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Netgear Network Disk Drive

 Author: Tim Higgins
 Review Date: 7/13/2001

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Model: ND520

Pros:

- 10/100 Ethernet support
- Front Panel disk utilization LEDs

 

Cons:

- Big
- VERY noisy fan
- Windows only. No MacOS or Linux support
- Minimal utilities

 


Review Updates

None yet.

The Basics

 
Indicators
  • Power

  • Ready

  • HD Activity

  • 100M

  • FDX

  • 20, 40, 60, 80% Disk Utilization

  • Ethernet Link

  • Ethernet Activity

Connectors
  • One RJ45 10/100BaseT Ethernet

  • Power

Comes with
  • printed Quick Installation Guide

  • Resource CD

  • One CAT5 UTP cable

  • Power Cord (US style)

Other
  • Normal / Uplink switch

  • 100 - 240V power supply

 

Introduction


NETGEAR's ND520 is a Windows only Network Disk drive. It worked fine for what it did, but you can get products with many more features for a little more money.

 

Details


The ND520 is a 20GB Windows compatible disk drive that you plug into your Ethernet hub or switch vs. installing into a PC.  It also comes in a less expensive 8 GB size (the ND508). It was larger (and heavier) than I expected it to be, measuring 13 x 10.5 x 1.7 inches.

Installation is very easy if you have a DHCP server on your LAN.  You connect it to your hub or switch, plug it into an AC outlet and turn it on.  It will grab IP address info and appear in Network Neighborhood after about a minute or so.  If you don't have a DHCP server on your LAN, you'll need to run the Windows utility on the CD that assigns an IP address to the ND520.

The drive comes with two folders: "Public" which is intended for user files; and "Setup""Setup" contains a web page that when opened redirects you to the built-in web browser based administration interface.  It also contains a "Utilities" folder, which has copies of a few things that may come in handy for setting up and using the drive.

NETGEAR ND520 Web Admin page

The web admin interface is pretty elementary.  About all you can do is set a password for the admin interface, create new folders and password protect them.  There's no ability to set disk quotas or set user-based folder permissions.  There are also no maintenance utilities, including the ability to remotely shut down or reboot the drive.

My biggest dislike about the ND520 is its fan noise. There are three fans (two externally visible on the rear and side, one mounted on the CPU chip) and the total effect is noticeably loud...louder than any of my three desktops!   This may seem like a small point, but I think the noise would drive me nuts if I had to listen to it all the time.

 

Performance


I did some drag-and-drop Windows file copies to gauge the ND520's performance.

Client 1: 500MHz K6, 256MB, 10/100 Ethernet, Win98SE

Client 2: 733MHz Celeron, 128MB, 10/100 Ethernet, Win98SE

Both clients and the ND520 were connected to a 10/100 switch, and indicator lights said that everything was running at 100Mbps, Full Duplex.  The results are summarized in the table below:

Test Description

File Copy
[15Mbyte file size]

Seconds

Client 1 to Client 2

4

Client 1 to ND520

10

Client 2 to ND520

7

File duplicate on ND520

11

Comments: The slower copy times to the ND520 are probably due to the speed of the processor and amount of memory in it.

 

Summary


I'll give NETGEAR credit for having Network storage products in their catalog, and the ND520 is a fine, basic Networked Disk drive. But if you're looking for MacOS or Linux support, user level access control, and other similar features, you'll need to look elsewhere.

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