Re:  Need Recommendations for  Nas and Wifi hardware for Small Office Workgroup

Posted on 2012-09-20
Last Modified: 2012-10-16
Hi All,

I have a small branch office that regularly has 8 -12 users in it and  maybe a few
times a month the amount goes up to 15-18 users.  The network is set up as a
workgroup.  The office will be downsizing in the next year so I'm keeping them on the workgroup.  I want to setup a NAS server in order for the users to do some
file sharing  and a backup of their files.  The second part is I need to set up wifi
access for both  the workgroup and a guest wifi.  

For the NAS I have been looking at the Buffalo Link Station Duo, Synology Diskstation DS712, and BlackArmor NAS 440.   Has any one out there used these products?
And what was your experience with them like?  I'm hoping to get something that
has software that is easy to maneuver.   Any recommendations?

As far as the Wifi I've heard there are wifi routers out there with a guest account
on them.   It's a large 2 story building so I'll definitely need a device upstairs and down. Does anyone know of models that have a guest wifi account on them?

I would really appreciate any advice you can give me.  Thank you
Question by:NewbieITGal
    LVL 28

    Expert Comment

    The LinkSys E6500 has exactly what you want in a wireless router.

    I have one of these in my home in a closet on the first floor and get FULL signal strength on the 3rd floor.

    I can watch a movie on NetFlix half-way down the block on my iPad in my car.  It also has the Guest feature you are wanting.
    LVL 17

    Expert Comment

    by:Brad Bouchard
    As far as the NAS' I've used many and the Buffalo ones are my recommendation.  I would recommend this model though:

    The reason I like Buffalo is they integrate with workgroups and domains very well.

    For WiFi I have the perfect solution.  It's a company called Ubiquiti and they make what they call their UniFi discs.  These discs look like flying saucers and come with a super easy to use and setup software.  You plug them in in your locations then go to a computer and install the software then it finds them and pulls them all in so you can make one giant network without having to set up multiple access points.  You can create a guest account in less than 10 seconds.  They are super affordable and run great.  I think they cost somewhere between $120-150 for a 3 pack.  Check them out here:
    LVL 17

    Expert Comment

    by:Brad Bouchard
    Trust me on this, you won't find a better, OR EASIER, wireless product than the UniFi discs that I posted about above.
    LVL 28

    Expert Comment

    Those do look pretty cool.  Do they come with little blow up alien dolls?  :-)
    LVL 17

    Expert Comment

    by:Brad Bouchard
    Haha, I wish.

    Author Comment

    Will the Ubiquiti allow me to have the wifi's separated so that I would have one
    for the workgroup users and another access and password for the guest wifi?
    LVL 17

    Accepted Solution

    It most defintely will.  I do this all the time.  The great thing is that you can setup 10 APs all with one click.  You make your settings then the UniFi Controller (software that is free with them) goes out and configures all of the other APs with the same exact settings so it's seamless.

    If you look here:

    You can see a screenshot of it and guest control.  Also,  there is a cool feature that will allow you to load a map of your building layout and place on the map where your APs are so it can tell you how far their coverage will go.  The steps to set these up are super simple.

    1)  Unbox and plug their network cables in.  They have POE injectors that you HAVE to use which is the only downside, but then on the end of the AP there is only one cable and that's your network cable going to the AP.

    2)  Install the UniFi software on a computer.

    3)  Let the software find your APs, and click them and create your network or click them and click adopt.

    4)  Save.

    That's it.  The only part that might confuse you is when you plug the POE injectors in.  Most spots where you would put them won't have both network and power, usually just network ports/drops to plug into so it's important that you have some sort of labeling telling you where each network port in the wall or drop goes back to.  Some sort of patch panel hopefully that is also labeled.  Then, on the patch panel end you would plug the POE injector in and have it's network (LAN) plug running into your LAN switch and the other end going into the patch panel that runs to the AP.

    Let me know if I've confused you and I can simplify my answer but as you can tell I LOVE THESE DEVICES.

    Author Closing Comment

    It sounds like it is super easy to setup and I like the look of the APs.   My only concern is that  I need to check to see my availability for open cat5 network ports  throughout the rooms.  Most of the cubicles have 1 port being used by computers.   I'm just worried that I won't  have a network connection available for where I need to place an AP.

    Re: the Nas    - Is it easy to maneuver the software and set up individual users and user folders with permissions.  Also, the shared group folders with permissions.
    The reason I ask is that I had a couple of NAS about 4-5 years ago that were a real pain
    in the butt to configure -  Software was very awkward.   They weren't Buffalo.

    You've been most helpful!

    Thank you so much

    Featured Post

    What Is Threat Intelligence?

    Threat intelligence is often discussed, but rarely understood. Starting with a precise definition, along with clear business goals, is essential.

    Join & Write a Comment

    Suggested Solutions

    Moving your enterprise fax infrastructure from in-house fax machines and servers to the cloud makes sense — from both an efficiency and productivity standpoint. But does migrating to a cloud fax solution mean you will no longer be able to send or re…
    PRTG Network Monitor lets you monitor your bandwidth usage, so you know who is using up your bandwidth, and what they're using it for.
    After creating this article (, I decided to make a video (no audio) to show you how to configure the routers and run some trace routes and pings between the 7 sites…
    Get a first impression of how PRTG looks and learn how it works.   This video is a short introduction to PRTG, as an initial overview or as a quick start for new PRTG users.

    746 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    17 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now