We Got Served http://www.wegotserved.com Wed, 19 Nov 2014 13:58:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Review: Western Digital WD My Passport Wireless Portable Hard Drive http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/11/19/review-western-digital-wd-passport-wireless-portable-hard-drive/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/11/19/review-western-digital-wd-passport-wireless-portable-hard-drive/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 13:58:08 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=70080 The Western Digital WD My Passport Wireless may be a little late to the Wi-Fi Storage party, but professionals and families alike are going to find it a fabulous companion on the road.

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While the world remains deeply in love with mobile devices, they certainly have their restrictions. Svelte and beautiful they may be, but they don’t pack a lot of storage space and if you opt for a higher capacity model, you’re going to be charged through the nose for the privilege.

So whether you’re a photographer or creative professional seeking high-capacity mobile storage for your work, or parents searching for a mobile movie library for the kids, a wireless hard drive is a fabulous idea. The concept is this: take a hard-drive, add a wi-fi connection to allow devices to connect to it, and you can easily stream media or transfer files to or from the device over the air. PCs, Macs, tablets, smartphones – everyone’s invited.

To say that Western Digital are surprisingly late to this particular party is an understatement. Arch-rivals Seagate (alongside their subsidiary, LaCie) have already been through two generations of wireless hard drives, with increasing capacity and improved user experience. That said, my experience with Seagate’s devices has been mixed – on a good day, it’s trouble-free, but transferring media from computers to the hard drive is let down by reasonably clunky software.

As mentioned in our news post last month, Western Digital stated that the reason they had yet to enter the market was simply that they didn’t feel the underlying technology driving these devices was ready for prime time. Here in late 2014, however, that position has changed as the company unveils its debut Wi-Fi-enabled, portable hard drive – the WD My Passport Wireless.

wd my passport wireless 1 Review: Western Digital WD My Passport Wireless Portable Hard Drive

Shipping in 500 GB ($120), 1 TB ($199/£160) and 2 TB ($249/£220) capacities (our review model is the latter), the WD My Passport Wireless allows up to eight devices to connect simultaneously over 802.11n Wi-Fi and includes an SD Card slot for quickly backing up files from cameras and camcorders. A wired, high-speed USB 3.0 connection is also available which will come in most handy when pushing large media files to the device.

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As always, the WD My Passport Wireless is beautifully packaged, shipping with a power adaptor and USB 3.0 cable, plus a short, visual quick-start guide. The device is rechargeable, and can be powered-on out of the box, although it’s probably worth charging it fully to maximise its battery life. It is rated up to 6 hours of continuous video streaming and up to 20 hours of standby time. In reality, our tests clocked battery life a little shorter than that, but it’s still capable of sustaining power through a lengthy road trip before needing a recharge.

Opening the box, I was surprised to see that the My Passport Wireless is quite a chunky device. The 2 TB drive, at 127 x 86 x 29.8mm is the largest of the three models, with the 1 TB (127 x 86 x 24.4 mm) and 500 GB (127 x 86 x 21 mm) offering slightly slimmer form factors. Certainly, Seagate’s 2 TB Wireless Plus is a more compact device and is lighter, weighting in at 0.27 kg compared to the My Passport Wireless’ 0.35 kg.

The simple, black and silver design includes a battery and network indicator on the front face, the former which turns from blue, to green, orange and red as the battery depletes – that’s a handy visual cue so you know when it’s time to recharge. The left side of the drive includes the SD card slot – the first we’ve seen on a Wi-Fi hard drive – which is protected by a dummy card. Simply push in and the protector pops out, allowing you to insert your SD card. SD card transfers are rated at 25 MB/s – far slower than the 5 Gb/s you’ll get from the USB 3.0 connection, but the inclusion of an SD slot is very handy for camera users.

The top of the drive is where you’ll find the power button as well as a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) button which allows easy connection to the drive for compatible devices.

Inside the case, the WD My Passport Wireless is powered by a Texas Instruments Sitara AM335x EVM ARM Cortex A8 Processor, with 512 MB RAM in support.

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The New We Got Served Store is Here! http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/11/14/new-got-served-store/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/11/14/new-got-served-store/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 11:28:50 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=70110 Save 25% in the all-new We Got Served Store this weekend as we celebrate a brand new look.

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Apologies for the two-day store closure, but as you can see, we’ve been working on something very exciting – a brand new design for the store! It’s a fabulous new look that we really love, but it took a little time to get everything ready! This weekend, help us celebrate with the checkout code CELEBRATE which will save you 25% on all of our eBooks. Ends Monday 17th November.

The changes aren’t just visual, though – we’ve thoroughly reviewed every element of the store to make buying from us quicker, and simpler. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s new:

Support for Multiple Currencies

Check out the “GBP” option at the top. Click it and a dropdown appears allowing you to switch currencies – British Pounds is the default, but you can also see our prices in US Dollars (USD), Canadian Dollars (CAD), Australian Dollars (AUD), Euros (EUR), and Japanese Yen (JPY). Note that your checkout will always be in British Pounds, however, as we can only support payment in one currency. One to work on for the future, maybe.

