Linksys Network Storage Link with Maxtor OneTouch II
At a Glance
Linksys by Cisco Linksys NETWORK STORAGE LINK USB 2.0
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We like the bring-your-own-storage approach of the Linksys Network Storage Link, which gives you the flexibility to connect it to any USB 2.0 hard drive to create a networked hard-drive solution.
The two USB 2.0 ports on the Network Storage Link let you add one or two hard drives, and the device can back up one drive to the other. One of the ports also lets you mount USB flash drives; to do this, you'll need to install the Storage Link's utility into your Windows system tray.
We tested the Network Storage Link with a 300GB Maxtor OneTouch II drive. Linksys and Maxtor, as of press time, were co-marketing this pair of products.
Performance was slow compared with that of the rest of the NAS units we reviewed, probably because the Storage Link uses external USB drives rather than faster internal IDE drives. It performed consistently in the bottom quarter of our tests.
On the other hand, we liked the quality of the installation and setup utilities. The Linksys Windows setup wizard recognizes your drive, sets the Network Storage Link's IP address, and formats the drive. One quirk: The Network Storage Link uses a proprietary format on the drive, which can then no longer be attached directly to a computer via USB.
Once you connect and format your drive, the Network Storage Link's Web-based utility sets up shared folders, users, groups, and passwords. Conveniently, the Web utility is set up so that users can access it and change their own passwords from their own PCs without delving into the administration portion of the tools. This keeps the unit secure while relieving the administrator of such mundane tasks.
For less than $100 plus the cost of a USB 2.0 hard drive, the Linksys Storage Link is an economical NAS option.