Tag: Mobile network-attached storage

Setting up a mobile NAS to work with your home network

WD MyPassport Wireless mobile NAS

The WD MyPassport Wireless mobile network-attached storage – can offer data to the host Wi-Fi network when set up in hotspot mode

Increasingly, data-storage device manufacturers are adding to their mobile network-attached storage devices the same kind of network-based data storage and access features typically offered with a standard desktop NAS device. This is rather than these devices just being a lightweight file server for smartphones and tablets connected to the device’s own Wi-Fi access point.

I had previously reviewed one of these devices in the form of the WD MyPassport Wireless mobile NAS which demonstrated this kind of functionality. In the review, I had called out the DLNA-compliant media server that was part of that mobile NAS’s feature set, where you had the ability to show your photos and videos on one of the latest Smart TVs via the home network the TV is connected to.

Mobile NAS with hotspot mode set for “secure” or “private” mode

As well, some of the increasingly-sophisticated devices like the WD MyPassport Wireless Pro also are offering the same kind of Samba-based (SMB / CIFS) file transfer method that you can do with other NAS devices so you can transfer resources to these devices using your regular computer’s operating-system’s file manager and its network file transfer protocols. Similarly, the devices may implement FTP, WebDAV or other common network-file-transfer protocols primarily to allow you to upload photos and footage from your Wi-Fi-capable digital camera or camcorder to the mobile NAS if the camera honours these standard protocols.

How to have this work properly?

Here your mobile NAS unit needs to be set up for connection to an existing small Wi-Fi network as a client device of that network. It also needs to be set up to share its resources to that client network in addition to the network it creates using its own wireless access point.  Most of this configuration that I would be talking about here would be something you would do using the vendor-provided native mobile-platform app or, perhaps, a Web page that the mobile NAS creates as its management page.

Mobile NAS with hotspot functionality set up for file sharing mode

Typically, you may set this up as part of enabling a “Share Wi-Fi Connection”, “Wi-Fi Hotspot” or similar function that effectively shares a logical network connection between multiple devices that connect to the portable NAS’s access point. This function is similar to what most travel routers offer as a way to share the one logical (and usually permitted) connection to a hotel’s guest-access Wi-Fi service amongst the personal computing devices you and your travelling companions own. Similarly, this same function creates a “trust circle” between multiple devices connected to the mobile NAS’s access point allowing them to be discovered by each other even if the public-access Wi-Fi network that the NAS is connected to is configured properly with client isolation enabled.

When you enable the “hotspot” function on a sophisticated mobile NAS like the WD MyPassport Wireless / Wireless Plus series or the Seagate Wireless Plus, you will have an option to set this function to work in a “private” or “secure” mode or a “sharing” mode.  In the “private” mode, the data held on the NAS becomes available only to devices on the Wi-Fi network created by the mobile NAS’s access point. Conversely, the “sharing” mode will make the data available to devices on the network which has the Wi-Fi segment you connected the mobile NAS to as part of the “hotspot” mode.

Availability of data held on mobile NAS Sharing mode Secure / Private mode
Host wireless network Yes No
Wireless network created by mobile NAS’s access point Yes Yes

To allow the mobile NAS to share its resources on your home network, you need to enable the “sharing” mode or disable the “secure” or “private” mode while setting up the “hotspot” functionality. It is a wise practice not to use the “sharing” mode on a Wi-Fi network used as a public-access network and this function wouldn’t work with these networks that are properly set up with client isolation enabled.

What can the manufacturers do to improve the Wi-Fi bridging functionality on these devices?

The “Wi-Fi hotspot” or “Shared Wi-Fi” functionality could be improved upon by allowing users to create preset operating modes for particular Wi-Fi networks. This would work in a similar way to the way Windows allows the user to classify each network they connect to as being a “home”, “work” or “public” network, causing it to adopt an exposed persona suitable for your home or office network or a private person for that public-access Wi-Fi network. Such parameters could be to determine whether to share resources with the host network or to always clone the client device’s MAC address when connecting along with remembered Wi-Fi network passwords.

Here, as a user connects the mobile NAS to a Wi-Fi network for “Shared Wi-Fi” operation, they are invited to save the configurations they have established for that network. Then, when they reconnect to that network, the mobile NAS assumes the operating modes that the user previously defined. These details can be referenced by the host network’s ESSID or a user-defined name for that network.


