Category Archive: Network

PC Hardware Reviews: Network & Wireless

QNAP TS-451 Turbo NAS Server Review

The QNAP TS-451 Turbo NAS is part of a new hardware platform for QNAP that brings a high level of performance to the small tower-based format, at a lower cost than was possible before. The four new TS-x51 towers are being promoted as home-based NAS servers, based on their high performance, low cost, and a bunch of new software functionality that is ideal for the modern home. While recent QNAP launches have leveraged the tremendous potential of 10GbE networking for the business user, the home and the SOHO market aren’t there yet. The home market is very sensitive to pricing, so the best thing to do is to re-engineer the daylights out of the surrounding infrastructure and pump a little more juice into the system controller. More power, new features – lower price?

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Thecus N2310 NAS Server Network Storage Review

The Thecus N2310 Network Attached Storage Server is a product that is breaking new ground for the NAS market. Power to the people, NASes for the masses, whatever you want to call it, the N2310 is about driving the cost of NAS ownership down. Thankfully, Thecus recognizes that no one wants a NAS that runs slow, or one that doesn’t have modern features like mobile access. So, the N2310 is all about providing the lowest-cost, technically-acceptable solution. That’s a fine line to tread, and many companies have tripped over themselves trying to do that. Benchmark Reviews has tested quite a few NAS products in the last few years, and we’re in a good position to evaluate how well the Thecus N2310 meets its mission statement.

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QNAP TS-470 NAS Server Review

The QNAP TS-470 Turbo NAS is part of a new model line that brings a higher level of performance to the small tower-based format. The TS-x70U rack mount series which launched earlier this year served up the basic technology package that’s been slimmed down here, in order to fit into the smaller form factor. The new TS-x70 towers are being promoted as business-class NAS servers, based on their high performance and networking package, but QNAP includes an HDMI port and IR receiver for good measure. Also included in the base package is a 2-port GbE NIC, installed in the PCIe expansion slot. Most business users will be able to increase the network throughput of this NAS with Port Trunking, thereby making effective use of all four GbE ports on the rear panel. Those who need more bandwidth can just replace the 2-port NIC with a 10GbE model.

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Rosewill RPLC-200PKIT Powerline Adapter Kit Review

WiFi is everyone these days; coffee shops, super markets, retail stores. If you are like most people, you also have WiFi at home. I think you would hard pressed to find an ISP that doesn’t provide a wireless router with their services. WiFi is great. Right up until you need it to do something very important and it just doesn’t quite cut it. Well, there is a solution. A device that will turn the power lines already run in your house into veritable network cables, ensuring that you always have a connection when and where you need it. In this article, Benchmark Reviews is testing the Rosewill RPLC-200PKIT Powerline Adapter Kit.

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ASUS PCE-AC66 Wi-Fi AC1750 PCIe Wireless Adapter Review

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The ASUS PCE-AC66 802.11ac wireless PCIe adapter is currently the only wireless adapter I know of, that allows you to experience the wonders of 3-Stream IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi. It won’t be the last, for sure, because the gains in wireless throughput are too good to pass up. There are several significant changes in the new 802.11ac standard, and upping the maximum allowable number of spatial streams is one of them. Theoretically, eight individual streams are supported by 802.11ac, but the new chips from Broadcom top out at three streams on a single IC. That’s enough to push 1.3Gbps across the airwaves on the 5GHz Wi-Fi band, which is probably where the consumer devices will stay. There are several wireless adapters on the market that are capable of handling two streams, but right now the PCE-AC66 is alone at the top of the 802.11ac heap, with three streams and the data rates to match.

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LSI 9300-4i4e SAS PCIe 12Gb/s HBA Card Review

The LSI 9300-4i4e is a PCI-Express to Serial Attached SCSI (PCIe-to-SAS) host bus adapter (HBA) card fits server and high-performance workstation computers to deliver internal and external storage connectivity. Also called the LSI 12GB/s SAS HBA card, the 9300-4i4e model provides eight lanes of 12Gb/s SAS connectivity and is matched with eight lanes of PCIe 3.0 8Gb/s performance. LSI’s 9300-4i4e 12GB/s SAS HBA is based on the proprietary Fusion-MPT architected LSI SAS3008 / Fusion MPT 2.5 controller that fuses 8Gb/s PCIe 3.0 technology to 12Gb/s SAS technology. In this article, Benchmark Reviews inspects the features and functionality for the LSI SAS 9300-4i4e PCIe 12Gbps HBA Card.

