DD-WRT routers are fantastic because they offer so many services. From VPN capabilities to shared printers, DD-WRT offers a lot of valuable features that other router software sometimes lacks. One great feature is the ability to use it for NAS, or Network Attached Storage. However, there is one caveat. Most NAS devices use a USB cable, so your DD-WRT router will need to have a USB port (e.g. RT-ACU66U ) Some NAS devices offer built in network interface cards, allowing you to plug it directly into one of the Ethernet ports on your router. For our demonstration, though, we will assume that your NAS device uses a USB cable. You may also use a flash drive if you wish, but they don’t offer the massive storage capacity that NAS hard drives offer.
The Benefits of NAS
But what are the benefits of network attached storage? Well, there are many. NAS devices allow you to offload storage to an external device. This is great for making backups of your most important files. If your computer crashes, you still have access to all of your backed-up data. In addition, they help you share data on your home network. If you download a lot of movies, for example, you could make them accessible from any computer on your home network by storing them on a NAS device.
Also, a NAS device can improve the speed and performance of your personal computer and mobile devices. Sometimes after a hard drive has been all but maxed out on its storage capacity, users notice that their computer runs a little slower. A bogged-down hard drive can be a real pain, but a NAS device will help ensure that your hard drive doesn’t become bogged down.
Finally, a NAS device will allow you to access all of your stored files when you are away from your home network. Many people use DD-WRT routers for the sake of VPN security solutions. If you already have setup a VPN on your router or home network, you will be able to securely access your data on a NAS device anywhere you have an Internet connection.
The Configuration Process
Use the following steps to setup a NAS device that is connected to your router.
- Connect your NAS device to the router via a USB cable and make sure it is powered on. Sometimes people troubleshoot device connectivity issues for hours, only to find that they forgot to power on their device. It’s embarrassing when you make this mistake, but it is funny when it happens to others. Make sure you don’t make this mistake and power on your device!
- Open a web browser and enter the IP address of your router in the URL. Once you are logged in, click on the ‘services’ tab and then browse to the ‘USB’ tab.
- Now you need to enable the following 3 configuration options: ‘Core USB Support’, ‘USB Storage Support’ and ‘Automatic Drive Mount.’ Go ahead and enable ‘USB Printer Support’ while you’re here if you want to share a printer across your network as well. Now simply save your work and click the ‘Apply Settings’ button.
- Your router should now see your NAS device. Under the ‘Disk Info’ section, you should see a USB storage device. However, if you don’t, simply restart your router and return to this page.
- Next, select the ‘NAS’ tab. Enable SAMBA, name your server, and then add it to your workgroup. Use the following steps to find your workgroup:
- If running Windows, navigate to the Control Panel and then click on System
- If running OSX, browse to System Preferences, Network, AirPort, Advanced, then WINS
- Now browse to ‘File Sharing’, click ‘Add Share’, and select your volume, device, or partition from the dropdown menu. Select a name for your storage device. Now you should setup permissions to the NAS device. For open access, select the ‘Public’ option. You could also set permissions to Read Only, Write Only, or Read/Write.
Furthermore, you can restrict access on a per user basis. Simply click ‘Add User,’ fill in the required information, and make sure that ‘SAMBA’ is checked. Repeat this step as many times as needed. Now save your settings and apply them.
- Now you should have access to your NAS device over your local area network:
- If running Windows browse to Start, Network, [Router name], [drive or partition name]
- If running OSX go to File Manager, Shared pane or Network folder, [Router name], [drive or partition name]
Your NAS should also be visible and accessible to your mobile devices, but that depends entirely on what type of mobile device you have and how you have it configured.