Any reccomendations for Wifi file server ? Asus RT-N65U ?

Started Oct 14, 2012 | Discussions thread
Jim Cockfield
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Re: Any reccomendations for Wifi file server ? Asus RT-N65U ?
In reply to KewlEugene, Oct 15, 2012

KewlEugene wrote:

I thought GigE/etc and older used 10 bits per 8 bit byte (8B/10B encoding) but I haven't looked at the specs in over a decade ?

When looking at throughput, divide the stated rate in Megabits by 8 to get Megabytes:

http://web.forret.com/tools/bandwidth.asp?speed=450&unit=Mbps

450Mbps would give you 56.25 MB/s (Megabytes per second)

IOW, assume 8 bits to a byte for those types of calculations.

But, I think it's highly unlikely you're really get that much throughput.  You'd need wireless devices that support that connection speed (most Wireless N chipsets and antenna designs are probably limited to 150 or 300 Megabits per second under optimum conditions), and if you did use Wireless Adapters with 3x3 MIMO antenna designs and drivers supporting 450Mbps, throughput would still depend on signal strength which is going to vary by range to the router (expect it to drop off).   450 sounds great.  But, I wouldn't expect to get anywhere near that in most real world conditions.

I just want to try and setup a wifi file server for as cheap dollar-wise and as cheap time-wise as possible. The Asus RT-N65U costs $129 on eBay. I already have many SATA 2.5 drives, USB3 cables, EVDO 3G dongles, ... to hookup to it.

If I can get 30MBps throughput as you mention I'll be very happy.  That's good enough to browse thru D4 NEF and D800e NEF files. If it's too slow then I'll get rid of the Asus RT-N65U on eBay and lose $10-$20. That's not such a terrible loss.

Just buy it from a vendor that allows returns within 30 days (for example, directly from Amazon).

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Diamond-Series-Routers-RT-N65U/dp/B008OUKZZI/

IOW, why go to the trouble of buying it from an Ebay vendor for $129, when you can get it from Amazon for $129.99 with free shipping, and get their 30 day return policy on electronics like that?

I buy from Ebay vendors all the time.  But, not when I can get the same thing directly from a vendor like Amazon for the same money, especially if it's a product I think I may want to return because I'm not sure about it's suitability.   Now, I rarely return anything (the last thing I remember returning to Amazon was a a little Sony camera about 10 years ago).   But, in your case, you may want to go that route just in case.

Also, if you don't have a wireless router already and need one, then you may want to keep it, even if the file server part isn't as fast as desired.

I've been thinking about upgrading my network, too.   I'm still using an older WRT54G Wireless G router.   That's plenty fast enough for internet access.   But, I have shared folders setup on PCs using Samba (I run linux most of the time) so I can access files on one PC from another, and faster throughput would be desirable.

So, I've been debating on upgrading to a newer Wireless N router with Gigabit Ethernet ports. That way, I can use those ports for plugging in my primary PC and perhaps a dedicated server, too.  Then (upgrading my network), I'd get faster access to/from other devices (set top box running Android, my wif'e's laptop, a netbook I have, etc.) via wireless (since I'd have Wireless N versus Wireless G).  I'd have to upgrade the dongles I'm using on some of the devices to Wireless N at the same time (they're G right now, except for my netbook and android phones, which are already Wireless N)

I just bought an external drive enclosure (eSATA attached) I'm going to use for even more storage.  So, I could either setup a dedicated server (I'd probably just use FreeNAS for that purpose using a desktop I no longer use for anything much).

Or, just plug it into my primary desktop and just set it up as shared the same why I've got shared folders on my existing desktop drives.   That way, I'd have faster access to the storage from my desktop (since I wouldn't be going over the local network to get to it from my desktop), and it would still be available from from other computers on my LAN.

But, a dedicated box running FreeNAS is tempting since the latest FreeNAS 8.3 Release Candidate supports newer ZFS versions and would probably serve files faster to other PCs, and I'd have the more advanced features that ZFS provides (snapshots, etc.).  I'm debating using a RAIDz2 Setup for drives (similar to RAID 6) if I go that route (dedicated server versus just plugging the enclosure into my desktop and letting it handle sharing of folders on it to other computers).

The other option (a lot more time consuming) I looked at is setting up a Linux 802.11n + SAMBA + 3G server on an Asus 1015-PEM USB3.0 netbook. The BIG prob is finding an 802.11n dongle that works in Master Mode.

Do you not have a router already?   I'd suggest co-locating the server with the router and just plugging it into a Gigabit Ethernet port for best throughput.

But, you could also use a wireless connection to the router.    You don't need to setup the server wireless adapter as a master.   IOW, you could use your netbook via wireless to share files, just by letting it connect to your router so it's got an IP address assigned by your router and other machines are your network can get to it via your router (but, if it's got a gigabit ethernet port, I'd plug it directly into a port on the router instead).   Other machines just get to it via your router (and both the server and client connections could be wireless if desired, too).

In any event, that solution does sound interesting if you can live with the throughput it provides and you'd already got USB 3.0 external drives you can use with it.

If you decide to try it, let us know how it works.   But, I suspect the processor speed and memory in it is going to limit the throughput you'll see (not to mention the overhead of getting to it over the network).    I'd be curious as to how well it works though.

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JimC
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