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I have a bunch of 2.5" HDDs lying around, I'm never going to use them in a laptop as they're too slow. However, they'll work fine as a media server.

What I'd like to do is bung them in a RAID array and have them accessible by the network by my various devices.

What are my hardware options for achieving this?

When I google 'wireless nas' I get things like the Synology DS220+ - but these things are expensive - is that really what I need?

What about a simple hard drive enclosure - attached directly to my router? Would that work?

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  • Why does it have to be wireless, does your wireless router not have any place to plug in something? Wireless is sub-optimal and you don't carry your NAS around the house so why make it wireless?
    – user253751
    Nov 4, 2021 at 14:35
  • @user253751 doesn't need to be wireless. Just the data needs to be accesible wirelessly
    – dwjohnston
    Nov 7, 2021 at 0:22

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There are many options here, the question you have to ask yourself is how much work do you want to put into it?

A NAS is essentially a full computer that is self-contained in a nice little enclosure. You can either get one of the premade ones like the Synology one you mentioned, or build your own, or simply connect them to an old computer and share the hard drives with Windows SMB.

I will say this, the Synology one will be much easier to configure and manage. The DSM management software is very well made, just a point and a click to accomplish most tasks to get your stuff running.

As for the hard drive enclosure connected to your router, that depends on your router. Are you asking about an external enclosure to a router's USB port? If your router supports sharing external storage via its USB port, then yes you could. If it only supports DLNA then it won't work as a full NAS. You'll have to check with your router specs to know for sure.

I use an external hard drive dock to connect my HDDs to my computer. From there, you could SMB or NFS share them on your network and devices could access them, but only when connected to a computer. Again, an old computer laying around would suffice if you really wanted a NAS. But the Synology would be the better option in my opinion.

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    Another point to add to this answer: The wireless capability doesn't have to be built in to the NAS. If a NAS is connected by a cable to your wireless router then that allows everything on the WiFi to connect to the NAS. Some NAS products do come with built-in WiFi and that may mislead OP towards a more expensive model if they choose to buy one.
    – Romen
    Nov 2, 2021 at 16:40
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    Alright thanks. This is a good answer - I think it describes the problem space well.
    – dwjohnston
    Nov 2, 2021 at 23:17

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