New Support Center & Email Address

We’re gathering all of our FAQs and help documents in a dedicated mini-site, reachable at http://support.wegotserved.com. It already has a number of support documents available, and we’ll continue to build up the resources there as needed. If you want to ask a question, you’ll find an Email Us link there, or you can email us direct at support@wegotserved.com. If that’s not enough, the new store also has a beautiful new Contact form.

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Download Improvements

We know that some of you had difficulties receiving your download links by email following your purchase. So, we’ve switched to a new third party service which improves how we can get your download links to you.

From now on, when you purchase from us, you’ll see a download link to your guides in:

  • The checkout confirmation screen
  • Your Order Confirmation email
  • A dedicated Order Download email.

Furthermore, when you sign into your account, you’ll be able to click on any order placed from today onwards, and be able to access your download link from there too. We hope that ensures you receive your download link as safely as possible, and should you lose it, makes it easy to find once again.

Improved Mobile Experience

While our previous store design was responsive (the technical term for sites that render flexibly for mobile devices), the new design works even better on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, with a fully redesigned checkout design that works really well on those smaller devices.

Seamless Credit Card Checkout and Payment

Those of you who have bought from us previously with a credit card will be aware that our payment design had to redirect you to a third-party payment provider (Nochex) to complete your credit card payment, before bringing you back to finish up the order. That’s been nailed too, and credit card payments are now fully integrated here on the site.

New Product Categories

We tidied up the store navigation menus – all of our guides have been clustered into three categories – OS X (for Apple Mac and Mac Server), Windows (for Windows PCs) and Windows Server (including Windows Home Server and Windows Server Essentials). Or just hit the Guides option to view everything.

Having opened up the new store, we hope you love what you see – there may be a couple of final bugs to iron out, so if you spot any issues, please do get in touch with a report and we can sort them out quickly!

And with that, it’s time to get back to sorting out our next few eBook releases!

More: We Got Served Store

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New Nest Learning Thermostat Software Update Adds Features, Saves Money http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/11/04/new-nest-learning-thermostat-software-update-adds-features-saves-money/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/11/04/new-nest-learning-thermostat-software-update-adds-features-saves-money/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 13:18:36 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=70106 As smart home competition continues to heat up, Nest Labs today announced a software update for its Nest Learning Thermostat. Find out what's new!

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As smart home competition continues to heat up, Google’s smart home division today posted a software update for their Nest Learning Thermostat, which brings a host of new features as well as optimisations designed to save users more on their energy bills.

Outlining the changes in a blog post today, Nest Labs unveiled the v4.3 software update for their smart home thermostat. The company is boasting additional energy savings up to 6% courtesy of tweaks to an Enhanced Auto Schedule feature. This looks at the entire history of your temperature schedule to learn your regular patterns of energy consumption through the seasons, allowing the device to optimise your home temperatures. According to Nest Labs, the tweaks ensure Enhanced Auto-Schedule learns your patterns more quickly and and adapts more readily to your changes in later stages of learning.

The new update rolls out time and local weather support to more countries, and the company is putting that support to good use through a new Quick View feature. Push the thermostat’s control ring once and you’ll see local weather, outdoor temp and humidity. Turn the ring and you’ll see a quick summary of additional information, such as how much energy you used yesterday or what’s next on your schedule.

Finally, a new System Test feature is rolling out this week, which guides users through basic functions of the Learning Thermostat so you can spot and solve any issues.

Expect to see the new v4.3 update for Nest Learning Thermostat hitting devices this week.

 

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New ASUSTOR AS70R Rackmount NAS Models Unveiled for Enterprise http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/10/30/new-asustor-as70r-rackmount-nas-models-unveiled-enterprise/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/10/30/new-asustor-as70r-rackmount-nas-models-unveiled-enterprise/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:11:58 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=70090 New ASUSTOR AS70R Rackmount NAS series launched, packing a choice of nine or twelve bays and powered by Intel Core i3 and Intel Xeon E3 processors.

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Hot on the heels of ASUSTOR’s new AS7008T and AS7010T Enterprise NAS servers (the latter which we reviewed a few weeks ago), the company this week took the wraps off a range of new rackmount form factors, built with a similar specification.

The AS7009RD, AS7012RD, AS7009RDX and AS7012RDX are four high-capacity enterprise-class NAS servers powered by Intel processors – an Intel Core i3 3.5GHz dual-core processor, in the case of the AS7009RD and AS7012RD, while the AS7009RDX and AS7012RDX ship with an Intel Xeon E3 3.4GHz quad-core processors.

All four servers are equipped with 4 GB RAM, with the AS7009RD and AS7012RD shipping with standard UDIMM DDR3 RAM. You’ll find error-correcting ECC UDIMM DDR3 RAM installed on the AS7009RDX and AS7012RDX and on all models, RAM is expandable up to 32 GB.

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All of the new devices feature four USB 3.0 ports, 2 eSATA ports, 2 expansion slots (for 10GbE network or SAS cards) plus HDMI 1.4a and VGA ports, LED service indicators, and disk tray locks. Four Gigabit Ethernet sockets are also installed as standard. 

