Home networks came about gently and without any dramatic or sudden introduction. The idea often was to be able to share files across computers such as holiday photo albums or word documents but this spread to sharing of a household printer or scanner. All of these functions have been useful and still are in use today, but a problem arose as file sizes grew, and grew and grew. Which computer could store all of this information and then, what if the computer holding all this information was simply switched off? No one else on the home network could access the information, and suddenly the network was rendered useless.
The solution came in the form of network-attached storage, or NAS as it’s become known. These storage solutions are essentially a diluted version of a home computer but with the sole focus of sharing files to any computer connected to the local area network. Since the local area network (LAN) didn’t need to use the internet to exchange information, it proved a fast way of ensuring that each computer on the network. Accessing documents, music, movies and video files without having to rely on a host computer. These NAS units solve a problem and are particularly easy to upgrade, offering the home user something that has been around in the office place for many years, a server effectively!
Of course, these NAS solutions are not without their problems, they’re not failsafe and if someone unplugs the device, perhaps to plug in a vacuum cleaner, well the access to the files temporarily stops. But in short they’re a great solution for the home user wanting to store a lot of data centrally on a local area home network and not clog up their computer with huge amounts of data.
NAS units also have the advantage, in many cases of being able to connect to televisions and games consoles, increasing their usefulness. The unit have also evolved over time with an ability to be able to access data from outside the home network, usually via a web-based console. Network attached storage devices are here to stay. While cloud solutions exist that offer a similar service, they are reliant on the Internet connection as well as typically attracting a subscription fee, whereas an NAS usually only has a one off cost.