Once you know how to set up that highly-capable mobile NAS device and exploit the “private” or “shared” operating modes that these devices offer with setting up the “Shared Wi-Fi” or “hotspot” mode, you can then use them to make resources held therein available to other small networks you connect them to.

How to effectively establish that Wi-Fi-based mobile network

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 Wireless Mobile Thermal Printer

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 Wi-Fi mobile printer – one of the mobile peripheral devices pitched to smartphone and tablet users

A major trend that has become strong over the last few years is the arrival of mobile network devices that connect to each other and to client computer devices via Wi-Fi wireless networking technology.

These are represented in the form of:

  • mobile network-attached-storage devices
  • mobile printers
  • wireless speakers, and
  • mobile broadcast-LAN tuners that work with terrestrial or satellite broadcast systems,
Network setup for mobile NAS and smartphone

Network setup for Wi-Fi-based mobile peripheral devices

What is common about all of these devices, and is treated as a key marketing feature by their vendors, is that they can be set up to be their own access point with their own DHCP server as well as being client devices to existing wireless networks. Some of these devices like most mobile NAS devices are able to work effectively as bridges or routers between an existing wireless network and the network that they create.

This may work well if you are just using the one mobile peripheral device with your mobile client devices but may not work well when you intend to run two or more mobile peripheral devices. Here, you will end up switching between different wireless networks just to benefit from the different mobile peripheral devices.

Mobile NAS as bridge setup

Wireless NAS as a bridge between mobile client devices and another Internet-providing network

But you may want to run one or more of these wireless mobile devices together to serve multiple laptops, tablets or smartphones. Situations that may come about that will call for these setups would be where you are using a mobile NAS and, perhaps, a camera that has Wi-Fi functionality or one of the new Wi-Fi-capable mobile printers. This will call for you to create a proper mobile wireless network for all of these devices.

Use a router-class device as the main device

Here, you would have to run one wireless network device as a DHCP server and “master” access point and this function can be best served by a router-class device.

"Mi-Fi" portable wireless router

A typical “Mi-Fi” portable wireless router for a mobile-broadband service

The most common examples of devices of this class that apply to “on-the-road” use are the “Mi-Fi” mobile routers that work with a mobile broadband service or one of the travel routers pitched to work with a hotel’s wired Internet service. Some mobile NAS devices may also do this wireless-bridging functionality in an adept manner and could be the hub of your “travel network”. Similarly, one of the mobile-broadband wireless routers being integrated in to some new cars by the likes of BMW and Chrysler may also answer these needs.

You may think of using your smartphone’s Wi-Fi mobile-broadband-router functionality but this may encumber your smartphone for what you want to really use it for.

Some highly-sophisticated “Mi-Fi” and travel-router devices may also expose an Ethernet connection for LAN use, perhaps through an optional extended-functionality dock. This can come in handy if you want to increase your coverage area with another wireless access point or want to use devices like games consoles with your mobile network.

You may find that you don’t need to run the Internet connection on the Mi-Fi or travel router if you are simply establishing a link between multiple mobile peripheral devices and client devices and aren’t reliant on Internet functionality for their operation. Similarly, by having your mobile devices working this way, you avoid the need to authenticate with a Wi-Fi hotspot that implements Web-based authentication to do something like gain access to your mobile NAS’s data from your iPad.

Set up known wireless network parameters

Mobile network wiht "Mi-Fi" router and 2 Wi-Fi-capable mobile peripheral devices

Mobile wireless network for two or more mobile devices and mobile client devices – uses a router-class device like a “Mi-Fi” router

When you set up your “Mi-Fi” or travel router, you make this device the hub of your mobile network and have every device “point” to this device’s local-network by associating with its SSID (wireless network name) and security parameters.

Most of the mobile network devices that work on an “open-frame” approach can be quickly associated to this “mobile hub” thanks to WPS-based push-button setup. For devices that don’t support this quick setup mode like most Apple devices, you will need to note down the “mobile hub’s” SSID and security passphrase. Some “Mi-Fi” devices that have a display may be able to show these details on their display, perhaps at the request of the user.