With a choice of nine or twelve drive bays and support for the latest 6 TB NAS hard drives, storage can be expanded up to 54 TB (AS7009RD/AS7009RDX) and 72 TB respectively (AS7012RD/AS7012RDX). All of the new devices support RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and 10, hard disk hot swapping and redundant power supplies, maximising uptime.

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ASUSTOR’s latest ADM 2.3 (ASUSTOR Data Master) operating system is on board, which features updated graphics and a variety of new enterprise features including proxy server connections, TFTP support, Windows ACL support, and SMB 2.0 support – the latter increases Windows networking performance by 30%-50%, according to the company.

AS70R series devices are now shipping globally with 3 year warranties.

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New 4X4 Linksys AC2400 Dual Band Wi-Fi Router Unveiled http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/10/17/new-4x4-linksys-ac2400-dual-band-wi-fi-router-unveiled/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/10/17/new-4x4-linksys-ac2400-dual-band-wi-fi-router-unveiled/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 06:40:34 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=70071 New Linksys AC2400 Dual Band Wi-Fi Router includes four beamforming antennae, four gigabit ports and network streaming to power the connected home.

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Building on its stable of high-specification networking devices, Linskys this week announced its first 4X4 wireless router, which includes four antennae to deliver wireless network speeds up to 2.4 Gbps.

Targeted at families and gamers, the Linksys AC2400 Dual Band Wi-Fi Router (E8350) uses multiple antennae to deliver four simultaneous, independent data streams to devices on the network, maximising throughput for smooth video streaming, online gaming and other bandwidth-intensive tasks.

The dual-band router can push out concurrent Wi-Fi networks rated at 600 and 1733 Mbps while an on-board, 4 port Gigabit switch allows multiple wired connections to devices over Ethernet.

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The E8350 included a single USB 3.0 port as well as the same combined USB 2.0/eSATA port found on other Linksys routers, such as the WRT1900AC device we recently reviewed. Those ports power network storage features for external USB hard disk and flash drives while a DLNA media server is also included to enhance media streaming to other network devices.

The new Linksys AC2400 Dual Band Wi-Fi Router (E8350) is ships this week – expect pricing to be around £199.99.

 

 

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Download a Free Excerpt of Using OS X Yosemite Server at Home http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/10/16/download-free-excerpt-using-os-x-yosemite-server-home/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/10/16/download-free-excerpt-using-os-x-yosemite-server-home/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 07:14:06 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=70063 We Got Served's latest eBook, Using OS X Yosemite Server at Home, is imminent! Grab a free excerpt of the book ahead of release!

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Yosemite

We Got Served’s latest eBook, Using OS X Yosemite Server at Home, is here! If you’re thinking of using Apple’s brand new OS X Yosemite Server to manage computers and mobile devices in your home or small business, this is the guide for you.

Using OS X Yosemite Server at Home guides you step by step through installing, configuring and working with Apple’s server platform. The 782 page eBook illustrates, with hundreds of colour screenshots, how it tightly integrates with Macs, Windows PCs, iOS devices like iPads and iPhone and the Cloud to create a seamless computing experience at home, at work or on the move.

Written in straightforward language for everyday users and those new to OS X, the eBook provides a comprehensive guide to OS X Yosemite Server.

 

Download a Free Excerpt

Want to try before you buy? No problem – check out our 28 page free excerpt of Using OS X Yosemite Server at Home.


 

Using OS X Yosemite Server at Home

Apple’s brand new version of OS X Server, 10.10 Yosemite is coming and brings a raft of new features and enhancements to Apple’s desktop and mobile platforms.

Learn about file and folder sharing with Macs, PCs, Mobile devices and the web, setting up shared family calendars and contacts, using VPN and Back to My Mac to access your home or office devices remotely, backing up with the Time Machine service, managing iPhones, iPads and Macs with Profile Manager, publishing custom websites with PHP, Apache and MySQL support, media streaming, securing access with Yosemite Server’s new Firewall, serving software updates to your Macs, running your own Mail server at home, and a whole lot more.

Using OS X Yosemite Server at Home also provides a detailed guide to the latest revisions to Apple’s iCloud services, demonstrating how improved cloud integration across OS X Server, OS X, iOS 8 and other devices keeps family, friends and colleagues connected with easy file synchronisation, online photo sharing and storage, shared apps and other iTunes purchases, shared calendars and other family sharing features.

For those more experienced with OS X Server, Using OS X Yosemite Server at Home provides essential details on what’s changed from OS X Mavericks, speeding up your deployment and allowing you to get to grips quickly with the latest features.

