There are many reasons to use the peer-to-peer (P2P) features of a network storage device rather than downloading these files to your computer: you’ll save power, you’ll put less wear and tear on your computer, and you won’t have to run your primary system all night long just to download game updates or movies in the public domain.
But that doesn’t mean your NAS device’s torrent app is flawless. The specific features of built-in NAS torrent apps make or break the experience, and there are a few that you shouldn’t compromise on.
For starters, your NAS device’s torrent utility must be able to process links to Web-based .torrent files. It’s much more convenient: instead of having to download a file to your computer system, and then pull up your NAS device’s configuration screen, and then “upload” your torrent file to your network storage device to get your download going, you should just be able to link to a torrent file hosted online and let your NAS device take care of the rest. The era of needing to download these indices to your hard drive is over, and your BitTorrent utility should know it.
In addition to the basic configuration steps that improve any torrent transfer (port selection, for example), your NAS device should have a built-in option for throttling your upload speeds. You’re defeating the point of torrent if you never share your own data, but that doesn’t mean that you have to completely open up your Internet pipeline. A healthy bandwidth balance allows you to contribute to a torrent transfer and still stream Web movies or play games without hiccups.
For heavy downloaders, your NAS device should also be able to automatically load .torrent files that you’ve placed in a specific shared folder. This allows you to drag and drop new .torrent files into a folder to start the download process instead of fiddling with a Web configuration screen. And you should be able to set rules and filters that will automatically move finished downloads to a folder on your NAS device. This gives you a clear indication that your download has finished, so you won’t have to log into the NAS device’s Web app to check a download’s status.
D-Link’s ShareCenter® line of network storage devices addresses some of these issues. For example, if you don’t feel like sharing your bandwidth or your files, ShareCenter NAS devices let you pull the plug as soon as your own download is complete. An option within the device’s Web configuration automatically clears downloads from the queue once they’re finished.
For a better bandwidth balance, check out the ShareCenter 2-Bay Network Storage Enclosure (DNS-325), which kicks the idea of download scheduling into high gear. The configuration software offers a grid representing every hour in a seven-day week, so you can mark the exact times when you want peer-to-peer downloads to run. It’s a perfect solution if you and your fellow network users need maximum, unrestrained bandwidth during the evening and would prefer to fire up torrent files after you’ve gone to bed.
In the world of NAS devices, automation is king: the fewer settings you have to check on or files you have to manipulate, the better. Why would you want to conduct torrent activity on a peripheral device if the whole process is more time-consuming than using a PC? That’s the beauty of NAS: pretty much everything you might want to do with storage is concentrated in one device.