My old router died, and I want to buy a new one.

Also, if I have to change the router, I want to try to see if I can do a setup like: Router + External Hard Drive + an android application maybe.

I basically want to have a one-way sync of our pictures (my wife and I) to a HDD that is connected to the router.

Sync would be through wi-fi, something like google is doing right now for me, but this time I would like to be in control of the storage.

My question is: what to look for in a router? I wouldn't want to spend too much, but I don't even know what to look for. Is it enough if the router has USB port on it?

I was wondering if there are routers that come with a special android app, or I can just try to look into some "universal" software like this one.

Note: NAS device seems like a good idea, but it seems too expensive.

Thanks for the help.

UPDATE I bought a RT-N18U router, and it has this application specifically made for it, we'll see how it works, I'll let you guys know.

UPDATE 2: I had some errors, but it works fine

  • do you have any older hardware available? You could build your own NAS pretty easily. Because I think this is the perfect place for a NAS to do it's job. Benefits from having a NAS: add more storage to it really easy - expand the features you can use by installing few new packages + real controll over the device and your data. You can install a NAS OS like openmediavault and even use your own Cloud service to share files.
    – benjamin
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 12:18
  • @benjaminS : no, not really, I don't have anything, and I am really not the guy who starts wireing :-)
    – Ash
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 13:10

1 Answer 1


If you really want an android app you should look at certain brands. But if you don't need an app from the router manufacturer, basically any router with a USB and FTP-support should work. To answer your last question: There are routers that come with their own app, but usually you don't have to use that app (especially if FTP is supported).

I personally have pretty much the setup you're looking for. I have a FRITZ!Box with a 5TB USB 3.0 HDD attached to it. So I can recommend a FRITZ!Box for this purpose but I'm sure there are other manufacturers providing routers with a similar service.

All I had to do, was to set it up as a FTP server. Now I can access it locally in the network or from outside with my email and password.

Now, to back up the data of my phone, I use FolderSync. Again, this is just what I use and can recommend, because I tested it. You can use any backup/sync tool that supports FTP. I just had to add my server and login to it and set up which folders I want to sync and where to sync them.

The difficulty to set something up like this is depending on the manufacturer and what they provide. For me it was fairly easy.

Summarized, I wouldn't look for just a USB port. Look at the functions it has and if it supports something like a "home cloud". I also strongly recommend googling the product name and read some reviews before buying. You may also find instructions to set it up as a FTP for your specific model.

  • How do you use FolderSync? through Wifi? Automatically? Or what is with the FTP ?
    – Ash
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 9:38
  • 1
    Yes, I use FolderSync via WiFi. I have set it to automatically update my folders every day. But you can change the interval or turn auto-sync off completely. I only need to set it up as an FTP so it is accessible from outside my home. If you don't need that, you could probably set FolderSync to copy your photos to a network drive (your HDD connected to the router) instead of copying them via internet (FTP) to your HDD.
    – Alex
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 13:00
  • one more question, did you ever check your HDD connected to the router, does it always spin, or it stops if it's not used. I have someone told me that his HDD was always spinning, and he didn't like that. This is probably software-based ... I mean if the router is working ok, and the android app is working ok, then the HDD should not be spinning all the time... (2.5 HDD right? without power cable ...)
    – Ash
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 16:57
  • 1
    Well, I have a 3.5 HDD attached to it. But, especially with USB 3.0, a 2.5 HDD should work just as well. I believe this depends on the HDD. Mine is one from WesternDigital and does not spin all the time. I guess it has its own sleep time, when it's not used. I'm not sure about this, but I think there also is a setting in the router itself to let the HDD sleep if it's not used for a specific time. Though, I do believe every hard disk does this, when not used. Maybe your friend has a weird router or HDD which is always doing something,
    – Alex
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 17:01

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