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Iomega iConnect Wireless Data Station Reviewed

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Introduction

Iomega iConnect Wireless Data Station

At a Glance
Product Iomega iConnect Wireless Data Station (34779)
Summary Marvell Kirkwood-based USB drive to NAS converter with media serving, Torrent downloading and more
Pros • Reads about as fast as USB 2.0 will go
• Very flexible backup features including to/from networked shares
• Apple Time Machine support
• Torrent downloader
Cons • Limited wireless controls
• No wireless link / activity light

Devices that take USB hard and flash drives and share them on your network seem to be the current craze. We've looked at products from Ctera [CTERA CloudPlug Reviewed], Cloud Engines [Cloud Engines Pogoplug V2 Reviewed] and Seagate [Seagate FreeAgent Dockstar Reviewed], with each one providing its own twist on what can be a simple product.

Iomega apparently thinks that this trend has legs and has jumped in with its iConnect offering that throws the magic word "wireless" into the fray. Even though wireless is a lousy way to connect to networked storage (even 802.11n connections will prevent you from getting the maximum available speed from most of today's NASes, the iConnect included), the iConnect has plenty of other reasons to make it worth your consideration as an entry-level network storage option.

Figure 1 shows the front of the iConnect, with all callouts explained in the larger image. The lights above each port probably could have been omitted and not missed, since they don't blink to show drive activity, but only to show a drive error. The button is there to initiate a "Quick Transfer" of copies between devices that you can set up in the web admin interface.

Front Panel
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Figure 1: Front Panel

The rear panel shot in Figure 2 shows the 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN connector that will be your fastest way to share connected drives. The wireless antenna is internal, which you'll see in a minute.

Back Panel
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Figure 2: Back Panel

Internal Details

Figure 3 shows the iConnect's board, which is based on Marvell's 88F6281 "Kirkwood" clocked at 1 GHz, supported by 256 MB of RAM and 512 MB of flash. A Marvell 88E81116R provides the Gigabit Ethernet port and an Alcor AU6256 USB 2.0 hub supports the four ports. Note that jumbo frames are not supported.

iConnect board top
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Figure 3: iConnect board top

Figure 4 shows detail for the wireless card mounted on the bottom of the board and the antenna, which is secured to the top cover via tape and a strong adhesive. The card is a SparkLan WPER-116GN mini PCIe single stream 802.11n adapter, using a Ralink RT3090 chipset.

ix4-200d Front Panel
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Figure 4: ix4-200d drive bay

Single stream N operation means that it will connect at a maximum 65 Mbps link rate if your N router is set to its proper 20 MHz bandwidth default for the 2.4 GHz band and 130 Mbps if you're using 40 MHz bandwidth mode. It should also work fine with older 802.11G routers.




Related Items:

CES 2010: Iomega Announces USB Drive Sharer
Iomega StorCenter ix4-200d Reviewed
New To The Charts: Iomega ix2-200 StorCenter Network Storage
Iomega's CES 2011 Announcements
Buffalo TeraStation ES Reviewed

User reviews

Average user rating from: 4 user(s)

NOTE! Please post product reviews from actual experience only.
Questions, review comments and opinions about products not based on actual use will not be published.

User Rating    [Back to Top]
Overall: 
 
3.4 Features :
 
3.8 Performance :
 
3.3 Reliability :
 
3.3
 
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enable ftp :)

Overall rating: 
 
4.0
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
3.0
Reliability:
 
5.0
Reviewed by Ross
May 01, 2012
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Great cost effective option. Speed is only an issue if you have everything connected to gigabit ethernet. On standard 100lan to a wifi laptop the speed is about the same as any nas... Ie the bottleneck is the wifi...

Btw FTP needs to be enabled via a badly hidden menu : https://"iconnects-ip"/stg-ftp.html

 

iConnect does not support ext3

Overall rating: 
 
3.0
Features:
 
3.0
Performance:
 
3.0
Reliability:
 
3.0
Reviewed by simplydutch
August 05, 2010
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I have bought an iConnect hoping it would connect to my ext3 discs. However the iConnect DOES NOT support ex3.

I am a long time linux user and know my way arround. I even managed to get ssh access into the device to look which drivers are supported.
The system partition is an ext2 filesystem, so obviously that is supported but unfortunately they didn't bother to include just the little extra driver to support ext3. Such a shame.

Anyway, please be aware of this when you are a linux user.
(You can with a rather simple command change a ext3 into an ext2 filesystem so that is can be connected to the iConnect, but you loose your journaling capabilities)

 

Further comments on iConnect

Overall rating: 
 
3.0
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
3.0
Reliability:
 
2.0
Reviewed by GeorgeNYC
March 16, 2010
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Sorry to say, I had to return my iConnect device. In my March 11 review, I mentioned that the Iomega iConnect did not recognize my WD 160GB external USB. Nonetheless I left the WD connected to the iConnect anyway. A day or two after the March 11th review, the iConnect suddenly recognized the WD. However, within 24 hours the WD drive was "fried" including the data on it. The WD does not work any longer on either of the two computers or the router storage unit - it is dead. I might just have had a defective Iomega iConnect model; but I am not re-ordering at present. Maybe this is too early in the model run.
But I have to emphasize that I believe that the Iomega iConnect is not yet really ready for use on Windows 7, in spite of some friendly protests from Iomega Support. If you are running Vista or XP, I suspect this might be a real winner for you.

 

With the iConnect, ditch the install CD provided and do setup by typing in the IP address instead

Overall rating: 
 
3.7
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
4.0
Reliability:
 
3.0
Reviewed by GeorgeNYC
March 11, 2010
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I've only had the iConnect for 1 week and I do agree with the reviewer's comments. Its most important to ignore the CD-install disk provided, and instead get into the setup by entering the IP address (which shows under "Storage Properties".. The iConnect takes on the identity of "Storage". To get to the IP address in Windows 7, go to Start > Network (and then a right click on "Storage" will provide you with the IP address).

Since one of my older drives, a WD 160gb USB drive continues not to be recognized by the iConnect, I spent quite a bit of time with Iomega support (via phone) today. [I personally have found that Iomega's support for their network products often exceeds the quality of their products.] Apparently any AC powered USB should work on the device, even if you attach four (AC-powered) 1TB USB drives.

As for the software available on the website (forget the disk-provided and go to www.iomega.com/getemc), As of now, QuikProtect does yet work in Windows 7; Retrospect 7.6 (a free download upgrade) works in Windows 7 but will do not a restorable full-system-backup. A one-year subscription to Trend Micro’s 2009 edition is also available. Using the software with a Vista or even XP operating system will probably work better.