If you’re a NAS aka Network Attached Storage enthusiasts, Synology is one of the familiar names among the big list of brands for NAS that offers feature-rich NAS with a very user-friendly user interface. While NAS is often related to business-oriented solutions, the growing demand has led NAS solution its way to the end-users who want their personal storage.
In today’s review, we’ll be looking at the latest entry-level solution from Synology, theDiskStation DS216jthat is targeted for home users at a more affordable price tag of $169.99 (approximately RM690+).Million thanks to Synology as always, for providing us with a unit of the DS216j value 2-Bay NAS for today’s review!
|CPU Model||Marvell Armada 385 88F6820|
|CPU Frequency||Dual Core 1.0 GHz|
|Hardware Encryption Engine|
|System Memory||512 MB DDR3|
|Compatible Drive Type(See all supported drives)||· 3.5″ SATA III / SATA II HDD· 2.5″ SATA III / SATA II HDD (with optional 2.5″ Disk Holder)
· 2.5″ SATA III / SATA II SSD (with optional 2.5″ Disk Holder)
|Maximum Internal Raw Capacity||16 TB (8 TB HDD x 2) (Capacity may vary by RAID types)|
|Maximum Single Volume Size||16 TB|
|USB 3.0 Port||2|
|External Drives||· EXT4· EXT3
· HFS+ (Read Only, with max. volume size 2TB)
|Size (Height x Width x Depth)||165 mm x 100 mm x 225.5 mm|
|RJ-45 1GbE LAN Port||1|
|Wake on LAN/WAN|
|System Fan||92 mm x 92 mm x 1 pcs|
|Fan Speed Mode||· Cool Mode· Quiet Mode
· Low-power Mode
|Wireless Support (dongle)|
|Brightness adjustable front LED indicators|
|Noise Level*||18.2 dB(A)|
|Scheduled Power On/Off|
|Power Supply Unit / Adapter||60W|
|AC Input Power Voltage||100V to 240V AC|
|Power Frequency||50/60 Hz, Single Phase|
|Power Consumption*||14.85 W (Access) 6.95 W (HDD Hibernation)|
|British Thermal Unit||50.63 BTU/hr (Access) 23.71 BTU/hr (HDD Hibernation)|
|Operating Temperature||5°C to 40°C (40°F to 104°F)|
|Storage Temperature||-20°C to 60°C (-5°F to 140°F)|
|Relative Humidity||5% to 95% RH|
|Certification||· FCC Class B· CE Class B
· BSMI Class B
|Notes||· Power consumption is measured when fully loaded with Western Digital 1TB WD10EFRX hard drive(s).· Noise Level Testing Environment: Fully loaded with WD 1TB WD10JFCX hard drive(s) in idle; Two G.R.A.S. Type 40AE microphones, each set up at 1 meter away from the Synology NAS front and rear; Background noise: 17.2 dB(A); Temperature: 23.6°C; Humidity: 58.2%.|
|DSM Specifications( See more )|
|Maximum Internal Volume Number||256|
|Maximum iSCSI Target Number||10|
|Maximum iSCSI LUN||10|
|Supported RAID Type||· Synology Hybrid RAID· Basic
· RAID 0
· RAID 1
|RAID Migration||Basic to RAID 1|
|Volume Expansion with Larger HDDs||· Synology Hybrid RAID· RAID 1|
|Volume Expansion by Adding a HDD||Synology Hybrid RAID|
|File Sharing Capacity|
|Maximum User Accounts||1024|
|Maximum Shared Folder||256|
|Maximum Shared Folder Sync Tasks||2|
|Maximum Concurrent CIFS/AFP/FTP Connections||128|
|Windows Access Control List (ACL) Integration|
|NFS Kerberos Authentication|
|Syslog Events per Second||100|
|Add-on Packages(learn more about the complete add-on package list)|
|Cloud Station Server|
|Maximum Concurrent File Transfers||128|
|Maximum Concurrent Download Tasks||30|
|Maximum Simultaneous Editing Users||35|
|Maximum IP cam (Licenses required)||10 (including 2 Free License)(See All Supported IP Cameras)|
|Total FPS (H.264)*||300 FPS @ 720p (1280×720) 150 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080) 100 FPS @ 3M (2048×1536) 40 FPS @ 5M (2591×1944)|
|Total FPS (MJPEG)*||150 FPS @ 720p (1280×720) 75 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080) 50 FPS @ 3M (2048×1536) 25 FPS @ 5M (2591×1944)|
|Notes||Surveillance Station throughput is tested with Axis network camera, using continuous recording with live view from Surveillance Station and motion detection by camera. Live view and recording are sharing the same stream from the camera.|
|Video Transcoding||Group 2(See more)|
|Environment & Packaging|
|Packaging Content||· Main Unit X 1· Welcome Note X 1
· Accessory Pack X 1
· AC Power Adapter X 1
· AC Power Cord X 1
· RJ-45 LAN Cable X 1
|Optional Accessories||· Camera License Pack· Disk Holder: Type C
Just like most Synology products we’ve seen on the market, the DS216j ships in a recycle-able cardboard box that saves both the overall cost and the environment.
On the box, you’ll find highlighted features of the DS216j that give users some idea of what they can do with it if it’s the first time they came across a NAS.
The accessories included consists of the Quick Installation Guide, power cord, AC to DC adapter, HDD mounting screws, cover screws and a CAT5/e Ethernet cable.
Other than limited to only the white color selection, features such as front USB port and one-touch copy button which can be found on the more advanced DS216+ is not available as well for this entry level NAS.
