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Remote Access

Similar to the remote media access features on the Linksys by Cisco Media Hub, the MSS now supports playing stored music from anywhere on the Internet. Unlike the Media Hub, however, the MSS does not support viewing stored videos over the Internet. Photo viewing, which was supported by the first-gen MSS, is still supported and has been tweaked. You can still browse, upload and download files via your browser, too.

If you want to play remotely, though, you must first set up Remote Access, which is a three step process.  A summary of these three steps is shown in the Remote Access controls (Figure 12).

Remote Access setup

Figure 12: Remote Access setup

First, you turn on Web Sites.  Next, you use a wizard to open the ports in your router's firewall that are required by MSS Remote Access.  If your router is UPnP-capable and you have it enabled, the router configuration will happen automatically via NAT Traversal.  In Figure 12, the Router step is showing as "not verified", because I disabled UPnP on my router and instead opened the required ports manually.

Finally, you configure a domain name. The MSS comes with one year of free dynamic DNS (DDNS) service provided by TZO. While many NAS devices include some sort of DDNS feature, the TZO setup lets you choose from a number of pre-configured "HP-based" domains such as the one I choose above. You also have the option of setting up your own custom domain name for a small additional charge.  Figure 13 shows the details of my DDNS setup. 

TZO DDNS details

Figure 13: TZO DDNS details

In contrast, setting up remote media access on the Linksys Media Hub is simple, with no opening of router ports or UPnP required. On the Media Hub, you merely create a remote access name for your Media Hub. That's all. To access the Media Hub you just point your browser at www.CiscoMediaHub.com, enter the remote access name you chose and enter the administrator password.  Apparently the Media Hub initiates a connection with Cisco's gateway upon startup. So when you log into the gateway, there is already a secure, trusted connection ready.

On the other hand, the two advantages that the MSS has over the Media Hub are that you can have a custom domain name and a four level, five year 128 bit SSL certificate is installed automatically as part of the DDNS setup. For more information about SSL certificates, you can click here  or here.

To access the MSS remotely, you web-browse to your MSS using the domain name you set up. (If you're on your LAN, you can also enter the MSS' IP address or its name into your browser.)  Figure 14 shows the landing page for Remote (web) access.

HP MediaSmart Server Remote Access Landing Page

Figure 14: HP MediaSmart Server Remote Access Landing Page

Web Music Access

To remotely listen to music, you must configure the TwonkyMedia server add-in, have (at least) a Flash 9 plug-in installed in your browser, set up users and provide them with strong passwords (enforced by a password-strength checker). This is all in addition to enabling Remote Access.

After setting everything up, you can finally browse to your custom domain, log in with your user name/password and listen to the music on your MSS.  You can view your music library by artist, album or file location (Figure 15).  But you can't view all titles, nor can you sort on any of the fields. 

Remote music streaming view by artist
Click to enlarge image

Figure 15:Remote music streaming view by artist

So, for example, you couldn't find all songs with the title "Running on Empty". Nor can you create playlists, though the MSS does recognize playlists from other applications as well as the automatically-generated playlists for the Last Played and the Most Played.

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