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NAS Distribution Shootout: FreeNAS vs. NAS4Free (arstechnica.com)
29 points by tesmar2 on June 19, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 10 comments

I'm looking for something that lets me use my NAS as Wi-Fi accesspoint as well. It's got double ethernet and USB WLAN, so it should be fine. Alas it's not easy finding something that does both without setting everything up manually. Can anyone help?

You're probably not going to have a good time trying to use a USB WLAN dongle as an access point. Even if you manage to track down a) if the driver supports AP mode, and b) put together a whole hostapd configration, you're still limited by the transmit power of the little thing, which I guarantee isn't a lot. Another thing is that acting as an AP is a lot more taxing on a piece of hardware than just acting as a client; there's a chance that the USB WLAN thing will be extra flaky and maybe even overheat.

Instead... just get something that will run OpenWRT. Check out this list: http://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/start. Running and configuring it at the command line is way more pleasant than you'd expect, and the (optional) web GUI is functional if inconsistent.

I've worked with OpenWRT in the past (it's running at my parents' home, and I've done some embedded development), but frankly I'd like to reduce the amount of devices around me. If I can make my seldom-used linux pc my NAS and my Access Point, I'm fine. Transmit power shouldn't be a problem where I live, it's just the software hassle that's keeping me from doing it.

Has anyone here switched from either of these, to OpenMediaVault? It's Debian-based, but didn't get much love when last posted on HN:


I basically did. I used FreeNAS a long time ago. Went through various other incarnations for NAS including a QNAP device. OpenMediaVault was my dream come true, as I was able to install "headless" Crashplan on it easily being just vanilla Debian-based. Can't do that on FreeNAS/BSD (easily at least). Can't do that on NAS appliances like QNAP either (though I think there is a 3rd party unsupported plugin for Synology devices now).

I've been using OMV for over a year now and it works great. ZFS would be nice, but having vanilla Debian, and the "world" of Linux software, is better for me personally. I was running a RAID 6 originally with OMV (software raid, no hardware raid card) with an external enclosure. I really didn't need that much space, so downgraded my hardware to just mirrored 3TB data drives and a 80GB 2.5" system drive in a really low-powered machine.

Thanks Volker for OMV!

It appears to not support ZFS.

That's basically a no-go for me by itself.

Huh. I switched from FreeNAS to OpenMediaVault to avoid ZFS. The FreeNAS crowd seems to have no interest in supporting SOHO setups and simple and effective backups. When their SOHO offline backup solution is to build a second NAS, instead of just support USB, I left and didn't look back. OpenMediaVault does all the same things, but actually handles USB in a non-stupid manner, and has a more friendly community.

Yeah ... if I was needing a bigger storage device, I'd really want ZFS too. The downsides though are it needs significantly more RAM and CPU-power for a good sized ZFS installation.

All depends on your needs.

Thanks. I just googled and found a how-to post: http://forums.openmediavault.org/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=1260

Anyone using this method?

I started with FreeNAS and switched to NAS4Free because of the poor hardware support on the FreeNAS side - I couldn't get it to boot at all on a Dell R720.

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