on standard 802.3af power. Figure 1: C3502E and C3502I CleanAir Capable APs The Spectrum Analysis hardware is directly integrated into the chipset of the radio. This addition added over 500 K logic gates to the radio silicon, and has provided exceptionally close coupling of the features. There are many other traditional features, which have been added or improved with these radios. But, it is beyond the scope of this document and these are not covered here. Suffice it is to say, that on its own without CleanAir the 3500 series APs pack a lot of features and performance into an attractive and robust enterprise AP. The basic Cisco CleanAir architecture consists of Cisco CleanAir enabled APs and a Cisco WLAN controller (WLC). Cisco Wireless Control System (WCS) and Mobility Services Engine (MSE) are optional system components. In order to get full value from the information that the CleanAir system supplies, the WCS and MSE together are key to leveraging a wider efficacy of CleanAir. This provides user interfaces for advanced spectrum capabilities such as historic charts, tracking interference devices, location services and impact analysis. An AP equipped with Cisco CleanAir technology collects information about non-Wi-Fi interference sources, process it and forward to the WLC. The WLC is an integral core part of the CleanAir system. The WLC controls and configures CleanAir capable APs, collects and processes spectrum data and provides it to the WCS andor the MSE. The WLC provides local user interfaces (GUI and CLI) to configure basic CleanAir features and services and display current spectrum information. The Cisco WCS provides advanced user interfaces for CleanAir that include feature enabling and configuration, consolidated display information, historic Air Quality records and reporting engines. Figure 2: Logical System Flow The Cisco MSE is required for location and historic tracking of interference devices, and provides coordination and consolidation of interference reports across multiple WLCs. Note: A single WLC can only consolidate interference alerts for APs directly connected to it. Coordination of reports that come from APs attached to different controllers requires the MSE which has a system wide view of all CleanAir APs and WLCs. The heart of the CleanAir system is the Spectrum Analysis Engine (SAgE) ASIC, the spectrum analyzer on a chip. However, it is much more than just a spectrum analyzer. At the core is a powerful 256 point FFT engine which provides an amazing 78 KHz RBW (Resolution Band Width, the minimum resolution which can be displayed) purpose built pulse and statistics gathering engines as well as the DSP Accelerated Vector Engine (DAvE). The SAgE hardware runs in parallel with the Wi-Fi chipset and processes near line rate information. All of this allows extreme accuracy and scales for large numbers of like interference sources, with no penalty in throughput of user traffic. The Wi-Fi chipset is always on line. SAgE scans are performed once per second. If a Wi-Fi preamble is detected, it is passed through to the chipset directly and is not affected by the parallel SAgE hardware. No packets are lost during SAgE scanning, SAgE is disabled while a Wi-Fi packet is processed through the receiver. SAgE is very fast and accurate. Even in a busy environment, there is more than enough scan time to accurately assess the environment. Why does RBW matter If you need to count and measure the difference between several Bluetooth radios hopping with narrow signals at 1600 hops per second, you need to separate different transmitters hops in your sample if you want to know how many there are. This takes resolution. Otherwise, it would all look like one pulse. SAgE does this, and it does this well. Because of the DAvE and being associated on board memory, the ability to process multiple samplesinterferers in parallel is there. This increases the speed, which allows you to process the data stream in near real time. Near real time means there is some delay, but it is so minimal it takes a computer to measure it. Cisco CleanAir APs produce two basic types of information for the CleanAir system. An IDR (Interference Device Report) is generated for each classified interference source. AQIs (Air Quality Index) reports are generated every 15 seconds and passed to Cisco IOS reg for averaging and eventual transmission to the controller based on the configured interval. CleanAir messaging is all handled on the control plane in two new CAPWAP message types: Spectrum Configuration and Spectrum Data. Formats for these messages are listed here: Spectrum data AP WLC The Interference Device Report (IDR) is a detailed report that contains information about a classified interference device. This report is very similar to the information that is seen in Cisco Spectrum Expert Active Devices, or Devices View. Active IDRs can be viewed on the WLC GUIand CLI for all CleanAir radios on that WLC. IDRs are forwarded to the MSE only. This is the format for an IDR report: Table 1 - Interference Device Report Note: Interference sources marked as Security Interferers are user designated and can be configured through Wireless gt 802.11abgn gt cleanair gt enable interference for security alarm. Any interference source that is classified can be chosen for a security trap alert. This sends a security trap to the WCS or another configured trap receiver based on the type of interferer selected. This trap does not contain the same information as an IDR. It is simply a way to trigger an alarm on the presence of the interferer. When an interferer is designated as a security concern, it is marked as such at the AP and is always included in the ten devices that are reported from the AP regardless of severity. IDR messages are sent in real time. On detection the IDR is marked as device up. If it stops a device down message is sent. An update message is sent every 90 seconds from the AP for all devices currently being tracked. This allows for status updates of tracked interference sources and an audit trail in the event an up or down message was lost in transit. Air Quality (AQ) reporting is available from any spectrum capable AP. Air Quality is a new concept with CleanAir and represents a goodness metric of the available spectrum and indicates the quality of bandwidth available for the Wi-Fi channel. Air Quality is a rolling average that evaluates the impact of all classified interference devices against a theoretical perfect spectrum. The scale is 0-100 with 100 representing Good. AQ reports are sent independently for each radio. The latest AQ report is viewable on the WLC GUI and CLI. AQ reports are stored on the WLC and polled by WCS regular interval. The default is 15 minutes (minimum) and can be extended to 60 minutes on the WCS. Currently, most standard Wi-Fi chips evaluate the spectrum by tracking all of the packetsenergy that can be demodulated on receive, and all of the packetsenergy that it is transmitting. Any energy that remains in the spectrum that cannot be demodulated or accounted for by RXTX activity is lumped into a category called noise. In reality a lot of the noise is actually remnants from collisions, or Wi-Fi packets that fall below the receive threshold for reliable demodulation. With CleanAir, a different approach is taken. All of the energy within the spectrum that is definitely NOT Wi-Fi is classified and accounted for. We can also see and understand energy that is 802.11 modulated and classify energy that is coming from Co-channel and Adjacent channel sources. For each classified device a severity index is calculated (see the Severity section), a positive integer between 0 and 100 with 100 being the most severe. Interference severity is then subtracted from the AQ scale (starting at 100 good) to generate the actual AQ for a channelradio, AP, Floor, Building or campus. AQ then is a measurement of the impact of all classified devices on the environment. There are two AQ reporting modes defined: normal and rapid update. Normal mode is the default AQ reporting mode. Either the WCS or the WLC retrieves reports at normal update rate (default is 15 minutes). The WCS informs the Controller about the default polling period, and the WLC instructs the AP to change AQ averaging and reporting period accordingly. When the user drills down to Monitor gt Access Points gt and chooses a radio interface from the WCS or the WLC, the selected radio is placed into rapid update reporting mode. When a request is received, the Controller instructs the AP to change the default AQ reporting period temporarily to a fixed fast update rate (30 sec), which allows near real-time visibility into AQ changes at the radio level. Default reporting state is ON. Table 3: Air Quality Report Note: In the context of spectrum reporting, Air Quality represents interference from non-Wi-Fi sources and Wi-Fi sources not detectable by a Wi-Fi AP during normal operation (for example, old 802.11 frequency hopper devices, altered 802.11 devices, Adjacent overlapping Channel Interference, etc). Information about Wi-Fi based interference is collected and reported on by the AP using the Wi-Fi chip. A Local mode AP collects AQ information for the current serving channel(s). A Monitor Mode AP collects information for all channels configured under scan options. The standard CUWN settings of Country, DCA, and All channels is supported. When an AQ report is received, the Controller performs required processing and store it in the AQ database. As previously mentioned, CleanAir is the integration of Cisco Spectrum Expert technology within a Cisco AP. While similarities might exist, this is a fresh use of the technology and many new concepts are presented in this section. Cisco Spectrum Expert introduced technology that was able to positively identify non-Wi-Fi sources of radio energy. This permitted the operator to focus on information such as duty cycle and operating channels, and make an informed decision about the device and its impact on their Wi-Fi network. Spectrum Expert allowed the operator to then lock the chosen signal into the device finder application and physically locate the device by walking around with the instrument. The design goal of CleanAir is to go several steps further, by essentially removing the operator further from the equation and automating several of the tasks within system management. Because you can know what the device is and what it is affecting, better decisions can be made at a system level on what to do with the information. Several new algorithms have been developed to add intelligence to the work that was started with Cisco Spectrum Expert. There are always cases that require physically disabling an interference device, or making a decision about a device and impact that involves humans. The overall system should heal what can be healed and avoid what can be avoided so that the effort to reclaim affected spectrum can be a proactive exercise instead of a reactive one. Local Mode AP (recommended) (LMAP)A Cisco CleanAir AP operating in LMAP mode is serving clients on its assigned channel. It is also monitoring the Spectrum on that channel and that channel ONLY. Tight silicon integration with the Wi-Fi radio allows the CleanAir hardware to listen between traffic on the channel that is currently being served with absolutely no penalty to throughput of attached clients. That is line rate detection without interrupting client traffic. There are no CleanAir dwells processed during normal off channel scans. In normal operation, a CUWN Local Mode AP executes an off channel passive scans of the alternate available channels in 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Off channel scans are used for system maintenance such as RRM metrics and rogue detection. The frequency of these scans is not sufficient to collect back to back dwells required for positive device classification, so information gleaned during this scan is suppressed by the system. Increasing the frequency of off channel scans is also not desirable, as it takes away from time that the radio services traffic. What does this all mean A CleanAir AP in LMAP mode only scans one channel of each band continuously. In normal enterprise densities there should be plenty of APs on the same channel, and at least one on each channel assuming RRM is handling channel selection. An interference source that uses narrow band modulation (operates on or around a single frequency) is only detected by APs that share that frequency space. If the interference is a frequency hopping type (uses multiple frequencies generally covering the whole band) it is detected by every AP that can hear it operating in the band. Figure 4: LMAP AP detection example In 2.4 GHz, LMAPs have sufficient density to generally ensure at least three points of classification. A minimum of three detection points is required for location resolution. In 5 GHz, there are 22 channels operating in the United States, thus detection density and sufficient location density is less likely. However, if interference is operating on a channel occupied by a CleanAir AP, it detects it and alert or take steps to mitigate if those features are enabled. Most interference seen is confined to the 5.8 GHz portion of the band. This is where consumer devices live and hence where it is most likely to be encountered. You can limit your channel plan to force more APs to that space if you desire. However, it is not really warranted. Remember, interference is only a problem if it is using spectrum you need. If your AP is not on that channel, it is likely that you still have plenty of spectrum left to move into. What if the need to monitor all of 5 GHz is driven by security policies See the Monitor Mode AP definition below. Monitor Mode AP (optional) (MMAP)A CleanAir Monitor mode AP is dedicated and does not serve client traffic. It provides full time scanning of all channels using 40 MHz dwells. CleanAir is supported in monitor mode along with all other current monitor mode applications including Adaptive wIPS and location enhancement. In a dual radio configuration this ensures that all bands-channels are routinely scanned. CleanAir enabled MMAPs can be deployed as part of a pervasive deployment of CleanAir enabled LMAPs to provide additional coverage in 2.4 and 5 GHz, or as a standalone overlay solution for CleanAir functionality in an existing non-CleanAir AP deployment. In a scenario as mentioned above where security is a primary driver, it is likely that Adaptive wIPS would also be a requirement. This is supported concurrently with CleanAir on the same MMAP. There are some distinct differences in how some of the features are supported when deploying as an overlay solution. Thisis covered in the deployment models discussion in this document. Spectrum Expert Connect Mode SE Connect (optional) An SE Connect AP is configured as a dedicated Spectrum Sensor that allows connection of the Cisco Spectrum Expert application running on a local host to use the CleanAir AP as a remote spectrum sensor for the local application. The connection between Spectrum Expert and the remote AP bypasses the controller on the data plane. The AP remains in contact with the controller on the control plane. This mode allows viewing of the raw spectrum data such as FFT plots and detailed measurements. All CleanAir system functionality is suspended while the AP is in this mode, and no clients are served. This mode is intended for remote troubleshooting only. The Spectrum Expert application is a MS Windows application that connects to the AP via a TCP session. It can be supported in VMWare. In CleanAir the concept of Air Quality was introduced. Air Quality is a measurement of the percentage of time that the spectrum at a particular observed container (radio, AP, Band, Floor, Building) is available for Wi-Fi traffic. AQ is a function of the severity index, which is calculated for each classified interference source. The Severity index evaluates each non- Wi-Fi devices over the air characteristics and calculates what percentage of time the spectrum is not available for Wi-Fi with this device present. Air Quality is a product of the severity indexes of all classified interference sources. This is then reported as the overall Air Quality by radiochannel, band, or RF propagation domain (floor, building) and represents the total cost against available airtime of all non- Wi-Fi sources. Anything that is left is theoretically available to the Wi-Fi network for traffic. This is theoretical because there is a whole science behind measuring the efficiency of Wi-Fi traffic, and this is beyond the scope of this document. However, knowing that interference is or is not impacting that science is a key goal if your plan is success in identifying and mitigating pain points. What makes an interference source severe What determines if it isor is not a problem How do I use this information to manage my network These questions are discussed in this document. In the simplest terms, non- Wi-Fi utilization comes down to how often another radio is using my networks spectrum (Duty Cycle) and how loud is it in relation to my radios (RSSIlocation). Energy in the channel that is seen by an 802.11 interface trying to access the channel is perceived as a busy channel if it is above a certain energy threshold. This is determined by clear channel assessment (CCA). Wi-Fi uses a listen before talk channel access method for contention free PHY access. This is per CSMA-CA (-CAcollision avoidance). The RSSI of the interferer determines if it can be heard above the CCA threshold. The Duty Cycle is the on time of a transmitter. This determines how persistent an energy is in the channel. The higher the duty cycle the more often the channel is blocked. Simple severity can be demonstrated this way then using strictly the RSSI and the Duty Cycle. For illustration purposes, a device with 100 duty cycle is assumed. Figure 5: As interference signal decreases - AQI increases In the graph in this figure you can see that as the signal power of the interference decreases, the resulting AQI increases. Technically, as soon as the signal falls below -65 dBm, the AP no longer is blocked. You do need to think abut the impact this has on clients in the cell. 100 duty cycle (DC) ensures constant disruption of client signals with insufficient SNR in the presence of the noise. AQ rapidly increases once the signal power falls below -78 dBm. So far there are two of the three major impacts of interference defined in the severity based Air Quality metric: Interference is straightforward when looking at 100 DC. This is the type of signal most often used in demonstrations of the affect of interference. It is easy to see in a spectrogram, and it has a very dramatic affect on the Wi-Fi channel. This does happen in the real world too, for example in analog video cameras, motion detectors, telemetry equipment, TDM signals, and older cordless phones. There are a lot of signals that are not 100 DC. In fact, a lot of the interference that is encountered is interference of this type: variable to minimal. Here it gets a bit tougher to call the severity. Examples of interference of this type are Bluetooth, Cordless Phones, wireless speakers, telemetry devices, older 802.11fh gear and so on. For instance, a single Bluetooth headset does not do much damage in a Wi-Fi environment. However, three of these with overlapping propagation can disconnect a Wi-Fi phone if walked through. In addition to CCA, there are provisions in the 802.11 specifications such as the contention window, which is needed to accommodate airtime of different base protocols. Then you add to this various QOS mechanisms. All of these media reservations are used by different applications to maximize airtime efficiency and minimize collisions. This can be confusing. However, because all the interfaces on the air participate and agree on the same group of standards, it works very well. What occurs to this ordered chaos when you introduce a very specific energy that does not understand the contention mechanisms or for that matter does not even participate in CSMA-CA Well, mayhem actually, to a greater or lesser degree. It depends how busy the medium is when the interference is experienced. Figure 6: Similar but Different Channel Duty Cycles You can have two identical signals in terms of the Duty Cycle as measured in the channel and amplitude, but have two totally different levels of interference experienced on a Wi-Fi network. A fast repeating short pulse can be more devastating to Wi-Fi than a relatively slow repeating fat one. Look at an RF jammer, which effectively shuts down a Wi-Fi channel and registers very little duty cycle. In order to do a proper job evaluating, you need a better understanding of the minimum interference interval introduced. The minimum interference interval accounts for the fact that in-channel pulses interrupt Wi-Fi activity for some period longer than their actual duration, due to three effects: If already counting down, Wi-Fi devices must wait an additional DIFS period after the interference pulse. This case is typical for heavily loaded networks, where the interference starts before the Wi-Fis back-off counter has counted down to zero. If a new packet arrives to be transmitted mid-interference, the Wi-Fi device must additionally back off using a random value between zero and CWmin. This case is typical for lightly loaded networks, where the interference starts before the Wi-Fi packet arrives to the MAC for transmission. If the Wi-Fi device is already transmitting a packet when the interference burst arrives, the whole packet must be retransmitted with the next-higher value of CW, up to CWmax. This case is typical if the interference starts second, partially through an existing Wi-Fi packet. If the back off time expires without a successful retransmission, then the next back off is double the previous. This continues with unsuccessful transmission up to CWmax is reached or TTL is exceeded for the frame. Figure 7 - For 802.11bg CWmin 31, for 802.11a CWmin is 15, both have CWmax of 1023 In a real Wi-Fi network, it is difficult to estimate the mean duration of these three effects because they are functions of the number of devices in the BSS, overlapping BSSs, device activity, packet lengths, supported speeds protocols, QoS, and present activity. Therefore, the next best thing is to create a metric that remains constant as a reference point. This is what Severity does. It measures the impact of a single interferer against a theoretical network, and maintains a constant report of severity regardless of the underlying utilization of the network. This gives us a relative point to look at across network infrastructures. The answer to the question how much non- Wi-Fi interference is bad is subjective. In lightly loaded networks it is quite possible to have levels of non- Wi-Fi interference that go unnoticed by the users and administrators. This is what leads to trouble in the end. The nature of wireless networks is to become busier over time. Success leads to faster organizational adoption, and to new applications being committed. If there is interference present from day one, it is quite likely that the network have a problem with this when it becomes busy enough. When this happens it is difficult for people to believe that something that has been fine seemingly all along is the culprit. How do we use CleanAirs Air Quality and Severity metrics AQ is used to develop and monitor a baseline spectrum measurement and alert on changes indicating a performance impact. You can also use it for long term trend assessment through reporting. Severity is used to evaluate interference impact potential and prioritize individual devices for mitigation. Non Wi-Fi transmitters are less than friendly when it comes to unique characteristics that can be used to identify them. That is essentially what made the Cisco Spectrum Expert solution so revolutionary. Now with CleanAir there are multiple APs that potentially all hears the same interference at the same time. Correlating these reports to isolate unique instances is a challenge that had to be solved to provide advanced features, such as location of interference devices, as well as an accurate count. Enter the Pseudo MAC or PMAC. Because an analog video device does not have a MAC address or, in several cases, any other identifying digital tag an algorithm had to be created to identify unique devices being reported from multiple sources. A PMAC is calculated as part of the device classification and included in the interference device record (IDR). Each AP generates the PMAC independently, and while it is not identical for each report (at a minimum the measured RSSI of the device is likely different at each AP), it is similar. The function of comparing and evaluating PMACs is called merging. The PMAC is not exposed on customer interfaces. Only the results of merging are available in the form of a cluster ID. This merging is discussed next. Figure 8: Raw Detection of Interference In this graphic you can see several APs all reporting DECT, such as Phone energy. However, the APs in this graphic are actually reporting on the presence of two distinct DECT, such as Phone sources. Before the assignment of a PMAC and subsequent merging, there is only the device classification, which can be misleading. PMAC gives us a way to identify individual interference sources, even if they do not have any logical information that can be used such as an address. There are several APs all reporting a similar device. For each reporting AP, the PMAC is assigned to the classified signal. The next step is to combine the PMACs that are likely the same source device to a single report for the system. This is what merging does, consolidating multiple reports to a single event. Merging uses spatial proximity of the reporting APs. If there are six similar IDRs with five from APs on the same floor, and another one from a building a mile away, it is unlikely this is the same interferer. Once a proximity is established, a probability calculation is run to further match the distinct IDRs that belong and the result is assigned to a cluster. A cluster represents the record of that interference device and captures the individual APs that are reporting on it. Subsequent IDR reports or updates on the same device follow the same process and instead of creating a new cluster are matched to an existing one. In a cluster report, one AP is designated as the Cluster Center. This is the AP that hears the interference the loudest. Figure 9: After the PMAC Merge - APs hearing the same physical device are identified The merging algorithm runs on every CleanAir enabled WLC. A WLC performs the merge function for all IDRs from APs that are physically associated to it. All IDRs and resulting merged clusters are forwarded to an MSE, if it exists in the system. Systems with more than one WLC require an MSE to provide merging services. The MSE performs a more advanced merging function that seeks to merge clusters reported from different WLCs and extract location information to be reported to the WCS. Why do we need an MSE to merge IDRs across multiple WLCs Because a single WLC only knows the neighbors for the APs physically associated to it. RF Proximity cannot be determined for IDRs coming from APs located on different controllers unless you have a full system view. The MSE has this view. How physical proximity is determined differs, depending on how you implement CleanAir as well. For LMAP pervasive implementations, the APs all participate in Neighbor Discovery, so it is an easy matter to consult the RF neighbor list and determine spatial relationships for IDRs. In an MMAP overlay model you do not have this information. MMAPs are passive devices and do not transmit neighbor messages. Therefore, establishing the spatial relationship of one MMAP to another MMAP has to be done using X and Y coordinates from a system map. In order to do this, you also need the MSE that knows about the system map and can provide merging functions. More detail on the different modes of operation as well as practical deployment advice is covered in the deployment models section. Deploying APs in mixed mode LMAP CleanAir APs with an overlay of MMAP CleanAir APs is the best approach to high accuracy and total coverage. You can use the neighbor list created by the received neighbor messages for the MMAP as part of the merging information. In other words, if you have a PMAC from a LMAP AP and a PMAC from a MMAP, and the MMAP shows the LMAP AP as a neighbor, then the two can be merged with a high degree of confidence. This is not possible with CleanAir MMAPs deployed within legacy standard APs because those APs do not produce IDRs to compare with the merge process. The MSE and the X and Y references are still needed. Determining the location of a radio transmitter in theory is a fairly straightforward process. You sample the received signal from multiple locations and you triangulate based on the received signal strength. On a Wi-Fi network clients are located and Wi-Fi RFID tags with good results as long as there is a sufficient density of receivers and adequate signal to noise ratio. Wi-Fi clients and tags send probes on all supported channels regularly. This ensures that all APs within range hear the client or TAG regardless of the channel it is serving. This provides a lot of information to work with. We also know that the device (tag or client) subscribes to a specification that governs how it operates. Therefore, you can be certain that the device is using an omni-directional antenna and has a predictable initial transmit power. Wi-Fi devices also contain logical information that identifies it as a unique signal source (MAC address). Note: There is no guarantee of accuracy for location of non- Wi-Fi devices. Accuracy can be quite good and useful. However, there are a lot of variables in the world of consumer electronics and unintentional electrical interference. Any expectation of accuracy that is derived from current Client or Tag location accuracy models does