The Iomega iConnect is a clever, stylish and inexpensive device that allows you to access and share information stored on USB devices on both your home network or via the internet. Here's our Iomega iConnect review.
So you have tons USB storage lying around, and you wish that you could just put it in some out-of-the-way spot and access it across your home network. For a very reasonable £69 (less if you shop around), the Iomega iConnect Wireless Data Station will let you do that and more - with up to four drives.
Considering the price, we were expecting the Iomega iConnect to be a dumb, USB 2.0-to-ethernet converter. Instead, we found that it's basically a network-attached storage box without drive bays. Inside the device sits a DLNA-certified Universal Plug-and-Play media server to stream music and video across the network and handle BitTorrent transfers; it even allows you to attach printers and cameras to any of its four USB ports. It offers no RAID-style redundancy, but that's understandable for a device that relies on removable storage.
The Iomega iConnect supports wireless connectivity, but since it's disabled by default you must initially connect via the gigabit ethernet port to enable it. You may connect to the unit and configure it via IP address and a browser, or by installing client software that will discover the box for you. Either way, you wind up at the same visually appealing and easy-to-navigate HTML configuration pages.
We found configuring the Iomega iConnect easy, though not entirely without incident. The unit would not connect to our Linksys WRT350N router using WPA personal security; switching the router to WPA2 fixed that problem. We also had to manually forward the 21 (FTP) and 443 (HTTP) ports to the Iomega iConnect to enable remote access.
Once configured, the Iomega iConnect worked perfectly, although it often required reboots after configuration changes. We attached several USB drives, and it found them immediately. The client software will map the drives for you, or you can map them as network drives on your own if you forgo the software as we did. It found and installed our Samsung ML-1450 printer, though that required attaching USB storage (presumably for print spooling) and performing a reboot after attaching said storage. Note: we found no power-saving settings for the unit that would allow a user to power down drives to conserve energy.
We used Windows 7 and Media Player 11 to test the UPnP server, which worked perfectly. Streaming across our admittedly very fast gigabit network was perfect, even with 1080p video. The unit also automatically transferred files from a digital camera when we attached it. (This behaviour is optional and configurable under the Media Services tab.)
While the Iomega iConnect has all the features that most home users will need, it might not offer every little function that more tech-savvy types might want. For instance, we were able to connect directly using HTTPS port 443 and our preferred dyndns.org, but not FTP port 21. Iomega also offers easy access via its own relay server and TZO dynamic DNS. On the other hand, you can define users, shared folder permissions, and other settings, just as on other NAS boxes.
NEXT: our expert verdict >>