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Storage buying guide: Finding the best storage device for you

Elias Plastiras | May 5, 2015
The advent of streaming music services, and more recently of video on demand services (SVOD) in Australia such as Netflix, Stan, and Presto, has put a lot of audio and video content within fingertip reach. You can access it whenever you want, without you having to worry about the amount of storage space in your computing device. But not everyone has the ability to stream, and local storage is still as important as ever for backups. Here's our guide on the best storage solution for your data storage problem.

While a NAS device is perfect for storing and backing up data from anywhere on your home network, the other thing to note about NAS devices is that they can be used for a vast array of other purposes. A lot of advanced devices now have built-in download managers, support for VPN, as well as things such as media server support (for streaming to mobile devices, smart TVs, and consoles) and can even serve blogging platforms such as Wordpress.

In many instances, they can also be accessed and managed conveniently from a mobile device, and you can even stream content from a NAS to a mobile device quite easily if it has a supported file manager (otherwise you can use a third-party file manager such as ES File manager for Android to find content on your network).

You should implement a NAS device for your home or office network if you want the ability to manage and share storage capacity and files across multiple computers and mobile devices on your network. It requires a bit more legwork than a typical external hard drive, but the extra functions and the ability to expand the capacity, and to make data redundant in case of failure, mean they are more valuable than external hard drives.

Wireless portable hard drives

While we're on the network theme, a wireless portable hard drive is basically a network-capable drive that you can use while on the road. It is a typical-looking portable hard drive, though perhaps a little thicker or longer due to it having built-in Wi-Fi capabilities, and its capacity can be similar to that of a standard portable drive — that is, enough to store heaps of movies and music.

A wireless portable hard drive emits its own wireless network, and is primarily designed to facilitate the streaming of content to mobile devices, be it tablets or smartphones, both of the Android or iOS variety. There is usually enough bandwidth to support the transfer of up to a handful of movie streams (in Full HD), and this can come in handy for families on road trips who want to give their kids access to content for them to stream on their tablets without tapping into mobile data plans.

The signal range of a wireless portable drive is not great, and it should only be used with mobile devices that are in close proximity. Setting up a wireless drive often requires connecting to the hard drive directly, following the instructions the vendor has set out for this procedure. Generally, it can cut off Internet access to a mobile device unless there is a pass-through Internet feature in the drive.


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