not apply to non- Wi-Fi location and CleanAir features. Non Wi-Fi interference sources pose a special opportunity to get creative. For instance, what if the signal you are trying to locate is a narrow video signal (1 MHz) that is only affecting one channel In 2.4 GHz this probably works fine because most organizations have sufficient density to ensure that at least three APs on the same channel will hear it. However, in 5 GHz this is more difficult since most non-Wi-Fi devices only operate in the 5.8 GHz band. If RRM has DCA enabled with country channels, the number of APs actually assigned in 5.8 GHz declines because its goal is to spread out channel re-use and make use of open spectrum. This sounds bad, but remember if you are not detecting it, then it is not interfering with anything. Therefore, is really not a problem from a standpoint of interference. This is however an issue if your deployment concerns extend to security. In order to gain proper coverage you require some MMAP APs in addition to the LMAP APs to ensure full spectral coverage within the band. If your only concern is securing the operating space you are using, then you can also limit the channels available in DCA and force increased density in the channel ranges you wish to cover. The RF parameters of non- Wi-Fi devices can and do vary widely. An estimate has to be made based on the type of device that is being detected. The starting RSSI of the signal source needs to be known for good accuracy. You can estimate this based on experience, but if the device has a directional antenna the calculations will be off. If the device runs on battery power and experiences voltage sags or peaks as it operates, this will change how the system sees it. A different manufacturers implementation of a known product might not meet the expectations of the system. This will affect the calculations. Fortunately, Cisco has some experience in this area, and non-Wi-Fi device location actually works quite well. The point that needs to be made is that the accuracy of a non- Wi-Fi device location has a lot of variables to consider, accuracy increases with power, duty cycle, and number of channels hearing the device. This is good news because higher power, higher duty cycle, devices that impact multiple channels is generally what is considered to be severe as far as interference to the network goes. Cisco CleanAir APs, first and foremost, are access points. What this means is that there is nothing inherently different about deploying these APs over deploying any other currently shipping AP. What has changed is the introduction of CleanAir. This is a passive technology that does not impact the operation of the Wi-Fi network in any way, other than the noted mitigation strategies of ED-RRM and PDA. These are only available in a Greenfield installation and configured off by default. This section will deal with the sensitivity, density and the coverage requirements for good CleanAir functionality. These are not all that different from other established technology models such as a Voice, Video, or Location deployment. Valid deployment models for CleanAir products and feature functionality. Table 5: CleanAir Deployment Models vs Features CleanAir is a passive technology. All it does is hear things. Because an AP hears a lot farther than it can effectively talk this makes it a simple task to do a correct design in a Greenfield environment. Understanding how well CleanAir hears, and how classification and detection works, will give you the answers you need for any configuration of CleanAir. CleanAir depends on detection. The detection sensitivity is more generous than Wi-Fi throughput requirements with a requirement of 10 dB SNR for all classifiers, and many operable down to 5 dB. In most conceivable deployments where coverage is pervasive, there should not be any issues in hearing and detecting interference within the network infrastructure. How this breaks down is simple. In a network where the average AP power is at or between 5-11 dBm (power levels 3-5) then a class 3 (1 mW0 dBm) Bluetooth device should be detected down to -85 dBm. Raising the noise floor above this level creates a slight degradation in detection dB for dB. For design purposes it is worth adding a buffer zone by setting the minimum design goal to say -80. This will provide sufficient overlap in most conceivable situations. Note: Bluetooth is a good classifier to design for because it represents the bottom end power wise in devices you would be looking for. Anything lower generally does not even register on a Wi-Fi network. It is also handy (and readily available) to test with because it is a frequency hopper and will be seen by every AP, regardless of mode or channel in 2.4 GHz. It is important to understand your interference source. For instance Bluetooth. Here are multiple flavors of this in the market presently and the radios and specification have continued to evolve as most technologies do over time. A Bluetooth headset that you would use for your cell phone is most likely a class3 or class2 device. This operates on low power and makes ample use of adaptive power profiles, which extends battery life and reduces interference. A Bluetooth headset will transmit frequently on paging (Discovery mode) until associated. Then it will go dormant until needed in order to conserve power. CleanAir will only detect an active BT transmission. No RF, then nothing to detect. Therefore, if you are going to test with something, make sure it is transmitting. Play some music across it, but force it to transmit. Spectrum Expert Connect is a handy way to verify if something is, or is not transmitting and will end a lot of potential confusion. CleanAir was designed to compliment what is largely considered a normal density implementation. This definition of Normal continues to evolve. For instance, just five years ago 300 APs on the same system was considered a large implementation. In a lot of the world it still is. Numbers of 3,000-5,000 APs with many hundreds of them sharing direct knowledge through RF propagation are routinely seen. What is important to understand is: CleanAir LMAP supports the assigned channel only . Band Coverage is implemented by ensuring that channels are covered. The CleanAir AP can hear very well, and the active cell boundary is not the limit. For Location solutions, the RSSI cutoff value is -75 dBm. A minimum of three quality measurements is required for Location Resolution. In most deployments it is hard to image a coverage area that will not have at least three APs within ear shot on the same channel in 2.4 GHz. If there are not, then location resolution suffers. Add a Monitor Mode AP and use the guidelines. Remember that the location cutoff is -75 dBm corrects this because an MMAP listens to all channels. In locations where there is minimal density location resolution is likely not supported. But, you are protecting the active user channel extremely well. Also in such an area, you are generally not talking about a lot of space so locating an interference source does not pose the same problem as a multifloor dwelling. Deployment considerations come down to planning the network for desired capacity, and ensuring that you have the correct components and network paths in place to support CleanAir functions. RF proximity and the importance of RF Neighbor Relations cannot be understated. Make sure to understand PMAC and the merging process well. If a network does not have a good RF design, the neighbor relations is generally affected. This affects CleanAir performance. If you plan to install CleanAir MMAPs as an overlay to an existing network there are some limitations you need to keep in mind. CleanAir 7.0 software is supported on all of Ciscos shipping controllers. Each model controller supports the maximum rated AP capacity with CleanAir LMAPs. There are limits in the number of MMAPs that can be supported. The maximum number of MMAPs is a function of memory. The controller must store AQ details for each monitored channel. An LMAP requires two channels storage of AQ information. However, an MMAP is passively scanning and the channel data can be 25 channels per AP. Use the table below for design guidance. Always refer to the current release documentation for current information by release. Table 6: MMAP limits on WLCs Note: The numbers quoted for clusters (merged interference reports) and device records (individual IDR Reports before merging) are generous and highly unlikely to be exceeded in even the worst environments. Suppose you simply want to deploy CleanAir as a sensor network to monitor and be alerted about non- Wi-Fi interference. How many Monitor Mode APs (MMAPs) do you need The answer is generally 1-5 MMAP to LMAP radios. This of course depends on your coverage model. How much coverage do you get with an MMAP AP Quite a bit actually since you are strictly listening. The coverage area is far greater than if you also had to communicate and transmit. How about you visualize this on a map (you can use any planning tool available following a similar procedure as described below) If you have WCS and already have the system maps built, then this is an easy exercise. Use the planning mode in theWCS maps. Select Monitor gt Maps. Select the map you want to work with. In the right hand corner of the WCS screen use the radio button to select Planning Mode, then click go. Figure 10: WCS Planning mode Select the AP type. Use the default antennas for internal or change to match your deployment: 1 AP TX Power for both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz is 1 dBm Class3 BT 1 mW Select ADD AP at the bottom. Figure 11: Add AP in WCS planner Move the AP to place on your map and select apply. The heat map populates. Choose -80 dBm for the RSSI cutoff at the top of the map, the map re-draws if this is a change. Here is what your CleanAir MMAP covers for 1 dBm out to -80 dBm. These results show a cell with a radius of 70 feet or 15,000 ft2 of coverage. Figure 12: Example Coverage of CleanAir MMAP using 1 dBm power and -80 dBm cutoff for coverage Note: Keep in mind that this is a predictive analysis. The accuracy of this analysis depends directly on the accuracy of the maps used to create it. It is beyond the scope of this document to provide a step by step instruction on how to edit maps within a WCS. A good question you want to ask is are these MMAPs going to be deployed strictly for CleanAir Or, are you going to take advantage of the many benefits that can be derived from the inclusion of monitoring APs in your network All of these applications work with CleanAir enabled APs. For Adaptive wIPS, refer to the Cisco Adaptive wIPS Deployment Guide as the coverage recommendation of Adaptive wIPS are similar, but dependent on your goals and customers needs. For location services ensure that you review and understand the deployment requirements for your technology. All of these solutions are complimentary with CleanAir design goals. Why should I not mix CleanAir LMAP and Legacy LMAP APs in the same physical area This question pertains to this use case: I currently have non CleanAir APs deployed (1130,1240, 1250, 1140) in local mode. I want to add just a few CleanAir APs to increase my coveragedensity. Why cant I just add some APs and get all the CleanAir features This is not recommended because CleanAir LMAPs only monitor the serving channel and all CleanAir features rely on measurement density for quality. This installation would result in indiscriminate coverage of the band. You could well end up with a channel (or several) that has no CleanAir coverage at all. However with the base installation, you would be using all of the channels available. Assuming RRM is in control (recommended) it is entirely possible that all of the CleanAir APs could be assigned to the same channel in a normal installation. You spread them out to try to get the best spatial coverage possible, and that actually increases the odds of this. You certainly can deploy a few CleanAir APs in with an existing installation. It is an AP and would function fine from a client and coverage standpoint. CleanAir functionality would be compromised and there is no way to really guarantee what the system would or would not tell you regarding your spectrum. There are far too many options in density and coverage which can be introduced to predict. What would work AQ would be valid for the reporting radio only. This means it is only relevant for the channel that it is serving, and this could change at any time. Interference alerts and zone of impact would be valid. However, any location derived would be suspect. Best to leave that out all together and assume closest AP resolution. Mitigation strategies would be ill-advised to operate because most of the APs in the deployment would not operate the same way. You would be able to use the AP to look at spectrum from Spectrum Connect. You would also have the option to temporarily switch to monitor mode at any time in order to perform a full scan of the environment. While there are some benefits, it is important to understand the pitfalls and adjust expectations accordingly. It is not recommended, and issues arising from this type of deployment are not supportable based on this deployment model. A better option if your budget does not support adding APs that do not serve client traffic (MMAP) is to collect enough CleanAir APs to deploy together in a single area. Any area that can be enclosed on a map area can contain a Greenfield CleanAir deployment with full feature support. The only caveat on this would be location. You still need enough density for location. While it is not advisable to mix legacy APs and CleanAir APs operating in local mode in the same deployment area, what about running both on the same WLC This is perfectly fine. Configurations for CleanAir are only applicable to APs that support CleanAir. For instance, in the RRM configuration parameters for both 802.11an and 802.11bgn you see both ED-RRM and PDA configurations for RRM. One might consider that these would be bad if applied to an AP that was not a CleanAir capable AP. However, even though these features do interact with RRM, they can only be triggered by a CleanAir event and are tracked to the AP that triggers them. There is no chance that a non- CleanAir AP has these configurations applied to them, even though the configuration applies to the whole RF group. This raises another important point. While CleanAir configurations on a 7.0 or later controller are effective for any CleanAir AP that attaches to that controller, ED-RRM and PDA are still RRM configurations. Implementation of CleanAir draws on many of the architecture elements present within the CUWN. It has been designed to fortify and add functionality to every system component, and draws on information that is already present top enhance usability and tightly integrate the features. This is the overall breakdown classified into license tiers. Notice that it is not necessary to have a WCS and or the MSE in the system to get good functionality from the system. The MIBs are available on the controller and are open to those who wish to integrate these features into an existing management system. For a basic CleanAir system, the requirements are a CleanAir AP and a WLC that runs version 7.0 or later code. This provides both a CLI and the WLC GUI for customer interface and all CURRENT data is displayed, including interference sources reported by band and the SE connect feature. Security Alerts (Interference sources designated as a security concern) are merged before triggering the SNMP trap. As previously stated though, WLC merging is limited to the view of just the APs associated to that controller. There is no historical support of trend analysis supported directly from the WLC interfaces. Adding a BASIC WCS and managing the controller adds trending support for AQ and alarms. You receive historical AQ reporting, threshold alerts through SNMP, RRM Dashboard support, Security alert support, and many other benefits including the client troubleshooting tool. What you do not get is Interference history and location. This is stored in the MSE. Note: Adding an MSE to the WCS for location requires both a WCS plus license and Context Aware feature licenses for the MSE. Adding an MSE and location solution to the network supports the historical IDR reporting as well as location based functions. In order to add this to an existing CUWN solution, you require a plus license on the WCS, and CAS or Context Aware licenses for the location targets. 1 Interferer 1 CAS license Interferers are managed through context aware and an interference that is tracked in the system is the same as a client for purposes of licensing. There are many options on how to manage these licenses and what they are used for. On the WLC configuration you can limit which interference sources are tracked for location and reporting in the maps by selecting them from the controller gt Wireless gt 802.11ba gt CleanAir menu. Interference devices selected there are reported, and choosing to ignore them keeps them out of the location system and MSE. This is completely separate from what is actually happening at the AP. All classifiers are always detected at the AP level. This determines what isdone with an IDR report. If you use this to limit reporting, then it is reasonably safe because all energy is still seen at the AP and is captured in AQ reports. AQ reports break out the contributing interference sources by category. If you eliminate a category here to conserve licensing, it is still reported as a contributing factor in AQ and you are alerted if you exceed a threshold. Figure 13: WLC CleanAir configuration - reporting For instance, suppose the network you are installing is in a retail environment, and the map is cluttered with Bluetooth targets coming from headsets. You could eliminate this by de-selecting the Bluetooth Link. If at some time later Bluetooth became a problem, you would see this category rise in your AQ reporting and could re-enable at will. There is no interface reset required. You also have the element manager under the MSE configurations: WCS gt Mobility Services gt Your MSE gt Context Aware Service gt administration gt tracking Parameters. Figure 14: MSE Context Aware element manager This gives the user complete control to assess and manage what licenses are used for and how they are divided among target categories. Table 7: CleanAir Features matrix by CUWN Component The minimum required configuration for Cisco CleanAir is the Cisco CleanAir AP, and a WLC which runs version 7.0. With these two components you can view all of the information provided by CleanAir APs. You also get the mitigation features available with the addition of CleanAir APs and the extensions provided through RRM. This information is viewable via the CLI or the GUI. The focus is on the GUI in this section for brevity. WLC Air Quality and Interference Reports On the WLC you can view current AQ and Interference reports from the GUI menu. In order to view interference reports, there must be interference active as the report is for current conditions only Interference Device Report Select Monitor gt Cisco CleanAir gt 802.11a802.11b gt Interference Devices. All active interference devices being reported by CleanAir Radios are listed by RadioAP reporting. Details include AP Name, Radio Slot ID, Interference Type, Affected Channels, Detected Time, Severity, Duty Cycle, RSSI, Device ID and Cluster ID. Figure 15: Accessing WLC Interference Device Report Air Quality Report Air Quality is reported by Radiochannel. In the example below, AP0022.bd18.87c0 is in monitor mode and displays AQ for channels 1-11. Selecting the radio button at the end of any line allows the option of showing this information in the radio detail screen, which includes all information gathered by the CleanAir interface. Figure 16: WLC Interference Device Report CleanAir Configuration AQ and Device Traps control CleanAir allows you to determine both the threshold and types of traps that you receive. Configuration is by band: Wireless gt 802.11ba gt CleanAir. Figure 17: WLC CleanAir configuration You can enable and disable CleanAir for the entire controller, suppress the reporting of all interferers, and determine which interferers to report or ignore. Selecting specific interference devices to ignore is a useful feature. For instance you might not want to track all Bluetooth headsets because they are relatively low impact and you have a lot of them. Choosing to ignore these devices simply prevents it from being reported. The RF that comes from the devices is still calculated into the total AQ for the spectrum. EnableDisable (on by default) the AirQuality trap. AQI Alarm Threshold (1 to 100). When you set the AirQuality threshold for traps, this tells the WLC at what level you want to see a trap for AirQuality. The default threshold is 35, which is extremely high. For testing purposes setting this value to 85 or 90 proves more practical. In practice, the threshold is variable so you can tune it for your specific environment. Enable Interference for Security Alarm. When you add the WLC to a WCS system, you can select this check box to treat interference device traps as security Alarm traps. This allows you to select the types of devices that appear in the WCS alarm summary panel as a security trap. Dodo not trap device selection allows control over the types of devices that generates interferencesecurity trap messages. Lastly, the status of ED-RRM (Event Driven RRM) is displayed. Configuration for this feature is covered under the Event Driven RRM - EDRRM section later in this document. Rapid Update Mode - CleanAir Detail Selecting Wireless gt Access Points gt Radios gt 802.11ab shows all of the 802.11b or 802.11a radios attached to the WLC. Selecting the radio button at the end of the line allows you to see either the radio detail (traditional non CleanAir metrics of utilization, noise and the like) or CleanAir detail. Figure 18: Accessing CleanAir Detail Selecting CleanAir produces a graphic (default) display of all CleanAir information pertaining to that radio. The information displayed is now in Rapid Update Mode by default. This means it is being refreshed every 30 seconds from the AP instead of the 15 minute averaging period displayed in system level messaging. From top to bottom, all interferers being detected by that radio along with the interference parameters of Type, Affected Channels, Detection Time, Severity, Duty Cycle, RSSI, Device ID, and Cluster ID. Figure 19: CleanAir Radio Detail Page From this figure, the displayed charts include: Air Quality by Channel Non- Wi-Fi Channel Utilization Air Quality by Channel displays the Air Quality for the channel that is being monitored. Non Wi-Fi channel utilization shows the utilization that is directly attributable to the interference device being displayed. In other words, if you get rid of that device you regain that much spectrum for Wi-Fi applications to use. There are two categories that are introduced here under Air Quality details: Adjacent Off Channel Interference (AOCI)This is interference from a Wi-Fi device that is not on the reporting operating channel, but is overlapping the channel space. For channel 6, the report would identify interference attributable to an AP on channels 4, 5, 7, and 8. UnclassifiedThis is energy that is not attributable definitively to Wi-Fi or non- Wi-Fi sources. Fragments, collisions, things of this nature frames that are mangled beyond recognition. In CleanAir guesses must not be made. Interference power displays the receive power of the interferer at that AP. The CleanAir Detail page displays information for all monitored channels. The examples above are from a Monitor Mode (MMAP) AP. A local Mode AP would show the same detail, but only for the current served channel. CleanAir Enabled RRM There are two key Mitigation Features that are present with CleanAir. Both rely directly on information that can only be gathered by CleanAir. Event Driven RRM Event Driven RRM (ED-RRM) is a feature that allows an AP in distress to bypass normal RRM intervals and immediately change channels. A CleanAir AP is always monitoring AQ, and reports on this in 15 second intervals. AirQuality is a better metric than relying on normal Wi-Fi chip noise measurements because AirQuality only reports on Classified Interference devices. This makes AirQuality a reliable metric because it is known what is reported is not because of Wi-Fi energy (and hence not a transient normal spike). For ED-RRM a channel change only occurs if the Air Quality is sufficiently impacted. Because Air Quality can only be affected by a classified known to CleanAir non- Wi-Fi source of interference (or an adjacent overlapping Wi-Fi channel), the impact is understood: Not a Wi-Fi anomaly A crisis condition at this AP Crisis means that CCA is blocked. No clients or the AP can use the current channel. Under these conditions RRM would change the channel on the next DCA pass. However, that could be a few minutes away (up to ten minutes depending on when the last run was performed), or the user could have changed the default interval and it could be longer (selected an anchor time and interval for longer DCA operation). ED-RRM reacts very quickly (30 seconds) so the users that change with the AP are likely unaware of the crisis that was close. 30 -50 seconds is not long enough to call a help desk. The users that do not are in no worse shape than they would have been in the first place. In all cases the interference source was identified and the AP change reason logs that source, and the users that have poor roaming receives an answer as to why this change was made. The channel change is not random. It is picked based on device contention, thus it is an intelligent alternate choice. Once the channel is changed there is protection against triggering ED-RRM again in a hold down timer (60 seconds). The event channel is also marked in RRM DCA for the affected AP to prevent a return to the event channel (3 hours) in the event the interferer is an intermittent event and DCA does not see it immediately. In all cases the impact of the channel change is isolated to the affected AP. Suppose a hacker or someone of ill intent fires up a 2.4 GHz jammer and all channels are blocked. First off, all the users within the radius are out of business anyway. However, suppose ED-RRM triggers on the all APs that can see it. All APs change channels once, then hold for 60 seconds. The condition would be met again, so another change would fire with the condition still being met after 60 seconds. There would be no channels left to change to and ED-RRM activity would stop. A security alert would fire off on the jammer (default action) and you would need to provide a location (if with MSE) or nearest detecting AP. ED-RRM would log a major AQ event for all affected channels. The reason would be RF jammer. The event would be contained within the effected RF domain and well alerted. Now the next question that is generally asked, quotwhat if the hacker walks around with the jammer, would that not that cause all the APs to trigger ED-RRMquot. Sure you are going to trigger ED-RRM channel changes on all the APs that have ED-RRM enabled. However, as the jammer moves so does its effect and usability is restored as soon as it moves. It really does not matter because you have a hacker walking around with a jammer in their hand disconnecting users everywhere they go. This is a problem in itself. ED-RRM does not compound that issue. CleanAir on the other hand is also busy alerting, locating, and providing the location history of where they went and where they are. These are good things to know in such a case. Configuration is accessed under Wireless gt 802.11a802.11b gt RRM gt DCA gt Event Driven RRM . Figure 20: Event Driven RRM Configuration Note: Once ED-RRM is triggered on an APChannel the AP is prevented from returning to that channel for three hours. This is to prevent thrashing if the signal source is intermittent in nature. Persistent Device Avoidance Persistent Device Avoidance is another mitigation feature that is only possible with CleanAir APs. A device that operates periodically, such as a microwave oven, can introduce destructive levels of interference while it is operating. However, once it is no longer in use the air goes quiet again. Devices such as video cameras, outdoor bridge equipment, and microwave ovens are all examples of a type of device called persistent. These devices can operate continuously or periodically, but what they all have in common is that they do not move frequently. RRM of course sees levels of RF noise on a given channel. If the device is operating long enough RRM even moves an active AP off the channel that has interference. However, once the device goes quiet, it is likely that the original channel presents as the better choice once again. Because each CleanAir AP is a spectrum sensor the center of the interference source can be evaluated and located. Also, you can understand which APs are affected by a device that you know is there, and potentially operates and disrupts the network when it does. Persistent Device Avoidance allows us to log the existence of such interference and remember that it is there so you do not place an AP back on the same channel. Once a Persistent Device has been identified it is remembered for seven days. If it is not seen again then it is cleared from the system. Each time you see it, the clock starts over. Note: Persistent Device Avoidance information is remembered at the AP and Controller. Rebooting either re-sets the value. Configuration for Persistent Device Avoidance is located at Wireless gt 802.11a802.11b gt RRM gt DCA gt Avoid Devices . In order to see if a radio has logged a Persistent Device you can view the status at Wireless gt Access Points gt Radios gt 802.11ab gt . Select a radio. At the end of the line click the radio button and select CleanAir RRM. Figure 21: CleanAir Persistent Device Avoidance status Spectrum Expert Connect