For that matter, a good practice would be to assign a unique SSID for your “mobile hub” device i.e. your Mi-Fi or travel router. This is important when you use these setups in campgrounds, caravan parks or hotels where many of these devices will be used at once.

All wireless devices to link with router-class device

It will also mean that the mobile NAS, mobile printer or other similar device has to work as a client device rather than as its own access point. This also applies to your computing devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones which also associate with the “mobile hub” device.

When positioning your mobile-network devices, make sure that they are in the range of your “mobile network hub” device i.e. the Mi-Fi or the travel router. All the wireless traffic that goes between these devices will pass through the “mobile network hub” device rather than between the devices themselves.

You may find that if you want to avoid draining your “Mi-Fi” router’s battery too quickly, it may be a good idea to have it run from a USB charger that runs from house current or your vehicle’s cigar-lighter socket. Similarly, a high-capacity USB power-pack can also earn its keep with these devices if you are away from power.

What I stand for when reviewing or researching mobile devices

When I review any device for this Website that is capable of being its own wireless network such as a mobile NAS or mobile printer, I test the device with my home network’s Wi-Fi wireless segment as if it is a client device. This is so I am sure they can work in this kind of setup as well as the highly-promoted “own access point” setup. As well, as part of researching a mobile device that uses Wi-Fi wireless technology as part of its link with client computer devices, I verify that it can work as part of an existing wireless-network segment as well as being its own segment.

Similarly, when I research a mobile router-class device like a Mi-Fi or travel router, I would expect the device to support WPS single-push connectivity along with other essential Wi-Fi connectivity and security standards. Similarly, such a device would have to be easy to configure including setting up the SSID and passphrase. As well, the Mi-FI device can’t be very thirsty with its battery if the goal is to have it as a “hub” device.


Once you are able to set up a mobile multi-device network, you can then be able to use it to store or print data while you are “on the road” without needing to constantly switch networks for each different task.

SanDisk releases a wireless NAS as a memory key


SanDisk's memory key that is a wireless mobile NAS

SanDisk’s memory key that is a wireless mobile NAS

SanDisk Announces Bigger, Cheaper Wi-Fi Flash Drive | SmallNetBuilder

From the horse’s mouth


SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick

Press Release

Product Page

My Comments

There are a number of “wireless network-attached storage” devices on the market that are primarily pitched at people who use mobile devices and want to have network storage for these devices.

These devices typically work as their own Wi-Fi networks and work alongside a Web front that they provide or a native app provided by the vendor for the main mobile platforms to allow you to use them as networked storage for these devices. But those of you who use regular computers are typically required to connect these wireless NAS devices to the computer’s USB ports and use them as if they are removable storage devices.

SanDisk has released the the latest of these devices as the wireless networked equivalent of the USB memory key a.k.a. thumbdrive or jumpdrive. This device, known as the Connect Wireless Stick is the same size as a large USB memory key but has its own Wi-FI access point and Web server. There is an integrated battery and you can plug it in to a computer or USB charger to charge this device. In this same context, it can be used as a USB flash drive for the connected computer or multimedia device.

It also has the ability to work as a Wi-FI bridge for Internet connection through you setting up the Internet Connection in the SanDisk mobile app. But being a low-powered device, the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick would have the ability to stream video content to three client devices concurrently rather than five for most of the hard-disk-based devices. Oh yeah, hang this around your neck to view content you have loaded on to it or share stuff with your buddies sitting at your lunch table in the caf – no need to forget it when you head to class.

But there are a lot of issues to be raised with these devices and how they interlink with the rest of the world. One of these involves the issue of manufacturers writing their own apps for their devices and requiring  users to install and use these apps to see full benefit from them. Here, the wireless NAS devices could use a common WebDAV or CIFS client and UPnP / Bonjour functionality for simplified discovery including the ability to discover the device’s Web page in that context. As well, the device could be managed through a password-protected Web page. This would allow for, at the most, one app to be deployed on your mobile device.

They would also have to support WebDAV and CIFS along with HTTP for two-way file transfer to and from hosts along with appropriate DLNA abilities for interaction with consumer-electronics devices. Similarly the wireless NAS devices would have to support working as clients or access points for small private networks i.e. home / small-business networks and as “go-between” bridges for public networks. This kind of functionality would require WPS and manual-entry setup for small private networks along with Wi-Fi Passpoint setup for public networks.

