Set Up and Features
The Pro is a diskful NAS with 300, 400, 500 and 750 GB flavors available in addition to the 250 GB model that Buffalo sent for review. I received an early review unit, which had a hand-made CD containing the PDF documentation, Link Navigator setup program and Memeo backup software with a single-client license.
The Pro comes set as a DHCP client, so it automatically grabs an IP address from your LAN's DHCP server. You can find out what that address is by either doing a broadcast ping (to the "255" address in your LAN subnet), to which the Pro will reply, or inserting the CD into your computer and using the Link Navigator program (Figure 3) which auto-launches.
Figure 3: Link Navigator screenshot
Kudos to Buffalo for the Link Navigator, which is much more polished both functionally and visually than the company's usual utilities. The program guides you through the physical set up and displays the IP address for the drive. It also allows you to install a more complete Link Navigator utility and the bundled single-client Memeo backup software.
I liked that the program runs from CD and finds your Pro without having to install to your computer, because all the Pro's real configuration is done via its web interface. But I didn't like that you can't get a "Setup Complete" message until you install the Link Navigator software. But since this step comes after the CD-based version runs and finds your Pro, you can just quit the Link Navigator without having to do the install.
Figure 4 shows the main setup screen for the Pro once I had completed the initial setup and logged in.
Figure 4: Web interface Home screen
Buffalo has also revamped the LinkStation web interface for the Pro and cleaned it up both visually and functionally. Most of the options will be familar to anyone who has set up a NAS before, so I'll move quickly through them. By the way, if you don't want to be bothered with futzing around with any settings, you'll be happy to know what the Pro comes with "share" and "info" shares already set up, which have read / write access for anyone.
The Basic Page holds controls to set host name, date / time, NTP server and interface language. Network lets you disable the DHCP client function (on by default) and set IP address, subnet mask, default gateway and primary and secondary DNS servers. This is also where you set the Ethernet frame size for 1,518 (default normal frame size), 4,102, 7,422 or 9,694 "Jumbo" byte frames.
Figure 5 shows the Workgroup / Domain sub-screen that controls where the Pro gets its workgroup / domain and authentication orders from. Note the support for Active Directory and using a Windows Domain Controller for user authentication.