Category: Hardware

NAS200 Trouble and My Run-In with Linksys/Cisco

Posted by – November 20, 2009

Linksys Network Storage System with 2 Bays (NAS200)

Linksys Network Storage System with 2 Bays (NAS200)

As I posted what seems like forever ago, I had bought a Linksys NAS200.  Well, I’ve been having some trouble since I upgraded the firmware from V34R75 to V34R79.  This caused the media server to pretty much become useless.  Not only did it have problems giving a directory listing on my XBOX 360, but if I did manage to get something to play, it’d timeout about about five minutes of watching and I’d have to reboot the media server to get it working for another brief five minute interval.

So I did what I normally did, google around looking for a solution, but it seems a lot of people have this issue yet nobody has a solution.  Well, I have one for you!  If you don’t want to read about my adventure to simply rollback the firmware, skip down!

So after reviewing the changelog that talks about how they fixed the,  sorry “fixed” the media server to work with the PlayStation 3.  I dug around and it appears they went from Twonky Media Server to PVConnect.  Which for whatever reason was crashing or terminating which lead to having to restart it’s process.  The solution to me was clear, simply rollback to the V34R75 firmware, right?  Well My backup of it was missing in action, and the Linksys website didn’t offer the download location of old firmware.  So I decided to contact them.

So I decided to poke around the Linksys website and I eventually found a live chat support, which I felt was fine since all I needed was a download location of the old firmware.   However, upon connecting with a live representative I was informed that I wasn’t entitled to help for free because my warranty is over.  This irked me a bit, but I continued to say I wasn’t asking for troubleshooting just the firmware.  I was then told:

Daphne L. (10116): Inferno, this product is listed as being out of warranty and is no longer eligible for chat support. However, I do have a couple of support options that may be of assistance to you. First, we have our complimentary award-winning online support tools OR I can give you the 800 number to connect with our phone support staff where they can offer you technical assistance through various fee-based support options.”

Daphne L. (10116): Which option would you prefer, Inferno?

Me: Umm, well I just want you to offer to download the old firmware. The software that worked and didn’t turn it into a brick.
Me: I’m not asking you to help troubleshoot

Daphne L. (10116): Sorry, but we don’t have available firmware on our download site.

Me: Warranty or not, your ‘update’ destroyed my product you sold to me.

Daphne L. (10116): I understand, please also be informed that it is not advisable to upgrade the firmware of a device if it is working fine since it may corrupt the firmware.

Uhhh, what?

Me: Wait wait
Me: Your saying NOT to upgrade firmware for my products?
Me: I Don’t want to gets bug fixes and additional features?

Daphne L. (10116): Wait let me verify first, your only concern is to get the old firmware, right? We can double check if we still have it available.

Me: That would be wonderful.

So they eventually said they’d have someone call me back within 48 hours.  So I waited…and two days later I get an email from Celo Deavilla, who asked me to call his office or reply to his email.  So I did both, upon calling his office he wasn’t there, so I responded to his email with my contact information and when I’ll be available, and also offered to have the conversation via email if he wished.  I got no response all week, and I kept calling him daily and he was always away from his desk.

Finally on Friday I replied stating how I was disappointed in Linksys as I had waited for a week and received no help for my problem which was pretty simple, I just wanted the V34R75 firmware.  Which fortunately, got a response quickly, Cello pulled through and emailed me NAS200_V34R75.bin which was exactly what the doctor prescribed.

So I reinstalled the old firmware and everything works smoothly and cleanly again!  Problem solved.

The Solution: Install NAS200_V34R75.bin!

I’ve uploaded it and the full chat log.  I hope this will help someone else and they won’t have to waste over a week on tracking down the firmware.

NAS200_V34R75.bin

Linksys Support Chat Log

Review: Linksys NAS200

Posted by – December 6, 2008

Linksys Network Storage System with 2 Bays (NAS200)

Linksys Network Storage System with 2 Bays (NAS200)

while ago but only a few posts ago I discussed how I had ordered a Linksys NAS200, and I had high hopes, which were a bit downed by poor reviews by others but I was pleasantly surprised with it’s performance.  The price is a bit more than an external USB encloser but I wanted storage that would be network-wide and easily upgradable.  The NAS200 is just that, it supports two drive bays, with SATA2 and SATA backwards compatibility (be sure to move the jumper on your harddrive, as most are set for just plain SATA out of the box).

Some Cool Features (The Good):

  • Network attached, so you don’t need to find some crazy way to hookup a USB network or filesharing through another PC that has to stay on in order for your storage to work.
  • Supports the addition of USB2 drives, for additional storage to be added to your network.
  • Supports FTP and HTTP protocols over the network and Internet for easy off-site filesharing.
  • Built in media server, so you can share media to UPnP AV digital media adapters  (like the Xbox 360, so I can access my movies, music and pictures).
  • Web based management for easy setup and the less technically inclined.  Also worth noting this can be managed off-site, great if you need to add storage to your parents network that you can safely watch over and backup.
  • Price is very competitive.
  • Supports individual, JBOD, RAID 0 and RAID 1.
  • Comes with client backup software.