If you’re new to OS X Server or simply upgrading from the last release, you’ll find Using OS X Yosemite Server at Home an indispensable guide to help you get excited, get going and do more with Apple’s latest server release. Chapter List

  1. Choosing Your Hardware
  2. What’s New in OS X Yosemite?
  3. Who Needs a Home Server Anyway?
  4. Installing OS X Yosemite Server
  5. The Server App
  6. Network Configuration
  7. Managing Storage – Disks, RAID Sets and the Cloud
  8. Users and User Groups
  9. Securing Access to the Server
  10. Managing OS X Devices With Profile Manager
  11. Managing iOS Devices With Profile Manager
  12. iCloud and Family Sharing
  13. File and Folder Sharing
  14. Media Streaming
  15. Managing a Shared Family Address Book
  16. Create a Shared Family Calendar
  17. Setting Up Messages
  18. Backing Up Your Macs to Yosemite Server With Time Machine
  19. Backing Up Windows PCs to Yosemite Server
  20. Access Yosemite Server From Anywhere With VPN
  21. Create and Host Websites, Blogs and Wikis
  22. Host Custom Websites Using Apache, PHP and MySQL
  23. Access Your Server With FTP
  24. Manage Your Mail With OS X Server
  25. Managing Mac Updates With Software Update
  26. Manage App Store Updates With the  OS X Caching Service

Formats: PDF, ePub, Mobi
Pages: 782 (A4 Print equivalent)

Buy: Using OS X Yosemite Server at Home

 

 

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Belkin QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard for iPad Air Seeks to Enhance Productivity http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/10/14/belkin-qode-ultimate-pro-keyboard-for-ipad-air-seeks-enhance-productivity/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/10/14/belkin-qode-ultimate-pro-keyboard-for-ipad-air-seeks-enhance-productivity/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:23:21 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=70058 Could the new Belkin QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard for iPad Air be the device that helps you finally kick your laptop into touch?

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On my daily commute, I regularly see my fellow travellers whipping out their iPads to browse the web, watch videos and catch up on their reading but few are used for serious work. Sure, the odd email will be knocked out in transit but I’ve yet to see Apple’s popular touch device truly beat an ultraportable for serious work.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the iPad Air – I have two at home – but I find it very hard to work on. Maybe I’m just old school, or maybe the right keyboard has yet to come along. The Belkin QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard for iPad Air is designed to change the minds of people just like me.

Slugging it out with the likes of the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard, Belkin’s premium tablet-tapper combines a backlit, laptop-style keyboard with a detachable case that protects your iPad’s touchscreen.

The £129.99/$149.99 device builds on the original QODE Ultimate Keyboard with more responsive keys, adjustable viewing angles and the aforementioned backlight, which incorporates three brightness levels, and removable case. With a Bluetooth connection on board, the device is able to pair two devices at once.

Handily, it’s adjustable with portrait and landscape modes supported and that case is compatible with the Apple Smart Cover for two-sided protection when the keyboard isn’t in use.

To optimise power consumption, the keyboard is automatically powered on when the iPad Air is docked and off when closed – that helps the Belkin QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard for iPad Air deliver up to a year of battery life on a single charge. As you may have anticipated, both Silver and Space Gray models are available, both clad in aircraft-grade aluminium.

The Belkin QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard for iPad available now at Belkin.com,  Amazon.com and select retailers worldwide.

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Review: Linksys WRT 8-Port Gigabit Switch http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/10/14/review-linksys-wrt-8-port-gigabit-switch/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/10/14/review-linksys-wrt-8-port-gigabit-switch/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 04:00:34 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=70044 Today, Linksys announced the perfect partner to their retro-styled WRT1900AC router. The Linksys WRT 8-Port Gigabit Switch is first a new line-up of products to complement the classic devices. Our review model landed last week in time for today's launch. Let's take a look!

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In last week’s review of the Linksys WRT1900AC Wireless Router, we discovered a networking device that’s a fabulous cocktail of old-school styling and blistering performance. If its retro blue and black colour palette and chunky lines fail to stir up some nostalgic good vibes (for the uninitiated, Google Linksys WRT54G), then you should check yourself for a heartbeat.

So I was delighted to hear the news from Linksys last week that the WRT1900AC would soon be joined by a range of classic, WRT-styled add-ons. Today, the company announced the first in a new line-up of devices to complement the iconic WRT1900AC wireless router – the Linksys WRT 8-Port Gigabit Switch (SE4008). Our review sample dropped on the doormat late last week, so having published the WRT1900AC review last week, I was very keen to check out the new device.

What’s in the Box?

Priced at $69.99, the Linksys WRT 8-Port Gigabit Switch isn’t positioned at such a premium as its big brother, the Linksys WRT1900AC router. Check online and you’ll find that Linksys tends to price its top-end 8-port Gigabit switches around that same price point, although you’ll find previous range-toppers, such as the Linksys SE2800 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch (a device that’s been happily supporting my home office for the last year or so) available with a healthy online discount, and budget devices from competitors such as TP-LINK available for a lot less.

The device itself is packaged with a power adaptor and documentation CD but surprisingly, there’s no Ethernet cable in the box which, for a top-end consumer device, seems a little measly. So make sure you’ve got at least one cable spare to connect the switch up to the network.

As you can see from our packshot below, our review unit took a knock in transit – expect your box to come without a “front-crease” feature!

WRT 8 Port Switch box 1 Review: Linksys WRT 8 Port Gigabit Switch

 

The Linksys WRT 8-Port Gigabit Switch itself is designed to very closely resemble the WRT1900AC. If anything, it’s actually slightly larger (taller) than its partner, but retains those same classic blue and black detailing and muscular lines.

