Besides the print-serving capability courtesy of its USB port, which is rather ubiquitous in NAS devices, the D-Link also supports iTunes and Universal Plug and Play Audio and Video (UPnP AV) servers. This is a very helpful feature for those who want to stream movies and music seamlessly to Apple's iTunes and other UPnP AV-compatible devices. We didn't test the UPnP AV feature, but the iTunes Server worked very well. iTunes running on both PCs and Macs on our network could easily see and play files from the iTunes library on the DNS-323. As with iTunes itself, you can also restrict access to the music by password-protecting the share. However, we found the iTunes server was unable to add music to the share-list on the fly: if you copy more music to the iTunes folder on the DNS-323, the new music will not be shared until you manually reshare that folder. On the other hand, the iTunes songs shared from the DNS-323 are automatic divided into two sublists: Non-DRMed and DRMed for non-digitally protected and digitally protected music, respectively. This is a nifty feature that prevents you from adding songs that are potentially unplayable to the playlist.
Most NAS devices ship with the assumption that you already have a DHCP-enabled network. The D-Link-323, however, comes with a DHCP server of its own. This feature is disabled by default, but it can be turned on for use in case you don't already have DHCP on your network and want to mange your network with one. Having a DHCP server makes network setup very convenient as you don't manually assign IP addresses for each client.
Last but not least, the DNS-323 can also be set to automatically back up an FTP site, a regular Web site, or a network shared folder, including sites that require authentication. This is a very convenient and practical feature for backing up your network resources, especially when you host your sites from your own server rather than using a service that already has its own backup system. We tried it with our in-house makeshift FTP site, and it worked very well. We simply entered our FTP site's information (authentication information and URL), the location of where we wanted to back up it up on the DND-323, and the scheduled time. It's worth noting that the FTP backup function is separate from the rest of the DND-323's features. When you log into the Web interface, you'll find that this network backup feature (dubbed Scheduling) is listed separately from the rest of the features (dubbed Configurations), which caused a moment of confusion on our part.
The D-Link DNS-323 excelled on CNET Labs' throughput tests. On our write test, it topped the charts with the score of 55.6Mbps. On our read test, the device finished in the middle of the pack with a still respectable 42.2Mbps. For each test, we used two hard drives (160GB and 400GB; each a 7,200rpm drive with 16MB of cache) in a non-RAID setup. Also, we should note that the DNS-323 was very cool and quiet, even during a long duration of heavy activity.
Service and support
D-Link ships the DNS-322 with a one-year warranty, which is standard for a NAS device. At the company's Web site, you can find very good support information including downloads, FAQs, and a searchable knowledgebase. D-link's technical support phone line is available 24-7, and we were able to get ahold of a helpful and knowledgeable representative in less than 10 minutes. All in all, it was not a terrible experience.
(Longer bars indicate faster performance)
|NAS read test||NAS write test|