In essence, the wireless network-attached-storage device should be a point of innovation for everything that works with it. This includes public and private networks, consumer-electronics and photography devices along with system software for regular and mobile computing devices.

Product Review-Western Digital MyPassport Wireless mobile network-attached storage


I am reviewing the Western Digital MyPassport Wireless mobile network-attached storage which I have found to be “above the ordinary” when it comes to this class of device.

Typically, most of these devices are to work as their own network to allow users to pick up or drop off files normally held on their mobile devices and, in most cases, that is all when it comes to functionality. If you intended to transfer files to or from a regular computer that runs Windows, Mac OS X or Linux, you have to tether these devices to the computer via USB. Read on about how this can do more for you compared to most of these devices.

Capacity Price
1 Terabytes AUD$249
2 Terabytes AUD$299

WD MyPassport Wireless mobile NAS

Class Portable Network Attached Storage
Capacity 1 Terabyte
2 Terabytes
Disks 1 x 2.5” hard disk
Removable Storage SDHC card reader
Network Connection 802.11g/n Wi-Fi (access point / network client)
Host Connection USB 3.0
Device Discovery
UPnP Yes
Bonjour No
UPnP Internet Gateway Control No
Features and Protocols
DLNA Media Server Yes
General Web Server
Remote Access WD MyCloud
Remote NAS Sync
Cloud-Storage Client
Download Manager
Other functions


The Network-Attached Storage System itself

WD MyPassport Wireless mobile NAS front - ower and WPS / SD Card transfer buttons, Charge / Sync connector

Power and WPS / SD Card transfer buttons, Charge / Sync connector

The WD MyPassport Wireless’s battery is charged through a USB “sync-and-charge” cable that works with a proprietary connection on one end and USB plug on other end. This also is used to copy data to and from the hard disk as if it is a portable USB hard disk.

Setup Experience

You can set the WD MyPassport Wireless mobile NAS without the need for client software by linking your regular or mobile computer to the device’s “MyPassport” ESSID and logging in to the “MyPassport” Webpage to configure it.  iOS and Android users can configure it using the WD MyCloud mobile-platform app and this also serves as a way of transferring data between the mobile device and the NAS.

When you plug this device in to your computer, it shows up on Windows as a single hard disk like most of the small external hard disks. It can even be plugged in to a computer’s USB 3.0 port and take advantage of the high bandwidth that it offers. It most likely won’t work well with devices like printers, routers or smart TVs that have a USB port for connecting an external hard disk due to the power requirement that it has.

Here, you have the ability to create a user-defined ESSID or device name or have it work as a bridge between an existing Wi-Fi network and the mobile device. This latter functionality can be set up in a “private manner” if the other network is a public-access Wi-Fi hotspot like what your hotel provides.


WD MyPassport Wireless mobile NAS with SD card

Quickly transfer your camera card contents to this mobile NAS

I see the WD MyPassport Wireless as a highly-capable mobile NAS in its own right.

It can be a network bridge between another Wi-Fi network like home network or Wi-Fi hotspot. This even includes the ability to clone a device’s MAC address so you can share hotel-based Wi-Fi Internet which is regulated or accounted by device amongst multiple devices.

As well, when it works as a bridge, you can set it to serve files to both the local and remote Wi-Fi segments which would earn its keep with your home or small-business network.

WD MyPassport Wireless mobile NAS beside Samsung Galaxy Note 2 smartphone

Same size as one of the latest smartphones

There is an SD card slot so you can transfer data from SD cards to the NAS at the touch of a button. The classic scenario would be to copy pictures from your camera or camcorder to this mobile NAS to “clear space” for more photography and back up the images and footage you have taken. This is a bonus with the ability to view the images or video “rushes” on a DLNA-capable TV that exists on the network or “work on” what you have taken using your laptop computer.

Another feature that I so love is the fact that the WD MyPassport Wireless is a capable DLNA Media Server which is something that one of Sony’s mobile NAS units can do. The server software indexes all folders on the hard disk for media and can serve this media to its own access point or the network it is a client of in the case of a home network. I have tried this for myself by “fronting” it to the home network and pulling up WD’s demo videos that were on the hard disk on the household’s Samsung DLNA-capable Smart TV. These clips played through in a very stable manner. This makes the WD MyPassport Wireless as a device to “BYO” video content to show on a smart TV or play the latest tunes on your friend’s DLNA-capable music system for that party.