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The consistency in design extends to the front indicator panel, which uses the same style of illumination to denote power and an active Ethernet connection.

WRT 8 Port Switch Review: Linksys WRT 8 Port Gigabit Switch

In a great touch, the rear of the WRT includes a manual switch to extinguish the front LED indicators – the WRT1900AC allows its indicators to be switched off via its browser-based management console, so those that have done this will be very pleased to see the feature included on the WRT switch too. Of course, as an unmanaged switch, there’s no management console available on the WRT, so a physical button is required.

Completing the rear line-up you you’ll find the expected 8 gigabit Ethernet ports, alongside a power input and a physical I/O switch.

From the images above, you may have noticed indentations at each corner of the switch. It’s designed to stack below the WRT1900AC router, saving space on the desktop. Alternatively, its feet include the same wall mount screw holes as the WRT1900AC, although again, no screws accompany the switch in box. Stack the two devices and they’ll look very mean indeed.

WRT 8 Port Switch 4 Review: Linksys WRT 8 Port Gigabit Switch WRT 8 Port Switch 3 Review: Linksys WRT 8 Port Gigabit Switch

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Review: Linksys WRT1900AC Wireless Router http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/10/10/review-linksys-wrt1900ac-wireless-router/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/10/10/review-linksys-wrt1900ac-wireless-router/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 15:44:33 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=69979 The retro-styled Linksys WRT1900AC Wireless Router is billed by the manufacturer as a "prosumer's dream...the most powerful router in its class on the market". Will it live up to that promise? Let's take a look.

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At the beginning of the year, when Linksys WRT1900AC Wireless Router was announced, you couldn’t help but smile. The retro-styling of the device, harking back to the days of the classic WRT54G, got many of us tech writers (of a certain age) all misty-eyed as we recalled past adventures of previous decades.

“The launch of the new WRT router is not only a celebration for the Linksys brand but for our customers too. We have brought back the WRT because our customers have asked for a router that had the reliability, functionality and open source capabilities but with today’s AC wireless technology. The WRT1900AC is the result of all these requests,” said Mike Chen, vice president of product management for Linksys when the device was launched.

A blend of routers ancient and modern, the fabulous-looking chassis of the WRT1900AC may look like familiar on the outside, but it’s most definitely all new on the inside. Powered by a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor with 128MB of flash storage as well as 256MB of DDR3 RAM, the WRT1900AC is packed with features that you most certainly wouldn’t find on that 90s classic.

With speeds of up to 1,300Mbps on the 5GHz band and up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, this 820.11ac router will shift bits around your home much more quickly than the old 54G. However, the WRT label isn’t just retro branding. As they did with the WRT54G, Linksys are again embracing the spirit of open source, encouraging developers to create new custom firmware for the WRT1900AC, with hardware and SDKs being shipped out to coders. OpenWRT custom firmware for the WRT1900AC is available for download for those who wish to experiment – although this is not recommended for novices.

With the company promising the Linksys WRT1900AC Wireless Router to be “the most powerful router in its class on the market…  a prosumers’ dream,” expectations are high and we’re looking forward to seeing how the new device stacks up.

What’s in the Box?

At a retail price of £220/$249, the Linksys WRT1900AC is very much a premium product and it’s packaged as such. Linksys have designed the unwrapping of the WRT1900AC router to be an experience, and the router is beautifully packaged in a layered box that unveils the router, quick start guide, branded antennas and accessories one by one.

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It’s a package that really wants to make a statement and the same is true of the device itself. I mentioned the blue and black retro-styling, but otherwise, the angled edges and adjustable anntennas of the WRT-1900AC give the menacing air of a modern day stealth bomber. The router is big, muscular and heavy – it’s not a device that wants to be hidden away. It’s going to create shadows, rather than hide in them.

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As is normal, the front face of the device includes a phalanx of status LEDs which will inform you about the various wireless and physical connections established by the WRT1900AC. Handily, these can be switched off in the device’s web-based management console if you prefer.

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At the rear, you’ll find connectors for the four antennas (two on the rear face and one on each side of the router near the back) and from left to right, a Wi-Fi Protected Setup button (for easy computer connection), four gigabit Ethernet sockets, an RJ-45 Internet input (for your modem), a USB 3,0 port, combined USB 2.0/eSATA port (for networking a printer or direct-attached storage device), reset button, power input and a physical power I/O switch.

The device is packaged with a single Ethernet cable and an external power supply that’s a little larger than the integrated wall socket adaptors that you generally find on routers.

 

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Flip over the device and you’ll find fixing holes cleverly integrated into the WRT1900AC’s feet for wall-mounting – you’ve seen WRT54Gs wall-mounted in restaurants, stores and hotels the world over. But with the WRT1900AC being a fair amount larger than that older device, it will most definitely be noticeable on the wall. Now I’m the kind of guy who usually prefers my tech to be hidden away, but you can’t help but love the sleek lines of the WRT1900AC – it’s a healthy slab of router, make no mistake.

