I’ve been using my Synology DS-212j Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. Mine is loaded with 2x3TB Western Digital Green Drives. This post details my build-out. The device performs brilliantly from my desktop wired PC running Windows XP. I could regularly push 3-4MB write to it when copying TV shows and movies onto the NAS.
However, Time Machine backups from my Macbook Pro could never push more than 1.2 MB/s (~9.8 Mbps), which is far less than the purported 54Mbps of my wireless router and the purported 6 Tbps that SATA supports. Streaming HD movies from the Synology NAS to my Xbox 360 wasn’t even going well. The movies would be jerky and stutter, totally ruining my movie experience.
How to speed this up?
1. Disable Mac’s Spotlight index of the SAN.
Spotlight will by default index every connected drive, monitoring for changes, and generally hog bandwidth. Turning this off made a huge difference for browsing times.
Go to “System Preferences” -> “Spotlight” -> Privacy and add the folders from your SAN.
2. Buy a router with gigabit ethernet and top-notch Wireless
I bought an ASUS router that absolutely kills it. This was by far the biggest speed improvement possible. The Synology has Gigabit ethernet, which is 10x faster than 100Mbps. Gigabit can theoretically push 128 MegaBytes per second. This, coupled with dual-band wireless AC makes this truly a beast.
The router supports 2.4gHz spectrum and the 5 gHz spectrum simultaneously, meaning that your newer devices can connect to the 5gHz for much higher speeds, though the 5gHz network has a smaller range.
Unfortunately, my XBox 360 S doesn’t support the 5gHz spectrum. I use that to stream movies from my Synology NAS. But the good news is, even on 2.4ghz, n band, my movies are streaming perfectly with no stutter or jitter.
You won’t be disappointed with this router :) This was the single biggest improvement I could have made (without running wires all over my condo).