Home Server

As part of my desire to be able to listen to the music I want when I want and where I want, I bought Logitech’s Squeezebox Boom. This uses a wifi connection to my iTunes library to stream music and play it in my kitchen or study.

Rather than keep my laptop running all the time and also to provide a reliable backup of my music (and other files), I also bought a NetGear ReadyNAS 2000 home server. This little device is the size of a hardback book and is essentially a housing for two hard drives with a network link. The network cable plugs directly into my wifi router.

I currently only have one hard drive (a 1TB disk) in the server but will buy another when funds allow. The second drive will automatically copy the first to guard against a drive failure.

All my music and my photographs are saved on this machine. At first, I tried using the drive as my sole iTunes library, however iTunes didn’t like this unless the laptop was connected by cable to the router. Even then, I sometimes had trouble when synchronising my iPhone, and this is with the fastest wifi router I could get.

As a result, I have now revised my iTunes setup so that it is on my laptop but use a free Windows add-on called SyncToy which makes sure both copies of my iTunes library are the same.

Annoyingly, there is also a need to set up a Squeezebox server using software on the ReadyNAS to allow the devices to talk to each other.

Setting up the server is probably something that should only be attempted by someone with a decent understanding of computers. It uses Linux and various proprietary programs to manage the files and access. The most laborious tasks are when software and firmware updates are available as it requires the downloading and running of various files to complete.

There are more user-friendly home-servers available for less knowledgeable/geeky users. Although pretty quiet, the ReadyNAS has a fan which is just about audible if there’s no music or TV playing. Ideally, I would relocate it to another room but that would require setting up a new telephone socket in the utility room or somewhere.

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