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Review: Western Digital WD Sentinel DX4200 Storage Server http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/10/08/review-western-digital-wd-sentinel-dx4200/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/10/08/review-western-digital-wd-sentinel-dx4200/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 14:48:39 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=69670 Compact, flexible and powerful, the Western Digital WD Sentinel DX4200 looks to be a competitive choice for any business seeking to expand its storage capabilities.

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WD Sentinel DX4200

Over the last three years, Western Digital has made a concerted effort to build a strong network attached storage and server business. Whilst most recently we’ve seen the company’s MyCloud consumer NAS devices take the spotlight, today Western Digital is announcing a new business storage server. Meet the WD Sentinel DX4200.

We were sent one of the first review models this week, to ensure we could share our thoughts on the new server alongside today’s launch. Let’s take it for a spin.

The WD Sentinel Range

The brand new WD Sentinel DX4200 is offered in addition to, rather than replacing, other products in the Sentinel business server range. For the uninitiated, Western Digital positions the MyCloud range predominately at consumers, whilst the Sentinel product line is focused on small and medium sized business – although the more “professional” MyCloud lines, the two-bay MyCloud EX2 and four-bay MyCloud EX4 can be considered as “cross-over” devices which could serve SOHO (small office/home office users and prosumers alike.

However, (and this is important, so pay attention) the Sentinel range itself comprises two types of server, targeting users with differing needs and levels of technical expertise. The WD Sentinel series was launched with the WD Sentinel DX4000 back in 2011 (which was subsequently joined by the 1U rack-mount RX4000) – both four-bay devices built around Microsoft’s Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials operating system. These “X” lines, like today’s review model, the DX4200, are targeted at medium-sized businesses (over 25 seats) which usually have dedicated IT pro administrators managing the network. Typically, these businesses will already have at least one server in place, and will be interested in expanding their storage.

Following the launch of the Sentinel DX and RX models, last year, the company augmented their business server range with the WD Sentinel DS5100 and DS6100 – again four-bay servers, this time running the Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials platform. These “S” lines are targeted at small business owners and administrators looking for their first server. As a result, they (and competitor products running Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials) require less technical expertise to set up and configure, with wizards and visual dashboards supporting the administrator along the way.

As you may have guessed from the product number, the WD Sentinel DX4200 sits in the middle of the Sentinel product range. Like its DX siblings, it’s built on the Windows Storage Server operating system (although it ships with the newer Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Workgroup) and is offered with a slightly more advanced hardware specification than the DX4000. As we’ll see, there are other improvements over the DX4000 to consider on the software side too, but before we get into the details, let’s take a look at the new device.

What’s in the Box?

Our review model is the 16 TB WD Sentinel DX4200, which will retail at an MSRP of £1299 (excluding VAT). An 8 TB version has also been announced which is priced at £999. Open up the box and you’ll discover:

  • The WD Sentinel DX4200
  • Ethernet Cable
  • Power adaptor
  • Installation Guide

The chassis remains consistent with other servers in the Sentinel range – it’s a compact design that WD claims is currently the smallest Windows Storage Server available on the market today. That may be true, but it achieves much of its compact shape courtesy of an external power supply. A front LCD panel allows simple monitoring of server status, while a lockable, hinged door protects the four drive bays held within.

One feature I really love is that the operating system itself is held on a separate 2.5″ 500GB Western Digital WD-AV boot drive tucked away elsewhere in the chassis, maximising the available storage space on the four drive bays for your data. As an upgrade option at purchase, that boot drive can also be mirrored in a RAID 1 array with a second drive, so if disaster strikes and your Windows installation fails, it can be restored without too much drama.

Open up the drive bay door, and you can slide out the hard drives themselves. The WD Sentinel DX4200 features a simple, flip-down drive bay design which allows users to easily hot swap the drives as required.

 

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A key difference of the Sentinel range compared to Western Digital’s MyCloud consumer devices is the selection of the drives themselves. While you’ll see WD’s Red NAS hard drives on those consumer devices, the business-class Sentinel range is equipped with WD SE (7200 RPM) drives – all four bays are utilised on our review model (each with a 4 TB drive). Upgrades can be purchased directly from WD or the usual stockists.

We’ve found previously that WD SE drives will consume a little extra power than the WD Red drives (up to 5-10 W extra, in fact) you will find additional features on the WD SE drives to improve reliability and performance. In truth, I was expecting to see the new WD Red Pro drives shipping on the new Sentinel, which are available in capacities up to 4 TB, but the WD SE remains a strong choice for business. WD quotes 1.2 million hours mean time before failure (MTBF) for the SE (against a WD RE drive’s quoted 1.4 million figure. The WD Red is quoted at 1 million hours.)

Western Digital will clearly seek to promote the Enterprise-class drives in the Sentinel DX4200  The SE drive includes a Dual Actuator feature using a drive arm (which moves the read/write head) with two joints, rather than the usual one. The benefit? More precise movement of the head delivers greater positional accuracy over the data tracks, leading to improved performance. An enhanced vibration cancellation feature known as Rotary Acceleration Feed Forward (RAFF) is also included in WD SE drives. This monitors and corrects both linear and rotational vibration in real-time, ensuring improved performance in multi-bay devices where vibration can be an issue. A third feature, StableTrac, is deployed in WD SE drives (greater than 2 TB) to further dampen vibration from the hardware around the drive. In these drives, the motor shaft is secured at both ends, stabilising the disk platters and ensuring accurate tracking during read/write operations.

