Figure 4 shows the Home Base control center. It’s a fairly simple interface with only three tabs: Available Devices; Local Backup; and Picture Sharing.
Figure 4: Belkin Home Base Control Center
Available Devices shows the devices plugged into the Home Base. In the screen shot above, the first two devices were configured as the default “NAS” device setting and appear as mounted and are available as sharable storage to all users on the network. Note: All shared storage is available to all users on the network with read/write access. There is no user account security.
The third device, also a storage device, I defined as a network USB share. As such, it’s an available device, but not currently connected to any user. A network USB share, generally used for printers or scanners, is only available to one user at a time, and only through the Control Center. When you click on connect, your computer will connect to that port as though you had just plugged the device into your computer.
For example, when I clicked connect, my XP computer went through the standard “found new USB device”, installing software” sequence, and then mounted the device. In explorer, it showed up as a removable drive – just as if it had been plugged directly into the computer. For scanners and printers, you’ll need to install drivers on each computer that will be sharing the devices.
If you want to connect to a “Network USB” device that’s already in use, you can click on the “Request Use” icon in the lower right hand corner. Figure 5 shows that the network USB storage device is currently in use by another computer – in this case, my Mac (192.168.100.199).
Figure 5: Requesting Use of Network USB device
On my Mac, the control center popped up a message asking me if I wanted to allow “Toshiba” to disconnect the drive as shown in Figure 6. I let the countdown timer expire and the device was disconnected from my Mac and became available for connection to other network users through the control panel. This process is a bit awkward at first, but after connecting and disconnecting a few times, it becomes a simple task.
Figure 6: Device disconnect request
The Home Base provides a very basic backup feature for each user that has installed the Control Center. Just click on Local Backup, select a destination and select the files and folders you want to include in the backup. There aren’t a lot of “knobs” to tweak in this rudimentary backup. Backups occur hourly, and appear to be incremental.
The Local backup feature is available for both Windows and Mac OS. File restoration is a bit awkward, but Belkin provides a Windows-based recovery application. Figure 7 shows configuration of the Local backup.