Review: NETGEAR ReadyNAS 202 2-Bay NAS Server

Using the NETGEAR ReadyNAS 202

NETGEAR recently released version 6.3 of their ReadyNAS operating system (a quick firmware update will get you to the latest version). Open up the management console and you’ll find the design and layout of ReadyNAS OS6 (as it’s known) is beautifully clean and uncluttered. Those new to managing network storage devices will appreciate how easy it is to navigate around, while more advanced users will be able to quickly discover the features they seek and dive into the configuration.

You won’t find every feature offered by some of NETGEAR’s competitors, but there’s a strong core feature set and a wide range of third-party add-ons that’s never overwhelming. Of course, like most NAS platforms, dig around online and also you’ll find a vibrant user community that’s hacking away to uncover new ways to futher extend the ReadyNAS 202’s capabilites.

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Navigation tabs along the top of the web-based console encourage users to discover the features of the ReadyNASOS step by step. Unlike some competitor devices, which work in a windows-style environment, with long and tedious lists of settings to work through, ReadyNAS OS6 is highly visual and rarely confusing.

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User accounts, user groups and shared folders can be quickly set up (happily without the special character password restriction encountered with the administrator account).

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Services can be enabled or disabled with a simple click of a button and I was particularly please to see explanations provided on screen for a number of features. ReadyNAS is simple to use and will help novices get up to speed with network attached storage features and concepts in no time.

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That’s not to say ReadyNAS is basic. Seasoned NAS users will find all of the features and granularity they’re looking for in the OS. On the networking protocol side, there’s support for SMB 3, AFP and NFS – you can even drop down to an earlier SMB protocol should you need to with a downloadable app. Support for iSCSI, Thin Provisioning, block-based snapshots, network link aggregation and more means that there’s plenty on offer to interest the hardcore.

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