Add a multi-axis shock sensor to detect any impact on the drive, protecting the data on board, error recovery controls for RAID arrays,  NoTouch Ramp Load technology  to reduce wear and tear plus the ability to dynamically adjust the read/write head’s fly height in real time and you have a hard drive that’s loaded with features.

Around the back of the DX4200, you’ll find dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, four USB 3.0 for expansion and accessories, a VGA port and twin power sockets allowing the use of a redundant power supply – keeping the server up and running in the event of a PSU problem. Note, however, that Western Digital only ships a single power supply in the box, so you’ll need to purchase a second PSU separately. It’s the same story with Ethernet cables – only a single cable is supplied.

Inside, the WD Sentinel DX4200 is powered by the latest Intel Atom C2338 “Avoton” processor. Rated at 1.70 GHz with a turbo speed burst of 2.0 GHz, the low-power processor is specifically designed for small business server applications, with sufficient horsepower to shift data around your business network. Enhanced features such virtualization support and AES hardware encryption (speeding up data encryption processes) are also available.

Western Digital pairs the processor with 4 GB ECC RAM in support – that’s a step up from the 2 GB supplied on the DX4000 and being the error-correcting variety, ensures that the WD Sentinel DX4200 conforms to Microsoft’s logo requirements. You should also find that the newer processor draws less power than the venerable Intel Atom D525 processor supplied on the older model, with a 7W TDP rating compared to 13W on the Atom D525. If you’re seeking more power than the Atom can muster, then you’ll need to take a look at the WD Sentinel DS5100 and 6100, both of which are equipped with Intel Xeon processors.

The headline: decent performance and enhanced processor features, with lower running costs.

Using the WD Sentinel DX4200

One big change on the DX4200, from earlier models in the WD Sentinel range, is the development of a new monitoring console. WD StorCentral Dashboard is its name and it debuts in the WD Sentinel DX4200. The idea is to provide users with an easy way to monitor the server and access common management tasks.

While getting up and running with the server is not as quick and easy as a consumer or small business Linux NAS device, it’s straightforward enough. Connect your cables and power up the server to start Windows. You’ll be asked to set a Windows administrator password then, following a reboot, you’re straight into a WD Device Setup wizard where you set an email address for notifications and alerts (an optional setting), install WD software updates and configure your storage. Handily, Western Digital include their own pre-configured SMTP server for email that works out of the box, so there’s no need to scrabble around for email server settings.

For storage management, the WD Device Setup wizard directs you to Server Manager to configure a Storage Pool using Windows Server’s Storage Spaces. Without clear guidance in the wizard, it’s difficult to understand exactly how the storage pool has been pre-configured – or indeed if a storage pool has been pre-configured (answer: it hasn’t), so you’ll need to jump off to Windows’ Server Manager to get your storage pool and virtual disks up and running.

While all of the underlying Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Workgroup components and settings are available to configure as usual, WD StorCentral provides a visual management console which helps you with server monitoring – storage capacity, CPU and memory utilisation, system alerts, network status and domain configuration. You can also navigate easily to specific areas of the operating system that you may need to configure. Unlike the WD Sentinel DX4000, which ran on an Essentials version of Windows Storage Server 2008 that included a comprehensive server management dashboard courtesy of Microsoft, Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Workgroup does not include such a feature. Indeed it appears that Microsoft are only just getting around to releasing an Essentials SKU for Windows Storage Server 2012 R2.

As you work through the WD StorCentral dashboard, which is very easy to navigate thanks to five large tabs in the left hand sidebar – Home, Health, Storage. Settings and Help – you’re able to deep dive into certain areas of the server configuration to tweak settings. This employs a combination of standard Windows Server dialogs and windows as well as bespoke WD-developed control panels, but thankfully the design is reasonably consistent between the two.

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Handy though it is, the WD StorCentral dashboard is no match for the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard found on the DX4000. If you’re using the server in Workgroup mode, for example, it lacks a number of configuration options that you’d wish to find in a NAS management console.  Folder management and especially user account settings both spring to mind. It’s simple and easy to use, but it’s mostly focused on server monitoring – unlikely to be a daily destination.

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Review: ASUSTOR AS7010T NAS Server http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/10/04/review-asustor-as7010t-nas-server/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/10/04/review-asustor-as7010t-nas-server/#comments Sat, 04 Oct 2014 08:22:34 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=69880 The new ASUSTOR AS7010T is a premium NAS for business, offering a compelling combination of features and performance wrapped in a compact, high capacity package.

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asustor-as7010t

The era of the Super NAS is here! From the low-powered, humble devices of ten years ago, network attached storage devices have rapidly developed to take on mainstream small business servers and the ASUSTOR AS7010T NAS Server is leading the charge.

