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Review: Buffalo Technology TeraStation

Setup & Admin - Basic Configuration

Let me preface the tour through the TS' features by saying that the documentation included with the TeraStation is awful - especially for a product costing as much as the Terastation does! You don't even get a coherent User Manual, but instead a set of three PDF files that you have to bounce among in order to find information. And the information you find - especially in the Advanced Configurations document - isn't very helpful. Here's an example that describes the RAID Array Configuration feature:

"RAID Array Configuration

The product (and its purchasers) certainly deserve better than this and Buffalo apparently agrees, since they told me that they plan to have revised documentation available in June (2005).

Setup was uneventful, except for the strange and scary noises that came from inside the TS when I first powered it up. I guess it was just the drives going through some sort of initialization cycle because once they settled down, I never heard the noises again.

Buffalo has the TS try to lease its IP address info from a DHCP server, but it will fall back to using 192.168.11.150 if it is unsuccessful. Once you log in, however, you'll probably want to assign a static IP to the TS so that you always know where to find it.

Login brings you to the Home page (Figure 5) where you can start your explorations.

Figure 5: The TeraStation Home page
(click image to enlarge)

Although you get some of the info you'll want to know about the TS' status, this page (Figure 6) taken from the Buffalo Defaults and Internal Drives PDF describing the product's default settings is more informative.

Figure 6: TeraStation default settings
(click image to enlarge)

You'll note the defaults are friendly to both Windows and Mac OS users, but I thought it curious that Buffalo didn't have the TS automatically set the time from a pre-set NTP server as most other networking products do these days. Instead you'll have to enable the feature and enter the IP address of an NTP server (find one here), or just grab the time from the machine that you're browsing from.

Among the Network settings you'll find an Ethernet Frame Size control that lets choose from two settings for Jumbo Frames that could help improve gigabit Ethernet speeds. Note that the network adapters and switch that the TS communicates with all must support these same frame sizes.

Figure 7: Network settings
(click image to enlarge)

The only admin security feature you have is password protection since you can't change the port that the HTTP interface responds to from its default of 80. You also can't enable secure HTTP (HTTPS) for the admin interface or restrict HTTP access to specific IP addresses or ranges. There doesn't seem to be any admin login idle timeout, nor is there a logout button, either. That's ok, though, because the TS allows multiple users to log in simultaneously and doesn't complain a bit.