CleanAir APs can all support the Spectrum Expert connect mode. This mode places the APs radios into a dedicated scanning mode that can drive the Cisco Spectrum Expert application across a network. The Spectrum Expert console functions as if it had a local Spectrum Expert card installed. Note: A routable network path must exist between the Spectrum Expert host and the target AP. Ports 37540 and 37550 must be open to connect. The Protocol is TCP, and the AP is listening. Spectrum Expert connect mode is an enhanced monitor mode, and as such the AP does not serve clients while this mode is enabled. When you initiate the mode the AP reboots. When it re-joins the controller it is in Spectrum Connect mode and have generated a session key for use to connect the application. All that is required is Cisco Spectrum Expert 4.0 or later, and a routable network path between the application host and the target AP. In order to initiate the connection, start by changing the mode on from Wireless gt Access Points gt All APs . Figure 22: AP Mode Configuration Go to AP Mode, and select SE-Connect. Save the configuration. You receive two warning screens: one advising that SE-connect mode is not a client-serving mode, the second warning that the AP is rebooted. Once you have changed the mode and saved the configuration navigate to the Monitor gt Access Points screen. Monitor the AP status and reload. Once the AP rejoins and reloads navigate back to the AP configuration screen, you need the NSI Key for the session that is displayed there. You can copy and paste the NSI key for the inclusion in launching Spectrum Expert. Figure 23: NSI Key generated You need Cisco Spectrum Expert 4.0. Once installed, launch Spectrum Expert. On the initial splash screen you see a new option, Remote Sensor. Select Remote Sensor and paste in the NSI Key, and tell Spectrum Expert the IP address of the AP. Select which radio you wish to connect to and click OK. Figure 24: Cisco Spectrum Expert Sensor connect screen When you add a WCS to the feature mix you get more display options for CleanAir information. The WLC can display current information, but with WCS the ability to track, monitor, alert, and report historical AirQuality levels for all CleanAir APs is added. Also, the ability to correlate CleanAir information to other award winning dashboards within WCS allows the user to fully understand their spectrum like never before. WCS CleanAir Dashboard The home page has several elements added and is customizable by the user. Any of the elements displayed on the home page can be re-arranged to user preferences. That is beyond the scope of this discussion, but keep it in mind as you use the system. What is being presented here is simply the default view. Selecting the CleanAir tab takes you to the CleanAir information available on the system. Figure 25: WCS Home Page Note: The default settings for the page include a top 10 interferers report by band in the right hand corner. If you do not have an MSE, this report does not populate. You can edit this page and add or delete components to customize it to your liking. Figure 26: WCS CleanAir Dashboard Charts displayed on this page display the running historical averages and minimums for CleanAir spectrum events. The average AQ number is for the entire system as displayed here. The minimum AQ chart for example tracks, by band, the minimum reported AQ received from any specific radio on the system in any 15 minute reporting period. You can use the charts to quickly identify historical minimums. Figure 27: Minimum Air Quality history chart Selecting the Enlarge Chart button on the bottom right in any chart object produces a pop-up window with an enlarged view of the chart in question. A mouse hover in any chart produces a time and date stamp, and AQ level seen for the reporting period. Figure 28: Enlarged Minimum Air Quality Chart Knowledge of the date and time gives you the information that you need to search for the particular event, and gather additional details such as APs that registered the event and device types operating at that time. AQ threshold alarms are reported to the WCS as performance alarms. You can also view them through the Alarm Summary panel at the top of the home page. Figure 29: Alarm Summary panel Either Advanced Search or simply selecting performance category from the alarm summary panel (provided you have a performance alarm) yields a list of performance alarms that contain details about a particular AQ event that is below the configured threshold. Figure 30: Air Quality Threshold Alarms Selecting a particular event displays the detail related to that event including the date, time, and most importantly the reporting AP. Figure 31: Performance Alarm Detail Configurations for Air Quality Thresholds is located under Configure gt Controller, either from the WCS GUI or the Controller GUI. This can be used for all CleanAir Configurations. The best practice is to use the WCS once you have assigned a controller to it. In order to generate performance alarms, you can set the AQ threshold for a low threshold such as 90 or even 95 (remember that AQ is good at 100 and bad at 0). You need some interference to trigger it such as a microwave oven. Remember to put a cup of water in it first and run it for 3-5 minutes. Air Quality History Tracking Reports AirQuality is tracked on each CleanAir AP at the radio level. The WCS enables historical reports for monitoring and trending AQ in your infrastructure. Reports can be accessed by navigating to the report launchpad. Select Reports gt Report Launchpad. CleanAir reports are at the top of the list. You can choose to look at Air Quality vs Time or Worst Air Quality APs. Both reports should be useful in tracking how Air Quality changes over time and identifying areas that require some attention. Figure 32: Report Launchpad CleanAir Maps Monitor gt Maps Selecting Monitor gt Maps displays the maps configured for the system. Average and minimum AQ numbers are presented in hierarchical fashion corresponding to the container levels of campus, building, and floor. For instance, at the building level the AverageMinimum AQ is the average of all CleanAir APs contained in the building. The minimum is the lowest AQ reported by any single CleanAir AP. Looking at a floor level, the average AQ represents the average of all APs located on that floor and the minimum AQ is that of the single worst AQ from an AP on that floor. Figure 33: Maps main page - showing Air Quality Hierarchy Selecting a map for a given floor provides detail relevant to the selected floor. There are a lot of ways that you can view the information on the map. For instance, you can change the AP tags to display CleanAir information such as CleanAir Status (shows which APs are capable), minimum or average AQ values, or Average and Minimum values. The values are relevant to the band selected. Figure 34: AP Tags show lots of CleanAir information You can see the interferers that are being reported by each AP in several ways. Hover over the AP, select a radio, and select the show interferers hotlink. This produces a list of all Interference detected on that interface. Figure 35: Viewing Interference Devices detected on an AP Another interesting way to visualize the impact of interference on the map is to select the interference tag. Without the MSE, you cannot locate interference on the map. However, you can select show interference labels, which are labels with the interferers currently being detected is applied to all CleanAir radios. You can customize this to limit the number of interferers displayed. Selecting the hotlink in the tab allows you to zoom in to the individual interferer details, and all interferers are displayed. Note: CleanAir APs can track unlimited numbers of interferers. They only report on the top 10 ordered by severity, with preference being given to a security threat. Figure 36: Interference Tag being displayed on all CleanAir APs A useful way to visualize non- Wi-Fi interference and its effect is to view AQ as a heatmap on the map display. Do this by selecting heatmaps and selecting Air Quality. You can display the average or the minimum AQ. The map is rendered using the coverage patterns for each AP. Notice that the upper right corner of the map is white. No AQ is rendered there because the AP is in monitor mode and passive. Figure 37: Air Quality Heat Map CleanAir Enabled RRM Dashboard CleanAir allows you to see what is in our spectrum that is non- Wi-Fi. In other words, all those things that were considered just noise can now be broken down to understand if and how it is impacting your data network. RRM can and does mitigate noise by selecting a better channel. When this occurs the solution is generally better than it was, but you are still letting something that is not your data network occupy your spectrum. This reduces the overall spectrum available to your data and voice applications. Wired and Wireless networks differ in that on a wired network if you need more bandwidth you can install more switches, or ports, or Internet connections. The signals are all contained within the wire and do not interfere with one another. In a wireless network, however, there is a finite amount of spectrum available. Once used, you cannot simply add more. The CleanAir RRM Dashboard on the WCS allows you to understand what is going on in your spectrum by tracking non- Wi-Fi interference as well as Signal from our network, Interference from foreign networks and balancing all within the spectrum that is available. The solutions that RRM provides do not always seem optimal. However, there is often something that you cannot see which causes two APs to operate on the same channel. The RRM Dashboard is what we use to track events that affect the balance of spectrum and provide answers as to why something is the way it is. CleanAir information being integrated to this dashboard is a big step forward to total control of the spectrum. Figure 38: CleanAir RRM Channel Change reasons from RRM Dashboard Channel Change reasons now include several new categories which refine the old Noise category (anything that is not Wi-Fi is recognized as noise by Cisco and all other competitors): Noise (CleanAir) represents non- Wi-Fi energy in the spectrum as being a cause or a major contributor to a channel change. Persistent Non-WiFi interference indicates that a persistent interferer has been detected and logged on an AP, and the AP changed channels to avoid this interference. Major Air Quality Event is the reason for a channel change invoked by the Event Driven RRM feature. Other there is always energy present in the spectrum that is not demodulated as Wi-Fi, and cannot be classified as a known interference source. The reasons for this are many: the signals are too corrupted to separate, left over remnants from collisions is one possibility. Knowing that non-WiFi interference is affecting your network is a big advantage. Having your network know and act on this information is a big plus. Some interference you are able to mitigate and remove, some you do not (in the case of a neighbors emissions). Typically most organizations have interference at one level or another, and a lot of this interference is low level enough to not pose any real problems. However, the busier your network gets the more it needs an unaffected spectrum. CleanAir Enabled Security Dashboard Non-Wi-Fi devices can offer quite a challenge to wireless security. Having the ability to examine signals at the physical layer allows for much more granular security. Normal every day consumer wireless devices can and do bypass normal Wi-Fi security. Because all existing WIDsWIPs applications rely on Wi-Fi chipsets for detection, there has been no way to accurately identify these threats until now. For instance, it is possible to invert the data in a wireless signal so that it is 180 degrees out of phase from a normal Wi-Fi signal. Or, you could change the center frequency of the channel by a few kHz and as long as you had a client set to the same center frequency you would have a private channel that no other Wi-Fi chip could see or understand. All that is required is access to the HAL layer (many are available under GPL) for the chip and a little bit of skill. CleanAir is able to detect and understand what these signals are. In addition, CleanAir can detect and locate a PhyDOS attack such as RF Jamming. You can configure CleanAir to report any device that is classified as a security threat. This allows the user to determine what should and should not be transmitting within their facility. There are three ways to view these events. The most convenient is through the Alarm Summary panel located at the top of the WCS home page. A more detailed analysis can be gained by using the Security Dashboard tab on the main page. This is where all security related information on the system is displayed. CleanAir now has its own section within this dashboard allowing you to gain a full understanding of the security of your network from all wireless sources. Figure 39: Security Dashboard with CleanAr integration No matter where you view this information from, you have the detecting AP, the time and date of the event, and the current status to work with. With an MSE added you can run periodic reports on just CleanAir security events. Or, you can look at the location on the map and see the history of the event, even if it was moving. CleanAir enabled Client Troubleshooting Dashboard The client dashboard on the WCS home page is the one stop for all things for clients. Because interference often affects a client before it affects the AP (lower power, poorer antennas) a key thing to know when troubleshooting client performance issues is if non- Wi-Fi interference is a factor. CleanAir has been integrated to the Client Troubleshooting tool on the WCS for that reason. Access the client information in any way you choose from the dashboard, either by searching on a MAC address or user. Once you have the client displayed, select the Client Troubleshooting tool Icon to launch the Client Troubleshooting Dashboard. Figure 40: Client Troubleshooting Dashboard - with CleanAir The client tools provide a wealth of information about the clients status on the network. Select the CleanAir tab on the Monitor Client screen. If the AP that the client is currently associated to is reporting any interference, it is displayed here. Figure 41: CleanAir tab from Client Troubleshooting tool In this case, the interference being detected is a DECT like phone, and because the severity is only 1 (very low) it would be unlikely to cause a lot of trouble. However, a couple of Severity 1 devices can cause issues for a client. The Client Dashboard allows you to quickly rule out, as well as prove, issues in a logical fashion. The MSE adds a significant amount of information to CleanAir features. The MSE is responsible for all location calculations, which are much more intensive for non-Wi-Fi interference than for a Wi-Fi target. The reason for this is the range of conditions that location has to work with. There are a lot of non-Wi-Fi interferers in the world, and they all operate differently. Even among similar devices there can be great differences in signal strength or radiation patterns. The MSE is also who manages merging of devices that span multiple controllers. If you recall, a WLC can merge devices that APs reports, which it is managing. But, interference can be detected that is present on APs that are not all on the same controller. All of the features that MSE enhances are located only in the WCS. Once you have located an interference device on a map, there are several things that can be calculated and presented about how that interference interacts with your network. WCS CleanAir Dashboard with MSE Previously in this document, the CleanAir Dashboard and how the top 10 interferers per band would not be displayed without the MSE was discussed. With the MSE, these are now active because you have the interference device and location information from the MSEs contribution. Figure 42: MSE enabled CleanAir dashboard The upper right hand tables are now populated with the 10 most severe interference sources detected for each band: 802.11an and 802.11bgn. Figure 43: Worst Interference for 802.11an The information displayed is similar to that of the interference report from a specific AP. Interference ID this is the database record for the interference on the MSE Type the type of interferer being detected Status currently only displays Active interferers Severity the severity calculated for the device Affected Channels the channels that the device is being seen affecting Discovered last updated time stamps Floor the map location of the interference If you choose the floor location, it hotlinks you to the map display of the interference source directly where much more information is possible. Note: There is one other difference beyond having a location between information displayed about interferers over what you can see on the AP radio level directly. You might have noticed that there is no RSSI value for the interference. This is because the record as seen here is merged. It is the result of multiple APs reporting the device. The RSSI information is no longer relevant, nor would it be correct to display it because each AP sees the device at different signal strength. WCS Maps with CleanAir device location Choose the link at the end of the record in order to navigate directly to the map location of the interference device from the CleanAir dashboard. Figure 44: Interference located on the map Now locating the interference source on the map allows us to understand its relationship to everything else on the map. In order to product specific information about the device itself (see figure 36), pass a mouse over the interference Icon. Notice the detecting APs, this is the list of APs that currently hears this device. The cluster Center is the AP that is closest to the device. The last line shows the Zone of Impact. This is the radius that the interference device would be suspected of being disruptive. Figure 45: Interference Detail from Mouse Hover The Zone of Impact is only half the story though. It is important to remember that a device might have a long reach or large zone of impact. However, if the severity is low it might or might not matter at all. Zone of impact can be viewed on the map by selecting Interferers gt Zone of Impact from the map display menu. Now you can see the Zone of Impact (ZOI) on the map. ZOI is rendered as a circle around the detected device, and its opacity darkens with higher severity. This aids visualizing the impact of interference devices greatly. A small dark circle is much more of a concern than a large translucent circle. You can combine this information with any other map display or element that you choose. Double-clicking on any interference icon takes you to the detail record for that interference. Figure 46: MSE Interference Record Interferer details include a lot of information about the type of interferer that is being detected. In the upper right hand corner is the help field which tells about what this device is and how this particular type of device affects your network. Figure 47: Detailed Help Other workflow links within the detail record include: Show Interferers of this Type links to a filter to show other instances of this type of device Show Interferers affecting this band links to a filtered display of all same band interferers Floor links back to the map location for this device MSE links to the reporting MSE configuration Clustered by links to the controllers that performed the initial merge Detecting APs hot links to the reporting APs for use in viewing the interference directly from the AP details Interference Location History From the command window in the upper right corner of the record display you can select to view the location history of this interference device. Location History shows the position and all relevant data such as timedate and detecting APs of an interference device. This can be extremely useful in understanding where the interference has been detected and how it has behaved or impacted your network. This information is part of the permanent record of the interference in the MSE database. WCS Monitor Interference The contents of the MSE interferer database can be viewed directly from the WCS by selecting Monitor gt Interference. Figure 48: Monitor Interferers display The list is sorted by status by default. However, it can be sorted by any of the columns contained. You might notice that RSSI information on the interferer is missing. This is because these are merged records. Multiple APs hear a particular interference source. All of them hear it differently, so severity replaces RSSI. You can select any interference IDs in this list to display the same detailed record as was discussed above. Selecting the device type produces the help information that is contained within the record. Selecting the floor location takes you to the map location of the interference. You can select Advanced Search and query the Interferers database directly, then filter the results by multiple criteria. Figure 49: Advance Interference Search You can choose all interferers by ID, by Type (includes all classifiers), severity (range), Duty Cycle (range) or location (floor). You can select the time period, the status (ActiveInactive), select a specific band or even a channel. Save the search for future use if you like. There are two basic types of information generated by the CleanAir components within the system: Interference Device Reports and AirQuality. The controller maintains the AQ database for all attached radios and is responsible for generating threshold traps based on the users configurable thresholds. The MSE manages Interference Device Reports and merges multiple reports arriving from controllers and APs that span controllers into a single event, and locates within the infrastructure. The WCS displays information collected and processed by different components within the CUWN CleanAir system. Individual information elements can be viewed from the individual components as raw data, and the WCS is used to consolidate and display a system wide view and provide automation and work flow. CleanAir installation is a straightforward process. Here are some tips on how to validate the functionality for an initial installation. If you upgrade a current system or install a new system, the best order of operations to follow is Controller code, WCS code, then add MSE code to the mix. Validation at each stage is recommended. In order to enable CleanAir functionality in the system, you first need to enable this on the controller through Wireless gt 802.11ab gt CleanAir . Ensure CleanAir is enabled. This is disabled by default. Once enabled it takes 15 minutes for normal system propagation of Air Quality information because the default reporting interval is 15 minutes. However, you can see the results instantly at the CleanAir detail level on the radio. Monitor gt Access Points gt 802.11an or 802.11bn This displays all radios for a given band. CleanAir status is displayed in the CleanAir Admin Status and CleanAir Oper Status columns. Admin Status relates to the radio status for CleanAir should be enabled by default Oper Status relates to the state of CleanAir for the system this is what the enable command on the controller menu mentioned above controls The operational status cannot be up if the admin status for the radio is disabled. Assuming that you have an Enable for Admin Status, and Up for Operational Status, you can select to view the CleanAir details for a given radio using the radio button located at the end of the row. The selection of CleanAir for details places the radio into Rapid Update mode and provides instant (30 second) updates to Air Quality. If you get Air Quality then CleanAir works. You might or might not see interferers at this point. This depends if you have any active. As previously mentioned, you do not have Air Quality reports for up to 15 minutes displaying in the WCS gt CleanAir tab after initially enabling CleanAir. However, Air Quality reporting should be enabled by default and can be used to validate the installation at this point. In the CleanAir tab you do not have interferers reported in the worst 802.11ab categories without an MSE. You can test an individually interference trap by designating an interference source that you can easily demonstrate as a security threat in the CleanAir configuration dialogue: Configure gt controllers gt 802.11ab gt CleanAir. Figure 50: CleanAir configuration - Security Alarm Adding an interference source for a Security Alarm causes the controller to send a trap message on discovery. This is reflected in the CleanAir tab under the Recent Security-risk Interferers heading. Without the MSE present you do not have any functionality for Monitor gt Interference. This is driven purely by the MSE. There is nothing particularly special about adding an MSE to the CUWN for CleanAir support. Once added, there are some specific configurations you need to make. Ensure that you have synchronized both the system maps and controller before you enable CleanAir tracking parameters. On the WCS console, choose Services gt Mobility Services gt select your MSE gt Context Aware Service gt Administration gt Tracking Parameters . Choose Interferers to enable MSE interference tracking and reporting. Remember to save. Figure 51: MSE Context Aware interference configuration While in the Context Aware Services Administration menu, also visit History Parameters and enable Interferers here as well. Save your selection. Figure 52: Context Aware History Tracking Parameters Enabling these configurations signals the synchronized controller to start the flow of CleanAir IDR information to the MSE and initiates the MSE tracking and convergence processes. It is possible to get the MSE and a controller out of synchronization from a CleanAir perspective. This can happen during an upgrade of controller code when interference sources from multiple controllers might get bounced (deactivated, and re-activated). Simply disabling these configurations and re-enabling with a save forces the MSE to re-register with all synchronized WLCs. Then, the WLCs send fresh data to the MSE, effectively re-starting the processes of merging and tracking of interference sources. When you first add an MSE, you must synchronize the MSE with the network designs and WLCs that you wish for it to provide services for. Synchronization is heavily dependent on Time. You can validate synchronization and NMSP protocol functionality by going to Services gt Synchronization services gt Controllers. Figure 53: Controller - MSE Synchronization Status You see the sync status for each WLC you are synchronized with. A particularly useful tool is located under the MSE column heading NMSP Status. Selecting this tool provides a wealth of information about the state of the NMSP protocol, and can give you information on why a particular synchronization is not occurring. Figure 54: NMSP Protocol Status One of the more common issues experienced is that the time on the MSE and WLC are not the same. If this is the condition, it is displayed in this status screen. There are two cases: WLC Time is after the MSE timeThis synchronizes. But, there are potential errors when merging multiple WLCs information. WLC time is before the MSE timeThis does not allow synchronization because the events have not occurred yet according to the MSEs clock. A good practice is to use NTP services for all controllers and the MSE. Once you have the MSE synchronized and CleanAir enabled, you should be able to see Interference sources in the CleanAir tab under Worst 802.11ab interferers. You can also view them under Monitor gt Interference, which is a direct display of the MSE interference database. One last potential gotcha exists on the Monitor Interferers display. The initial page is filtered to only display interferers that have a severity greater than 5. Figure 55: WCS - Monitor Interferers display This is stated on the initial screen, but often goes overlooked when initializing and validating a new system. You can edit this to display all interference sources by simply making the severity value 0. There are many terms used in this document that are not familiar to a lot of users. Several of these terms come from Spectrum Analysis, some are not. Resolution Band Width (RBW), the minimum RBWThe minimum band width that can be accurately displayed. SAgE2 cards (including the 3500) all have 156 KHz minimum RBW on a 20 MHz dwell, and 78 KHz on a 40 MHz dwell. DwellA dwell is the amount of time the receiver spends listening to a particular frequency. All lightweight access points (LAPs) do off channel dwells in support of rogue detection and metrics gathering for RRM. Spectrum Analyzers do a series of dwells to cover a whole band with a receiver that only covers a portion of the band. DSPDigital Signal Processing SAgESpectrum Analysis Engine Duty CycleDuty Cycle is the active on time of a transmitter. If a transmitter is actively using a particular frequency, the only way another transmitter can use that frequency is to be louder than the first, and significantly louder at that. A SNR margin is needed to understand it. Fast Fourier Transform (FFT)For those interested in the math, google this. Essentially, FFT is used to quantify an analog signal and convert the output from the Time domain to the Frequency domain.Mac user reports on NAS amp Wireless connected NAS ReportsInfo last Updated: Feb 11, 2013 (Drobo FS and 5N ) (Added FYI on NDAS driver Status on 3202012) This page is a catch-all for reader reports on Mac NAS (Network Attached Storage), some including notes on Wireless connected NAS after a reader request for Mac user feedback. (FYI: the Mac 802.11n page here also has some reportstests on using USB Hard drives with the Airport Extreme 802.11n bases USB port.) Reader Feedback: (later reports first) If youve used a NAS on your Mac Network (wireless connected or