Question Powerful Router with USB External Drive or NAS?

CodenameAter

Reputable
Apr 7, 2016
7
0
4,510
0
TL:DR: I want to know what is the best cost-effective and stable option to store work files on a small network (research lab) that can be accessed locally and remotely. My thought is either to buy a decent router with a USB sharing port or a NAS with a cheaper router. Technically, I have no strict budget, but I have to justify my decision and grant money is hard to come by.

More Information

A few notes about our current situation:
  • Files sit on a 1 TB external HDD --- More space than we'll ever need
  • Backup on external HDD --- Stored in my car (in case lab burns down, drive dies, etc.).
  • Tons of links within the drive --- There are 100s of links between files, databases, etc. within the drive
  • HDD connected to a PC --- We leave the PC on indefinitely so we can remote into the PC anytime.
  • Most files are small --- Mostly regularly accessed files are under >5MB in size, with a few less frequently accessed files that can be up to 25 MB.
  • Internet connection sucks --- I tried to use OneDrive but on bad weather days our DL/UL can be as low as 2 Mbps/<0.5 Mbps.
  • Research files do not require much security --- The nature of our work requires involves no confidentially or anything of that nature.
  • Need a new router --- A new site is being built, so we could use our current router (D-Link DIR-850L) there and purchase a new router for the main site.
The major issues I have currently:
  • Wasting Electricity: leaving the PC on seems very wasteful
  • Re-linking files: When the university reset our PC, I moved the drive to another PC and back, having to re-link all the files (never again! haha).
  • Remote access is a bit annoying: Using Teamviewer is fine but it requires other PCs to have it.
Based on my research, here are my current thoughts and understanding of the solutions:
  • New Router with USB port
  • Small NAS
We do not technically have a budget, but I have to justify any decision I make as grant money is hard to come by. Buying a NAS (plus a basic router) seems like it would be far more cost-effective, but I am worried about the stability of using the USB sharing port on any router. When I tested this on our existing router, it did not work very well. However, I was not sure if this was due to our router being really old or if that was indicative of this type of solution. Therefore, I am curious about whether others have had more positive experiences with the USB sharing ports on routers. Furthermore, if you have any other solutions that might fit our situation better, I would be happy to hear them.

Thank you for reading my post and I look forward to your responses!
 

CodenameAter

Reputable
Apr 7, 2016
7
0
4,510
0
Thanks everyone! I figured it a NAS was a better solution, but I wasn't sure if anyone had any positive experiences with hard drives plugged directly into routers.

Here's to hoping I can justify the purchase of a NAS.

Thanks.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS