|At a Glance|
|Products|| Trendnet 2-Port Multi-Function Print Server (TE100-MP2U)
IOGEAR USB Net ShareStation (GUIP201)
|Summary||Two inexpensive, but slow ways to put a USB flash or hard drive on your LAN|
Not the slowest devices that I've seen
Only Trendnet supports simultaneous multiple users
Judging from the interest I've seen in routers that have a built-in NAS function for USB flash and hard drives, there a more than a few folks interested in getting a USB drive onto their network to function as a NAS.
So I looked at two inexpensive ways to do this, Trendnet's TE100-MP2U 2-Port Multi-Function Print Server and IOGEAR's GUIP201 USB Net ShareStation. I found that both worked, but neither is a substitute for a real NAS.
Neither of these products are specifically made as NAS adapters / converters for USB drives. As the Trendnet's name states, its primary function is as a print server for multi-function printers. But since its product description says:"This product offers a cost effective solution to the challenge of sharing multi-function printer, fax, scanner and storage devices" and it was brought to my attention by a reader who used it for file sharing at a LAN party, I figured it was fair game.
The IOGEAR device is not a USB print or storage server per se, but a more general USB-to-network adapter. Its product description says that it "enables an external hard drive, flash drive, memory card reader, USB webcam, USB speaker, or USB Multi-Function Printer (MFP) to be shared on a network", so it also made the cut. I should note that IOGEAR also has the GMFPSU22W6 2-Port USB 2.0 Multi-Function Print and Storage Server, which appears to be a clone of the TE100-MP2U that sells for twice as much!
The differences in the devices are physically apparent. Figure 1 shows that the GUIP201 is less than half the size of the TE100-MP2U, which is, in turn, about the size of a deck of playing cards. The GUIP201 is so small and light that it kept being dragged off my test bench by the weight of the CAT 5 cable connecting it to my LAN switch. Annoying!
Figure 1: Size matters
The insides are different as well. Figure 2 shows the GUIP201's board, which is pretty much an EST E1868M4-B10FFL1G and supporting components. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any reference to this device of the manufacturer on the net. Maybe someone out there knows who makes it (and what it is).
Figure 2: IOGEAR GUIP201 board
Figure 3 shows the TE100-MP2U's board, which uses the RDC R3210, a RISC processor clocked at 150 MHz. I have seen this device twice before, in Linksys' NAS200 and Trendnet's TS-I300, both NASes, curiously enough. The 10/100 Ethernet port comes via a Realtek RTL8201CP and there is 8 MB of RAM and 2MB of flash.