not), let me know the details. (send report to news at this site, with NAS modelproduct link, if it supports AFP, network details, MacsOS used, etc.) Thanks. Benchmarking: Rather than xbench, please use Helios LANtest - available at Helios Free Utilities download page. (Helios also has a File System Test utility for testing file server compatibility.) BTW: If youre running Jumbo Frames on your ethernet network, include a note and if youve compared performance with and wo it. (All devices on net must support JF.) NOTE: Ive tried to include links to the specific NAS mfrs product page (searching for them) in reports below but please include links if you have them (as well as other requested info in email link note above). Terima kasih. Drobo FS (follow-up after 2 years use, recent problems) and Drobo 5N : ( Drobo product page links ) (Added 2112013) NAS Report Update: Drobo FS and 5N A year and a half or so ago I provided some comments on the Drobo FS as a Network Attached Storage solution. After two years and two weeks of continuous service I encountered a serious problem, and this is an account of what happened. I regard it as mostly a good-news story, but others may not see it that way. I also add some info about the newer 5N version. My Drobo FS unit went into service in late December 2010. The first clue that something might be wrong actually came in early December 2012: files and folders that had a forward slash () in their names had their names changed, but were otherwise OK. On doing some internet reading, I came to the conclusion that this was perhaps a feature not a bug, as one really should not use forward slashes in file names even with Mac systems. Some Mac applications will not save files with names including the forward slash character. Still, everything seemed to be working as usual otherwise. In mid-January 2013 I started noticing a slow-down in data transfers. I measured one transfer at a mere 4 MBsec - lower than the usual slowest transfer speed. And it got worse. The last thing I was able to do was to delete a single file, and that took about ten minutes A look at the Drobo log showed errors, but no more frequently than when the errors started in early December Then the Drobo seemed to drop off the network. Drobo Dashboard could no longer see it, nor could the Mac Finder. A network pinger could still see it, however. Then the Drobo entered into a continual re-start mode. I shut it down: it took a while to respond to the manual shut-down switch, but it did. I presumed that the unit had developed a failure of the network interface - and possibly other things -and might need repair, but that the data was probably still good. The unit was still showing 5 green lights. I was not concerned that I might have lost irreplaceable data I had other back-ups including an off-site copy of most of it. The main potential loss was that the Drobo held one share with duplicates of media files for iTunes streaming. It was not that the data would be hard to replace, but rather that I had no record of what was there and how it was organized. After reading in Data Robotics Knowledge Base, I figured a new Drobo FS was in order: transfer the disks, use the new Drobo as before, get the old one repaired and then use it to back up the new one completely. I transferred the disks to the new machine. It did show up in Drobo Dashboard, but immediately went into protection mode where it was ensuring duplication of the data. At one stage it told me it needed more space in order to complete the job, advising me to replace one of the smaller disks with a larger one. I replaced a 1 TB disk with a 2 TB disk and it seemed to be happy. After about 24 hrs of churning away it again showed 5 green lights, but also announced a mount failure. In the Data Robotics Knowledge Base I learned that this generally indicates that the UNIX system software on the unit is corrupt. If I updated the firmware and Dashboard software, I would have access to a Repair Drobo command which might sort this out. It might take 48 hours, though, and might have to be done twice. I proceeded with the updates and repair. After about 16 hours it reported a disk failure, but seemed to be otherwise happy to continue. I phoned Data Robotics to find out if I should replace the failed disk at this stage. The answer was No, remove the bad disk, but dont put in a new one until the repair is complete. About 20 hours later, the repair was pronounced completed and successful, and a re-start of the FS proved that it was No second repair required The removed disk really was dead - it did not respond at all in a USB drive dock. I now had access to all the files on the original Drobo I tested about 100 of the files and all were good. A minor issue was that what had been separate shares were now simply folders inside a lost found folder on one share. Inside the folders representing each of the former shares, the files were all there. In Icon View, the icons seemed to be in all the right places even The first thing I did was to print out a copy of file directory of the share that was not backed up. The second thing was to back up that share to a hard drive. In creating this back-up there was an issue where one folder would not copy (file not found error message), although all the files within it could all be copied to a newly created folder of the same name Strange, but Ive seen that happen working just with multiple drives on a single Mac. A surprise: the file names that had been changed because they had forward slashes, now had their original names with forward slashes again I was also able to regain use of the first Drobo FS by doing a Re-set to Factory Defaults - which also erases all data on any resident disks. This was no problem I had placed older, lower-capacity disks in this unit for the experiment. No hardware repair required - apparently The unit is still working fine after over a week of continuous use. The lessons of the experience: A single Drobo (or any disk array) is not a secure file storage solution. There are indeed other possible issues besides drive failures. Im not sure that I would even trust two units as a complete back-up solution. One really needs at least an additional off-site back-up of some sort. Recovery from file corruption is possible, if time consuming. Disk arrays are probably harder on disks than using single disks. Expect drive failures. Leave enough unused space on the unit so that even with a failed disk, the unit can recover. I still regard the Drobo FS as a very convenient, easily expandable, network storage solution for every-day purposes. I also still find the Drobo Dashboard software to be somewhat flaky. For example, I frequently find that Dashboard on one computer cannot communicate with the Drobo, even though Dashboard on another computer can, and the Mac Finder seems to have no problem. The Drobo usually shows up in a Finder window sidebar just fine, even when Drobo Dashboard cant see it. I will continue to use Dashboard only when I need to. Whether its the new firmware or different disks (now two 1TB Caviar Black plus two 2TB Barracuda LP), I dont know, but the unit seems to have speeded up. Test report enclosed. More recently I have also had the opportunity to try out the Drobo 5N which is an updatereplacement for the FS. It includes a 6th slot for an mSATA SSD. It is advertised as being significantly faster than the FS. My brief experience is that it is faster - especially writes - and the speeds seem to be more consistently at the higher end of the range. The Helios LanTest shows the read speeds to be lower than for the FS with new firmware, but my experience is that they are essentially similar, except that I have not seen anything slower than about 11 MBSec (compared with 5 for the FS). This is for folders containing thousands of small HTML files. On the down-side, the 5N requires at least OS X 10.7 to run the required version of Drobo Dashboard. Earlier versions of Dashboard can see the 5N but some of the data reported is erroneous (like the number of disks it contains). I do not actually have a Mac running OS X 10.7 or 10.8, so I used the Windows 7 version via BootCamp. I noticed that the wake from sleep behavior I reported earlier has not changed, even for the Windows version: 30 seconds after waking from sleep Dashboard dismounts any Drobo shares and re-mounts them about 30 seconds after that. The 5N also does not support the Drobo Apps (at this time according to their web site). Thanks for the great service and support to Mac users -Harold Thank you Harold. Synology DS1512 Report (High-Perf. NAS Server w5 bays, Up to 3GB RAM Module): (Added 1212013, updated 8PM ET wmore info) Mac NAS report (Issues with Synology DS1512 ) After many years of dealing with data scattered over many different computers I finally decided to throw in the towel and centralize my storage with a NAS. I considered building my own, but then decided that having a small, energy efficient and easy to operate unit was more important to me. After many months of research and investigating I finally picked-up a Synology DS1512. The unit itself is extremely well built and I really like the web based interface - it is well laid out and easy to operate. I was simply delighted with the unit until I started transferring my data onto it. I quickly discovered that when using AFP (or even Samba as a workaround suggested by Synology), all files transferred onto the NAS get the execute permission bit set, irrespective of the files original permissions. This behavior is normally masked in the Finder since all files with known extensions will open in the correct applications. However, any files that are not associated with specific applications will attempt to execute in the shell when double-clicked. I work with many files at the Unix shell level and this issue makes the NAS virtually useless to me at the moment. I also have a problem, in principle, with moving all my data onto the unit, knowing that it will all come back with different permission bits. I have explained this in more detail in the Synology forum here: File permissions are completely broken under AFP. Synology confirmed that this is a known issue but they were not able to tell me when it will be fixed. Based on some posts in their forums this has been going on since at least the middle of 2012. I cannot believe that none of the raving reviews of the Synology NAS units mentioned this bug, even those describing Synology as being the most Mac friendly. The Synology is running the latest DSM version 4.1-2668. The erroneous behaviour occurs with OSX versions 10.4, 10.5, 10.6 and 10.8. I wanted to share this with you in case the information may be helpful to others. Thank you and all the best -Peter (I have been a follower of your site for about ten years and I have always found it to be an indispensable resource. Many thanks for all your efforts) Thanks Peter. (Some tough times the last few years but still hanging in there.) Synology DS212 (High-Performance 2-bay All-in-1 NAS Server): (Added 3212012) Over the past 3 years, Ive been using 5 ReadyNas Duo v1 (Sparc chip) as AFP file server backup, they worked quite well, until LION ReadyNas Firmware Raidiator 4.1.8, transfer speed have degraded too much over AFP. Trying latest beta 4.1.9T2. I fried one unit, it corrupted the onboad NAND memory without any chance of recovery. So it was time to test new product. Did some search online which ended with a choice between QNAP and Synology. I purchased Synology DS212. good interface, fast processing, AFP works very well, good device for Mac users. The media center streams well to my Samsung (DLNA) as was the ReadyNAS before. Price is about 440 in Australia which is 35 Cheaper than a better looking product from QNAP. Internet site is well designed and they have good demo online. Very flexible setting, UPS (MGE Pulsar Evolution 1100) is fully compatible. Highly recommended for Mac user. I have 4 iMac i7 running Lion 10.7.3, and 1 Powerbook (ppc G4 1.67Ghz) running OS X 10.4.11, all in the same Lan through a Netgear 16 port switch and a Cisco Gateway acting as the router. The disk station is used as a file server and 5 users are working directly from it. See attached Lan test result, writeread speeds average: Fastest iMac (i7): 45.9164.51MBsec Slowest Powerbook G4: 42.0533.08MBsec (screenshots of Lantest results) iMac i73.4GHzOS X 10.7.3 - Synology DS212 PowerBook G4OS X 10.4.11 - Synology DS212 I re-used the old drive I had in the Duo as they were 1TB Seagate Enterprise models and were compatible. I will be upgrading all other sites to the DS212 also in the next few months speeds are x2.5 more than what we had with the ReadyNas Duo. Kind regards, Jean-Luc W. (Ximeta) NDAS Mac OS Drivers Status: (added 3202012) Ive had a couple mails asking about UpdatedLion compatible drivers for an OWCNewer Tech NAS. Although no specific model was mentioned, I assumed they were NDAS. (That chipset and driver were by Ximeta I think and EOL now.) I wasnt sure they ever did any later drivers but wrote Larry at OWC to ask if he knew the status of any new drivers (from Ximeta) for the NDAS drives. Heres his reply: This is the current (Mac) status: ximetawebwebTemphtmlsupportssupportsdownload.php ( mac post dated 8242011 ) MAC OSX Lion and 10.6.7, 10.6.8 Release NDAS for Snow Leopard 10.6.7 8 and for MAC Lion has become unstable. Development has been notified and IOCELL Networks is in the process of reviewing the required updates. ( Below that they also note ) If you would like to be notified of developments and release of the next NDAS for MAC, please send an email to support. To join the development team, please use the contact form. ( active emailform links are on the ximeta page ) As of 3202012, that pages latest (not new) Mac downloads are NDAS software v1.8.4 for OS X Snow Leopard 32bit (until version 10.6.6) and OSX 10.3 - 10.5. (Farther down there are olderprevious versions.) Synology DS211J (Added 12122011) Just a quick report on a Synology DS211j . Connected via Ethernet to an Airport Extreme (5th gen) base, Ethernet to the Synology. Wireless writeread speeds are about 12-14MBsec Netgear Stora 1TB (Added 11252011) Netgear Stora 1TB (with the latest firmware (hbs-5402 ) and desktop applications (1.4.4.103)) Summary: Not the best NAS on the market but at its a price point (128) with a 1TB hardisk its hard to fault especially with a second bay for exemption and very basic RAID 0 and 1. Over the past week it has delivered a stable solution but in need of some tweaks out the box for mac users to get it working well with OSX. AFP and TimeMachine Support: It supports AFP but not the standard that Lion demands it also claims to support time machine but this also has issues without altering MAC OSX via the terminal. (See silly-science.co.uk20100717netgear-stora-and-time-machine-setup ) Due to the backup software not being compatible either you dont have an automatic backup solution out the box (maybe consider Smart Backup or edit your system in the terminal). You can access the files via SMB out the box and the web interface works providing you dont want to alter the top level folder structure, I renames some files and now Im going to have to spend several hours copying all the files off the drive and starting over. Apple TV and Streaming Video: If you have a jailbroken AppleTV (firecore) you can stream video and music from the NAS direct from an iTunes folder however this is at a file level. This mean that you can browse to a artist folder or file rather than a playlist or using any of the metadata stored via iTunes. Possible to stream DVD quality (videoTS) video to devices via apple airport extreme (8011.n) but this leaves only a small amount of bandwidth and in my case if more than one devise is accessing the NAS to stream video it cause buffering to occur fine with more efficient codecs. Benchmarking: HELIOS LanTest results over wireless network. (Tests are via AFP.) Backing up via USB: To backup the NAS you can plug in an external USB drive however this feature requires a premium subscription if you want to copy files automatically. Sharing and accessing files via the web: An online service neatly handles dynamic ip addresses and maps your drive via a website and uses a reasonably well designed webpage that previews files and allows people who have been sent unique links to access specific folder or photo albums. Other users (limited without premium subscriptions) can access their secured areas using a log-in. -Steve M. (UK) Thanks Steve. (Heres an older (not mac) web page review of the Stora with some user ratings.) QNAP TS-419P (Added 4142011) I use a QNAP TS-419P here at work. ( Heres mfr product page ) Its a 4 bay enclosure. We have four 2TB drives in its and we set it as a RAID 5. (It can do every raid option under the sun) It has dual GigE network ports and supports all kinds of Shotgun network options. Actually its setup Web interface has every option you can think of and its presented in a clean, easy to understand interface. It also has a front panel display that allows you to see errors, or do basic setup from the box itself. Its worked flawlessly for 5 months now. I strongly recommend it. ( He later wrote ) I have tried jumbo frames. But the switches here at work dont support it so I cant really get a sense for how well it works. As soon as I turn on the option from the web GUI it drops off the network and I have to direct connect it to a Mac to access it again. I set it up to use iSCSI for awhile (built in option) and 4 of us could capture SD video to it with no issues. I used the globalSAN iSCSI initiator software thats free online. Now I just use it as a large backup storage device in RAID 5. The box is great, but my old drives keep failing. Need to buy new WD RE-4s. I use it with four 2TB original WD RE-4s at the moment and they are starting to wear out. Im not sure if it works with 3TB drives. -Kevin Synology DS-410j (Added 4142011) (I previously reported on FreeNas which was posted on 672010 ( down this page ) Since then I have gone ahead and switched to an appliance. Here is what I posted on the SmallNetBuilder forum back on November 10, 2010) I have always been a fan of building my own NAS. I have dabbled with various Mini-ITX motherboards and nix distros over the years. Up until a couple weeks ago I had been running freenas based C2D based NAS with 4x500 and 2x1TB drives. This NAS was good for 70Mbs peek throughput performance. My push towards an appliance was due to a recent electricity bill. Due to a new tax and an increase in electicity rates, I received a bill that was 20 over my highest previous bill. I immediately decided to invest in lower power equipment. I was contemplating a Qnap TS-419P or a Synology DS-410j. I was leaning towards the Qnap but then newegg.ca dropped the pricing on the ds410j dramatically for the diskless version so thats what I went with. With this appliance I was going to use 4 WD Caviar greens that I already owned (WD10EADS). The NAS came in and I built it up the same day it arrived. I staged it in my office on my desk. Build quality of this device is excellent. The second thing I noticed once I powered it up was that even though this device has four 1 TB drives in it it was oscillating less than my LaCie Quadra 1 TB external hard drive. This was my first clue that this is a first class device. Lets get to the nitty gritty, performance, 250Mbits (27-31 MBs) of throughput is what youll get from this NAS. What I find most amazing about the performance is how consistent it is across all protocols. Samba, AFP, nfs, the performance is almost identical. As far as I am concerned this is acceptable performance. (Sure faster is awesome but you must pay for performance) The DSM. I am most impressed. This is probably the best management interface I have come across for any appliance and I have played with, and I have played with many (especially professionally). What you get with the DSM far exceeds what you should expect from a 330 appliance. I have also played with the surveillance station the download station. Both work exactly as advertised and my wife loves the fact that she can peek in at our son when hes playing in the basement from her iPhone anywhere in the house. The only con I have for the surveillance station is it costs 50 for every camera you want to add after the first. I understand this is likely cheap for a business but its rather pricy for a consumer application. Overall I am very pleased with the Synology DS-410j. It is a very capable NAS server that provides a feature set that far exceeds its price tag. I wouldnt hesitate to recommend this server to anyone looking for a home NAS. This remains absolutely true to this day. I can also add that this appliance runs 247 without issues. It is very reliable. -Donald B. Drobo FS Report: ( See above for later comments from Feb 2013 ) (Added 4122011) Hi Mike, I purchased a Data Robotics Drobo FS four months ago to resolve my storage requirements that seem to be be growing slightly faster than Moores law. I am generally pleased with it, but I also have a warning for potential ownersusers. The 5-disk unit itself seems to be quite solid. The supplied Drobo Dashboard software needed to administer it, however, can be dangerous to your data if used during a data transfer. Ill explain later. My unit is currently configured with two 1 TB WD Caviar Black drives, two 640 GB WD Green drives, and a one Seagate Barracuda 750 GB drive, in single-redundancy mode. I have attached the HELIOS LanTest results (note that for some reason the read and write tests seemed to default to 30 MB file size rather than the 300 MB other reports show). These results were obtained using a Mac Mini (2 GHz C2D) over gigabit ethernet. The reported read tests look about right. The reported write test, however, is at the upper limit of my experience. I have found write speeds to be surprisingly variable, from a low of about 5 MBsec to a high of about 28 MBsec. Write speeds are generally not an issue for me - except when I was originally filling the unit with 22 years worth of image files. One surprise for me: the Mac Mini has never been able to play back full resolution HD video files made with my Canon 7D. With the files on the internal 7200 rpm drive or on an external FW 800 7200 rpm drive I have had to play these files back at half-size in order for them to play acceptably. The same files on the Drobo play back fine at full size The Drobo also does well in database search operations where it permits searches in about one-third the time required when the same database is on an internal 1 TB SATA-I connected drive (Dual-processor 1.25 GHz MDD Mac used in this test). I have not used the Drobo FS much with Windows machines. But near as I can tell, without any additional set-up the unit appears to Macs as an AFP server and to Windows machines as an SMB server. We have 8 computers on the network - three of them running OS-9 - and all work well with the Drobo, including when connected wirelessly via an AirPort Extreme. The unit is reasonably quiet (quieter than my firewire drive on the Mini) and generally runs cold to the touch. The only real negative so far concerns the Drobo Dashboard software. This utility is needed for initial set-up and any subsequent changes to the set-up. It is also necessary to determine accurately how much free space one has left. (The lights on the unit will indicate approximate space usage in 10 increments.) The Drobo Dashboard utility can also be used to mount and dismount shares, but I would advise strongly against this. I found read and write rates to be slower when Dashboard was used to mount shares than when the Finder is used. But that is not the main issue. The real problem is that Dashboard seems to have its own ideas about when to mount and dismount shares. I found that generally after a wake-from-sleep, Dashboard would dismount any shares that it had mounted about 30 seconds after awakening from sleep and then remount them perhaps 30 seconds later again. The share was useable before it was dismounted, so any transfer that had begun will get interrupted - with possible loss of data. This dismountremount may also happen when one logs in to Dashboard as required to make any configuration changes. In one case a log-in resulted in one share being dismounted and different one being mounted - during a data transfer On two occasions Dashboard has also dismounted my firewire drive in the process I did talk to their technical support folks about this. I was instructed to de-install Drobo Dashboard and then re-install a later version. This seemed to work for about a day, but then the old behaviour returned. There have been later updates to the unit firmware and the Dashboard software, but I have sworn off any further experimentation. I have had no such problems when the Finder is used to mount and dismount shares. Data Robotics also advertises that various applications are available for media serving and such. These are open-software UNIX applications with varying degrees of documentation and ease of use. I use one of them for serving still images. It works OK but is not very Mac-like to set-up and use. It does however serve photos to an iPad (using MLPlayer) and also worked with a Sony Blu-ray player until I updated the software on the Sony. -Harold Reader blog on Coolmax CN-330 NAS: (1st post July 21, 2010, Updated Feb 8th, 2012) A reader sent a note after seeing an earlier report here on it, he bought one and posted a page wnotes and pix of the Coolmax CN-330 NAS. ( Updated Feb 8th, 2012 - below ) ( Feb 8th, 2012 Follow-Up ) About my CoolMax CN-330 NAS. I thought you might want to update my info on your webpage. Ive had to basically flush the CN-330 down the drain. mtiernan.blogspot201201cheap-nas-at-home-saga.html Im now looking for a new one to try and build up for my home. Talk to you again -Michael T. LaCie Network Space 2 (Added 6112010) Im French, excuse me, my English is very poor. I purchased a network Storage, LaCie Network Space 2. updated with the latest firmware 1.2.5. Compatible with Time Machine. Connected between three Macs and a Netgear GS105. Attached are three screenshots of the (Helios Lantest benchmark) tests: -Laurent A. ReadyNAS NVX Pioneer (RNDX400E) (Added 672010, updated 68 wLANtest benchmark results) I purchased a ReadyNAS NVX Pioneer (no disks come with Pioneer edition) in late May 2010, put 4x2TB Seagate Constellation ST32000644NS drives in it and attached a 2TB WD Caviar Green in a OWC enclosure by USB -- have had this configuration up and running for about a week. With Firmware 4.2.9 things have been working very well (after trying 4.2.11 I had some issues, so I downgraded back to 4.2.9 - check out notes on ReadyNAS forums). Ive configured it to use NetGears X-RAID2 raid system, giving me just over 5.5TB usable space. On performance, I consistently get straight file transfer speeds of at least 35 MBsec, usually between 40-50, and sometimes higher, over gigabit ethernet. A large file transfers with a higher rate than bunches of smaller files, as youd expect. Configuration is easy. The RAIDar utility included reliably finds the NVX on my network and from there its one click to run the browser-based admin application (which you can also get to with an ip address from Safari). RAIDar keeps you informed of what the NVX is doing during booting, file system checking, etc. so you dont have to guess when youll be able to run the admin utility. The admin console provides options to configure parameters for Network, Security, Services, Volumes, Shares, Backup, Printers, System, and Status. The only thing I found glitchy was that after changing network parameters on the NICs (there are two on the NVX) I had to reboot the NVX to reliably get my Mac Pro to connect to it again. But since setting network addresses will be a one-time thing, it might have been user error (its set up the way I want it now, so Im not going to make any more changes). Each share you define on the NVX can be configured to use any combination of CIFSSMB, AFP or HTTPS. Ive noticed that the SMB connections are periodically unreliable, but I believe Ive read about some known issues with OS X 10.6.3 and SMB shares on MacFixIt, so it would seem to be a known issue since I use extended attributes (like labels) on files very often. AFP connections have been rock solid, however, and since Im using primarily macs, AFP is my preferred connection method, anyway. Finder (and PathFinder) both show you Shared devices for the base NAS, one for AFP connections, and one for CIFS connections. (I still have CIFS enabled because I have a Windows PC that Ill want to access the NAS from time to time). I have the array partitioned into 2 major volumes, one for Time Machine ( 2TB, which is the maximum for my configuration) and the rest for a common share that I use between a Mac Pro, Macbook Pro, and Mac Mini. The NVX has managed to maintain simultaneous backups from all 3 macs over Time Machine as well as a multi-GB file transfer to the common share without any blips. Theres no special tweaking needed to configure the NVX for Time Machine - its a configuration option and you simply check a box in the admin console and youre all set. No creating sparse bundle disk images, etc. The NVX has a backup scheduler, which I use to backup the Common share to the drive connected by USB daily. The drive I have connected is 2TB, but Ive got about 3.5TB of common shared space on the NVX. No problem here, because as my first Common share approaches 2TB, Ill make a second Common share and attach another 2TB USB drive with the second USB port and set up a second backup job. One of the things I really like about the NVX is it has a built-in SMTP server. I have it configured to send me emails about events (backup jobs, SMART disk status, RAID events, etc.). Its nice not having to log in to the console to check. There are many other features I havent explored yet - including NVX-add-on applications you can download from their web site, and I havent had tons of runtime, but so far, Im extremely happy with the capability, performance, and ease-of-use of the NVX. Mike G. Netgear Ready NAS Duo (Added 682010) Just thought Id drop a quick note on the Netgear Ready NAS Duo that Ive owned for over a year now. Its been fantastic. Peace of mind for all of my iTunes, DV, and digital images. Very reasonable if youre into such things. Currently have 750GB mirrored pair. With the cost of 1TB drives, Ill likely upgrade in a few months just for more space. Pros: - Easy to set up - Nice web-based interface - Set up and forget (mostly) - Great community support Cons: - Finicky on which drives it likes (check the website) Netgear ReadyNAS NV (Added 682010) Have two Netgear ReadyNAS NV units and have had excellent performance. feature upgrades and support. I dont use them for TimeMachine mostly because TimeMachine itself is too buggy. Use them as media network servers accessed by 2 mac minis and a PS3. -Esteban V. (Added 682010) Ive owned a Synology DS-209 RAID 1 NAS since December 09, and its worked quite for with my Mac-based household. It ships with Mac setup software to initialize the RAID (it comes diskless), then provides a web-based interface for more detailed management. Among its most useful features are SMB and AFP shares, an iTunes Home Sharing style DAAP server, BitTorrentNZB downloaders, shared folder access restrictions, RAID problem notification via email, an easy to open case, and a package management system for installing additional software. It was a little more expensive than I hoped, but the depth of its software and array of configurable options made it well worth the price. Over a gigabit network, I can easily transfer files at 40 MBsec. I couldnt be happier with it. -Collin A. Synology DiskStation DS410 (Added 682010) I did have some recent 4 bay NAS experience to share. The key feature I was looking for was its ability to be accessed via ethernet, which both of these NAS boxes do. Ive tried two 4-bay NAS boxes recently: the Intel Entry Storage System SS4200-E (approx. 