This new, ten bay premium device is targeted at enterprise and creative professionals, although is will also do a great job for prosumers with money to spend. Intel’s Core i3-4330 processor (a dual-core Haswell chip running at 3.5 GHz) has been selected to power the unit – a far more powerful CPU than the usual Intel Atom and Marvell Armada processors we generally encounter in NAS devices.

It’s paired with a healthy, 2 GB slab of DDR3 RAM, which is expandable up to 16 GB and again positions the AS7010T at the top-end of the network attached storage category. Those wishing to save a little money can opt for the eight-bay AS7008T model which offers the same internal specification as its big brother, with a slightly reduced storage capacity. With pricing recommended at £1,519 for the AS7010T and £1,219 for the AS7008T, the new 70 Series ships with a big ticket – but does it offer big performance?

This week, we received one of the first models to roll off the production line. Let’s get the package open and check out what it can do.

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Eschewing the common trend for business appliances to ship in boring, brown cardboard packaging, the AS7010T ships in newly designed packaging that pops with day-glo orange highlights, shouting loudly about the features within, It certainly makes a statement! Open up the box and you’ll find:

  • The ASUSTOR AS7101T NAS Server
  • Two Ethernet cables
  • Power cable
  • Mounting screws for 2.5″ and 3.5″ hard drives
  • Software CD
  • Quick Start Guide

 

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The chassis design is very similar to other devices in the ASUSTOR range, and that’s no bad decision as its simple aesthetics will fit in well in an office environment. Build quality is up to ASUSTOR’s usual high standards – a combination of high quality plastics and textured metal casing providing a decent finish.

The front face of the AS7010T includes power and one touch backup buttons alongside an LED display panel which provides simple status reporting as well as a number of basic power and network features, controlled using the adjacent buttons. A new drive bay design debuts on the 70 Series, with an integral locking mechanism that ensures hard drives can’t be accidentally removed during operation. The lock itself requires a flat-head screwdriver to turn – I was surprised to see the lack of a key lock on the AS7010T which would do a better job of securing the drives from theft. Given AS7010T is targeted at business use, that’s an omission that may put off those seeking maximum physical security on the device.

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The drive caddy itself is robust – a combination of plastic, reinforced with metal for added strength which glides easily into the inner chassis.

From a connectivity perspective, the AS7010T is well equipped. A convenient, front-facing USB 3.0 port is joined by a further two on the rear of the server, accompanied by two USB 2.0 ports for connecting peripherals. Two Gigabit Ethernet ports (managed by a Broadcom NetLink BCM57781 controller) allow link aggregation and failover support and you’ll also find twin eSATA ports for expanding storage.

Continuing the current trend in NAS devices, a HDMI 1.4a port is fitted to the 70 Series, and its joined for the first time by an optical audio S/PDIF port, allowing a broader range of connections to AV receivers and other entertainment devices. I was again surprised to see the lack of a redundant power supply on the new model, which is commonly found on business-class NAS servers, so you’ll need to use the single power socket with an uninterruptible power supply to maximise up time. On the flip side, at least the PSU is integrated into the chassis, so there’s no ugly external power supply floating around the rear of the device.

Overall, it’s a polished, high quality specification and build – the kind we’ve become used to from ASUSTOR. Enterprise admins may point to a couple of omissions – secure, lockable drive bays  (with a key) and a redundant power supply would have led to a complete package for the business owner – those aside, it’s a compelling specification.

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Budget QNAP TS-x31 NAS Range Announced, Powered by ARM Cortex-A9 CPU http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/10/02/budget-qnap-ts-x31-nas-range-announced-powered-arm-cortex-a9-cpu/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2014/10/02/budget-qnap-ts-x31-nas-range-announced-powered-arm-cortex-a9-cpu/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 17:39:54 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=69871 Value QNAP TS-x31 NAS range announced, shipping in 1, 2 and 4-bay configurations, powered by Freescale ARM Cortex-A9 processor.

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qnap-ts-x31

Hot on the heels of the recent QNAP TS-x51 Turbo NAS launch announced in the Summer, QNAP today unveiled its “little brother”, the TurboNAS TS-x31.

The new budget range forgoes the X51’s dual-core Intel Celeron 2.41GHz processor with 1GB DDR3L RAM, which is replaced by a dual-core, 1.2 GHz Freescale ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, paired with 512 MB RAM.

It’ll ship in 1, 2 and 4-bay configurations, with a predominately consumer focused role, targeted at backup, synchronization, remote access, and home entertainment tasks.

The new model includes dual LAN ports to facilitate dual IP settings, port-trunking modes and enables users to set up fault tolerance or link aggregation for increased data throughput. QNAP has clocked data transfers at respectable 110 MB/s read & 80 MB/s write speeds.

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While the Coretx-A9 isn’t beefy enough for real-time HD video transcoding, QNAP do include an offline transcoding option which works overnight or at other points when the NAS isn’t active, creating pre-rendered, device-optimized versions of video files.

Three SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports are included for expansion and connectivity to peripheral devices and you can expect the TS-x31 series to benefit from all of the features of QNAP’s latest QTS software.

The QNAP TurboNAS TS-x31 series is shipping now globally.

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