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Diamond Multimedia WR300NSI Wireless-N Repeater Review

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Wireless networking has leaped from niche application to mainstream installations in a short matter of years, allowing homes and businesses to implement features like Wi-Fi Internet access and wireless multimedia file storage. The latest 300 Mb/s 802.11n (wireless-N) networks have been a big part of this transition, enabling transfer speeds similar to the cabled Gigabit Ethernet connections. This has made life more convenient, but for many installations range is still a problem. In this article Benchmark Reviews investigates the Diamond Multimedia WR300NSI Wireless Wi-Fi Range Extender. The purpose of this portable device is self-explanatory, and networking can be complicated, which is why we’ll test how well Diamond has kept it simple for the novice consumer in this article.

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ASUS RT-AC66U Wireless 802.11ac Wi-Fi Router Review

The ASUS RT-AC66U 802.11ac wireless router builds on the success of the RT-N66U model that Benchmark Reviews also tested recently. ASUS has been busy looking to the future, and the new IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard. While it’s not officially approved, it does appear to be stable, and there are products on the market already from all the serious players in wireless networking. While 802.11n was a step forward, and many of us have been appreciative of the additional legroom that the 5GHz band allows, there is still plenty of room for improvement in Wi-Fi performance. The ASUS RT-AC66U looks great sitting on the shelf, better than the majority of routers on offer today, but it’s the higher throughput and expanded signal coverage that’s going to win over most consumers.

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QNAP TS-870U-RP NAS Network Storage Server Review

There’s a new Ethernet in town called 10GbE, and its blazing fast. Benchmark Reviews recently gave you the inside scoop on the newest 10GbE networking hardware, and I mentioned that the first thing I did was to hook up a 10GbE NAS. Plain old Gigabit Ethernet has been holding back mid-range NAS servers for a while now. With 10GbE starting to enter the mainstream, QNAP is now making their 10GbE-capable storage products more affordable. The QNAP TS-870U-RP Turbo NAS is part of a new model line that trades off some CPU power and a couple of build features in order to lower the cost of entry. With eight 3.5″ drive bays available there is a potential for 32TB of drive space, and the Intel Celeron CPU, with 32nm Sandy Bridge architecture, has enough horsepower to make file transfers fly by. It also has two x8 PCIe slots for 10GbE NICs and these make a huge difference in real-world performance. Take a closer look with us, at the current value leader in NAS speed demons.

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ASUSTOR AS-604T NAS Network Storage Server Review

Everybody needs a NAS, I’m convinced. Maybe if I described what the modern NAS has become – a Private Cloud, then everyone would agree. Years ago, when Benchmark Reviews started reviewing NAS servers, they were made to sit on your network as a sort of file server and you used proprietary, vendor supplied backup software. Today, as we all know, everything is wide open. Access anything, anywhere, with any application is not just a dream anymore. Hardware is still important, but the depth and breadth of the software is becoming more of a differentiator. The ASUSTOR AS-604T NAS Network Storage Server uses a familiar hardware platform – Intel Atom and a Linux distro, but the design team didn’t stop there. There are some fundamental improvements that were ready to be solved from a slightly different perspective. Join in, as we see how this new 4-bay device compares to its competitors.

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NETGEAR GS110T Gigabit Smart Switch Review

Until recently, there were only two types of network switches, un-managed and managed. Today, there is a new class, called Smart Switches. A blend of the two previous extremes, they’re targeted to both corporate users and what the industry politely calls “ProSumers”. Switches aren’t reviewed by the press that often, but they are a necessary part of many home and SMB networks, so we need to look at what’s available now and then. NETGEAR is a major player in the networking market, and today Benchmark Reviews looks at the GS110T, one of the less expensive offerings in their ProSafe SmartSwitch line. It’s got enough GbE ports to future-proof most home installations, plus two fiber optic interfaces.

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