June 21, 2004, 9:54 AM — Just for grins, I recently decided to try a little wireless experiment. Like many of you, I've been exploring data backup strategies for my small business. Since I regularly need to back up about 40 GB of data, traditional tape just isn't viable any more. In fact, tape, being a linear-access technology, has reached the end of its useful life, as far as I'm concerned. I've switched to hard-disk backup, since I can just copy all of the files to a USB drive, and that's it.
But lately I've been experimenting with network-attached storage (NAS), using a standalone hard drive with an Ethernet port. The functionality is just like a USB drive, except that the NAS drive can be located anywhere on the network and need not be directly connected to a PC.
And the "anywhere" part of this got me to thinking - why not wireless-enable the NAS drive, allowing it to be located some distance away from the computers it's backing up? That way, in the event of fire, flood, or whatever major disaster might strike, my data could still be safe.
Well, being a wireless guy, I decided to build just such a beast. And I'm pleased to report that it's up and working, and was only a small hassle to get to that state.
I started with the Ximeta NetDisk 160, an inexpensive NAS box. The Ximeta uses a proprietary driver and is not a TCP/IP type of drive - you can only get to it via Ximeta's software. The latest version of this driver allows multiple PCs to see the drive, thus enabling all of the computers on the network to back up to it. In reality, I only back up my main office PC this way, but there's growth potential if I want it. The NetDisk has both USB and Ethernet connectors, providing even greater flexibility. I should mention my first NetDisk was DOA (this happens quite rarely with any product these days, so I was surprised), but the Ximeta folks cheerfully exchanged it.