329 new) and the Synology DiskStation DS410 (approx. 500 new). Both support ethernet and cannot be used as direct-attached storage. The bottom line here is that the SS4200 is not worth the paper its printed on poor Mac support, slooowww, no mod community, and just basically painful to use from a Mac. It supports SMB and NTFS, but doesnt automount, you cant control its startupshutdown via scheduled events, and it doesnt support any of the interesting network protocols. Its also huge and heavy. The one thing the SS4200 has going for it is that you can install Windows Media Server on it, which seems to be what most people do with it. In contrast, the DS410 is amazing. It automounts, supports time machine, is fast, and supports iTunes media streaming and uPnP media streaming. It has a rich GUI for controlling daily automatic startupshutdown, and is a joy to use. Theres a large mod community. I cant recommend it highly enough, despite its pricetag. It supports quite a few other features like camera server, photo server, printer server and so on. -Andrew Netgear ReadyNAS RND2000 (Added 682010) I have been using this NAS (Netgear ReadyNAS RND2000 ) for over a year without a single problem. Works great, easy to install and also has some nice power saving and backup features. The price isnt too bad either. I dont thing they have gone up even a dollar over the last year. Very dependable. I share it between 2 macs and 2 media players in my home. -Jim F. (Added 672010) My 1st venture into Mac NAS was using the Drobo with the add on Ethernet adaptor. Itu menyakitkan. Drobo tried to add to much intelligence and it worked very inconsistently. The NAS drives would often be inaccessible, and one would have to walk through very arcane steps to restore the access (often with extensive phone calls to support). Ultimately I gave up and bought a QNAP 439 Pro about a year ago. It is equipped with 4 2TB drives in a RAID 5 configuration. It proved a great decision. The drives are reliably accessible and it is as close to plug and play as I am comfortable with. I have had zero problems with it. I mostly use the drives as a media library for a Sonos full house system. It works very reliably. ( I like to include a product page link at the mfrs site. Is this your model -Mike ) I purchased the TS-439, the Pro (and Pro II) and newer models with faster CPUs otherwise physically the same. Cheers, Cam (Added 672010) Been using the Dlink DNA323 for years now, without a lick of trouble. Make sure it has the latest firmware. -Tracy FreeNas (some earlier reports also used this for a DIY NAS) (Added 672010) I fall into the category of roll your own NAS. I have been using freenas for 5 years and it has proved very stable. There is support for SMB, NFS and AFP (including one volume for Time Machine) as well as http, ftp, torrents, media server, etc. The hardware running freenas has morphed over the years. Currently I am using an MSI 965G based motherboard with a core 2 duo 1.86 CPU with 2 GB of memory as well as an Intel Pro 1000 Server NIC (onboard disabled) I have two RAID volumes. 4x500 GB RAID 5 2 x 1TB WD Green RAID 1 I get consistent throughput of 50MBs read and write to the device using my Macbook 5,2. One note for heterogeneous environments, performance is not as good from a Windows system with the NAS as the throughout seems to top out at about 15 MBs using SMB. Better than 100BT but not stunning. Overall I would recommend this setup for anyone as its fairly easy to setup and there are lots of tutorials online. Migrating hardware would require some nix experience as one as to understand how the drive devices are setup and then edit the freenas xml config has to be updated manually with the new device names if one needs to removeadd devices to a RAID volume. Overall I give it a thumbs up Donald B. PS: I also have a 500GB time capsule which is used as an AP and a Time Machine target. (Added 672010) My Synology 209 works stable and fast. Well featured, the first () to support time machine protocol, good AFPSMB support. The ajax based webinterface is good, there are 2 apps for iPhone (mp3 streams). ( Assuming this model -Mike) ) My model (product page ) has been replaced with DS210 . Same box, more encryption. It is a small-medium business NAS. the box without the plus as you found is a smaller box, not that advanced. The 209210 is not the cheapest box. but I am very happy with it. -D. CoolMax CN-330 NAS (Added 2232010) I recently purchased an inexpensive CoolMax CN-330 NAS at Micro-Center and tried it out on my Mac and PC network. The CoolMax houses 2 SATA hard drives and supports RAID 1 drive mirroring, as well as RAID 0 and drive-spanning. It claims to support NFS, FTP, iTunes music sharing and Samba (Windows file sharing). (Oddly, some of the product information for the unit speaks about supporting bittorrent, and claims RAID 5 support - though nothing in its web interface made mention of torrents, nor do I see how it can do RAID 5 without housing at least 3 drives) I set mine up with a matched pair of 500GB SATA drives I had lying around and configured it as a RAID 1 mirrored set. I found that by default, it formats its hard drives using the Linux ext3 filesystem, but offers several other formatting options (like NTFS and ext2) which I didnt try out. (Someone on Amazon complained that if they chose NTFS formatting, it crashed the web interface) By default, it created an admin share which was only accessible by connecting to it with the username and password configured for administering the NAS, a public share, and a guest share. One annoyance I discovered in short order was that the default TCPIP configuration for the CN-330 was to run as a DHCP server, and to dynamically assign itself an IP address. Since my ATT U-Verse residential gateway is already functioning as my DHCP server on my LAN, this caused issues. I was able to reconfigure it for a static IP and disable the DHCP server functionality, however, and get it working properly for me. Another oddity I found with it If I reconfigured the disk configuration (changing from RAID 1 to RAID 0, for example), it reset all of my settings back to the factory defaults upon saving the change (including forgetting the static IP I had set up for it) Once I had it working, I had no problem using it as a file server. The shares worked properly from both my Windows 7 PC and my Mac OS X machines. Then, I tested the iTunes music sharing functionality. (They said to create a music folder and place all the music underneath it.) I did as the manual instructed, and iTunes did see the music as though it was shared from another copy of iTunes on a remote computer. After leaving the unit running for a few weeks though, the cooling fan on the top of it started making a lot of noise. I believe the bearings in it are already failing, causing the fan blades to wobble as it spins Very poor quality. On the plus side, this unit can be purchased for as little as 100-130 or so, and maybe with a replacement fan, will work properly for a long time. But all in all, Im hesitant to recommend this one to most people. You may have to spend at least twice as much to move up to the next best thing with similar capabilities, but youll generally get what you pay for. -Tom QNAP TS-809 Pro, Promise Vtrac E-Class, XServe RAID: (Added 2222010 from Feb 12th mail) Mike, After seeing the last update for NAS systems ( Feb 10th, 2010 report below ), I decided to send you a little blurb about my setup at work. Were into imaging (medical) and have a pair of big servers at work, adding about 5 GB of images per day. these are both running off a fairly new (intel processor) XServe, Server OS 10.5, on a gigabit LAN: A last generation XServe RAID - 6 TB RAID5 - 12,999 discontinued (applesupportxserveraid ) A Promise Vtrac E-Class RAID - 10 TB RAID5 - 14,999 (appleserverstorage ) And I was just asked to setup a pair of NASs for off-site backup of both of the above. after some thinking and much reading, I went with a QNAP TS-809 Pro 13 TB RAID5 - 3,200 I included both Helios (LanTest, available here ) and AJA System Test benchmarks (available here ). I have been impressed with the performance of the QNAP system, especially in speedcapacity per - and this is with 8 Western Digital Green 2 TB drives - not even the fastest ones around. Let me know if you want any more info or tests. -Sandor Promise Vtrac E-Class 10TB RAID5 Kona Tests: Promise Vtrac E-Class 10TB RAID5 LanTest: QNAP TS-809 Pro 13TB RAID5 Kona Tests: QNAP TS-809 Pro 13TB RAID5 LanTest: XServe 6TB RAID5 Kona Tests: XServe 6TB RAID5 LanTest: ReadyNAS Duo (long-term use report): (added 2102010) Hi Mike, I thought Id give a long-term report on my ReadyNAS Duo. Ive used it for about 18 months, and in general, its worked OK. Originally shipped a single, 750 GB drive (Seagate) with 256 MB memory. I immediately installed a second drive (Samsung F-1). After about a year, it was 75 full, so I swapped out the disks for 1.5TB Seagates (ST31500341AS). Upgrading was easy - swap in one drive, wait a day (disk synchronization), swap in another, wait another day, and then reboot. One of the reasons I purchased a ReadyNAS Duo was the use of a generally available file system: ext3. This means that if something should happen to the controller hardware and the NAS is no longer supported, I can use something else to read the drive. I can take out one of the drives and connect it to my Mac, reading it using MacFUSE. I believe that for now, the maximum drive that can be used in a ReadyNAS Duo is 2TB. There were several smaller issues with the box. The web admin interface was pretty slow, often taking several seconds to respond. At least twice I heard long periods of drive activity when none was expected, and after reviewing the logs I suspect that no real memory was available, so the NAS was struggling with virtual memory. Each time a restart brought things back to normal. (I used only the AFP and CIFS protocols.) One of the drive activity lights got dim (compared to the other one). And the drive carrier mechanism for both drives no longer work very well - it takes a lot of effort and fiddling to get either drive to release. A firmware update from Netgear enabled Time Machine, and it works as expected. Before using TM, I upgraded the memory to 1GB about six months ago, and the admin interface got much snappier. Note that Netgear says this system has a SATA-1 (1.5Gbps) interface to the drives. With 1Gbps Ethernet port, probably wouldnt make any difference if it were SATA-2. The ReadyNAS is used as a Time Machine for my MacPro, plus a network repository for media. Performance via AFP is as follows (it sits on the other side of two Netgear GB switches): Read: 1GB file - 0:20 205MB folder with 1,850 files from 50K - 50MB: 0:22 Write: 1GB file - 0:57 205 MB folder - 0:55 One area where the ReadyNAS (and for that matter all the hardware in my office) has exceeded expectations is ability to work in warm operating environments. I work in a converted, un-acd garage. In general the climate is quite mild here. But, several times a year it gets over 90F. Its never missed a beat. In summary, the unit provides RAID-1 backup and serves files while allowing me to sleep my MacPro. While it has worked out so far, I will evaluate other solutions when it comes time to replace it. Best, Kevin Synology DS409 NAS (8TB - 4x2TB) (Added 232010 - updated wmore notes) As I love your site and the huge collection of information, Id like to contribute just a little bit. I purchased a Synology DS409 from Mindfactory.de (in Germany) and equipped it with 4x Western Digital 2TB WD20EADS. Purpose is two-fold: (1) serve as a TimeMachine drive, and (2) synchronized storage of MP3 and MP4 files. - The 409 is connected via gigabit ethernet to my D-Link DIR 655. - My Macs (Mac Pro 2006, iMac 2009, MacMini 2008) connects via AFP and I achieve RW speeds of 4030MBs. - To compare: file transfers between the iMac and MacPro run at 80MBs. - I successfully use TimeMachine on 10.6.2 on my Macs - The DS409 supports quota settings (via userids) to avoid filling up with TimeMachine - TimeMachine connects automatically to the DS409 and backs up as it should. - For the synchronisation I use BackupList which is based on the updated rsync 3.06 - BackupList is several times faster than DejaVu which I originally intended to use To summarize: the DS409 behaves well in a all-Mac environment. and I am a happy customer. Greetings, Yves Belgium ReadyNAS Duo: (updated - see below for another ReadyNAS owners replysuggestions and Kevins later reply (long) after that. My guess is that this reader got a bad sample.) Heres the latest from Kevin: (added 8112008) Just a status report. I spoke with a 2nd level tech early last week. He said it could be either the drive or the chassis. He could send me one or the other (not both), and if that doesnt work, would send the other. A replacement drive is on its way (it had 500 sector replacements and 1536 Serial ATA errors. ). The flashing LEDs do mean something. I found the page, and one set said no disk drive (the forum moderator said to take the drive out and see what happens) and the other meant corrupted root. -Kevin Kevins earlier report follows: (added 7302008 - updated wlater comments) Heres my experience (so far) with the Netgear ReadyNAS Duo in my mostly-Mac network. I purchased a ReadyNAS Duo 1x750 from Buy. Came with a Seagate 750, and I put Samsung F-1 750GB in for Raid 1 capabilities. ( FYI - another reader (Eric) sent a note that the 750GB F1 isnt in the ReadyNAS drive compatibility list. although the 1TB F1 is. Eric said hes used 1TB F1s OK in his ReadNAS NV with the benefit of cooler running than the Seagates. Eric also said his ReadyNAS NV has been rock solid for years. ) It has been flaky from the start, with the network interface going up and down. These things happen. But heres my main issues: Netgear Support: So far, cant get them to return my call. Time Machine support is probably best described as a hack: See readynasp253 (Making Time Machine work with the ReadyNAS) Dont get me wrong, I want to like this. Small, quiet, very capable, at least on paper. ( Do you see the same problems with the drives in JBOD (non-RAID) mode (if its the network interfacebridge dropping out that wont matter, but just curious). Also asked for info on networkmac configuration just for the record.-Mike ) The unit has gone from marginal to essentially unoperable. I have spent many (frustrating) hours on the phone with Netgear TS, who have led me through hard resets, etc. Now, the NAS just blinks all five LEDs, and is otherwise offline. So far Id had about a dozen calls, all of them starting with How can I provide you excellent support on your Netgear product and all ending Can you call back Lately, theyve been asking me to call between the hours of 10pm to 6 am PDT, as apparently thats when the level 2s work. This, as near as I can tell, is an attempt to make me cranky -- now I get the same great service, but get to stay up later -- just kidding. ) I doubt its an issue with my network -- I swapped ether cables with my Power Mac (main system) and no difference (Mac works great, ReadyNAS Duo still offline) I removed the Samsung F1 a couple of days ago, putting the Duo back into a factory configuration (it comes with one drive, a Seagate). The device can bee seen on the network (that is, the IP address can be seen in the gateway-routers attached devices view), but not accessible. When I was last able to use their admin app (FrontView) the Seagate had 160 Serial ATA errors (I think this was it -- a SMART error, but without checking the error codes cant say for sure). The net: - 2 iMacs (2.2 GHz C2D, 3GB, 10.5.4) - MBP (2.2 GHz C2D, 4GB, 10.5.4) - PB G4 (1.5 GHz, 1.5 GB, 10.5.4) - PMac Dual Core G5 (2 GHz, 4 GB, 10.4.11) - HP PC (2.5 GHz P4, 1 GB, XP Pro SP2) - 4 network-attached printersAIOs (all HP) - Tivo, Roku - NTGR wireless router, Netgear wired router, various D-LinkLinksys switches In the end, this isnt about the device. Devices fail, either at the outset or farther down the road. This is about unacceptably bad TS. Beritahu saya jika Anda memiliki pertanyaan. ( and another later mail ) - A couple of comments from the L2s indicate they are happy to help, but only between 10pm and 6am local time - Many times, the voice connection was terrible, indicating a low-cost link. It was dropped on two occasions. - The L1 techs would typically ask a question, and then put me on hold for 5-10 minutes, then repeat. - The couple of times I was forward to an L2, I was on hold for about 20 minutes, then the call was dropped at their end. - Numerous times they have said they will call back, but did not. The two times they did call back were at 6:20 pm and 11:20 pm (this was on the fourth day). Prior to this, I cant remember the last time I called tech support (except to activate CableCards on my Tivo). I generally figure it out. But a dead unit is a different matter. Too bad, I used to be a big fan of NTGR, and the Infrant ReadyNAS gets such great reviews. -Kevin Update: Although Kevin said hed tried a cable swap, Eric suggested he test again with just the ReadyNAS connected to one Mac (simplify the config - troubleshooting rule1) and not using TimeMachinehack: Kevins post on the ReadyNAS Duo was a little unfair. He has two main issues, Time Machine support and Netgears Tech support. Time Machine support Apple doesnt even support it on anything other than network connected Macs, Time Capsule, or an attached disk (USBFirewireInternal). So, yeah, it is a hack. ( I assumed from some of the comments he had more than just TimeMachine problems (which he admitted in the commentslink to their page on that was a hack), but I dont know for sure. (Update - see his latest reply below.) He may just have a bad sample. And to be fair, Phone calls for Support are usually the first reaction from customers that have problems with a product - if their Forum is a better option their phone (or email) support personell should mention that.-Mike ) Have Kevin point to a device that is supported by Time Machine. A little unfair to be complaining about it when Apple doesnt support it. I have been a ReadNAS NV owner for over 3 years now. The thing has been rock solid, and their tech support forum is great. I suggest he goes to the Forums, and start a topic about his problems, or search out one of the online tech people there. They are great. And Kevin did not really do a good test of his network cable. Nor did he say exactly how the NAS was configured, which is sort of important with a device that as highly configurable as the ReadyNAS stuff. I suggest again that Kevin hook up with one of the online tech people at InfrantNetgear, and have them trouble shoot when the NAS is direct connected (ie: one cable connecting a Mac to the NAS). I had them do this and we figured out it was a shoddy cable (which worked fine it seemed until I put the NAS on the network). ( he later wrote ) And one more thing. The Samsung drive ( F1 750GB ) isnt listed on their compatibility list. ( Although the Samsung 1TB F1 is .) Though I have been replacing Seagate 250GB drives in my NV with 1TB Samsung drives (the one listed in this list) and it works great. and 20 degrees cooler than the seagate drives -Eric I wrote Kevin to ask about the above. Im not sure what troubleshooting steps their TS (phone) suggested, but simplifying the equation is generally the first place to start. It could be he just got a bad NAS sample (it happens) - hopefully well hear back with some conclusionculprit. (Update - Kevin later replied:) Hi Mike, Thanks for the note on this. I probably did not do my homework as thoroughly on Time Machine as I should. Somewhere I must have jumped to the conclusion that Time Machine would work with this. Im not sure he (Eric) read the rest of the post very carefully. I have no doubt that the vast majority of ReadyNAS owners are very happy. I know a few myself. But I believe that the unit I have was defective. I have tried to work with Netgear support, all of which have ended with their insisting they will call me back -- which has never happened. When I first had troubles with the unit, I did post a question to the forum. (That post is no longer there. They had a db crash in mid-July.) A helpful reader suggested that I swap cables. I was pretty sure that this was not the problem. The cable had connected previously to my MBP, which had worked flawlessly -- the laptop now must connect through my Netgear wireless router. In addition, I swapped cables at the client end with the PowerMac which I use for hours every day. This would have tested the cable, and the switch port. However, its seemingly far beyond a network problem. After about 5 minutes of operation all 5 front panel lights blink. ( does that match a diagnosticsstatus error code ) I am not sure what it means to discuss the ReadyNAS Duo configuration. Unlike the ReadyNAS NV, which is highly configurable with its 4 drive bays, the Duo is essentially a single drive or Raid 1 box (with a second drive). JBOD is not an option, nor is any other form of RAID (X-Raid is the default). I did turn on some of the services offered by the device: AFP, etc. The FrontView management application is pretty intuitive. I have been working with computers and networks for some time, long enough to know that I could easily be making a stupid mistake. While difficult to reach, Netgear phone support did take me through a series of steps to see it the device could be repaired or brought back to life. In the last session, they said that the device seems to be defective. Please call back at later tonight. When I did, I was told to call back later that night. My first choice would have been to use Netgear email technical support. Following the link from netgear (Customer Service, then Contact Support there does not appear to be any way to reach support through email. There is a link: Contact Support by Email, which directs you to the login page. Once logged in, there is no method of contacting Technical Support by email. If the poster can point me to a place on the Netgear site where I could send an email (and I mean the place where the email form comes up), it would be appreciated. The warranty for this seems to be somewhat misleading. The box clearly states 3 years, as does the data sheet. Other places on the web site suggest that phone support (is there any other offered by Netgear) is limited to 90 days, and the disk drives are covered by a manufacturers warranty. The Hardware FAQ points to each of the major manufacturers disk analysis tools as a way to diagnose disk drive problems. I think the trouble with my box is in one or two areas. Its not really booting up. The helpful moderator at the forum has sugg ested that I try a Boot recovery using a USB flash drive, though this involves using the dd command from a terminal, and having the right kind of USB drive (who knew. ) If youre interested in the gory details: readynasforumfaq.phpHowcanIperformaBootRecoveryusingaUSBflashdevice3F (How can I perform a Boot Recovery using a USB flash device) Second, the last time I had access to the SMART reporting for the included Seagate drive (ST375033DAS), it reported an ATA error count of 1,568 in 228 power on hours. Good Bad Will it affect the overall outcome Who knows. Does it seem like I have it out for Netgear ReadyNAS. It should not. I am certainly not casting aspersions on anyone who has purchased a Netgear product. I own three other Netgear products, and they perform well. I have recommended them to my friends and clients, and they all seem satisfied. But if my experience is any indication, if you are the 1 in 100 who gets a defective product (and you cannot return it to the retailer), the fun is just beginning. Its worth noting that I dealt with many Netgear TS people over the phone. They were all polite, and seemed like they wanted to help. But it was clear that internal policies prevented them from doing so. I dont believe this was a one-time situation gone bad. Besides, now I have to start my search for a backup product all over again. I really want to use this. -Kevin If you ever do get a replacement (or solution) let us know. Ive been pretty happy with using FW (FW800 currently) drives for backup (including TimeMachine backups). For my currentprimary workstation for the last 8 months Ive been using a Ministack v3 with (multiple partitioned) 1TB drive (using FW800 connection, and the Ministacks built-in FW and USB powered hubs really have been useful too). From the comments here on typical NAS drive performance, I dont regret that choice personally. Synology Disk Station DS508 NAS (added 7212008) I have bought a Synology DS508 NAS a few weeks ago. Im very satisfied with it. Beside its rather high price (which I expect to drop in the new few months), its a almost perfect small server replacement for Mac users. Synology had some small problems with the initial software relaese for this NAS, but with the actual release Ive had no problems. I use five Samsung HD753LJ (F1) 750GB disks with it as a RAID5 volume. AFS works very well and I had very good throughput (about 75MBs read and 45MBs write performance, all tested with MTU 9000 Jumbo frames over a Jumbo frame capable HP Procurve Switch I did the tests with Helios Lantest). Synology claims some Samsung drives have hibernation issues with some of its NAS, but I use only Samsung disks in my two Synology NAS. I also have an older DS107 with a single HD321KJ) and both have no hibernation issues. The DS107 works also very good, but its much slower and since the 2.0.x software release they have some minor AFP issues (you need to restart the NAS sometimes to get AFS running correctly again), but I expect them to correct this in a new software release (with 1.x.x sofware releases, it worked very good). I also have an APC SUA750I (Smart-UPS 750) UPS connected to the DS508. Im very pleased with the energy consumption of the DS508 (I guess its actually a little bit below what they say on the tech-specs). The DS107 is connected to a smaller APC UPS, also with no problems. Unlike the DS107, which is to slow for more than a 2-3 of users, the DS508 seems fast enough to replace a real file server for small workgroups. Its much more energy efficient than a Xserve and it does cost only a fraction of it. Of course, it has not the power of a Xserve, but its also easier to set up and you dont pay for new software releases. Together with the energy efficient Macs I use (Mac minis, MacBook, MacBook Pro), I have found a perfect server for my limited budget as a real server cost much more. Best regards, Christian V. Buffalo Technologys Linkstation Pro HS-DH500GL NAS: (Updated 422008) (added 3242008 - updated 422008) I wanted to provide some user feedback on Buffalo Technologys Linkstation Pro HS-DH500GL NAS. Ive been working with one of these Gigabit (claimed performance) NAS devices since December with very mixed results. Initial impressions - slow in actual backup operation, cranky and not Mac friendly. The Linkstation is attached to a Quicksilver G4 Mac with upgraded dual 1.8Ghz 7447 processors (Giga Design) and 1.5GB of RAM. It has two internal hard drives - a 120GB factory drive and a 250GB additional drive connected to a UltraATA 133 card. My first unit failed after 2 12 months of use and the new one has been running for two days. I was able to connect to unit 1 via SMB and using some tricks found both on the xlr8yourmac web page and others. The drive can be accessed through NASNavigator (software included with the drive) and it can be mounted on the desktop. I was able to connect to it via multiple computers. I made it my backup drive for Time Machine and it backed up approximately 253GB in a little over two days. Ultimately though, it failed to connect to my Mac or to a windows machine and resets failed. I lost all my backups but at least the primary drives remain untouched. HELIOS LanTest results are included above and I dont know how favorable they appear but in real use as a NAS device for backup, this drive is a dog. When using it with Time Machine, the windows and ability to scroll through the past was so slow as to be virtually unusable it was a very frustrating experience. Its connected to my Mac via a Gigabit switch and all connections indicate Gigabit speeds, however, the reality is my new backup is proceeding at about 400MB per hour (for 24 hours so far) and this time Im using the software included with the drive, Memeos LifeAgent. Compared to connection speeds for a USB 2 or Firewire drive, the Buffalo NAS runs at a snails pace. If your primary interest is an NAS as a backup device, Id look for another alternative. The Linkstation Pro does claim a lot of unique functionality, including the ability to configure it to allow remote connections through the network or internet, however, my experience with the system tells me that it would be so slow in this mode as to render it unsuitable for anything other than the smallest of transfer tasks. ( He later sent an update noting another failure ) Just a follow-up for your readers. The Buffalo Linkstation that I reported on March 24th, being a replacement unit for one that died in two months, has itself died in little over a week. When Buffalo replaces a defective unit, they ship a refurbished system. Apparently the refurbished unit that they sent me was still defective as it went into a hard failure 9 days after installation. Once again my backup system is gone. While this is frustrating, the fact that Buffalo products are apparently so unreliable and the fact that the buyer has to burden the cost of shipping their defective equipment is untenable. My recommendation - look at other products and avoid these folks -Steve K. More Feedback on Synology DS-107: (use browser Find to jump to previous reports here on the Synology DS-107 and other Synology models) (added 3252008) I have a Synology DS-107. It works fine, however one big issue I have with its that ACC ( AAC ) encoded music does not show ID-3 tag info in iTunes. All the music has empty artist, album, and song names, so you cannot browse it in iTunes. MP3 encoded music shows up fine. This has been heavily reported to Synology for the past year and they have not fixed the issue yet. Best regards, Pedro Auto-Mount NAS Volume at Startup: ( in reply to a question in a previous report from a Freecom Network Drive user ) Here is how to do it. First, manually mount the Drive using the Address supplied by the IP configurator ( or whatever utility your NAS uses ) using Connect to Server under the Go tab of the finder. Once it is mounted, Open Accounts in the System Preferences and add ( click ) the mounted drive to the startup items. There is no need to use the La Cie utility every time you want to access the drive. As a side note, and of interest is that in Leopard, 10.5 inherently sees the NAS Lacie drive, and will list it in the Finder Sidebar as connected servers (AFP, smb, etc) --- But -- it will not let you see or access the drives until you manually mount them. Hopefully, La Cie will eventually make them more bonjour friendly, but in the meantime, use the same system as described above to automatically mount the drive under Leopard. regards, Gerry Lacie Ethernet Disk Mini (more notestips on FTP, etc. wLacie NAS) (added 172008) Mike, I always turn to your site for certain puzzles, certain advice. Terimakasih banyak. This is about the LaCie NAS drive (320GB). ( I wrote to confirm but assume its this 320GB LaCie Ethernet Disk mini -Mike ) I have the drive attached to a Netgear wireless router and am using Leopard on a MacBook. I, too, was bewildered by the http and ftp servers on the drive. I do not understand (emphasis added) much of this anyway. But heres what I did. First downloaded the latest IP Configurator from LaCies site. ( available for Macs, PCs, Linux at this Lacie download page .