At the back you’ll find the exhaust fan that helps to get rid of the heat trapped inside the small enclosure, 2 x USB 3.0 ports for external storage devices or perhaps a USB dongle, a Kensington lock slot for security reasons andDC-in port that is responsible for powering up the DS216j unit.
Unlike the more advanced DS216+ with removable hard drives bracket for easy installation, installing hard drives requires the removal of the enclosure and screws are required to secure the drives in place.
We’ve chosen the WD Red NAS 3TB drives for this test, as one of the recommended choice from Synology as itis specially designed for NAS storage and it’s backed by a 5-year limited warranty from WD.
Setting Up The DS216j
The DS216j doesn’t come as a plug and play unit as it requires initial setup for the DSM before it can be used. If this is your first time dealing with a Synology NAS, there’s nothing to worry about as the installation wizard is very user-friendly and you’ll be done with the setup before you even know it.
You can perform manual install if you prefer to stick with an older version of the DSM (DiskStation Manager), else you can just proceed with the latest version of DSM from Synology. In our case, we’re installing the latest DSM 6.0 to find out what kind of new feature we can expect from it.
The installation will take a while to complete if you haven’t already downloaded the latest DSM for manual installation.
Once you’re done with the installation, you’ll be guided to setting up the necessaries. Starting off with the administrator account, a strong password is recommended to protect your data and Synology has it covered with a password strength indicator that helps to determine if your password is safe against malicious users.
You can configure for DSM update and maintenance according to your preference here.
Up next is to configure the QuickConnect ID for your ease of access from somewhere outside of your local network, it’s optional though and you can skip it if you don’t need this feature.
Once you’re done with the configuration, a list of recommended package will appear on the screen at the end of the setup and you can choose to install now or save it for later. Once you’re done with that, you’re pretty much good to go with your brand new NAS!
DSM 6.0 User Interface
If this is your first time with Synology’s DiskStation, don’t be surprised as that’s a working desktop you’re looking at now on your web browser. The DSM or DiskStation Manager is the foundation of Synology’s DiskStation that is based on the Linux Kernel, and it’s so lightweight that you can operate it through your web browser.PackagesThe packages that we’ve installed at the end of the installation wizard is something like an App you install in your smartphone or the program you install on your operating systemto access a specific function.
Other than the recommended packages from the end of the initial setup, there are tons of other packages available in the Package Center for you to choose from.
In the menu screen, you’ll find all the installed packages which can be added to the desktop as a shortcut.
Photo Station 6
Photo Station 6 is one package that’s worth highlighting among the giant list of packages. If you find insecurity for storing your personal photos on image hosting sites, the Photo Station package got you covered and it comes with a handy watermark feature. While there are users of higher-end Synology NAS uses it as a personal image hosting alternative, home user who just want their photos stored in a personal NAS that can be viewed any where, any time can find a good use of it as well – Since the DS216j is targeted for home users instead of enterpise level.
Nowadays, cloud storage is growing rapidly not only on enterprise level, but also for end user. Many NAS pioneers has been making use of technology for the growing demand for personal cloud storage and Synology too, has that covered with both of its Cloud Station and Cloud Sync package. There are software for PC and apps for smartphones and tablet that will automatically sync with the cloud server so you can always have the latest version of the document available on your smartphone, tablet or laptop whenever you need it.
The Note Station as we know is a great tool for those who create content on-the-go, but what about home usage? Family and friends can access the Note Station to create personal notes, leave notes or reminders for everyone who has access to the drive, and more.
Have a huge bunch of things you wanted to download but leaving you PC overnight to handle the download doesn’t seem to be the long term solution? Need to monitor your download status while you’re away from your PC? Well, say goodbye to those hassles when you have the Download Station installed. You can download files from the internet ranged from HTTP, FTP, BT, eMule, Thunder, etc with the DS216j using Download Station and manage them through Synology’s DS Download app on your smartphone or tablet.
Here’s one of the new package that is also our favourite, SpreadSheet. We’ve been keeping track of our schedule for events in Microsoft Excel for quite some time now and it’s hard to manage the schedule when there’s some unpredicted changes. With the spreadsheet running, we can always access the schedule when needed and make necessary changes on-the-go.
Video Station has been a well known package for Synology NAS users who has been using their Synology NAS as a video streaming server. There are changes going on throughout the years and the new Video Station now supprots streaming to Chromecast directly from browser, DS video for Windows and Apple TV 4, support DLNA, AirPlay, and Bluetooth.
While the debate of going forFreeNAS as better solution goes on, we should really look into points where user experience takes count. It’s no doubt that going for FreeNAS on your unused PC is the best cost saving solution, do note that it takes a while even for first time user with intermediate experience in the technical field to get things done. Users with no knowledge in the field wouldn’t have to go through the hassle to setup their own NAS with the help of both DS216j and DSM 6.0 as everything can be done easily in minutes with minimal configuration that is fully guided by the installation wizard – something that you won’t find on FreeNAS.While the DS216j has limited performance and function compared to the DS216+ which we’re using now in our office, the basic features as what we’ve listed above will do just well to satisfy the needs of most home users. Personally, we find paying $169.99 (approximately RM690+) for the DS216j is a pretty worthy investment that can really gives you a piece of mind when it comes to a personal NAS storage solution. Pros
- Cost effective solution for first time NAS user
- User-friendly and interactive web UI
- Very easy to setup
- Lots of awesome packages that can be installed from the Package Center
- Supports USB Wireless dongle for wireless connection
- Drive installation requires the removal of the enclosure and screws to secure the drives
- No front USB ports for easy access with USB external storage devices
- Expansion is limited to only 2 hard drives