System performance

WD MyPassport Wireless mobile NAS in my shirt pocket

Call this pocketable

I performed a file-by-file transfer of the music I have on my smartphone in order to set it up for a DLNA network media test. There was very little noise through file transfer and the unit wasn’t demanding much of its battery power through this transfer when both devices were close together and working with its own access point.

As for DLNA, it streamed the demo video clips smoothly without dropping out when I had it connected to the above-mentioned Smart TV via the home network. Here, the NAS was part of the home network’s Wi-Fi segment and the TV was connected to the router via a HomePlug AV segment and this yielded the smooth performance. I tried it with music when using an Internet radio that had UPnP AV functionality and having the system with both devices on the same Wi-Fi segment with the radio located at the fringe of the segment. Here, there were some jitter issues coming about when playing the content. It works as best as the network would allow as long as you have the NAS able to pick up a strong signal.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

WD could use a standard microUSB connection with full On-The-Go abilities similar to what newer Android phones are equipped with for the device’s power and data transfer. This could let WD provide an accessory Ethernet adaptor for “walk-up” Ethernet connectivity or to provide an expansion module with a built-in power supply and Gigabit Ethernet socket for connection to existing home and business networks.

Another feature that could augment this device would be to have a micro-HDMI socket with HDMI-CEC functionality. This could allow you to show images and footage on a large-screen TV using its remote control or a smartphone running a control app to select the content.

The Wi-Fi functionality could be improved with the ability to set up multiple network profiles so you can choose how this device behaves when connected with particular networks you have used. These could be saved by a user-defined name with the network’s ESSID as the default identifier. Here, each network could have settings like “request to clone MAC”, “share files to network” amongst other options.

Like a lot of wireless NAS units on the market, the WD MyPassport Wireless could benefit from SMB/CIFS-based file sharing so as to allow the same kind of file navigation that you could do with most desktop NAS units when you use most regular-computer operating systems.


From my experience with the WD MyPassport Wireless mobile NAS, I do see it as a very capable portable NAS unit. This is more so for those of us who do a lot of digital photography and video work, or want to use this to take our favourite media with us, including play it at a friend’s house. It is due to use of an SD card slot for quick transfer of digital images, the ability to be set up to serve files to a home network or its own access point as well as being a DLNA-compliant media server.

These features would play in to the hands of someone like a wedding or news photographer who may want to take a lot of pictures during their shoot and “dump” them to this device. Then they would be able to show the pictures to the lucky couple for them to choose for the wedding album or to show to the participants of a news story to, for example, elicit more commentary.

Pioneer’s Wi-Fi-linked optical drive for Ultrabooks


A Wireless Blu-ray Drive For Those With Ultra-thin Laptops

My Comments

Those of you who own or lust after a computer like an HP x2 detachable-keyboard tablet, a Sony VAIO Duo 11 or an HP Envy 4 Touchsmart Ultrabook may find that these computers miss the optical drive. This will limit their usefulness when it comes to enjoying CDs, DVDs or Blu-Rays or sharing data on cost-effective optical discs.

This situation is typically rectified through the use of a USB-connected optical drive of which there is an increasing number. But Pioneer have taken this further with a Blu-Ray drive that links to these computers via a docking station that has an integrated WI-Fi access point. This is similar to the many “mobile NAS” devices that are appearing on the market such as the Kingston Wi-Drive that I previously reviewed. It is part of a system that Pioneer is proposing with the docking station also being able to support an external hard disk this being like these mobile NAS devices.

A question that can be raised about this devices is whether it is worth paying the extra premium for a Wi-Fi-linked device rather than buying a USB optical drive. If you are using a regular clamshell-style ultraportable or just using this drive to “rip” content from optical discs to the computer’s local storage such as “loading up” that Sony VAIO Tap 20 with music from those new CDs you bought, or “burn” files to optical discs like you would do when you using the Sony VAIO Pro 13 to prepare a “proofs” disc to give to your client after the photo shoot, this unit may not be for you.

But if you do things like play CDs through the HP Envy x2’s Beats-tuned sound system or lounge on your bed while watching that Blu-Ray copy of your favourite movie on your Microsoft Surface Pro, this device would earn its keep.