-Mike ) I used this to log into the drive. The only time you see buttons solely for http and ftp in the web browsers window is when you log in by way of IP Configurator. That is, if you simply save a bookmark in the browser for the drive you dont see this initial window showing the ftp and http buttons for each share andor directory. If you push the ftp button you are taken to a familiar ftp hierarchical window. I noted the address given overhead (it looks somewhat unusual), in big letters. I opened up Interarchy (an older version) and pasted address into the Get Listing window. And it worked I can now access the drive and its contents via a traditional ftp program, uploading and downloading (presumably). As for Time Machine or SuperDuper, with the former there is that hack going about that enables Time Machine to see NAS drives. Tried it, it works I started to play with that, but got the willies. Heres why. In the help manual to SuperDuper, in discussing NAS drives, they warn you about certain file systems not supporting files over 4 gigs. The implication was that it raises havoc with the drive. So I chickened out. Will have to call LaCie to find out if the NASs xfs file system (or whatever its called) supports files over 4 gigs in size. My guess is that it cant be reformated for HFS. I didnt see any obvious way and, again, I dont want to destroy the poor thing. Hope this is of interest. All the best, -Alarik NotesTip re: LaCie Ethernet Disk mini (500GB) FTP: (reply to an earlier postuser complaint) (added 142008) On an entry of 12192007 (below ), Mats L complains that the LaCie Ethernet Disk mini (500GB) doesnt work on its FTP. I have one too, and FTP works but a bit strange (non-standard): As you can see from the below log, the root directory where you arrive seems empty, but in reality the shares really exist there as subfolders. on my NAS, there are 2 shares, one called share and one called v-drive. A simple cd command brings me in either of these. From one share you can even switch to the other one, by a simple cd share or cd v-drive command. Connected to xxxxxxx.lan. 220 ProFTPD 1.3.0 Server (LaCie Ethernet Disk mini) 10.xx.xx.xx Name (xxxxxxxx:root): admin 331 Password required for admin. Password: 230 User admin logged in. Remote system type is UNIX. Using binary mode to transfer files. ftpv lsv 200 PORT command successful 150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for file list 226 Transfer complete. ftpgt cd share 250 CWD command successfulv ftpgt cd v-drive 250 CWD command successful ftpgt ls Tem 200 PORT command successful 150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for file list drwxr-xr-x 2 root users 6 Apr 3 2007 Temp 226 Transfer complete. ftpgt bye 221 Goodbye. Regards, Xavier Van Dessel Lacies tech support also wrote asking for his contact info. (I wrote him with a FYI on the tips and forwarded the Lacie email to him. I dont give out readers email addresses without prior permission first.) Mats replied with thanks to Xavier for the above notes on FTP: Hi Mike, Yes, that makes it work. Terima kasih banyak. Im astoundished you find the time to keep track of a small matter like this, and care enough to email me. Ill get in touch with LaCie and tell them there is a workaround. Best regards, Mats Freecom Network Drive 500GB (added 12312007) I have just converted to Mac in the last month, having lived through Microsoft from DOS 2.0 - so moderately computer literate but no system admin I bought a Freecom 500GB Network drive yesterday (Product page ) - supports Ethernet and USB 2.0. it set up very easily with my router allocating it an IP - I was able to do the setup through the router although the instructions suggest that this requires a direct ethernet or USB connection to the PCMac. I installed the supplied SW utilities, and started a backup. then I started to find the limitations. If anyone knows how to overcome them, I am all ears. 1. I have not figured out how to how to get Mac OS 10.4.11 to automatically mount the drive at startup. You need to run the supplied utility first - this means that a timed backup will always fail unless you always run the utility first - annoying. I figured out how to use automator to mount the drive (what a great tool) - took me about 5 minutes from cold. This would work if I could figure out how to put the automator script in the startup folder. ( Have you tried adding the drive as a startuplogin item With the drive mounted in the Finder, go to System PrefsAcctsyour login, select login items, then use key to add the mounted drive as a startup item. Then test a restart to confirm it auto-mounts. Gerrys automounter tip above has notes for Lacie IP Configurator users.-Mike ) I have not figured out how to add a startup item, I will try your suggestion, but there does not seem to be any option in their provided utility that would automatically mount the drive. I will let you know if i figure it out. 2. As with other reports in this forum, although I have 300Mbs network, I see peak transfer speeds of about 25Mbitsec - I guess this reflects the read write performance of the disk drives. ( I dont think so as any modern hard drive literally has better rates than that - its the network interfaceoverhead I think. Although some networked drives have better performance most all are far below the drive (or interface) specs (which are typically max per spec, not real-world)-Mike ) 3. As a result of item 2, the backup takes a while. I have left it running several times - it always fails to complete, throwing an error that one of the drives cant be found. I imagine this is the SMB error reported elsewhere, because the network is alive and well. 4. Heres the killer - I have two Macs with 2 user accounts each. The installed SW will ONLY WORK IN ONE ACCOUNT - it says it is damaged when logged in as the other user - attempts to install in that user account fail unless the first installation is deleted. 5. Given that you cant run a backup from multiple accounts, I thought I could backup from my admin account - OH NO YOU CANT - the folders of the second user account are not accessible even though I have access to them and can see their contents. So I could not recommend the Freecom offering yet - I dont think they have finished it yet - if they have then the instructions and help are not up to the job for a semi technical user (I have an electronics degree so I at least know what an IP address is, I think). It would be a great product if it did what I thought it did when I bought it - t looks well engineered. Regards, Mike Hawking Technology Net-Stor (HNAS1) (added 12272007) Hawking Technology Net-Stor Network Storage Center (HNAS1) ( product page ) As a relatively cheap SOB, I jumped when I ran into a great deal on a Hawking Technology Net-Stor Network Storage Center (HNAS1) for only 20 after manufacturers rebate. It uses a standard 3.5 IDE drive and I had a spare 250GB Maxtor lying around so I thought it was a good way to get some use out of it. This drive is designed to be accessed through Windows with via web browser but I found that I could get it to accept my Mac (Quicksilver with Giga Designs 1.8Ghz dual G4 processor upgrade, 1.5Gb RAM). Note that the NAS does not advertise being Mac compatible. After installing my HD into the enclosure, I had to connect to the NAS via the Windows XP PC on my network in order to reformat the drive and make it usable by the NAS. The format is Linux ext3 which presents lots of problems. All of the baseline tools for setup of the NAS have to be done within a Windows environment. Once the NAS reached an initial configuration, I accessed it via SMB and mounted it on my desktop. I modified the setup via my Safari browser (Firefox works as well) in order to name it to something useful and to set baseline restrictions. The documentation is very poorlargely inadequate for my purposes but I struggled through and have been able to at least access it. It does not accept keychain passwords and will not auto mount on my Macs (OS 10.3.9). Ill be converting to Leopard shortly and will report back on how well that works. Due to the file format, the Net-Stor has a lot of trouble with file names acceptable to the Mac but which dont map exactly to Windows expectations - unique characters will stop it in its knees. Regardless, after multiple fits and starts, I was able to copy about 101GB of info from my Quicksilver drive to the NAS in about 26 hours. HELIOS LanTest results: Create 300 files 20KB - average 49 sec. OpenClose 300 files - average 14.86 sec Remove 300 files - 19.77 sec Write 30 MB to file - 2.76 MBsec Read 30 MB from file - 2.70 MBsec LockUnlock 16000 times - 0.05 sec Read directory640 files - 43.37 sec Overall impressions - slow, clunky, definitely not Mac friendly. I put it down as a 20 lesson learned. I just hope my rebate shows up soon - Id hate to think I wasted even more money Cut too many corners - pay the price. All the best, Steve (added 12202007) NASLite from Server Elements I noticed one other reviewuser of NASLite (older report on NASLite from Dec. 2006 below), so i had to chime in. Ive been using NASLite for over 2 years now, and the current version, 2, is excellent. You can basically use any old PC hardware to create your NAS, so in cases like mine the cost is simply the hard drives you use. v. 2 has three different versions - one runs off a small partition on one of the hard drives, one runs off a USB flash drive, and the other runs off a CD - all provide the exact same NAS abilities, just the boot source changes. I currently have 2.5 TB of storage in an old Dell tower hooked up via gigabit to a DLink DIR 655 N router, and have been able to sustain 2 55 MBs streams of data over gigabit (one stream only went about 60 MBs, so i think i am definitely reaching the performance limits of the individual hard drives). I think with very fast hard drives or a RAID setup my old P3 Dell could easily saturate a gigabit network. No software RAID support with NASLite, but there is a list of supported hardware RAID cards - and mirroring is built in, so redundancy is available. I use NASLite in a mixed PC and Mac environment, and have no problem with SMB or AFP or FTP, etc etc - Server Elements has produced a very well setup NAS OS, and other than adding drives, i have had no downtime (the NAS is on a UPS). My favorite function (albeit not directly related to NASLite) is having SuperDuper backup our 2 MacBooks to sparse images on teh NASLite box. This is done wirelessly, overnight, and quite seamlessly. The best part is that one of the MacBooks internal drives has already failed, and this nightly, automated backup to the NAS worked perfectly to restore a new hard drive to the prior state. I love when vigilant backups save the day -Sandor F. Lacie Ethernet Disk Mini wGigabit Enet USB 2.0: (Note: see 142008 report above for notestips on FTP) (added 12192007) I bought a LaCie Ethernet Disk mini Gigabit Ethernet Hi-Speed USB 2.0 500GB (Lacie Product page ) for my home network (a few macs, PCs running windows, some linux boxes). Setting it up using the provided software was no problem. I created a some users and a share per user plus one for common usage. The setup reflected the users on my network. It has a visually pleasing exterior, its silent, and it boots rather quickly. So far it looked promising. Then I started to find out its limitations. The Macs connect using AFP, the rest connect using Samba. It works well for the Macs, but less so for the others. If I try to transfer large files from or to the NAS, the SMB fails, usually after some 900MB has been transfered. The network speed tops out at something like 25Mbits, making that boast on the box about a gigabit ethernet interface sound hollow. FTP does not work from any of the systems. You can connect and login, but you end up in the DTP root (), and the folder is empty. Trying to create things, you get permission denied. ( UPDATE: See Jan 4th, 2008 post above for other Lacie users tips on using FTP -Mike ) The (swedish) support has been less than helpful the moment I mentioned I have linux boxes connected to the network, the response was that they dont have support for Linux - even though its printed on the box that it will work with linux 2.4 and later. Perhaps I could fix the FTP issue myself - if there was a way of logging into the system, but there isnt. I would have expected SSH to be loaded, but it isnt. It can be added, but requires that you hack the NAS. This is a bother. Can I recommend this NAS to others No, I can not. It is too limited, the SMB sucks, the transfer speed is way too low, the FTP is broken, and the support from LaCie is below par. -Mats L. Mats later replied with a thanks for the FTP tip. Follow-up from Synology DS-107e user after RouterBase Upgrade: (added 10172007) You published an earlier report of my Synology DS-107e NAS on 8312007. Since then Ive been totally happy with this unit. After purchasing a new MacBook Pro with wireless n capability I decided to upgrade this system by changing my old D-Link router ( DI-624 AirPlus Xtreme G, now discontinued ) out for a new Apple Airport 802.11n Base wGigabit Ethernet LANWAN ports. The improvement was immediately noticeable, Ive not run any Benchmarks, but when observing the throughput of a SuperDuper Disk image Clone operation, the copy speeds average 4-5 faster then with my older PowerBook and D-Link router. To say Im pleased with this improvement would be an understatement. ( I asked if hed applied the Airport 802.11N base 7.2.1 firmware update .-Mike ) Yes I updated the firmware to 7.2.1 as prompted during the installation. Ive not witnessed any problems, then again Im not using the AirDisk feature. -James (added 10152007) Mac: G4-450 AGP slot Tower upgraded to 1.4GHz, running OS 10.4.10 On 26 Jul 2007 I purchased Quantity: 1 OWCNASP7750GB16 - 299.99 750GB (7200RPM 16MB Cache) OWC NASPerform - Network AttachedUSB 2.0 Storage Solution featuring NDAS from Other World Computing. It came with a OWC Manual. I went to the Ximeta site to download their version of the manual. I purchased it as a remote storage device accessible from multiple Macs. From the box, I started it on a USB connection and then hooked it into wired Ethernet. Everything worked OK until we recycled the router (turned power off). The NAS icon disappeared from the desk top. Computer reboots would not bring back the icon to desk top. The NAS would only mount on the desk top after I hooked it up to a USB port. Returned to the Ethernet it mounted and worked OK until the router was recycled again and NAS icon again disappeared from desk top. Disk Utility showed the NAS dimmed but would not mount it. NAS utility said it was mounted but no icon showed on the desk top. Dismounting and remounting via NAS utility did not change situation. I ran Disk Warrior. I wish I had made a screen dump of all the problems it claimed to have corrected. Most of those listed I have never seen mentioned before. Disk Warrior then mounted the NAS on the desk top. Since then the NAS appears to be working OK including surviving some extreme voltage fluctuations on the house line and any number of router recycles. I have not attempted to access the NAS from another computer this entire time. That it can be used in read only mode from other Macs is a downer. The overly large activity light, extremely bright, very annoyingly so, rotates through several colors. Regular LED light(s) would be preferable. I spent a lot of time on this item and do not feel I understand it. I am not a happy camper. -Charles S. Synology DS-107e NAS Report (8312007) I just this week purchased a Synology DS-107e NAS enclosure for SATA drives. I installed a Seagate 250Gig sata II drive into it, really easy to do, with good documentation. The setup went quickly and it was up and running in less then 30 minutes. It is connected via ethernet cable to my D-link wireless router ( DI-624 AirPlus Xtreme G, now discontinued ) and all 3 of my Apple computers (G4 powerBook, G4 iBook, and intel Mini) work well with it. I load the user shares a boot time on all computers via afp-Url in user-login-preference. I use both ChronoSync and SuperDuper for backups to this NAS drive, and both software packages can find and mount if needed my user shares and backup to them without a problem. This is my first experience with NAS, I did some research xlr8yourmac and other websites, and decided on the Synology. So far Im very pleased with this unit. -James On Oct. 17th James sent an update after switching to an Airport 802.11n base wGigabit Ethernet. Synology DS-106 and QNAP TS-201 (updated with more info on model specifics) (8312007) I use both a Synology Disk-Station 106 and a QNAP TS-201 on my network. ( I asked if he had the DS-106j. Theres previous reports here on the DS-106j and DS-106e models and if this was the QNAP TS-201 he had.-Mike ) It is actually a DS-106. It was the SMB version of the DS-106e. Which was as far as I can tell a predecessor to the DS-106j. Each model is slightly different in the software. Had three advantages, came in black, was diskless and supported secure FTP support. ( About the QNAP TS-201 ) The version I am using is from Ripcaster in the Uk. But is a TS-201. Now replaced with the TS-209 (ripcaster.co.uknode133 ) They change the OS to support Slimserver. My primary reason for wanting it. The Synology is excellent. I use it as a NAS for both Windows and Macs, A Blog server and as a Wiki server. Works really well in all modes. I have had no problems at all with it. I have found the forums excellent for supporting minor mods to the software (like enabling telnet). I have used it to store data from Windows and access it with OS X, and vice versa. Never failed me yet. I also have a QNAP TS-201 running on the network. While I havent built up as much experience with it yet, as it is mainly used as a music server, it seems to work very well. It is slower to boot than the Synology. I should note that it has been modified (by the supplier) to run Linux. With this version I can not use the Connect to Server drop down menu but have to attach it via the network drive icon. Other than that minor irritation it appears to be fine. In the past I used to have a Lacie Ethernet Disk (the rack mounted one). I very quickly learned to hate it. The window operating system was a real problem. My principle problem was that I never found a way to change the settings that required users to change passwords every so often. Once the software wanted you to change the password I could not log on via a Mac as it made a mess of the windowing. I normally ended up having to connect a monitor and keyboard to it and going in via the direct window interface to sort it out. They may have sorted it out in more recent versions of the software, but I have avoided them ever since. With the Lacie, the FTP server function also stored things outside the normal shares. As I remember in some really weird place on the disk, that I ended up having to dig out when I went to clear down the machine. Hope this helps -John 250GB LaCie Ethernet Disk Mini: (8302007) 250GB LaCie Ethernet Disk Mini (Gigabit Ethernet USB 2.0): Just to let you know, after a couple of false starts with other products this LaCie offering has been my NAS solution since late 2005. I have it automount via AFP on both my Macs (G4 Mac Mini, Core Duo Macbook Pro). Initially I wanted to use it both as a video and as a music server. Connection speeds are too slow to use it for video but it works OK for music (though the connection does drop from time to time). My network consists of an Airport Extreme (802.11g) base station (to which the drive is connected via ethernet) and two Airport Express blocks. Though the LaCie drive works well with my Mac setup I cannot recommend it. It went back to LaCie the first time for a firmware update to get the USB 2.0 connection to work with my Intel Mac (for some reason - I cant remember the details - it was not possible to reflash the drive over the network or via my PPC Mac Mini). The drive is now about eigtheen months old and it just died on me - it simply wont switch on. Straightforward hardware failure. The drive itself is OK but the housing failed. As LaCies warranty is only for a year they will not repair it. This is not the first time Ive heard of quality control problems affecting this brand. Im now looking for a reliable Mac-friendly NAS solution from another brand. Chris K. Synology DS-106j NAS (Theres also some earler reports here on the DS-106e) (8242007) I just bought a Synology DS-106j NAS enclosure from Tiger Direct. Having champagne tastes on a tap-water budget I did my research first. I have a small mixed platform network at home. Macs running OS 9 amp OS X (Tiger) as well as laptops running Win-doze 2K amp XP. I thought the price was a little high (at first) but after installing the drive and setting it up I consider it a bargain. It works with both OS 9 amp X without a problem which was my main concern. Havent tested it with Win-doze yet but I dont think that there will be a problem. The throughput is a lot better than the BOSS unit I told you about earlier. So far I havent found anything negative about it but if I do Ill let you know. The DS-106j uses an IDE drive, while the DS-107j uses a SATA drive. Synologys web site has a chart listing the differences and performances of the different models. Hope this helps others looking for a cross-platform NAS. -Mike J. Yellow Machine P400 Firmware Update: (from one of the readers that commented previously on the Yellow Machine.) (added 4232007) My YM came with firmware version 3.01 There is a .iso version of the final version (3.30) available here: daffysworld.infofilesYellowMachine3-30InstallationCD.iso. I was able to upgrade my YM using Virtual PC, But it was a struggle. I reran Helios LAN test WiFi (802.11G) and didnt really see any big differences. Still cant get NFS to work. -Mike An earlier report from Jeff below noted he enabled NFS via a checkbox in configuration but he had to rename his Macs as some had spaces, etc. in the names. Yellow Machine P400 1.0TB (Yellow Machine P400 1.0TB NASRouterFireWall wRAID 015 Support - company out of business, so the only support is via a user siteforums at yellowmachine ) (added 4192007) I purchased a yellow machine from OWC and Im using it on a mixed network with Win XP media center (gaming machine) iMac G5 iSight, iMac G3 (both on 10.4) and QuickSilver G4 (10.3) and a D-Link 713P router. I did my configuration with the Win XP machine following the quickstart guide which says connect the YM to the router, connect the PC to the YM. The YM was not visible in the YM Manager software until I manually set the IP of the XP machine to value suggested by the software. It actually came up and told me it couldnt find a YM so set the IP to something. Then it showed up and I was able to configure it. I have been able to set my IP back to auto and the YM still shows up now. The YM was shipped setup as RAID 5 and I enabled NFS. ( In reply to an earlier YM user that mentioned problems running NAS ) I think his issue was the names of his systems. Turning on NFS was just a checkbox in configuration but when I tried to add the Macs as users to the mount. I had to go and change the Mac names. He said: Still trying to get NFS working. Should be faster than Samba. The YM doesnt like non-Windows log-in names which my Macs have. To be honest I dont know that Im using NFS but I assume so because the drive (called Drive1) gets mounted, not the server name. I did have to change my Mac network names to names with no spaces before I could add them as users. Then they were able to access it just fine on the network. I have not tried the YM Manager via the web client from a Mac. The only issue I had was on the iMac G5 which is used the most I used Deja Vu (version included with Toast) to back up some large folders and towards the end it had some io errors and missed a couple dozen files. I was able to copy them manually without issue so it may have been a network issue. I have it on a UPS but the APC UPSes that I have dont have serial ports. I do have a Belkin and another brand with serial ports that Im going to try when I get a chance since from reading on the forums it will take 8-10 hours to rebuild if a power outage causes any corruption. Right now I am using it for weekly backups and turning it off when complete. -Jeff T. An earlier report follows: (added 4192007) Got my Yellow Machine P400 1.0TB from OWC (Apr. 13th). Spent several hours getting it to work. I could not make it work via the instructions that came on the CD. The big problem is that the default setting on the LAN side of the YM is DHCP client Dont know how the thing could ever work according to the directions. The 2nd thing to note is that is does take a loooong time to boot. What I finally did was hook one of the LAN ports to my router. It is then available. Now to log into the YM Manager. I used IM 5.2. (You can use Safari, but turn off the pop-up blocker.) You can then log into the manager at (whatever IP is assigned by your router):10000 Im still messing around with settings but it does work. A little slow since it is limited to 100baseT but it is nice to have those extra gigabytes available. So far I am happy. A lot of storage for the price. Documentation is horrible. Got the hint about the YM being in DHCP client mode from comments on yellowmachine. I am using it in RAID 5. I had used RAID 5 in my previous life as an engineer with Northrop Grumman. (I am now retired.) I liked the combination of speed and redundancy. Nothing exciting about my network. Cable modem to wireless router. Router set up as DHCP server. Router also has ethernet ports one of which I connected to the YM. I am using the YM in the NAS mode. Havent tried its firewall or router modes. Probably wont. Since all my machines are Wireless (802.11G) the speeds would be limited by the wireless. May try a direct ethernet connection at some later date. Speeds I have seen reported max out at about 5 MBs, limited by the 100baseT. ( He later wrote ) Here is a clip of a chart of throughput (RAID5). ( He later sent log files from tests of the RAID 5 volume via wireless (G) and Ethernet using Helios Lantest .