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Synology Diskstation DS3611xs Review

As it has been some time since we have reviewed a Synology product we thought we would take a refresh look at the latest V3.1 Diskmanager operating system. It is important to ensure that the newest software package is downloaded directly from the Synology website over here.

The software is also included on a CD which is bundled with the product.

The Synology Assistant is a networking tool which can find all the Synology drives installed on a network. The DS3611xs needs to be configured once. We are using multiple connections so there is more than one IP address initially, as shown above. For the review we are using all four connections.

Using the software disc (or locating the file downloaded from the Synology support site) the .pat file can be located and installed to the NAS.

The installation procedure only takes a few minutes as it writes the operating platform to the NAS.

The default log in is always ‘admin' with no password. This can be configured later. After the login, you are presented with a step by step guide on how to set up a drive configuration. The software supports all major browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Chrome. All screenshots are taken from Firefox on Windows 7 64 bit.

Depending on how many drives are installed, the software allows for Basic, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 5+Spare, RAID 6 and RAID 10 configurations. Raid 5, Raid 5+ Spare and Raid 6 can be expanded on the fly, by adding new drives to the system.

Above, we have two drives installed in a RAID 0 configuration, with support for 12 drives, multiple configurations can be tuned from here. Top right is an alert menu which flags anything that the software deems as an important notification. On the left is a popup menu for the plethora of settings available.

The basic control panel gives access to much of the functionality of the NAS. There is also a handy resource monitor which can be set to run all the time. The software is multitasking capable so multiple windows and tasks can be run simultaneously. We noticed that this system was extremely responsive, thanks to the 3.1ghz Dual core Intel processor installed.

Folders and users can be set up within specific panels. 4096 users can be configured and 512 groups can also be set up with 512 shared folders. This unit can handle 1024 concurrent connections, which is double the count of the excellent DS1511+. Ideal for a demanding business environment. Shared folders can be accessed across the network after the configuration is set up. A point worth noting is that every Synology device on a network defaults to the identify of ‘diskstation’ meaning that the network will only recognise one of the NAS units. A simple renaming is needed if you are using more than one Diskstation across the same network. Synology should really use the identity of the PAT file to give each NAS system a unique identifier, automatically.

The Diskmanager software has an extensive help system to guide newbies around the interface and there are also options to adjust the colour scheme to something slightly different.

Above, we have hooked in four LAN connections and we can configure Link Aggregation.

The DiskManager software offers many applications for media and networking support. Photo station supports BMP, JPG (jpe, jpeg), GIF, RAW (arw, srf, sr2, dcr, k25, kdc, cr2, crw, nef, mrw, ptx, pef, raf,
3fr, erf, mef, mos, orf, rw2, dng, x3f image formats and 3G2, 3GP, ASF, AVI, DAT, DivX, FLV, M4V, MOV, MP4, MPEG, MPG, QT, WMV, XviD, RM, RMVB, VOB, RV30, RV40, AC3, AMR, WMA3 video formats.

The DNLA/UPnP Media Server can support both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 with AAC, FLAC, M4A, MP3, Ogg, Vorbis, PCM, WAV, WMA, WMA VBR, WMA PRO, WMA Lossless audio formats. 3GP, 3G2, ASF, AVI, DAT, DivX, DVR-MS, ISO, M2T, M2TS, M4V, MKV, MP4, MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, MTS, MOV, QT, SWF, TP, TRP, TS, VOB, WMV, XviD, RV30, RV40, AC3, AMR and WMA3 video formats. It also can handle BMP, JPG (jpe, jpeg), GIF, ICO, PNG, PSD, TIF (tiff), UFO, RAW (arw, srf, sr2, dcr, k25, kdc, cr2, crw, nef, mrw, ptx, pef, raf, 3fr, erf, mef, mos, orf, rw2, dng, x3f ) image formats.

iTunes Server is also supported with MP3, M4A, M4P, WAV, AIF audio formats, M4V, MOV and MP4 video formats and M3U, WPL Playlist Format. Two printers can be hooked into the system supporting LPR, CIFS, AppleTalk and Multi Functional Print Server.

If all this isn't enough it also offers the following iPhone and Android applications.: DS Photo+, DS Audio, DS Cam, DS File (iPhone only) and DS finder (iPhone only).

Survelliance station is a useful feature, especially for a business. Users can hook an IP camera into the unit with support for up to 40 cameras (licenses required).

The software really is indepth and we have touched on many of the major features, but a new user would be advised to carefully read through the literature, as there are many features to cater to a wide audience.

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