What I am starting to see more are manufacturers who come up to the plate and offer devices to fill the gaps in the marketplace. This kind of situation avoids the risk of a product class reaching “peak” condition where products of that class lose their excitement.

Sony releases the first mobile NAS with DLNA capability

Article – From the horse’s mouth


Sony – Simple, secure content sharing on the move: the evolved portable wireless server from Sony that’s made for your mobile : : News : Sony Europe Press Centre

My Comments

Sony WG-C20 mobile NAS - press image courtesy of SonyOver the last few years, I have come across many different mobile network-attached-storage devices which serve content to smartphones and tablets while on the go by creating their own wireless network. If you use these devices, you typically have to use a Web form to download the content to a regular computer and may find it hard to upload the content from a regular computer using the Web form.

Of course, when you use these devices with smartphones or tablets based on common mobile operating systems, you have to download an app from the mobile platform’s app store to your mobile device before you can transfer files to or from the mobile MAS.

Sony have just released the WG-C20 mobile NAS which uses an SDXC card as its storage or can work as a USB file server. But this mobile NAS takes things further by implementing a UPnP AV/DLNA server as well as its regular mobile-platform file server, which is a function that I have wished for with the mobile NAS devices. It also is the first of its kind to implement NFC for one-touch Wi-Fi setup with suitably-equipped Android smartphones.

There is the bridging ability to link the mobile NAS with an existing Wi-Fi segment for Internet use but I am doubtful whether this bridging function would allow a user to share the stored data to the existing Wi-Fi segment. Here, I would improve on the bridging ability to allow a user to determine whether the Wi-Fi segment they are annexing the WG-C20 to for Internet access is a home/business or public network so as to enable file sharing to that segment as appropriate.

This could allow you to preview those pictures and videos from your digital camera on your smartphone, tablet, laptop or DLNA-capable Smart TV just by taking the “film” (SD card) out of the camera and putting it in the WG-C20. As well, you could use this device with the Pure One Flow or similar portable Internet radio to play music files through that UPnP AV-capable radio while on the road.

What I see of this is the way Sony has raised the ante with this class of device rather than selling the same old mobile NAS with the same old functionality.

A mobile network-attached storage that is a server for USB flash drives and SD cards

Article – From the horse’s mouth


Sony announces new Portable Wireless Server : Consumer Products Press Releases : Sony Australia

Product Page (Worldwide)

My Comments

The Sony WG-C10N is like most other mobile network-attached storage devices in that it requires the mobile device to be effectively attached to its own wireless segment. Of course it can work as a bridge between an existing Internet-connected network and your device like most mobile NAS devices. As well, it requires the use of a mobile platform app or the use of a Web front for users to benefit from the data stored on the NAS using the Wi-Fi network.

This means that it can’t work with existing wireless home networks, nor can it support SMB/CIFS network file transfer that is common on regular computers nor can it serve audio-video content to DLNA-capable media devices.

But unlike the other mobile NAS devices that are on the market, this device works simply as a file server for attached SD cards or USB flash drives rather than using an integrated storage medium. This is more so for those of us who want to use higher-capacity memory cards or USB thumbdrives or have a collection of different SD cards / USB thumbdrives for different applications.

It also works as an SD card reader for those of you who don’t have an SD card slot in your computer or similar device (think of the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook that I previously reviewed) to view or download your digital camera’s “film roll”. As well, it is one of the first “mobile NAS” devices that can serve as an external battery pack for your power-thirsty smartphone or tablet.

SanDisk comes to the mobile NAS market


SanDisk Intros "Connect" Wireless Storage Product Line#xtor=RSS-181

From the horse’s mouth


Product Page

Connect Wireless Flash Drive

Connect WIreless Media Drive

My Comments

SanDisk have jumped on board the bus as far as mobile network-attached storage devices are concerned.

Here. they have released two devices but both of these devices are similar in functionality to the typical “mobile NAS” is concerned. They require that you connect your laptop, smartphone or tablet to their own wireless network but the SanDisk devices have a similar Internet-access “bridge” mode to what the previously reviewed Kingston mobile NAS has so you can benefit from another Wi-Fi network for Internet access. They also require you to install a manufacturer-designed app on your mobile device so you can get at or put files on these mobile NAS devices from your device’s control surface. There is also a Web front for gaining access to the files hosted on these devices from a regular computer.

