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Streaming Media files from a NAS over Wi-Fi - has anyone tried it?

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anm

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Hi,
Since hard disk seems to be the best option to store music and video, and I want to centralize content for whole house, I am exploring using NAS over WiFi.

Feasibility Questions

1. is streaming movies over wi-fi a sensible option?

2. Can a single NAS server serve 3-4 streams simultaneously? Or would the wireless router be the bottleneck?

3. I am assuming NAS would generate good amount of heat and fan noise, while other clients like popcorn hour, xbox, ps3, squeezebox should be fairly silent.

4. What are the good backup options? RAID 1 built into NAS device, or taking complete backup at regular intervals manually to another separate hard disk?

5. Can the NAS/ Storage device be simple power on/ power off instead of requiring a monitor to initiate shutdown sequence? I want it to be simple for my mother to shutdown/ restart the NAS.

6. Generally, I would like it to just serve files and do RAID, but should have enough CPU/ memory power to run squeezecenter/ other streaming servers.

NAS - I would prefer buying from market to save time, but I can build one if I can do it in couple of days, without running into too many compatibility issues. Given the cost of this WD NAS device I would like to spend ~15k on the enclosure. Any suggestions?

This one Western Digital Announces the My Book World Edition II | blog.JR.com seems to have a many of the features, along with a media server, but doesn't seem to have enough firepower to run squeezecenter.
 
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gobble

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1. is streaming movies over wi-fi a sensible option?

Get 802.11n wifi card at send receive side - this can stream HDVideo easily.
2. Can a single NAS server serve 3-4 streams simultaneously? Or would the wireless router be the bottleneck?

Do you plan to watch 2 -3 moves simultaneously at home?

3. I am assuming NAS would generate good amount of heat and fan noise, while other clients like popcorn hour, xbox, ps3, squeezebox should be fairly silent.

If you can shop in APAC, get a VIA Chipset low TDP fanless mobo/cpu that is certified for x86 XP. It should install linux/BSD easily without needing custom drivers development. A Via C7-D embedded cpu should do the trick. Here is a sample link: VIA EPIA-M700 Mini-ITX Board - VIA Technologies, Inc.

Nobody is interested in selling these in India retail and you need to buy bulk like a 100 boards before anyone will even sit up and respond to your queries.


4. What are the good backup options? RAID 1 built into NAS device, or taking complete backup at regular intervals manually to another separate hard disk?

RAID 5 or RAID10 ( combination of RAID 1 & 0 ) should not require backup. If you get an expensive hot-swap tower like a coolermaster tower chassis you can remove a defective disk and replace it on-the-fly. The crc data will be used to recompute and rebuild each bit on the old drive that needs to be on the new one.

5. Can the NAS/ Storage device be simple power on/ power off instead of requiring a monitor to initiate shutdown sequence? I want it to be simple for my mother to shutdown/ restart the NAS.
You can boot Linux/BSD without monitor attached , requires a bit of setup only advanced users are comfortable doing. The FreeNAS project may have it inbuilt. Google for it.

6. Generally, I would like it to just serve files and do RAID, but should have enough CPU/ memory power to run squeezecenter/ other streaming servers.

You want to point your media player to a streaming video url sitting on the NAS?
Let me tell you closed source WMS server will only run on windoz so forget it. Adobe/Flash code is notoriously buggy both the one you run on desktop as well as their server software. Personally I do not rate their s/w engineering practices very highly, and judging from the problems I've seen occur with their s/w. I am dying for the day there will be an alternative to flash on the www and I can uninstall the flash plugins in my linux/browser. You will need to run a QT darwin server for .mov files, a Helix server for Real media also. Do yu think you can run 4 different servers from 4 different vendors requiring two different operation systems on the same box with a fanless cpu/mobo? :) hee hee hee cackle cackle ! I feel like laughing like an old witch :licklips:

Better you deal with pointing to a media file name/path whose location is network transparent. i.e your client believes it is local, but fetched from your NAS with SAMBA/NFS/CIFS etc.

NAS - I would prefer buying from market to save time, but I can build one if I can do it in couple of days, without running into too many compatibility issues. Given the cost of this WD NAS device I would like to spend ~15k on the enclosure. Any suggestions?

DIY NAS project may take weeks to stabilize but you may be up and running in a few days with a project like FreeNAS. But eventually You will learn to adapt to it and work with it rather than the other way around. Unless you are a kernel/driver/systems programming wiz and do stuff like Bill Gates/Steve Wozniack! :)


This one Western Digital Announces the My Book World Edition II | blog.JR.com seems to have a many of the features, along with a media server, but doesn't seem to have enough firepower to run squeezecenter.

Never heard of squeeze center, so can't say.

HTH
Regards
 

anm

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Thanks for the detailed reply gobble. Will take some more time to understand all the responses you have provided.
Does any motherboard has on board support for hardware raid?

regards
 

gobble

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Thanks for the detailed reply gobble. Will take some more time to understand all the responses you have provided.
Does any motherboard has on board support for hardware raid?

regards

Sata raid 1, 0 and 10 are common. Raid 5 may need a dedicated card depending on mobo. I believe Promise technologies makes good Sata raid 5 cards.

