Download Service And Backup
The last interesting option available under the Network menu was the Download Service option shown in Figure 12.
Figure 12: Download service setup
Once this is enabled, users on your LAN can submit URLs to be downloaded. Support is in place for http, ftp and BitTorrent downloads. This was a nice feature, but it had somewhat of a curious implementation. Submission of downloads could only be done via an external application running on your PC or Mac. Figure 13 shows the client running on my Mac.
Figure 13: The Download Redirector application
I found it worked well when I tested both an HTTP and a torrent download. Submission was designed to be a fire-and-forget operation: Submit the URL for download, close out the application and wait for it to appear on the shared folder. But it wasn't clear why a custom external application was needed. It seemed like it would be a lot easier to just submit the download via a form on the Web page of the DS-106e.
However, regardless of the client implementation, it seemed to work well. One thing missing was a way to throttle the bandwidth a torrent download would consume. There was also no indication of what ports were being used for the download. These peer-to-peer applications work much better when the proper ports are opened in the firewall.
Often times NAS devices are used to backup files from other computers on the LAN, and the DS-106e can be used this way, but Synology provides capabilities to backup the DS-106e as well. Under the Tools menu there are a couple of backup options. The local backup option provides means to periodically copy your data from the internal drive to either an external USB or SATA drive. The Network Backup is used to backup or restore your data from another Synology server on the LAN. Figure 14 shows the screen used to setup a backup job.
Figure 14: Network backup setup
Backing up to another Synology box on my LAN worked fine. To back up from a PC on the network to the DS-106e, Synology provided a sophisticated Windows-only application. Figure 15 shows the main screen of the application running on my Windows XP laptop.
Figure 15: The data replicator application
Options were available for scheduling of backup jobs, source and destination directory selection, filtering by file type, etc.