Technical Data And Features
The Promise NS4300N has dimensions of 19 cm (height) x 15 cm (width) x 23 cm (length); its weight without drives is just 2.5 kg. The rear of the NAS unit is clearly laid out and has a Gigabit Ethernet port and also two USB ports. These can be used to connect additional drives such as an external hard drive or thumb drive. The NAS unit also supports a USB printer and the connection of an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) via USB. For the NAS unit to be able to access external drives, these must be formatted using the FAT32 or EXT3 file systems.
Because the NS4300N has an internal power supply, the rear of the unit also has air outlets for the drives as well as for the power supply fan. The volume of the drive fan is unpleasantly loud—it runs at around 3,000 RPM and this speed is not regulated in accordance with the ambient temperature, which we found unacceptable.
When asked, Promise informed us that they are aware of this issue and that they will be introducing a modified version of the NS4300N with a different fan controller, the average fan speed will then be around about 1,300 RPM, which will make the unit considerably quieter. Promise will be offering customers in the USA who already own an NS4300N a time-limited exchange program. Considering that this is a feature which does not actually affect the functioning of the unit, this is a nice gesture.
Data Protection Using RAID
In order to guarantee data protection during operation, the NS4300N supports RAID 1, 5, and 10. RAID 5 mode uses three drives; a fourth can be set up as the so-called hot spare—if one of the RAID cluster drives fails, the drive configured as the hot spare automatically takes its place. If performance is more of a concern, the enclosure also does RAID 0, though that sacrifices data security in the name of improving throughput.
Network And Protocols
Network access to the NAS unit from a Windows computer is carried out using the SMB/CIFS protocol. The NS4300N wins in heterogeneous networks as well, though, due to the support it provides for the Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) and Network File System (NFS) protocols. In addition, access to the data memory is also possible using the FTP protocol.
Once connected, the NS4300N gets an IP address from a DHCP server on the network, which means that the configuration can also be carried out via the Web interface. It is not absolutely necessary to install the supplied software in order to set up the unit. If you are unable to find out which IP address has been assigned to the NAS unit, the bundled software will help you to locate the NS4300N within the network. The Web configuration interface of the NAS unit can be accessed via the standard port 80; the default login uses "admin" for both the user name and password.
The Web interface is defined in a clear and structured manner; it is easy to find your way around. Alternatively, you can also use the setup wizard, which guides you step by step through setting up the network, as well as the utilities, users, folder releases and RAID configuration.
The NS4300N from Promise isn’t just designed for individual users, as you can clearly see from the "Backup" menu entry. The sub-point "NAS-Replication" enables you to configure the NS4300N in such a way that the saved data is replicated to another NAS unit.
The NS4300N also has functions that are primarily designed for use in home networks. The use of plug-ins allows the functional scope of the NAS unit to be expanded to include a uPnP media server and iTunes server. There is also a plug-in that can turn the network storage device into a download station with BitTorrent support. The standard functions available are not restricted by the use of these plug-ins. The plug-ins can be downloaded from the NS4300N support pages .
More images showing the Web interface can be seen in our picture gallery. Click an image to view.