Of course they have their limitations such as not supporting SMB/CIFS data transfer used by every regular-computer operating system or not supporting DLNA media-server functionality so you can “pull up” media stored on these devices on a smart TV or similar device. They don’t even allow you to link them to a regular small network so they can become a NAS for that network, which could come in handy if you use a “Mi-Fi” device on the road or simply annex it to your home network just to transfer data to and from the device.

There is a USB connection that is used for charging these devices from any USB AC charger, car charger or external battery pack as outlined in the “Gadget List – Essential Smartphone And Tablet Accessories” article. But this also is used for transferring data between a regular computer and these wireless NAS devices as if they are a USB memory key. You may end up with issues when it comes to connecting these devices to “non-computer” equipment like printers or Blu-Ray players because they may present themselves as multiple USB devices which is something that these “non-computer” devices don’t really tolerate as I have raised before.

The SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive also uses an SDXC slot so you can use it as a place to “dump” your digital-camera images if you start to “run out of film” on your digital camera. Then you can either use it as a backup system for your holiday’s worth of photos during that trip or take some of the pictures further by uploading them to Flickr or Facebook using your laptop, smartphone or tablet. It also has higher storage capacity options in the form of a 64Gb variant as well as the 32Gb variant.

Personally, I would like to see someone take these devices further and do things like support DLNA or SMB/CIFS or provide network “annexing” as an option so they can do more than just being on the road. If not, we could start to see a very stale class of product come of these devices.

Sony–now on to the network media server game


Previous Coverage on HomeNetworking01.info

Sony’s Personal Content Station – a mobile Wi-Fi NAS that you touch on with your Android phone 

From the horse’s mouth


Latest press release from Sony at Mobile World Congress

Personal Content Station LLS-201

http://youtu.be/eAowGfUeqjY – Link to this video if you can’t see it on this site or want to “throw” it to your DLNA smart TV using Twonky or similar software

Portable Wireless Server WG-C10

http://youtu.be/-C1HAQj0YpQ – Link to this video if you can’t see it on this site or want to “throw” it to your DLNA smart TV using Twonky or similar software

My Comments

Previously, I commented on a news article about Sony releasing a NAS that allows you to upload pictures from your Android device just by touching the device to this NAS. Now, Sony have premiered this device along with another mobile NAS at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year.

But there are two devices rather than the one device. The former device that I touched on previously allows you to upload photos, videos and other content to its 1Tb hard disk using USB file transfer, NFC or SD memory cards so you can effectively “dump” your pictures and videos from your smartphone, camera or camcorder, thus making way for new material.

The Personal Content Station can play the images to a regular “brown-goods” flatscreen TV using an HDMI connector or you can make them available through your home network using the open-frame DLNA standards. I would also like to be sure that you can transfer the images between your PC and this device using standard network file-transfer protocols like CIFS or HTTP. Of course there is the ability to use an accompanying app to “throw” the images to a social network, blog or other Website using your smartphone or tablet.

As well, the Portable Wireless Server can share the content you have on a USB storage device or an SD card to its own wireless network so you can quickly share “just-taken” photos with your smartphone, tablet or Ultrabook. This is becoming important with devices like the Dell XPS 13 which doesn’t come with an SD card slot or the detachable-keyboard hybrids that have a standard SD card slot only on the keyboard module.

The Sony Portable Wireless Server also works as an “external battery pack” for the many battery-thirsty gadgets that are important to our mobile online life. This is so true if you are dealing with the smartphone that serves as your mobile Internet terminal or your Walkman.

At least Sony is fielding devices that work as a team to satisfy the reality that confronts us through our online content-creation lives.

Product Review–Kingston Wi-Drive mobile NAS


I am reviewing the Kingston Wi-Drive mobile network-attached storage unit which works in a similar manner to the Seagate GoFlex Satellite. This is where the mobile NAS works as an access point and storage device for a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet based on the iOS or Android platforms. The mobile clients require the use of an app available from their platform’s app store to be able to function properly.