-Mike ) Still trying to get NFS working. ( Another user above said he enabled NFS-Mike ) Should be faster than Samba. The YM doesnt like non-Windows log-in names which my Macs have. Been a long time since I set up Unix and Windows networks. Ill keep you updated as I fumble along. FWIW, heres a picture of my setup. Bottom to top, UPS, Yellow Machine, cable modem and router. In the garage. Im still unpacking - 40 years of my stuff 60 years of my folks -Mike A. Thecus 5200 and Infrant ReadyNAS 1100 (Ive added links to the mfrs sites for these. If you send a report, please include the mfrs web page URL for the product. thanks.) (432007 - updated with correct Thecus model no.) Hey mike this is actually two reports Ive tested two Thecus 5200s ( thecus is mfrs site but its horribly slow today ) a while ago and a infrant Ready NAS 1100 recently. All the NASs were fully populated with seagate 750 GB drives. So thats a lot of storage. I really liked the thecus over infriant stuff. The thecuses were a little new (at the time I was testing them) but they were well documented (i.e. they said what the second gigabit Ethernet port could be used for and how to use it that way). The thecuses were each setup as a single RAID 5 volume with 256K blocks (this took many hours -14- to build). They shared fine and fast over AFP and SMB. It was easy to set them up but one of the thecuses didnt exactly take to all the users and groups I wanted to make. I had to compromise and make the sharing setup on both simpler. The clients were a G4 a PCI-X G5 and a powerbook G4, most running 10.3.9, none having ethernet hardware that supported jumbo frames. Xbench scores looked like this: Disk Test (overall score) - 51.84 Sequential (overall score) - 34.71 Uncached Write - 15.66, 9.62 MBsec (4K blocks) Uncached Write - 70.97, 40.16 MBsec (256K blocks) Uncached Read - 35.01, 10.24 MBsec (4K blocks) Uncached Read - 114.38, 57.49 MBsec (256K blocks) Random (overall score) - 102.39 Uncached Write - 93.56, 9.90 MBsec (4K blocks) Uncached Write - 42.74, 13.68 MBsec (256K blocks) Uncached Read - 1421.44, 10.07 MBsec (4K blocks) Uncached Read - 233.88, 43.40 MBsec (256K blocks) A screenshot from Helios Lan Test ( available here ) is also attached. ( screenshot was done with window deselected ) Surprisingly this wasnt good enough for the client. He wanted to do shared video editing to these and eventually these would randomly drop a frame after about 20 minutes. There was some ways scrubbing video fro them wasnt exactly like a fixed disk. The client went through the roof. His vendor suggested to do sharing through SMB it benchmarked like this. Disk Test (overall score) - 46.42 Sequential (overall score) - 31.85 Uncached Write - 15.65 9.61 MBsec (4K blocks) Uncached Write - 53.62 30.34 MBsec (256K blocks) Uncached Read - 35.23 10.31 MBsec (4K blocks) Uncached Read - 68.36 34.36 MBsec (256K blocks) Random (overall score) - 85.53 Uncached Write - 94.12, 9.96 MBsec (4K blocks) Uncached Write - 33.35, 10.68 MBsec (256K blocks) Uncached Read - 1231.49, 8.73 MBsec (4K blocks) Uncached Read - 187.13, 34.72 MBsec (256K blocks) It still wasnt perfectly appropriate for standard def DV video editing and after much screaming and yelling at everyone he returned everything. He called me up a few months later and says hes vendor has something that will work. He also has somewhat lower expectations. Hell capture video locally and then upload it etc. He says he wants me to rewire the setup with cat 6 cable (it had been nice cat5e that never had a problem doing gigabit speeds) I say sure and ask him to let me know what this new thing is called. He never does. He does share an email where the vendor has tested the new solution with a file copy under windows and gotten a speedy 20MBs. I hit the roof, I call the client and let him know that that isnt that speedy. Anyway I rewire the office with cat6 cable. The computer mix has changed a little there is a PCI-express G5 the old PCI-X G5 and the G4 powerbook. All are now on 10.4.8. The PCI-express G5 has dual-gigabit ethernet that will do jumbo frames, the older G5 gets a small tree card thats dual port and jumbo able and the powerbook stays the same. The office gets rewired and the new thing comes in its a Infrant Ready Nas 1100. I wire it in and do some of the setup (the vendor has done some). Its firmware is in some ways very mature and dispite that is truely still a UI PITA. It needs a tweak to OSXs TCPIP setting before its even usable. Cocktail will do this no ACK delay tweak persistently. I try to set it up for simple sharing under AFP. I run into many problems besides the speed. I let the client know this thing is brutally slow and can not meet even his lower expectations. He tells me to stop being negative and fix the problems. He thinks my warning to him earlier when the vendor had sent the speedy email had been some kind of viewing the glass half empty episode. I spend forever working on a large file size issue. Basically in simple sharing mode guest didnt have enough quota to do larger than 1.95 GB file transfers. I have to go make sharing more complicated in order to give a named user more quota. We dont do the X-RAID setup because the client doesnt want to loose any disk space. The Ready NAS cant really make a volume larger than 2TB on standard raid modes (0,1,5,10) so we wind up making two raid 0 arrays with two 750GB seagate drives each. When everything is done The ready NAS benchmarks like this. Disk Test (overall score) - 20.52 Sequential (overall score) - 12.84 Uncached Write - 6.11, 3.75 MBsec (4K blocks) Uncached Write - 13.86, 7.84 MBsec (256K blocks) Uncached Read - 16.92, 4.95 MBsec (4K blocks) Uncached Read - 59.65, 29.98 MBsec (256K blocks) Random (overall score) - 51.04 Uncached Write - 38.71, 4.10 MBsec (4K blocks) Uncached Write - 23.75, 7.60 MBsec (256K blocks) Uncached Read - 855.79, 6.06 MBsec (4K blocks) Uncached Read - 107.98, 20.04 MBsec (256K blocks) I dont have a helios lan test benchmark on this and Im not working on it anymore. The client has found tech more positive whos willing to take the vendors word that this should work. ( He later wrote ) I did mean the Thecus 5200 ( not 5100, which doesnt exist ) and their product page sure is slow today. As far as the benchmarks all the NAS devices I tested scored really high on 4K uncached random read it may be a bug in Xbench or it may be the one thing the NASes do really well. ( typical drive scores are under 1MBsec for that test ) I reported that as xbench gave it to me. Also to be fair to the Ready NAS it was a more mature solution. ( some other users here liked the Ready NAS ) There are abstractions within its programming that are extremely useful for doing file sharing. i.e. distinguishing between Volumes, shares and quotas, I just wish you didnt have to manually fill them out in different units (gigabytes megabytes and even K) I wish there was an optional slider. The slightly complicated users and groups setup I mentioned that one of the thecuses couldnt do I dont think would have been a problem for the ReadyNAS. The ReadyNAS even lets you assign UIDs to different users. For speed the thecus is clearly the winner but if you have a workgroup where different users need different rights the ReadyNAS is probably a safer bet -J Lacie Ethernet Disk Mini (Gigabit Ethernet USB 2.0): (422007) LaCie Ethernet Disk mini (gigabit Enet USB 2.0) I received my backordered LaCie Ethernet Disk mini - gigabit - Friday after waiting 2 months since I pre-ordered it. Although I typically wait for a product to be out for a while before I purchase it, my 7-year old Lacie Pocketdrive has survived despite being typically abused, I took a chance on their new NAS drive. I decided to get this instead of the new airport-n (and then connect USB drives), because the airport is not gigabit, and I am a hard-wired type of person. I am not disappointed. Having following posts about the difficulties associated with the Buffalo, and other NAS drives, I wanted to get something to centralize my music and file backups without the hassle of fooling with DOS disks. The Lacie is advertised as supporting Apple HFS, Windows and Linux. It also has a USB port to connect an additional USB drive. I had concerns about how Mac-compatible the 250GB (they also have a 320gb 500gb) the Lacie internal drive would be because although it can be reformatted, you cannot choose the format type. I thought it might only be a foreign type format that might be fussy about all those special characters that I like to use in naming files. As such my initial plan was to put all of my music (Apple m4a) on the Lacie drive and connect one of my USB drives to the LaCie for all of those antiquated backup files. My Logic was backwards. The music files transferred OK to the LaCie internal drive, but when I connected an already mostly full USB drive to the mini disk, it did not like all of the special characters that already were on the USB drive. It was all there, but many names were truncated at the point of a special character. Surprisingly though, new files copied onto the attached USB drive, as well as files copied directly on the mini disk did not lose any special characters and the custom icons were even maintained. So I reversed my thinking, and copied my backup files to the Lacie -no problem, and connected my music on a USB drive connected to the Lacie. Sweet. The software that comes with the mini disk works flawlessly on the Mac. Their IP Configurator found (and displayed) the network address that is needed to connect to the drive in a web browser (I used Safari). I did note that although the IP Configurator worked on my older Quicksilver g4, It crashed when I tried to use it on my Intel iMac. Downloading the most recent configurator from Lacie solved that issue quickly. Being new to NAS drives, it took a while for me to get things just right, and I fooled around with about everything that is available in their browser based tools for configuring the drive. The network address (that the LaCie was given by my airport) quickly connected me to the unit in Safari. The software is highly flexible, allowing renaming of both the LaCie and the USB drive, setting up users with defined access (readwrite or read only) and allowed setting up shares on the fly. This would seem useful in that you would not need to partition anything to set up numerous different accessible areas for different users (each with their own permissions.) With all of my blundering and experimentation, I did manage to break something I could not fix. While remaining the drives, at some point, the Macs did not like looking for something new and complained that the previous alias was not available, then saying I did not have the proper permissions to delete the alias. I thought deleting the USB share would help, but it put the Lacie in a mode where I could not access any USB drive connected to it. After the usual fiddle time, I gave up and emailed Lacie Support, and went on to other things thinking I could fix my blunder in a couple of days. Am I surprised that my tech request to LaCie was answered within an hour Yes I am, pleasantly. They instructed me how to restore the mini disk to factory settings, and now knowing how it all worked I quickly turned the Lacie and the attached USB drive into exactly what I wanted. After connecting my music filled USB drive to the Lacie, I launched iTunes and pointed it to the network attached USB drive (as the library) re-did the playlist to reflect the new source, and added the USB drive to the login items of the Accounts System Preference, and started playing music. I did the same thing on my Quicksilver Mac and had both of them playing music at the same time. I never really did like using iTunes Shared Music option, as the other Mac had to be on) and other hassles with that, so this is better. While I had both Macs playing different tunes at the same time, I then started transferring my backup files over the network to the mini disk. I will leave the milliseconds for other technical people, but the rough speed transfer rate of 1gb per 2-minutes is fine with me, and with the many gigabytes being transferred at gigabit speeds, neither Mac playing the ITunes music skipped a beat, literally. I have yet to connect a windows or Linux machine to the network to see how they work (andor boot camp or parallels), but I tend to believe LaCie got it all right. It is not often that I am happy enough to spend the time to write all this about a product, but I am today, and hopefully will be well into the future. -Gerry G. (added Jan, 9th, 2007) I recently purchased a Western Digital 160gb Network Drive. ( I assume this was their NetCenter network drive -Mike ) And while I liked the interface and software bundle, I found that the 10100 link was too slow for what I wanted to do, (Chronosync all my machines). Whats the point of Gigabit connections if you dont use them I quickly sold this unit and instead settled on the Buffalo Linkstation Pro 320GB model with Gigbit Ethernet. This is one sweet little unit. When tied into my D-Link GigE switch and Cat6 cabling Im getting transfer rates that blow away anything I could have imagined. The difference is night and day over the typical networked devices with 10100. With the added USB ports, as a previous poster has mentioned, you can easily expand your storage, and should you purchase another unit they can back up to each other over the network. Sweet I couldnt be happier and have to concur with Charlie ( previous Linkstation user report ) in every respect. In its price range it definitely offers more than the others. Happy NASng Regards, David A reader had asked if anyone had used the ReadyNAS NV on their Mac network. Several readers replied. (added Jan, 9th, 2007) I just installed a Ready NAS NV at a clients location. Although they are a Win shop, I used my Mac to do the setup and test the installation. Everything worked as advertise by Infrant. The setup was easy (creating CIFSSMB shares) and the gigabit ethernet interface really flies. I tested the AFP file sharing and it works also quite well havent tested with NFS but will since the ReadyNAS is considered as a storage server for some large genomic data sets. The only kind-of-a-rant is the fact that the web interface is hard coded for at least a 1024x768. If you use a lesser resolution, some of the interfaces elements are going to look strange. Best regards, Sylvain (added Jan, 8th, 2007) I am taking delivery today of an Infrant Ready NAS NV (1TB storage 1GB RAM) in X-Raid mode. I have a 25 Mac network (and a couple PCs). I will keep a journal on the install, setup, config, and daily use for the next week or so and report to you for your readers. I have been a daily reader of your website for years, keep up the great work ( He later wrote ) Ok. I got the ReadyNAS NV (1TB storage, 1GB RAM) at about noon. Spent a few minutes reading and reviewing the docs. The detailed docs and a Mac application that finds the server on the net are included on the CD. All the setup and management of the NAS is web based. Out of the box the NAS needs your router to be set up to serve IP addresses (DHCP). after initial access you can change the IP to be static in the web management. The unit I ordered was configured at the factory with four 250GB drives set up in their X-Raid format, so I dont have to spend the 2 to 10 hours formatting, striping and raid syncing of the drives. The unit has a 2 line LCD status display on the front in addition to the LEDs for the drives. It has 3 USB ports (one in front. two on the back) and the Gigabit ethernet port on the back. The web interface is good, and it has a wizard to walk you through the setup in the correct order. Hard core IT guys can go straight to the advanced menus. I spent about an hour doing the setup (had to setup and configure permissions for 20 people and 6 departments and create 6 shares). I hooked up my APS brand UPS via USB to the back of the NAS and it recognized it in the management software. When you create the users and add their email addresses, it automatically sends out an email to that users email with the login and password in the body of the text. It also gives login instructions, but ONLY for SMB and windows users. It does not include the AFP server access instructions for Mac users in the email. The web control interface is reasonably responsive. I only have 100Mbit switches at the moment, I think that when I get Gigabit switches that it would be more responsive. The file transfers will speed up significantly when that is done (most of my Macs have Gigiabit ethernet). I am currently migrating 70GB of data from an old G4 Mac tower to the new ReadyNAS, well see over the next few days what my users think of it. -Andrew S. Vice President Web Development Interact Communications, Inc. (added Jan, 8th, 2007) Todays page asked if anyone has used a ReadyNAS NV on their network. I dont have that specific model, but have a ReadyNAS NV (the main difference is that the NV has a front panel LCD, which I didnt need since ours sits in the basement unseen, and it also adds Retrospect backup software). I have been using it for several months without issue on our mixed network (Mac mini, 2 iBooks, 2 Windows PCs, and 2 Xbox systems with Xbox Media Center installed). I have it set up using X-RAID, infrants own version of RAID 5 which allows you to replace your hard drives with larger drives and once all drives are replaced the RAID sees all the new storage. For example, I have 4x400GB hard drives installed in it now which gives me just over 1TB of usable drive space. If, down the road, I want to migrate to 750GB hard drives, I can do it one at a time and, at first, the system would see it also as a 400GB HD but once I add the last 750GB drive, it would then see all the drive space again. It supports various file services such as CIFS, AFP and NFS. They have a responsive support team via their online forums and have a Mac OS X section which has proven to be very helpful to me. I use the device to store our media and backups and have not had any issues with it. It may be overkill for some and they are not the cheapest NAS devices on the market, but for me it was what I have been looking for in a NAS device. Thanks for the great website -Gilbert (added Jan, 8th, 2007) i am using an older ReadyNas. works perfectly, no problems at all, fast, great. use it as itunes server, as ftp server, back-up. also have a FW800 raid, but the next box i get will be the NV. so much cheaper, way more options and speed is great for most applications. -Paul (added Jan, 8th, 2007) Hi Mike, Saw your item on the front page of the site today asking if anybody has any experience with an Infrant ReadyNAS NV on a Mac network. I have an older ReadyNAS X6 on my network, and it works perfectly in a Mac environment. The NV (and the NV) are basically the same unit in a newer cabinet design, and they use the same firmware, so the NV should behave the same. The ReadyNAS support AFP out of the box, so you can easily mount it on a Mac, and it understands the Mac file naming and special characters. There are some issues if you mount via SMB, since the SMB protocol only allows a subset of the characters that OS X allows in a file name. This is a problem only if you have an app that creates files with one of these characters, and doesnt handle the renamed version correctly. I believe Aperture has this problem. The solution is to stick to AFP. (Older firmware had some performance issues with AFP so folks were using SMBCIFS, but the 3.0 version made some nice improvements in AFP speed.) Finally, there is a pretty active Mac specific forum on Infrants site, so if you do run into any issues there are a lot of folks who can help you out. Ive been completely satisfied with my ReadyNAS. -Barry (added Jan, 8th, 2007) I purchased a 2TB ReadyNAS NV last summer and ended up returning it. The hardware was solid, but there are major software and performance problems with it that made it less than ideal for Mac users. Their AFS support did not, as of last June, have anywhere near the performance they get out of SMB (5-12Mbsec vs. 20-30Mbsec). To their credit, they readily acknowledged problems and said they were working on fixes, but ultimately I decided I didnt want to risk ending up with a 2K brick that wasnt fast enough for my needs. If you can live with SMB, you might be happier, but Im not willing to live with SMBs filename restrictions. There were also problems getting GigE working correctly, but I never made it that far. It just hit my less-than-production-quality metric and after that I needed to get it off my network ASAP. There were also usability issues with their UI. It didnt look like it was designed so much as hacked on. The overall software architecture was rather nice (I realize that sound like a contradiction) it was really all UI issues. It was just incredibly frustrating to configure youd remember that there was a knob to do something and then you spend the next five minutes trying to find it in their browser. And the browsers pretty slow, that was part of the problem too. And forget about using it as your SlimServer. Its way too slow for that. It took close to eight hours () to build my database and it was dreadfully slow compared to the mini I was thinking it might replace. For comparison, a full database rebuild on my 1GB 1.5Mhz PPC mini takes 10-20 minutes. So 10-20 minutes versus eight hours, that degree of slow. Bottom line: their GigE AFP performance is simply not there. I strongly advise anyone considering a ReadyNAS NVNV to check out Infrants OS X user forum here: infrantforumviewforum.phpf28. They deserve credit for airing their dirty laundry in public, but make sure you make an informed decision before you press the buy button. And finally, a word of warning about Eagis. I bought the ReadyNAS from them. They charged me a restocking fee of 10 to return this box, so buyer beware. I personally wont be buying anything from Eagis again. -Derrell Ive never heard of that vendor before, but many dealers have even higher restocking fees (15 I think is fairly common). (added Jan, 8th, 2007) I dont have the NV but I do have a ReadyNAS NV. Infrant has done a great job, fully supporting AFP and even creating a status widget (infrantforumviewtopic.phpt4570 ) for it. I dont have any issues with mine-- its fast, stable, and has almost every feature I could ever want. Hope this helps, -Nolen (added Jan, 8th, 2007) While i dont have a ReadyNAS at my home to use all of the time, i do have a client who has one for disk-based backups. In regards to the Mac it works just fine using SMB -- it does have a special config checkbox for more Mac compatibility (which is says to use only for Macs and will supposedly negatively effect windoze boxes). ReadyNAS is my NAS of choice -Pete (added Jan, 8th, 2007) Ive been using a ReadyNAS NV on my home network for almost a year. My network is mixed Mac and Windows. It works perfectly. I use it for backup of large files, including my photo images. Accessing it from the browser is straightforward, but the company also provides software (RAIDar) to detect the device. Support via the companys forum is prompt. In addition, there is a large user base on the forum with recommendations for compatible hardware (hard drives, routers, switches, etc). Ive been so pleased with the ReadyNAS NV that I recently purchased a second one and equipped it will four 500GB drives. -William B. (added Jan, 8th, 2007) Hi Mike, just want to let you know that Im also using a NAS, since 3 months now. Its the NSLU2 from Linksys. ARM powered little box, embedded Linux, 266MHz, 2 USB-ports, 100Mbit network. The full power of the box can be reached if you install a new firmware, a complete Linux (uNSLUg, OpenSLUg) on it (I have the root FS on an 1GB USB stick, a second HD containing my data). Hundreds of packages for it. (almost) everything can be done with the small NSLU2. (the uNSLUg FW is free, will partly replace the Linksys firmware and add new functions.) Im very happy with it, just wanted something which give me flexibility, even if you have sometimes a little bit work (usually on NIX) -) It serves my local network (three Macs, two PCs, DBOX - digital receiver, used to stream the music to the HI-FI components ) with filesharing (SMB NFS), iTunes music server (mt-daapdFirefly), audio-video server (TwonkyMedia - UPnP), OpenSSH for remote access. I want to buy a second one to install Apache, MySQL, PHP and an email server. Im accessing it now over wireless from all of the computers at home. For the interested people, here is the best web-site around about getting information about the box: nslu2-linux.org ( in regards to AFP support ) Well, out-of-the-box it doesnt support the NSLU AFP, I didnt check yet about such a package, because Im using SMB now from Mac. But I suppose that is something out there, I saw an kernel module named appletalk. Best wishes, Yasmin K. Munich, Germany (added Jan. 5th, 2007) I have been looking for a network drive that will work well with my Mac and PC for months. I like the Infrant and Buffalo TerraStation products but I was not that enamored with the price tag that came with those products. Recently, Buy had a sale on the SimpleTech SimpleShare 160GB network drives. What interested me was the mention of Mac OSX compatibility (support) in the product. Coupled with a SALE price of less than 100 it was just too much to resist. Features Small size, 5.51 x 8.86 x 1.35, and vertical or horizontal placement makes it easy place the drive just about anywhere. It is virtually slient in operation. It comes with a small universal power (100-240 volt) external power supply. The unit is simple to set up using the one page of instructions required to install the hardware. One more page of instructions on how to access the SimpleShare from the Mac and the disk Icon was on my desktop and ready to use. The SimpleShare has a standard 10100 Mb network interface. There are two USB 2.0 ports that can support additional drives or a printer. You can mirror drives to create a more secure back-up. You can also stripe drives to create a larger single drive. Dont expect the data rate to increase as the 100 Mb Ethernet is the limiting factor. There is a somewhat limited USB print server in the SimpleShare. Note that the SimpleShare reformats a USB drive attached to it. If you have data on the drive it will be lost. Setup SimpleShare is simple to use. To connect I used the Go menu in the Finder and entered smb:Simpleshare and the Mac found the drive on the network. The drive then works like any standard network drive. I didnt have to set up IP addresses or any other special configuration. If you add a second SimpleShare you need to give then two different names using the web interface. More Advanced Setup The set-up utility application runs on a PC or you can use the web-page on the SimpleShare server from the Mac. On the PC the application set up a mapped drive to make it easy to access the SimpleShare from Windows XP. The unit came with firmware version 1.0.0 and I downloaded and installed 1.0.7 from the SimpleTech web site. I happened to use the PC but it should work from the Mac. I also reset the password for access to something other than the default. The system was rebooted when the firmware was loaded and again when the password was changed. After this step I went back to the Mac. Logged in again and put the new password in my keychain. It is like magic. It just works. Results I transferred a movie file from the Mac to the drive and viewed it on the PC and then on the Mac. No problem with either one. Data transfers about 7 to 8 MBsec on my system to an empty drive. SimpleShare is adequate for back-ups and most routine operations. Overall, I am very impressed with the product. For the value it is a great choice for a Mac user who doesnt have a 1,000 to spend on storage. In fact, I was so happy that when the 250 GB version went on sale last month I purchased another one. If you can find one for a good price this is a fine product for a Mac, PC or mixed network. -Richard B. (added Jan 5th, 2007) Ive been using a Dlink DNS-323 since early December. I chose the device for two reasons - the first being a good review on smallnetbuilder (D-Link DNS-323: A brand-name NAS worth waiting for ) and the second being that its running linux. As it is running embedded linux, well, one can add additional functionality. Thought id mention that several users have setup a DNS 323 support forum at forum.dsmg600.infof3-General-Discussion.html . Worthwhile to take a look as apart from support issues, theres also a discussion on how to hack the device andor tweak the linux configuration of the DNS 323 to allow it to have new functionality. regards, Robert (added Jan. 4th, 2007) I purchased the D-Link DNS-323 NAS box for use on my local network. Not having used network storage before, I wasnt quite certain what to expect. The device itself is easy to use. Drives are simply slipped into each bay and gently pushed in to connect to the sockets. This part is as easy at is comes. Construction is solid and the device is well built and designed. Network configuration is another story. Because the device and accompanying software is designed for Windows machines there is no easy configuration for the Mac. You must use your browser to configure the system but the written instructions do not provide sufficient information to know exactly how to do that. When connected to the network it can take some time before the device will appear in the Macs Network browser. It took nearly 30 minutes of fooling around before the network drive icon appeared. At that point clicking on the Connect button for the device brings up a dialog which has an option to mount the web page. Selecting that option places a network drive icon on the Desktop. Opening it reveals two icons one of which opens the configuration web page. From there its an easy setup. You can configure date and time, format the drives, update firmware, etc. A visit to the D-Link support site will reveal a firmware update for the device. You can download the update file and install the update from the browser configuration page. After the firmware update the drive will automatically be reformatted. The reformat is for the ext2 filesystem. There is no ext3 option at this point. This is