ASUSTOR AS6404T Review (Page 4 of 8)

Page 4 - Configuration and User Interface, Part I

The process for setting up an ASUSTOR AS6404T NAS for the first time is quite easy. There is nothing out of expectations; if you have set up a similar product before, the procedure is quite standard. To begin, point your browser to the LAN IP address of your NAS, go through a really simple wizard, and the OS will be updated, along with any settings you have in mind. It is quite similar to what QNAP has done with their latest OS, and one thing I can be sure of is that this process is very simple and foolproof. If you have never used a network attached storage system before, rest be assured everything is a breeze -- you will need very minimal networking experience to get your ASUSTOR device up and running in no time.

ASUSTOR also promises all files and settings can be migrated from one system to the next seamlessly; all you need to do is plug the disks in the same order as your previous NAS, and everything else will be done and ready. Since the hard drive installed in this NAS was the same one used for testing the ASUSTOR AS3202T previously, it was all plug and play. Everything does, indeed, transfer over seamlessly if you move your drive from one ASUSTOR NAS to another.

After setting up the NAS, we are sent to the login page, which is pictured above. Pointing our web browser to our NAS name or the LAN IP address assigned to it will give us this page. All we have to do here is enter the username and password set up earlier, then we are sent on our way to the main page. Additionally, the user can choose to stay signed in such that they do not have to sign in every time they access the page. The interface for the website is based off of the built in ASUSTOR Linux based OS. The operating system is called ADM or ASUSTOR Data Master, and is advertised to be one of the most modern NAS operating systems to date. Judging from my past experience, I do not have any objections to this claim. We are testing using version 3.0.0.B6L3, which is the latest beta version of ADM they requested us to test with.

When it comes to visual appearance, the web interface of ASUSTOR Data Master does indeed look quite sleek and modern. The latest version further enhances this, and it is hard not to draw comparisons to Apple's iOS due to the usage of buttons for simplicity. This is not the first ASUSTOR product we have reviewed running ADM, but we will still take a closer look at the software provided, and all the features that comes along with it in a deeper fashion. In my personal opinion, I feel its sleek and simple layout to be a good thing. A lot of new home NAS users want simplicity -- after all, no device should take a Computer Science degree to figure out how it works -- and this system delivers just that. Advanced options can also be found if needed. The usage of advanced scripting for the overall design makes it look sleek and practical to use. You can even drag the icons around, remove shortcuts, and add your own items here, just like a real desktop.

By default, there are thirteen buttons. Listed from top to bottom and left to right, they are Access Control, Activity Monitor, App Central, Online Help, Backup & Restore, External Devices, File Explorer, Services, Settings, Storage Manager, and System Information. More will appear depending on the applications you install. Each of these buttons will launch a small pop-up window when clicked that gives additional features or options to setup their NAS. These individual pop-ups are made to resemble a window in Windows, and look quite modern. We can attest to the fact the ADM system does look advanced and sleek, while being simple to use at the same time. The top bar is also used as a taskbar as well. Any applications you run are added to the top bar next to the "Show Desktop" button at the very end.

As you move towards the right, the Windows-like taskbar becomes more and more like a Facebook notification bar. The three icons immediately to the right of the user are System Announcements, Tools and Searchlight. Clicking on the user will reveal a menu that shows information such as logging out or restarting your NAS. Hitting the Tools button will bring up a widget menu shown in our screenshot above, which can be configured to bring up information from the Storage Manager, Activity Monitor, Online User, and Important Logs.

Given all the above icons we could look at, the first one I decided to examine was the Settings icon, since this is probably the most important part of the software due to what a NAS is used for. When we first open it up, we are given a whole slew of options on the left to choose from. From top to bottom, these are General, Network, Regional Options, Hardware, Notification, ADM Defender, Certificate Manager, ADM Update, Network Recycle Bin, Energy Saver, EZ Connect, Manual Connect, Factory Default, and Registration. Most of these options are quite self-explanatory; we will just pick a few of the unique ones to take a deeper look at them.

The first one we will look into is the Network tab, as the options here are quite important. In the Network tab, there are three other options at the top, these are General, Network Interface, and Proxy. The General option allows the user to set the server name, default gateway, DNS server, and the option to enable IPv6. The options under Network Interface allow you do stuff like creating aggregated links or enable Jumbo Frames. A proxy server can be specified in the last tab.

Secondly, we will take a look at the Hardware tab, as that is where we are able to control the majority of the hardware behind the ASUSTOR AS6404T. There are five tabs here, starting from left to right we have System, Energy Control, Power, and Fan Control, and LCD Panel. The System tab gives the user to control the lights and sounds coming from the NAS itself. The LEDs can be turned on and off, and the brightness of the LED indicators can be set as well. It is also possible to disable the buzzer or system sounds from being heard. The reset button can also be disabled to prevent accidental resets. If you do not want someone messing around with your system using a remote control, the IR port can also be turned off. Under the Energy Control tab, the time before a drive goes into standby can be set. You can also put the entire system into S3 standby mode after a certain time period. In case your NAS cannot enter standby, a diagnostic tool was made to see which process is preventing it from doing so. The Power tab has a few settings to reduce the power usage on the AS6404T, including EuP mode and power scheduling. One new feature ASUSTOR heavily advertises is Wake on WAN, which allows you to turn the NAS on remotely by a smartphone app. When it comes to Fan Control, there are four settings: Auto, Low speed, Medium speed, and High speed. The LCD Panel page allows you to output personalized text to the screen. All of these can be found under the Hardware tab on the left side, and are pretty standard when it comes to options you would want to see on a NAS device.

Thirdly, ASUSTOR provides a cloud NAS service via EZ-Connect; not shown. Simply enable the service under the EZ-Connect tab, configure your cloud ID with your ASUSTOR ID for DDNS service, run an auto router configuration if your router has UPnP support, and your server will be accessible anywhere over the internet. If you want to use a third-party DDNS service and/or configure your router manually, you may do so in Manual Connect.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware (External)
3. A Closer Look - Hardware (Internal)
4. Configuration and User Interface, Part I
5. Configuration and User Interface, Part II
6. Configuration and User Interface, Part III
7. Performance and Power Consumption
8. Conclusion