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DNS server NAS vs Wifi Router

Posted on 2010-08-22
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Is it better to use a NAS as a DNS server such as Thecus 8800Pro or my wifi router as the dns server?
What are advantages and disadvantages if any.
This is for a home environment without a sbs.
The network has multiple wired pc on the lan, multiple home security cameras, TV's with net access, dvd's with net access and sonos players all need IP adresses handed and handled not to mention iPhones, iTouches , iPads.

Thank you
Question by:lasikdr
  • 3

Expert Comment

ID: 33495603
In general you just want to use the one that is more reliable and has more features--otherwise DNS is just DNS, you know?.  The Thecus looks like a nice unit, but I do not see anything about DNS server in its manual?  If it does this function, then great and I would probably try it first.

For example, my router does DNS and I also have a small Windows 2008 server for media file storage.  I use DNS and also DHCP on the windows server because I can add custom DNS records for devices on my network.  My router does not allow this, although some routers do.  I also have DHCP set to register all DHCP clients in DNS automatically.  Basically, I have better control using a more complex device compared to a little router.

LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:Jimmy Larsson, CISSP, CEH
ID: 33496398
Why running a DNS for yourself anyway, whats the need? I use either my ISP:s DNS or googles in my home network, have never felt any need for my own dns. Static ip:s on all such equipment and you quickly learn which unit has which ip and you dont have to manage any dns. Keep it simple, is my philosophy.


Accepted Solution

evanmcnally earned 2000 total points
ID: 33496522
Kvistofa, I have to respectfully disagree with everything you just said.

The purpose to having a DNS server at home is the same reason to use it on a corporate LAN--convenience and flexibility.  I do have all my static IP addresses memorized, but what about my spouse and kids?  Or guests?  Or devices that cannot be static?

-Anyone running a NAS or dedicated home server is serious enough that they want it to work well for all users and not just for the IT person in the family.  

-Static IPs are not suitable for laptops, phones, iPad, iPod, etc--all of which I or members of my family have.  I still want them in my DNS, automatically, when they get DHCP they go into DNS.  Among other reasons, the foremost is so my network management system can give me the names of what is on my network, not just a bunch of hosts that ping.  Should I ever get a rogue device on my network, I'll know right away.

-I have some web sites on my server and want to use distinct names for them.  One site is for controlling playing audio to various Squeezebox devices; so instead of a static IP address, non-technical users can just go to http://music.local and I do not have to have my server named "music".  I can use host headers in IIS for different sites if I want.  There is no way to run separate sites without your own DNS unless you memorize more ip addresses.

-I have a LAN-to-LAN VPN to my office and use a conditional forwarder to the office DNS server to look up the _internal_ addresses of devices on that remote LAN.  My ISP's DNS would naturally not have any internal DNS records for the remote LAN, which would mean I would need to memorize all the IP addresses on that other LAN, and also that services which depend on SSL certificates (Outlook, Entourage, etc.) would not work because of no DNS.

I could find other reasons If I thought about it, but there are many reasons to run your own DNS server.  If you don't want to or are not capable of doing so, then it's your choice and you can get by.  But if you have the capability to run your own DNS I feel the (minor) complexity is well worth it.  I mean, it's possibly 3 or 4 steps to turn on DNS on a Windows Server and configure it--probably a lot simple on a router or NAS.  On some level, DNS makes a network finished, more elegant, and easier to use than just going for IP addresses.

Back to lasikdr's question--he clearly has a lot of devices to keep track of and is a perfect candidate for running a DNS service on his LAN.

As to which device to use, I feel the desired capabilities are:
1.  DHCP devices have their DNS records created automatically
2.  Ability to manually create DNS records as required.
3.  Ability to forward lookups to outside/ISP servers in a manner of your choosing.

Author Comment

ID: 33497569
Thank you for your help. I need a dns because the number of devices on my home network.  With a family of five it is amazing when I do an ip scan, how many devices are on my LAN.  I also VPN into my office daily.  My families laptops cannot be static they need to be set on dhcp so they can use them outside the house.  
It seems that both devices are about equal in their DNS features.  I feel the NAS is more stable.  I wasn't sure if there was a specific reason why one would work better and it seems there is not by the answers here.
Thank you again.  This web site is gr8.

Expert Comment

ID: 33500857
Hope this helps, good luck!

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