just as well given the better stability of ext2. Drive configuration options are Inidvidual Disks, JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks,) RAID0 (striped.) and RAID1 ), mirrored.) Contrary to one review the DNS-323 box does have an external USB port to which additional external drives can be connected. ( comments from the reader that reported on the DNS-323 previously ) The rear USB port is only used for connecting printers which will be shared by the Printer Server function of the DNS-323. Plugging in USB drives or flash drives has no effect. I just tried it thinking it might be an undocumented feature. -Gino Although the box itself does not support wireless if you connect it to a wiredwireless network you will be able to access it wirelessly. I installed a Seagate 7200.9 250 GB and a Maxtor Maxline Pro 500 GB drive configured as a JBOD. Because network throughput is so slow there isnt really much advantage to using RAID0. If you put two equal sized drives in the box you may find using RAID1 a better choice because it provides not just additional storage but additional data redundancy. Worst throughput on a 100BT network was 228 MBsmin. Not a speed demon by any means but competitive with a dedicated USB 2.0 drive. (The DNS-323 also has Gigabit Ethernet.) An important concern, I discovered, is that the Linux filesystem does not recognize many punctuation symbols that are permitted by Mac OS Extended. Characters such as. , are not allowed in a file name. Any attempt to copy a file with any of those characters in the filename will fail with a warning error that the file name is either too long or contains illegal characters. This will create some problems with any files or folders you have that contain any of those characters. They will have to renamed. ( comments from the reader that reported on the DNS-323 previously ) In fairness, this is not the fault of the Linux filesystem (ext2), but rather because of the SMB protocol. The Linux ext2 filesystem can handle far more special characters than even HFS (except and nul). The SMB protocol does not allow the following special characters: forward slash () Double-quotes () Asterisk () However, he is right in saying that because the Mac allows these characters in filenames, users will run into errors when copying files named as such. As such, it is important for the NAS device itself to support AFP if Mac-compatibility is of utmost importance. It would help in future submissions if users will indicate that, so other users will know of these gotchas. -Gino I sent an email to D-Link technical support inquiring about the filesystem naming problem along with a couple of other technical questions. Their support site promises a reply within not more than 36 hours. Its been a week now without a reply. This doesnt bode well for support. Telephone support is problematic. The parties at the other end do not sound like English is their first language. The call center may be in another country - my guess is India or Pakistan from the accent. Furthermore, the phones or mics being used by the support personnel suffer from bad popping interference making them virtually unintelligible. The DNS-323 is one of the few NAS boxes that holds two drives. Most hold one or four, and the latter cost at least twice as much. The DNS-323 is definitely not the best choice for a NAS box to use with OS X and Macs, but if you want a two drive box its just about your only viable choice. If you dont need more than 500-750 GBs of network storage I believe the Synology DS-106e would be a better choice for the money because of its explicit support of Macs and OS X. ( See earlier reader report on Synology DS-106e below -Mike ) ( he later wrote ) Wouldnt you know that after I emailed you my notes on the D-Link DNS-323 that an hour or two later I finally received a reply from D- Link. Essentially they thanked me for my inquiry and said they dont provide any support for the Mac. Itu saja. Not even a whit of an effort to answer my questions even though Im sure there must be one person in their organization that has some Mac experience. ( Unfortunately this is all too common for companies where their main market is PCsother platforms. Even Pioneer typically doesnt provide Mac user tech support, although a lot of mac owners have usedbought their DVD burners. (Many years ago they actually released a mac firmware updater for the old DVR-103A03104A04 drives, but the motivation IMHO for that was possible damage to the drives if using 4x rated media). Most companies I think feel like the cost of having mac support isnt worth it considering the bulk of their sales are to non-Mac users.-Mike ) Unfortunately, D-Link makes ( some ) network devices that do work well with Macs despite their lack of support. However, I would no longer recommend them to any novice or non-technically inclined Mac user. The inexperienced Mac user may find themselves completely lost trying to get a D-Link product to work with their Mac even though the solution would be simple. One of my questions really had nothing to do with Macs - it was about using a different filesystem to get around some file naming problems. I have sufficient technical skills to work with the DNS-323 although there are some things Id like to know regarding its use on Macs. I guess those questions will remain unanswered until I happen to trip over them. ( He later wrote ) In case your interested. Heres a comparison between a Firewire 400 drive and the DNS-323 network drive. The FW400 drive is a Fujitsu 60 GB 5400 RPM notebook drive. The DNS-323 has a Seagate 7200.9 250GB drive and a Maxtor Maxline Pro 500GB drive. They are configured JBOD ( Just a Bunch of Disks ) and running at Gigabit speed. As you can see the two are reasonably similar. Tests were done with XBench so they are only useful for comparison. Im not sure how reliable the individual speed tests are. Mac Pro system, 2GB RAM, 10.4.8, Xbench 1.3. ( Not sure which drive (Seagate or Maxtor) was used for NAS scores but considering the ethernet connection bottleneck, it probably doesnt matter ) Disk Tests Overall Score: NAS: 27.26, FWNotebook HD: 27.43 Sequential Overall Scores: NAS: 17.60, FWNotebook HD: 33.53 Uncached Write (4K blocks) - NAS: 5.76MBsec, FWNotebook HD: 21.48MBsec Uncached Write (256K blocks) - NAS: 16.06MBsec, FWNotebook HD: 18.19MBsec Uncached Read (4K blocks) - NAS: 6.28MBsec, FWNotebook HD: 9.01MBsec Uncached Read (256K blocks) - NAS: 12.93MBsec, FWNotebook HD: 18.52MBsec Random Overall Scores: NAS: 60.44, FWNotebook HD: 23.21 Uncached Write (4K blocks) - NAS: 5.80MBsec, FWNotebook HD: 1.02MBsec Uncached Write (256K blocks) - NAS: 15.82MBsec, FWNotebook HD: 10.94MBsec Uncached Read (4K blocks) - NAS: 0.91MBsec, FWNotebook HD: 0.33MBsec Uncached Read (256K blocks) - NAS: 9.33MBsec, FWNotebook HD: 10.36MBsec (added Jan. 3rd, 2007) I was in the market for a cheap Network Attached Storage (NAS) device when I saw yo ur recent reports on NAS compatibility with Macs. Thanks for the excellent job you do on compiling these for Mac users I got the D-Link DNS-3231 after spotting it by accident at Frys (239.99 retail price). It is a 2-bay SATA network enclosure with a wireless printer server. It doesnt come with any drives so youd have to provide your own. I got this over a complete NAS product like the ReadyNAS, TeraStation, and the like as I needed something that: Allowed easy installation and replacement of drives (SATA preferably) Provides at least RAID 01, JBOD and individual drives Works with Mac OS X out-of-the-box Cheap(er) Preferably with USBFirewireWireless connectivity The D-Link DNS-323 scored 45 in my list. While it doesnt come with a USBFirewire port for faster data transfers, or wireless connectivity for convenience, it does come with a GigE network port which is a bonus for me when I need to do huge data transfers (e.g. system backups). The wireless USB printer server and iTunes Music Server are nice bonuses, too. Installing drives in the device is dead simple -- simply slide in 1 or 2 drives into the bay. No messing with jumpers or cables. Then plug the unit into the power outlet and into a network switchhubrouter. The drives can be removed easily with the easy-access latches at the rear. The unit itself is no-frills -- just a power button in the front with 3 LED indicators (Drive 1, Drive 2, Power) and in the rear a USB port for printer sharing, 101001000Mbps port, and the power port. The device needs to be configured before use and is done over a web-browser. I had issues using Safari (JavaScript-related), but FirefoxCamino worked fine. The device is configured to grab an IP Address over DHCP, so youll need some way to find out what IP it was assigned. The software provided on the CD and D-Links website is Windows only but isnt really of much use (nothing that cant be done in other ways). The web-based wizard guides the user to setting up the drives: Individual drives, JBOD (all disks combined to form one large drive), RAID 0 (striped for performance), or RAID 1 (mirrored for reliability). With the v1.0 firmware, It also asks you to choose the filesystem: EXT2 (performance) or EXT3 (reliability) (looks like Linux is being used). After the drives have been formatted, the device reboots and is ready to be used. It only provides SMB connectivity to Macs and not AFP, so classic Mac users will need something like Thursbys DAVE to use it. UserGroup permissions are configured through the web browser and not over the Finder. Performance on a 10100Mbps network is ok -- 6-7MBps on my eMac and 1-2MBps on my MacBook over Airport. Nowhere near FirewireUSB speeds but good enough for general purpose use. On a direct gigabit connection I can get much faster speeds (16-19 MBps). A similar product to this one is NetgearZetera Storage Central 101 (SC101)2. This is much cheaper at about 100.00 retail but uses Parallel-ATA (PATA) instead of SATA, and only offers 10100Mbps and not GigE. ( see below for other alternatives ) The setup is clunkier since youll need to cable the drives and tuck them in place (not as elegant and easy as D-Link, but thats the price you pay). Overall, Im very happy with the D-Link. It gives Mac users some future-proofing since it can do GigE and SATA. It makes for a perfect back-up storage device especially when used with backup software and RAID-1. Im currently using it as my backup storage device (2x500GB Maxtor SATA II300 in RAID-1). (from Dec. 18, 2006 news page) Just wanted to let your reader know about my NAS experience so far. I was coveting a ReadyNAS NV like everyone else: not just for the 4-drive RAID support, but also for their support of AFP 3.1 connections. I dont generally give my files long names with funny characters, but Ive always found AFP works much better for connecting to shares in Mac OS X than SMB does. Unfortunately, almost all SOHO-targeted NAS units on the market only support SMB the ones that support AFP typically only support AFP 2.1 (must be using an older version of Netatalk), the ReadyNAS being the only device supporting AFP 3.1 I could find for a while. Finally, I stumbled upon some good reviews of the Synology DS-106e NAS. The unit is sold as just a bare case -- you have to add your own SATA drive. It does all the usual file sharing via SMB, but also has a number of unusual extras built-in like a web server with MySQL and PHP, network music and photo sharing functionality (can be easily hacked to support iTunes), and even a built-in BitTorrent client. More important to me, Synology offers explicit and active support for setup from and connection to Macintosh clients, and the unit fully supports AFP 3.1 connections. So I bought the unit and a 250GB SATA drive. Wireless access is as straightforward as you would expect, both from my girlfriends ThinkPad and my own 12 PowerBook. Readwrite speeds to my PowerMac G5 over gigabit ethernet ( hub connected to wireless base ) are not mind-blowingly fast, but good enough for our purposes: I get about 270MBminute throughput in Retrospect when backing up the NAS shares to an external drive on my desktop machine (the DS-106e comes with a Windows-only backup application, but Im still fine with Retrospect). Fan noise from the unit is barely noticeable, and it spins the drive down after a period of inactivity to save energy. The only downside to the DS-106e is its somewhat more expensive than competing single-drive NAS units at a little over 200 without a drive. However, if you want solid AFP 3.1 support and plan on using some of the many extra features that come with the unit, the DS-106e is a very good deal. Im glad I did my research and found this product, as it fits our needs perfectly. Ill post a more comprehensive review to the Drive Compatibility Database soon. ( he later wrote ) I should have been more specific and stated that the Synology NAS unit doesnt have native wireless: it is connected to a Gigabit switch, which is in turn connected to a wireless router for WiFi access. I havent done any hard benchmarks measuring throughput from the PowerBook and the ThinkPad to the NAS, but it doesnt subjectively feel any slower than accessing my desktop machine from my laptop via regular old file sharing. Given the OPs setup, they ought to be able to attach the NAS to their presumably open Ethernet port on the Airport Express and that should work just fine. Thanks for the site. Ive been a loyal reader since the very beginning. -Seth R. More on Ximeta NetDisk NDAS vs standard NAS (From Dec. 15th, 2006 news page) In yesterdays mac owner reports on NAS, one reader using a Ximeta NetDisk (which is their proprietary NDAS design, requiring drivers) mentioned some drive corruption problems. A reader that was interested in their NDAS drives read an EDN article on the drives that mentioned overheatingdrive failures with their earlier hardware samples (see NDAS undressed: dissecting a NAS substitute ) and wrote the author to ask if later revisions of the hardware addressed that. Heres the authors reply which makes some good points about relying on a 3rd party driver and future support: (Dec. 15th, 2006) I would recommend you stay away from host computer software-based storage (ie NDAS, or solutions based on Zeteras technology such as Netgears Storage Central). More hassle than theyre worth a full-blown NAS isnt much more expensive and, in addition to reducing the computers CPU burden, relies on industry-standard protocols such as SMB. Can you guarantee that Ximeta and Zetera will remain in business And if not, what happens when the next operating system patch or upgrade breaks driver compatibility Get my drift -) ( and in regards to performance of NDAS vs NAS he replied ) Get a NAS with a Gigabit Ethernet interface. googlesearchqsite:ednDipertNAS Brian Dipert Senior Technical Editor: Mass Storage, Multimedia (audio, displays, 2-D and3-D graphics, and still and video imaging), PCs and Peripherals EDN Magazine: edn The drive database has Mac user reports on some NAS models that had Gigabit Ethernet (from low-cost BuffaloTech Linkstation Pro mentioned recently here to the higher end ReadyNAS 600). (From Dec. 15th, 2006 news page) Mike, I have been using NASLite (serverelementsnaslite-plus.php ) on an old HP Vectra VE for over a year now. The server is connected to one of the ports on my wireless router, and my iMac G5 and Dell OptiPlex mount the volume wirelessly. The server is headless, and all management is done via telnet in the Terminal. I use it as a SMBCIFS file server, but it can also be used as an FTP and HTTP file server (simultaneously, no less). I did have to burn the .iso image for the install CD using Nero on the Dell, as Inever could get Disk Utility or Toast to burn it properly on the Mac. I started off testing the free version, NASLite, which boots from a floppy and only supports one protocol (SMB, FTP, or NFS. you choose when you download it). Gigabit Ethernet is supported on all versions of 1.x, but NASLite has been optimized somehow for faster file transfers. I have not done any speed tests, but there was an appreciable difference when I moved to NASLite. Configuration is relatively simple, all things considered. The 1.x releases are fairly basic, with no RAID support being the biggest drawback. Drive support is BIOS independent, however the Vectras BIOS may not support the 300 GB Maxtor hard drive I installed, but since NASLite bypasses it, I am able to utilize all of the available space. NASLite supports up to four fixed IDE disks, but you do not have the luxury of renaming them. You are stuck with DISK-1, DISK-2, DISK-3, and DISK-4. System requirements are minimal: a 486DX or better processor, a PCI bus, 32 MB RAM, a floppy drive, a CD-ROM drive, an Ethernet adapter, and at least one IDE hard drive. My system is a 400 MHz Pentium II with 128 MB RAM, a 3Com 10100 card, and the Maxtor hard drive mentioned earlier. The new 2.x releases (serverelementsnaslite-2-cdd.php ) offer many improved features, including RAID support, and support for multiple interfaces (IDE, SCSI, SATA, USB, FireWire). There is also a version that can boot from a USB flash drive. I may upgrade for the RAID support alone, as the only server backup system I have in place is an old DLT tape drive hooked up to the Dell. I use the bundled Backup utility in Windows 2000 to incrementally back up the entire disk from time to time. If you have an old PC handy, this is a cheap (or even free) method of putting it to good use. - D. Lawson (from Dec. 14th, 2006 news page - see above for his later, more detailed report.) I have two SimpleTech SimpleShare NAS servers on my network. It is simple to access the drive by going to the Go menu and selecting the one of the servers by name, e.g. smb:SimpleShare. The SimpleTech is easy to use and the function is transparent for both OS X and for a PC. Setup and configuration is from a web interface. The device comes with Retrospect backup software. The smaller drives 160 GB and 250 GB are frequently are on sale for close to 100. These drives are very quiet. The drives are fast enough to smoothly stream a 320 x 240 mpeg4 video over a 54 Mb wireless link. Measurements with Netspeedometer show 1.2 to 1.8MBsec, which is reasonable for a 54 Mb wireless link. -Rick B. (from Dec. 14th, 2006 news page) I have 3 XIMETA NetDrives (NDAS not NAS) set up within my network. ( I assume these are Ximeta NetDisk models. For info on their NDAS (Network Direct Attached Storage) vs NAS, see this page. NOTE - you should also read EDNs NDAS undressed: dissecting a NAS substitute . -Mike ) I am able to connect wirelessly to each drive and readwrite to them as well. You must install software on each computer to use the drives, however. I have found 1 way around this: have a dedicated Mac (with software installed) mount the NetDrives. Then share these drives so no everyone will be able to mount the drives as if it was a local drive. Speed is decent but it depends on the type of network you have (G vs B). One problem I have had with the XIMETA drives is that the directory gets corrupted to the point of having to reformat the drive. I have not been able to figure out what causes this. -Shihab (from Dec. 13th, 2006 news page - for Airport Express users) The Airport Express ethernet port can be LAN or WAN configured. This enables you to go from wireless to wired, which I first used when my sister would visit with her (non-airport) iBook, now I use to to connect my ReplayTV to the network. Its one of the options in the AExp admin utility settings -Michael L. (from Dec. 13th, 2006 news page) The AirPort Express Ethernet port can be used with a LAN. However, the port cannot be used simultaneously as a WAN port and LAN port. Choose one or the other. I use the bridging feature all the time so both my wireless and wired LAN hosts can stream music to the AirPort Express. -Steve Another reader suggested using an alternative to a dedicated NAS: (from Dec. 13th, 2006 news page) Based on the cost and SMB wierdness that most NAS drives manifest, often, the best choice for an airport NAS is an old machine repurposed with an internal wireless card and a big drive. Connect the cableDSL modem to the ethernet port of the mac, configure the Mac appropriately for your ISP (for example, Cox uses TCPIP DHCP and Verizon FIOS uses PPPoE) and share internet to the laptops over the wireless card using the OSX preference pane. No need for the ABS as a router anymore. The OSX firewall can do just about anything youd want to do. Instead of using OSX server, sharepoints (hornwaresharepoints ) can be used for user folders, and for making non OSX client share locations. Obviously LBA48 (big drive support) is an issue on G4 towers before late Quicksilver models, but a 60 mac specific PCI ATA card can handle that. ( or a 39 Mac PCI SATA card if youre also looking to buy a newlarger drive. Some 250GB SATA drives are selling for under 80 now.-Mike ) With sawtooth G4 machines going inexpensively on both craigslist and ebay, and natively supported Broadcom chipsets PCI 802.11g cards available cheaply, repurposing old hardware is often the best bet and can cost about the same as a good NAS case would. ( he later wrote ) Further adding to the post, upon closer reading of the original posters issue, I realized he was piggybacking his wireless of his neighbors connection. ( using his Airport Express ) I broke out some old hardware, and duplicated his situation myself here, using my own wireless. In this case, hed have to use two wireless PCI cards, one to recieve the neighbors connection, and an additional one to create the WLAN in his houseapartment. The same advise applies, but instead of using the wired port for the WAN in, hed use one of the two wireless cards. Still pretty cheap given the cost of many NAS drive cases. -Mike OK not specifically about Wireless NAS, but IMHO youre better off keeping the NAS separate from the wireless. I just purchased this BuffaloTech Linkstation Pro 320GB drive for 210. So far its working very well. I currently have it attached via a GigE hub to my Westel Wireless Router (wired ports are only 10100), but could use Airport Express also as one user mentioned. I connect to it via both my MacBook Pro and Intel Mac Mini, both of which have wireless 802.11G and GigE. The cool part of of the BuffaoTech Linkstation drive is the GigE. For normal access where file transfer is relatively small, wireless is great. However for the big transfers (e.g. HD backup via SuperDuper to remote sparse image, copying multi GB Parallels HD images) I wire up directly via the GigE hub and get 10-15 MBs instead of 2-3MBs. It turns hours into minutes. Most people wouldnt think of this till they start that long backup and wonder why its taking forever. Of course there are plenty of other nice things about these drives. two USB ports to attached extra drives, built in backup jobs to the external USB drives, Mac compatibility (including AppleTalk), and a fast SATA drive. And the price is not much more than similar drives with less features and no GigE. -Charlie Some of the previous drive db reports on NAS earlier in 2006 also mentioned a Gigabit model (Infrant ReadyNAS 600 for instance - see reader report below from July 2006) although the Buffalo model above costs a lot less than the ReadyNAS 600 (wo drives), but the ReadyNAS has a hardware RAID controller with 4 drive support. The oldest of the drive db NAS reports (Apr. 2005) was also the most detailed - noting proscons, etc. of an older Buffalo HD-H120LAN model (said it worked well but was UFS based (not HFS) and a sealed unit.) Infrant ReadyNAS 600: (from 7202006) Hi, Mike, Based on the comments on your website, I finally purchased an Infrant ReadyNAS 600 1TB (4 x 250GB). All the reviews here and elsewhere on the net suggested these guys have their heads most together in configuring something powerful and simple in the RAID space. I got mine open-box for 703 vs. about 830 brand new (900 elsewhere). Free shipping, and no payments until Feb 07 with their account (Only worth considering because zero interest but sneaky: if you are late with that Feb payment, theyll charge you retroactive interest at about 20annum). They have more of these open-box units in stock. My only complaint is that they (newegg) screwed up my first order, shipped the wrong unit (I guess a brand new one), called it back from the shipper wo telling me, and dropped some confusing RMA notices in my email. I had to talk to a couple of people at New Egg and spend some time to find out what happened. Worst of all, they didnt just turn around and ship me the right unit. I had to re-order Anyway, the thing comes configured as RAID 5 by default, but you can reconfigure it as RAID 0, 1, 5, or the new X-RAID, which comes standard on their NV model (a physically smaller but more expensive box). I tested it as RAID 5 for a few minutes (after all, it is open-box so worth testing during the return period), and then did a factory default procedure (required to reset the RAID level) and set it to X-RAID. It is chugging away as I write, reformatting itself. The Raidar user interface for setup and factory-default triggering is simple to use and has versions for Mac, Linux, and Win. And the latest OS Radiator 2.0 c1-p6 or later lets you configure as X-RAID during the factory default procedure. Mine shipped with the latest OS, 2.0 c1-p9, but the Raidar was a slightly outdated version. A quick visit to infrant remedied that. FYI, RAID 5 uses one volumes space for checksum, so you get one disks worth of less capacity. So my 1TB (4 x 250GB) actually only has about 700GB formatted capacity. This system protects against a single disk failure, as 3 disks allow you to still access the volume, and replacing the defective disk causes an automatic rebuild of the redundancy. You are exposed to danger until you do that, and there is no protection against a two disk failure (highly unlikely in the short time it will take you to replace the bad disk). X-RAID has all the advantages of RAID 5 (BTW, a 2 volume X-RAID setup would just be a mirror, equivalent to RAID 1), and allows for automatic volume expansion, by replacing each physical disk one by one with larger capacity ones, or adding extra disks if you start out with just one or two. The advantage of RAID 5 over X-RAID is more flexible volume management (partitioning, changing space set aside for snapshots, etc.). You can switch among the RAID levels with a factory default procedure, but youd lose all your data, and backing up a TB beforehand is no small task RAID 5 or X-RAID with more than two disks has more calculational overhead than a RAID 1 mirror. I havent seen a software RAID 5 implementation yet, though Softraid is working on it. Hopefully the dedicated Infrant hardware will make the performance acceptable so that the Gigabit ethernet connection is the bottle neck, not the internal read-write speed and processing overhead. Obviously I havent tested it enough to say yet. I bought this unit because of multiple macs and pcs in the house with pictures, eyetv videos, and music scattered all over (including on external disks I kept buying as I filled up my internal ones), and data tracking and backup getting to be a real hassle. Now Ill just set Retrospect to do an automatic increment on a regular schedule for the desktop dual G or whenever a Macbook or iBook connects, and use Infrants bundled backup software for the WinXP machines. Ill consolidate all my external firewire and usb drives data on this 1TB Infrant device. Ill set up Infrants OS to take regular snapshots as well, so reverting to the day before I accidentally delete those vacation photos in both locations will be a snap I have 35GB reserved for those volume snapshots. Of note, there is an optimization setting for Mac OS X to access the infrant SMBCIFS volume faster (but must be turned off if any old WinNT clients are on the network). The built in USB print server is supposed to work with Mac OS X. The dual USB ports also support flash readers and certain wireless LAN adapters. It can also connect to certain UPS boxes for graceful shutdown during power failures. The OS can act as a DHCP client or server, or you can set a static IP. That was on the Gigabit connection. I dont have a compatible USB wireless adapter to try with it. It also has a built in UPNP AV server for streaming media players (again not tested by me yet). So far this is a highly recommended unit. Thanks - Paul ( Update: Paul later sent notes on some issues hes seen ) As an append to my report I sent you last night that youve already put on line: 1. The built-in clock is losing about 1 min every 5 min (running slow). There is a timer-server synch option requiring internet access, currently turned off, but I shouldnt have to depend on that. The file time stamp is by this clock so this is an important defect. Ive emailed Infrant and am waiting for a reply. Hopefully I dont have to return this open-box to Newegg (one would hope they would fix known problemsreasons-for-return before re-selling.). Infrant is located just down the highway. ( he later wrote ) I just heard back from Infrant. Problem 1 is a bug in the current firmware release and will be fixed in the upcoming release. Also, they claim time becomes more accurate even in this release if one resets it AFTER the full build operation completes. 2. More serious longer term, my copying of the El Gato EyeTV Archive stopped about halfway because it found an El Gato file name that is illegal under SMBCIFS. My work-around is to create a 500GB sparse disk image with apples disk utility (occupies 100MB empty) to mount and copying all Mac files to that. The Mac that mounts it can share it using AFP. 3. I was able to record and play an EyeTV HDTV file OK over Gigabit ethernet. There was a little stuttering during viewing while recording (the recorded file itself was fine) because I did it while it was still building the 4th, redundant disk (an hours long process). If I had been a bit more patient, this wouldnt have been a problem. Not as smooth as I hoped it would be (items 1 and 2). -Paul UPGRADES by Mac Upgrades just for YOUR Mac
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