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Review: NETGEAR ReadyNAS 202 2-Bay NAS Server

NETGEAR ReadyNAS 202 2-Bay NAS Server

Design8
Features7.5
Performance7.5
Ease of Use9
Value for Money8
8 out of 10
Summary For families and other home users seeking a small, compact NAS that offers great performance and good value for money from a trusted brand, the NETGEAR ReadyNAS 202 is a strong choice.

While we’ve featured hundreds of network attached storage servers on these pages from specialists like QNAP, Synology and ASUSTOR, many favour the familiarity of a brand that they see on the shelves of their favourite big-box store week-in, week-out. NETGEAR is one of those brands.

With a wide range of networking lines covering the whole spectrum of consumer, prosumer and small business needs, NETGEAR is also the worldwide leader in NAS/Unified Storage system unit shipments. Announced at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the $329.99 (diskless) NETGEAR ReadyNAS RN-202 is a compact, two-bay network attached storage server targeting home users. It’s part of the ReadyNAS 200 Series, which also includes a $499 (diskless) 4-bay option (RN-204) for consumers requiring additional storage expansion. With support for 6 TB hard drives, you can add your own drives to create up to 12 TB capacity on the 2-bay model, and a mighty 24 TB on the 4-bay device.

Both ReadyNAS 200 series devices are powered by a dual-core, 1.4 GHz ARM Cortex A15 processor (the Annapurna AL212) with 2 GB RAM in support. That’s a change from many of the consumer NAS devices we’ve reviewed recently which opt for Intel Celeron processors, although the same CPU recently popped up in the Synology DiskStation DS-215+. The specification is a reasonably decent step up from the entry-level ReadyNAS 100 series, which include a 1.2 GHz Marvell Armada 370 processor and just 512 MB RAM.

Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports are included, supporting a link aggregation feature which provides optimised throughput as well as a fallback should a problem occur with one of the network connections. NETGEAR is claiming file transfer speeds of 200 Mbps (megabytes per second) read and 160 Mbps write, which is a significant boast for this class of device.

We’ll check out performance later in the review. But, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the NETGEAR ReadyNAS RN-202 hardware.

What’s in the Box?

The ReadyNAS 202 is attractively presented in a branded outer box that safely protects the NAS in transit. The package includes:

  • NETGEAR ReadyNAS RN-202
  • 1 x CAT 5e Network Cable
  • Power Supply & Cables
  • Screws for mounting 2.5″ hard drives (3.5″ drives use integral mounting brackets)
  • Installation Guide

netgear-readynas-rn202-box-1

The new ReadyNAS 200 series features a new design, faster processor and more RAM than previous generations of ReadyNAS device. The compact (220 (d) x 101 (w) x 142 mm (h)) device looks good, with a plain black chassis that you won’t need to hide away in a cupboard – it’s small enough to place on a desktop or shelf without causing too much disruption.

The case is mostly steel, with the exception of a glossy, plastic front door that is hinged on the left with a cut-out for the front panel controls. The door closes securely with two magnets holding it in place – a simple design feature, but one that works well. Obviously, as you’d expect for a consumer-grade device, there are no locks on the door or the drives bays that are positioned behind.

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A simple front panel provides convenient access and control. Alongside the top power button and LED indicator, you’ll find additional indicators for each of the two hard drives. A USB 3.0 ports offers easy access for copying data to a portable USB key and there’s a handy one-touch backup button for copying files in the other direction.

Around the back, a large rear exhaust fan dominates proceedings. Underneath, two more USB 3.0 ports offer super-speed (up to 5 Gbps) transfers to external storage devices as well as peripheral connection and there’s an eSATA port for additional storage expansion. The previously mentioned twin Gigabit Ethernet ports are joined by a reset button, Kensington lock for securing the device physically and the usual power input. A simple, unfussy and clear layout that won’t bamboozle.

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Terry Walsh is the founder of We Got Served. He started the community in February 2007 with a mission to help families, tech enthusiasts everywhere figure out the technology needed to run the modern home and small business. He's the author of a number of guides to Windows, Windows Server and OS X Server and runs his own successful publishing business. Born and raised in Liverpool, England, Terry has been awarded Microsoft's prestigious Most Valuable Professional Award each year since 2008 for his work on We Got Served.

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