Sunday, December 24, 2006

Buffallo Networks Linkstation Pro - LS250GL

(This is not how to hack your Linkstation Pro - Google for that - there is lots of good info on doing such a reasonable thing.)

The Linkstation Pro is a really nice affordable network attached storage device. But for some reason it comes with a CD. Nothing in my experience with the product demonstrated a need for it.

Step number one: Do not install any software on the CD. Disregard "Step 3" of the Quick Setup Guide. Do not install any software that the "Link Navigator 1.0" prompts you to install. It just isn't necessary as the LS250-GL performs fine without it.

For a "Quick Setup" plug the linkstation into your Microsoft LAN and use the explorer to go to the network neighborhood. That is fast. Why? The linkstation is a host that will get an IP address from a DHCP server an advertise its name on the Microsoft network. A default name is set (check your DHCP tables to find its IP address). It can be found on the admin webserver's basic or network page.

Can't see it on your network? Explore to file:////ls-glcb6. Still can't see it? Take a look at the IP address your DHCP server gave. If file:////[your linkstations] IP address doesn't work, well try and install the Linkstation Pro software that came with it. That software should autodiscover the linkstation.

Don't read the manual - especially the PDF on the comes with the linkstation. Around page 12 of "Manual.pdf" the author starts to refer to the "TeraStation" instead of your new Linkstation Pro. And you probably bought a Linkstation because you couldn't afford a Terastation which makes the error a bummer.

But this leads us to wonder to what exten a Linkstation Pro has Terastation features and firmware. At the very least the "Printers and Faxes" icon appears in the Linkstation host directory in the Network Neighborhood. But the Linkstation Pro is not supposed to support a USB printer - or is it? Maybe especially if their engineers are as copy/paste oriented as their tech writers! More exploration later.

Couple other salient points for those listening and not reading the manual or installing the CD that comes with the Linkstation Pro.

- Plug it in. It has a gigabit Ethernet interface and autodetects and re-wires cross-over situations. (In other words, don't worry about ethernet cabling and your configuration)
- It has a web server. It is accessible by http://ls-glcb6 (or name you gave it) out of the box.
- The backup features in the web interface are inexplicable and will take some playing to get a feel for how they work
- admin/password is the default username password for the web interface

If you get all that working, then there are tons of NAS features to be used. One thing to do is look at directory authentication. Be very slow in setting this up - make sure the Windows user accounts exist and that the Linkstation Pro is reboot before configuring those accounts in the Linkstation. The other important one are the backups. Never mind that there are two "Overwrite Backup (Complete/Differential)" options. Not sure what the difference is!

(Don't throw out the media that came with your linkstation pro - there is a key for Memeo Backup Software (whatever this is) that is included.)

2 comments:

Rich Andrews said...

The backup features of the LS250GL could use a little work. If you come across the, "Currently a backup is being carried out." that won't go away there is nothing to do to reset it. Mine showed this for many days and across power cycles. So eventually the Maintenance->Initialization->Reset LinkStation Configuration to Factory Defaults had to be used. It resets everything but the defined shares... But the 'stuck' backup cleared.

Rich Andrews said...

And another issue - the user management admin page "user description" and shared folders "shared folder description" columns are broken - everything is shifted down a row.