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LaCie d2 Network

Affordable Nas for fashionistas

Alongside the ports at the back is a Kensington Lock slot and an On/Off/Auto power switch. Sliding the switch to the Auto position allows you to restart and shutdown the system using its web-based administration utility. Auto mode also enables 'wake on LAN' capability, so you can keep the unit powered down when not in use but quickly powered up again as soon as any computer on the network wants to connect to it.

LaCie d2 Network

With the auto switch enabled, any computer on the network can sleep, shut down or restart the unit

The d2 Network is designed to offer cross-platform data services straight out of the box: it supports SMB (Samba), AFP, HTTP, HTTPS, FTP and Bonjour, making it an easy way to provide shared storage on a network comprising a mix of Windows, Mac and Linux computers. You can assign a fixed IP address to the device or simply allow it to be assigned one by your router's DCHP server, whereupon any computer on the network can configure it via a web browser.

A number of useful technical features come as standard, such as the ability to set up a secure, Internet-accessible FTP site very quickly. If your existing network is based on Windows services, the d2 Network can read your Active Directory domain and import the user and group accounts so that you do not need to enter them manually. The device can also send you notification emails for a small range of events, such as copy errors and temperature warnings.

However, the web-based administration utility is a bit minimalist in appearance. While this might fit in with LaCie's avant-garde style, it may not endear it so much to the home user. Setting up user accounts, group privileges and shares is straightforward enough, but when we asked a non-technical volunteer to have a go, they were stumped. Neither the online help nor the PDF-only user manual, although clear and concise, explain any of these concepts properly in layman's terms.

This is a shame since the d2 Network, in common with other modern Nas products, includes a built-in multimedia server that can play audio and video files directly across the network to IPnP AV and DLNA devices. If a user does not understand what 'shares' are, or fails to set up appropriate user rights, this feature is not going to work. Given the importance of the multimedia server to home users, the scant coverage of the topic in the user manual – a total of 84 words – is simply not enough.

LaCie d2 Network

Torrent downloads are possible from the unit alone, even though the manual skirts over details

LaCie's promotional materials state that the d2 Network is 'iTunes-compatible', but nowhere in the manual is it explained what this means. That said, if you know what you are doing, the d2 Network is actually very easy to set up for media playback, and our Playstation 3 found it immediately across our wireless router. Video streaming, even across WiFi, was solid, reliable and completely glitch-free.

Next page: Verdict

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