On The Inside
Figure 3 shows the N2's circuit board. The N2 is powered by the slowest version of Marvell's 88F6192 "Kirkwood" CPU running at 800MHz along with 128 MB each of RAM and flash. Other key components include a Marvell 88E1116-R for Gigabit Ethernet, D78F0535 8 bit microcontroller, NEC 720114 4 port USB 2.0 hub and Marvell 88SM4140 SATA Port multiplier.
As previously mentioned, the review unit came with Hitachi HDT721010SLA360 Deskstar 7K1000.B 1 TB drives. The drives run at 7200 RPM and have 16MB of cache memory.
Figure 3: LG N2B1 board
Setup And Configuration
Like most NASes, the N2B1 comes with a CD that installs a NAS discovery program (Mac and PC). Figure 4 shows the NAS discovery screen. However, you don't really need to install the program, since you can easily determine the IP address from the LCD front panel. All you really need to do is point your browser to that IP address, and enter the default admin credentials (admin/admin).
Figure 4: NAS Detector
When you log into the administrator console, you are greeted with a menu system that's easy to navigate. Figure 5 shows the Home page with the six top level menus (System, Share, Blue Ray, Service, Mobile Device and Info) expanded to display all of the options available. Many of the sub-menus are fairly self explanatory, so I'll just highlight the ones I feel are important for this product.
Figure 5: Web admin console
Remote Access - The N2B1 NAS supports only LG's own DDNS (Dynamic Domain Name Service) so you can't really configure the device to be a remote resource on your own domain - at least not easily. To set up remote access, you enable the DDNS feature and enter in a user name and password. This creates a sub-domain on lgnas.com. Oddly, if you disable DDNS for some reason, you can't re-enable it with the name you originally used - you must create a new name.
In my testing, I found that setting up the service or even going to the remote access page often resulted in a "loading" icon that occasionally timed out. Ultimately, I was able to configure the DDNS setting, and the page showed the correct public IP address for my network as shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6: DDNS and UPnP Port Forwarding Setup
This menu page also allows you to use UPnP to automatically set up port forwarding on a UPnP compatible router. I enabled this feature and turned on UPnP on my DLink DIR-625, but port forwarding wasn't automatically configured. I had to manually forward port 80 to the IP address of the NAS. This isn't really a problem with the N2, but with UPnP in general because automatic port forwarding isn't really widely supported.
Mail Notification - The N2B1 NAS supports emailing of regular status reports. To their credit, LG also included the ability to use an SMTP server that requires authentication. Figure 7 shows email notification setup. Unfortunately, the email notification only sends status reports, and not reports of hardware failure or other problems. Email notification of major events, such as a failed drive would have been a nice feature.
Figure 7: Email Notification setup sends only regular status reports
Selective Mirror - This is a feature that I haven't seen on other NASes. Selective mirror allows you to mirror a folder from one location on the NAS to another location. If, for example, you had configured a two drive system with separate volumes for each drive to maximize the amount of usable storage capacity, you would be without the fault tolerance offered by a RAID1 (mirroring) configuration.
But in this configuration, you could use selective mirroring to mirror critical data from a folder on Volume1 to a folder on Volume2. While you wouldn't achieve the fault tolerance you would get with a true RAID1 configuration, this would allow you have a backup copy of data that you consider critical. Even though I had configured the review NAS for RAID1, I did configure selective mirroring between the "service" volume and Volume1 and successfully mirrored my iTunes directory.
Power - The N2B1 NAS has both a Standby mode, configurable for 10, 30, 60 or 120 minutes, as well as a scheduled Hibernate mode. In standby mode, which spins down the drives, power consumption is reduced by about 50%, from 24 W to 9 W. It takes between 3 and 15 seconds to come out of standby mode. Hibernate mode further reduces power draw down to around 6W. Hibernate mode can be terminated by web access with administrator credentials or from the front panel.