I purchased a Linksys EFG120 Network Attached Storage/Print server device to play with.
You can buy these online for $675 or so (e.g. http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProductDesc.asp?description=56-124-001&depa=1). The Linksys page describing the product is at: http://www.linksys.com/products/product.asp?grid=35&prid=555.
The EFG120 is a expandable 120GB NAS device with a built-in print server. It includes drive bays for 2 removable IDE hard drives; one is occupied by a Maxtor 120GB drive (6Y120L0). Installing a 2nd drive gives you either double the disk capacity or backup of the first drive. The network port is 10/100/1000 (Gigabit). The fact that it supports two drives and Gigabit Ethernet puts it above the current “ultra-low-end” NAS market represented by the likes of the Tritton TRI-NAS120 ($270), but below the mainstream “low-end” NAS represented by the DELL PowerVault 725N ($1799).
The Tritton 120GB model includes a single IDE drive and is slow (even though it supports 100baseT my tests showed 5-8mbps throughput). The DELL is running Windows Server and has 4 40GB IDE drives and supports RAID 0, 1, and 5 as well as Gigabit Ethernet…and it’s 1U rackmount form factor.
Linksys is targeting this device at small businesses and workgroups. Setup was easy and usage was not horrible. A naïve small business owner would be hard pressed to understand why he should spend $1800 on a DELL or Iomega NAS vs. this thing.
Setup was simple. If you have UPnP enabled on your system (it’s off by default on XP, you have to add/remove programs to turn it on), the EFG120 shows up in Network Neighborhood. Double clicking takes you to the web-based admin page.
Configuration was a bit goofy. The UI is not very intuitive but workable. Setting the device’s name to “NAS” allowed me to open \\NAS and see all the shares. So netbios naming is supported (it also supports WINS in some fashion).
The 2nd drive can be used either as more storage or as a “backup” for the first drive. If the 2nd drive is used for expansion there is no striping or other fancy stuff. You can simply share out the 2nd drive via another share name (this means that you can’t copy a 200GB file to the device even though you have 240GB of drive space. For backup the device does NOT support RAID mirroring, but instead copies the files from the first drive to the 2nd. The effect is the same though.
The device supports “advanced” functions such as defrag, “chkdsk”, and email alerts.
You can add users and groups and assign permissions to the shares you create appropriately. The built-in “Everyone” group allows anonymous/non-authenicated access. This is good for me because I use DFS at home and Domain DFS can only access protected shares using NTLM auth (although it’s unsecure, but for my music collection who cares
I didn’t test the print server functionality, but I assume it works as advertised.
Performance seemed good, but I didn’t test it quantitatively.
I don’t know if you can put a larger than 120GB drive in it. A google search didn’t help answer this and I don’t have a spare larger than 120GB drive lying around to test. Since it boots from flash, not the disk, you should be able to put any disk in it to test. I may give this a try at some point.
There you go…
Thanks Charlie, I am considering setting up a personal server and a back up storage device. your review helped me deciede to go with the linksys device.
I purchased this same product and have found VERY POOR results while using it on a 1 gb connection. Performance is SLOW I’m talking a 1% MAX speed while copying anything to it. If it is plugged into a 100 base T switch. It performs well at that speed, much faster then on a 1000gb switch. The problem is when the NAS is running at GB speed. I tried using a crossover cable set at 1gb & still the same slow problem. Server to server is also not a problem running at gb. We also took it back & got a 2nd one. Same problem. I am curious to see what kind of speed your getting out of it running at on a gb lan. I called Linksys & they have no solution to the problem. If you can email me the results to firstname.lastname@example.org
I have bought a EFG120 and also found out that when you use on a GB lan it performs realy poor.. They could put a 10Mbit network interface in it because it does not peform better. The average read througput on a GB network is 5 megabyte a second the write througput is 1 megabyte a second. The specs of a 1GB network are lots higher.
Same problem here, very slow performance when using the EFG120 on a gigabit LAN. I cannot understand that LinkSys is selling a product which claims gigabit performance, but it simply does not work. Did they actually test this product for this speed ?
We purchased 2 of the efg120 while running 100mb connection. We upgraded to gigabit (with linksys hubs/switches/cards) and the efg120’s did not speed up at all. All the computers on the network could communicate at gigabit speeds with each other, but not to the EFG120. I faulted myself at first but soon came to believe it was the EFG120. I spent hours on the phone with tech support with people that spoke broken english and they refused to admit there was a problem. They kept telling me to reduce the link speed and everything would be fine. I told them the only reason we purchased the efg120s was to get the speed and that made the product either mis-represented or defective. They refused to admit that it was defective and would not offer any kind of monetary reparation. We decided never to by linksys again and instead sold off the efg120s to people that didn’t need gigabit speed.
My experience with linksys had been good up to that point, but spending $1,500.00 on something and just getting run around is not my idea of "good" customer service.
I purchase a couple of EFG120’s. I upgraded the firmware to the latest version R18 from the USA Linksys site, and have the units running with 300GB Maxtor drives. Works just fine. I use the backup option (from drive 1 to 2) the first backup takes ages (all night), but after that the backup are incremental and just take a small time.
As to network speed, I can see an appreciable difference between 100base and 1000base, I haven’t done any measurements though. Rememeber these are brand new units (I have heard that there are version 1 units and version 2’s, but no mention of this from Linksys… the clue is on the firmware upgrade site on Linksys.com.
Overall, I’m quite happy with the EFG120 (although, technically, I suppose I am running them as EFG300’s. There is an EFG240 available, but I got the 4 x Maxtor 300GB for cost so hence my own upgrade…
Hope this helps 🙂 Ed S.
I have 2 of these units in service…I’d go with something like a buffalo linkstation or terrastation before another of these.
MAJOR problem: Linksys doesn’t seem to know much about them. Every tech support case I’ve opened on these units ends up "referred to product management" and rots. I’ve have a couple cases opened up for months.
Next issue: I have a 120 and a 160gb drive in one of the units. I can’t create shares on the second drive. Not sure if it’s an issue with mismatched drives or something. Don’t have a spare 120gb to try. Linksys support has "referred to product management" and I’m still waiting for response.
Next issue: print q. Remember that there aren’t as many SIMPLE parallel printers out there any more. Many hps aren’t happy when run off a basic parallel connection like this. Also, there is NO provision of print Q management on the EFG. And any windows user will see "Access Denied" for the printer. The printer will operate, but users will be left wondering if they’ll still be able to print.
The case is well-built, there is a small cooling fan that stays on all the time. The built-in daily mirror routine is convenient and works well.
It’s not a bad solution, but there are better out there for the $$$. It’s especially annoying to buy one of the more expensive linksys products and not get better support. They do a better job with the $50 routers than these.
People are complaining about speed, but if you test it with files, the throughput will be limited by hard drive access times. I don’t know if this uses UMDA, but even with UDMA sustained data rate from hard drive is much less than advertised. My tests show ~20 MB/sec (160 Mb/sec) with UDMA133 (claimed 133*8=1064 Mb/sec)!
In my opinion, Gb Enet is useless for NAS unless the drive is on RAID0+++ or using multiple NAS at a time.
Nice to hear u Charlie.