I would recommend focusing on low power consumption as the main criteria. You dont need raid for serving music files.

Let me know when you are selecting a mobo and I can help pick the right model (google).

Cheers
 

gobble

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btw 802.11n will stream multiple HD streams just fine.

Cheers
 

anm

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I am being offered a good condition dell comp at 15k. For this purpose and at this cost - would that be a better option (P4 with 3GHz) than to go for a new one? Optiplex 270 is the model number.

regards
 

gobble

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I am being offered a good condition dell comp at 15k. For this purpose and at this cost - would that be a better option (P4 with 3GHz) than to go for a new one? Optiplex 270 is the model number.

regards

With Monitor? Check the cpu/mobo specs and power consumption - it may not be one you want left on all day. so While you save 3 - 4 K now, long term power consumption might become too big. Imagine leaving a 70W bulb left on at home all day and night.


Regards
 

anm

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yes, with monitor. I have the same concern - wasting electricity is not what I want to do.
Would it be advisable to build the server on intel atom platform (nas + vortex box)? I think there is an atom package (cpu+mobo) available - that should be pretty decent on power consumption. Not sure if it has good onboard LAN/ WLAN.

I think the audiophile music computer can also be built on atom platform - but may need better mobo or sound card. What do you say?
 

moserw

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Depends...
@anm - Are you building/assembling a PC from the ground up? Do you have an existing PC or none at all? If you have an existing PC just upgrade it (if needed). If you already have a PC just invest in a good sound card like Asus or at the very least a Creative with digital outs and good speakers like Audioengine A5. Use a good player like Foobar or cPlay and you're all set to enjoy great sounding music.

Finally PCs get outdated pretty soon. Don't start with an outdated or even a dated model no matter how cheap or economical it is. Very soon you'll need to spend a lot more on it on h/w upgrading. Better to lay off used stuff for PCs at least.

I think the audiophile music computer can also be built on atom platform - but may need better mobo or sound card. What do you say?
 

anm

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Hi Moser,
I do not have a spare PC for dedicated music or NAS purpose. I have office laptop that I use for most of my work etc. I have an old extra laptop - but that is too noisy to keep in the listening area. Though it is there as of now but I use it to browse internet on my projector :) And it too is a power guzzling monster. Almost a desktop with lcd.

So I am thinking of assembling them from grounds up.
Regarding hardware getting outdated, I am thinking more from the perspective of what is needed for the dedicated NAS and dedicated music comp. I think these two shall be two different machines.
Given that, I think I can play on not so fast/ latest hardware.

regards
 
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gobble

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yes, with monitor. I have the same concern - wasting electricity is not what I want to do.
Would it be advisable to build the server on intel atom platform (nas + vortex box)? I think there is an atom package (cpu+mobo) available - that should be pretty decent on power consumption. Not sure if it has good onboard LAN/ WLAN.

I think the audiophile music computer can also be built on atom platform - but may need better mobo or sound card. What do you say?

whats the mobo? does it have pci slots to spare? what abt a PCIe 1x or 4x slot for 802.11n wireless card? Question is will it be able to transcode into flac format effortlessly while ripping and encode easily as well - without making simultaneous music playback choppy?

Regards
 

anm

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gobble

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The atom boards are old intel 945/965 chipsets. Personally I havent used these chipsets so I cant tell if they are great. But I can tell you this. For INR 4200 you get a low power consumption mobo (12W) with 4 SATA ports + external eSATA that plays full HD video without breaking into sweat the ATI 780G. Intel has a driver handicapped version called G45 that rates poorer compared to Nvidia or ATI.

Just get a low voltage dual core 2.1 ghz cpu ( like a mobile laptop AMD Turion ) for it and it is good for future in case you want to use it as an HD player.


Regards
 

anm

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sounds good. I will read more about this mobo. Any idea as to how easily mobile cpu would be available and how much would they cost? Is this board going to be scalable to dual/ quad core CPUs going fwd?
Can I insert an intel into this board? I have no preference for a brand, and though I heard reboot/ stability and heating problems with amd decades back, I am sure they should now be as good as intel.

regards

The atom boards are old intel 945/965 chipsets. Personally I havent used these chipsets so I cant tell if they are great. But I can tell you this. For INR 4200 you get a low power consumption mobo (12W) with 4 SATA ports + external eSATA that plays full HD video without breaking into sweat the ATI 780G. Intel has a driver handicapped version called G45 that rates poorer compared to Nvidia or ATI.

Just get a low voltage dual core 2.1 ghz cpu ( like a mobile laptop AMD Turion ) for it and it is good for future in case you want to use it as an HD player.


Regards

Edit: I have seen the amd site for the mobo and I am kind of sold - unless it has some issues/ bugs it sounds good.
Regarding cpu - these turions seem 64 bit. What OS should be run on them? If I go for windows, it will add more cost, and more concerns wrt to anti-virus etc.
 
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