The Bad:

  • Seems slow to wake-up, when opening windows explorer it’ll hang for about 5 seconds while the NAS’s drive spins up.
  • Slower data transfer rate than I expected from Linksys.  People have clocked it at 3.9mb/s at best.  It’s never really been an issue for me though, but just FYI.
  • During disk scans and power up the NAS will be unresponsive for several minutes.  Not a big deal if you don’t power it off regularly, or schedule disk scans at bad times.
  • Additional USB disks need to be reformatted before they can be mounted.

That’s about it.  Overall I’m quite happy with my purchase, I do feel Linksys dropped the ball though on not adding polish and fixing that data transfer rate.  I use to think Linksys was a good name for quality consumer networking appliances but since their apparently lack of effort on the NAS200 and their failure to update the Linksys router firmware which lead me to using Tomato firmware I’ve changed my mind.  I’ve never had issues with my D-Link hardware.

But I digress.  If you need an affordable backup NAS and don’t mind the slower speed of the transfer rate and the minor kinks, you really can’t go wrong with using the Linksys NAS200.  If you have extra cash to burn for no other reaosn than to get something shiny, or you need quick write-speeds then maybe it isn’t for you.

More Images:

Linksys NAS200 Front Panel.

Linksys NAS200 Front Panel.

Linksys NAS200 Back Panel.

Linksys NAS200 Back Panel.

File Storage Issues

Posted by – August 10, 2008

Drive Partitioning at it's finest.

Drive Partitioning at it's finest.

For quite awhile I’ve had many work-arounds in order to give myself enough file storage to hold my files. Having grown up with an assortment of computers which VERY limited file space, I have always been the type to make-do with very little.

As of late however, I’ve been running into issues being able to not only handle the clutter as I’ve become a disorganized digital packrat of sorts, but actually finding room to put all the files physically.  I’ve tried many different organizational techniques from alphabetical ordering of folders with ‘reference’ and ‘documents’ being the main categorical root directories to using searchlight alternatives for PC and *nix.  Still no luck.

Another option however was getting some NAS (Network-Attached Storage) and working out a rigid storage system policy and sticking to it.  If nothing else, this would solve the problem about running out of physical room for my data.  The main problem being that it costs a few hundred dollars to implement correctly and nicely.  Since I’m the type that can’t really buy anything for myself without feeling guilty, it’s held me back and made me look for less-efficient alternatives instead.

Take for instance my fileserver.  It’s a Pentium II 350mhz with 256mb of ram with only two small hard drives (1x20GB and 1 x 6GB).  I was using this for the longest time to stream my audio and video to my other PCs as well as my Xbox 360.  As of a few months ago I had purchased a new workstation which came with a 180GB Hard Drive, needless to say I was in Heaven.  At least for awhile.

Now that everything is disorganized I wanted a solution.  I want an archive of my files kept separately from the computer, preferably a small case/box that in an emergency (or LAN parties) I can unplug and whisk away and save everything I need.  I’m now willing to solve this problem once and for all.

Linksys Network Storage System with 2 Bays (NAS200)

Linksys Network Storage System with 2 Bays (NAS200)

After browsing the web and looking for some quality equipment for the price I stumbled upon the Linksys Network Storage System (NAS200).  It’s a great brand, decent price and with two HDD spots and an additional 2 USB expansion slots for either thumbdrives or USB Hard Drives it would have all the power and ability I’ll need for my private network.  Another big component is that it should use a lot less power than a full tower, but I’ll be testing this as soon as I get it.

Another option I was contemplating as building my own Mini-ATX fileserver (well, more like another FreeBSD Box with Samba installed).  It’d give me the storage I need and also give it extra extendability as I could script my own cronjobs to tarball and transfer files around.  Best part was I was going to probably build the case out of Lego.  It’d be much smaller and cheaper than that case however.

I eventually decided aginst building my own Mini-ATX server because it’d easily be more costly than just buying the Linksys NAS.  So I’m going to be ordering it along with One or Two Decently-sized hard drives to finally get some breathing room for all my data.

I can’t wait.

3 Interesting Videos

Posted by – August 9, 2008

I’ve been slacking off on this blog, so in an effort to liven it up, I thought it’d be nice to post a few of the videos I’ve been watching in my spare time.  I’m not sure whether the original uploader has permission to post these, or what license these were put out under.I’ll keep this short though, and get to the videos :

Discovery Channel’s “The History Of Hacking” Documentary

Interesting and if nothing else, entertaining look at the History of Hacking.  Title sort of tells it all.

Documentary on Google

Although I had a good understanding of the first days of Google and the current goings-on, I found this video quite entertaining and informative.  Definitely a must-see for anyone like me who uses Google Services for almost everything.

Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture

If you haven’t seen this, you must live in a cave as this video has been making the rounds on the Internet for quite awhile.  Probably due to the sadness of the fact that the world lost such a great professor but hopefully more-so the fact that this lecture has a lot of inspiration and is a great motivator for people to really channel their skills and accomplish their dreams.