16Gb 32Gb 64Gb
Recommended Retail Price AUD$69 AUD$139 AUD$223


Kingston Wi-Drive mobile network-attached storage

Class Mobile Network-Attached Storage
Storage 16Gb solid-state drive
Extra-cost variants
32Gb or 64Gb solid-state drive
Host Interface USB 2.0
Network Interface 802.11g/n WPA2 WPS-PIN wireless – access point
Supports routing to another 802.11g/n wireless network
Network File transfer protocols HTTP, use of Android or iOS app


The unit iteself

Kingston Wi-Drive and Android smartphone

The Kingston Wi-Drive is just about the same size as one of the smartphones it serves

The Kingston Wi-Drive is a small glossy box about the size of a smartphone and runs from its own rechargeable battery when it is functioning as a wireless NAS. This is charged through the USB port, which is also used to connect the Wi-Drive to a computer for transferring files in and out.

When this unit is connected to a computer, it is presented to the host as two logical drives. One is a CD-ROM drive for the unit’s firmware and other essential files while the other is the user storage space. The file transfer speed is typical for a USB 2.0 device which I noticed when I transferred a batch of music files to it to assess multimedia reliability and USB transfer behaviour.

Kingston Wi-Drive USB data and power port

USB socket for connecting to desktop computers or charging the Wi-Drive

On the other hand, the way the Wi-Drive uses the two logical volumes is a limitation if you want to do something like connect it to a media player that has a USB socket. Some of these devices expect a USB memory key which presents itself as one logical volume to be connected.

Network use

The Kingston Wi-Drive NAS presents itself as an access-point for the mobile device, but has the ability to work as a wireless router between an existing Wi-Fi network segment and the network segment it creates. It uses a weird routing setup which is dissimilar to the typical wireless router where you don’t have the ability to pass through ports between client devices and the NAS.

As far as discovering files via the network, it presents a mobile Web page or uses a client app available for the iOS platform or the Android platform to view the files in an interface-native way. The current iteration of the iOS app works in a read-only manner where you can just view files rather than offloading your iPhone’s files to it.

The Wi-Fi functionality works properly with multimedia in the way that it can stream without any jittering or similar problems, which would be important when it comes to playing music or video files. I have observed this with the Wi-Drive loaded with a bunch of MP3s and it streaming to my Samsung Galaxy S Android smartphone via the Wi-Fi link.

The Wi-Drive can work in its network capacity if it isn’t connected to a computer as a USB storage device. This means that it can be connected to a USB battery charger, self-powered USB hub, high-capacity external battery pack or similar device to charge its battery or avoid compromising its battery runtime. It is something I have done with this Wi-Drive where I connected it to a high-capacity external battery pack that I use for my phone so it can run for a longer time.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

The Kingston Wi-Drive could benefit from some improvements as far as network functionality goes.

The network setup routine could work well with a proper WPS push-button method when used with Windows 7 laptops or Android mobile devices. It can then create a secure wireless segment out of the box with these devices without the user falling to the default open-network setup which makes the device’s content vulnerable.

Then , it could be able to work as a Wi-Fi client so that it can share its file resources to an existing Wi-Fi network rather than the network it creates. This can be useful if you are using a “MiFi” router as an existing edge for a mobile WiFi network and you want to simply make files available to that network segment, or simply load this device with files from computers on your home network.

It could subsequently benefit from SMB/CIFS network-file-transfer support using Samba. This means that computers running most desktop operating systems like Windows, MacOS X or Linux can discover the NAS and transfer files to and from it like you can with a regular NAS. This could then make the Wi-Drive a useful wireless file-transfer point for a small mobile network.

Similarly, the Wi-Drive could have native support for UPnP Discovery and DLNA Network Media Server functionality. The former function can allow a Windows XP, Vista or 7 computer to discover it and have quick access to the user interface. The latter function can then allow it to be a mobile media server for WiFi enabled media devices like Internet radios that support this functionality and are used “in the field”.

This is important if we move towards Wi-Fi-enabled car-audio equipment and you want to use this as the equivalent of that old glovebox full of tapes or CDs.


Primarily, I would see the Kingston Wi-Drive as a USB flash-drive storage for use with a regular computer. But it also works well as a network-based “file-pickup” for laptops and mobile devices.

If the software was worked further, the Wi-Drive, like other mobile NAS devices, could serve a greater purpose. As well, I would like to see Kingston innovate rather than imitate Seagate.