external hard drive for network - ethernet?

  eddiejackr 11:36 07 Dec 2006

Just about ready to invest in an external hard drive for backup and storage purposes, but one thing left that I don't understand....

I have three pcs networked thro a gateway. I will want to back up from all three. I've read about ext HDs with "network capability" or "ethernet compatible". (One recommended was Freecom Classic SL Network Drive. )

How does the ethernet angle work? Do I plug the Ext HD into the power and into an ethernet socket on the gateway and then all pcs on network can access it? If I get an Ext HD without ethernet and plug it to one pc by either firewire or usb, can't the other pcs access it anyway (assuming it is set up for sharing...) How does the ethernet capability of the Ext HD help?

  eddiejackr 21:30 07 Dec 2006


  HighTower 13:00 08 Dec 2006

From what I understand you can now buy an integrated hard disk / network switch. It's a four port switch / hard disk in one and means that any computer connected to the switch also has access to the contents of the hard drive. You could probably uplink it to your existing network switch / adsl modem if you wanted!

Dabs have a few here:

click here

Never used one but the idea is great.

  fitshase 14:02 08 Dec 2006

I have the Buffalo Linkstation 120GB (bought about 3 years ago). You plug the power into the mains and an ethernet cable into your router (or switch/hub).

It is allocated an IP address by your DHCP server and appears as a network resource. You then add folders to it and can map those folders as drives on your network.

The linkstation has the added advantage of having an FTP server and USB print server built in.

If you want an external drive which can be accessed by numerous computers, go for a NAS (network attached storage device) like the Linkstation.

  stylehurst 14:22 08 Dec 2006

I use the freecom network drive; it plugs into a free ethernet port on my router and can be accessed by any of the PCs on my network. I use it as a backup device for data files, and also to store system images made using Acronis true image. I carried out significant research before settling on this particular device, options in its favour were that it could be used as a USB device, if necessary, also it did not use a proprietory file format, like some other NAS devices.

  eddiejackr 14:30 08 Dec 2006

the cost is a lot different though. A 160GB freecom network drive in PC World is £130. A 320GB seagate is currently £90.

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