For purposes of my home network, I needed small, decent file server which would be on all the time and serve as a central point for rest of the machines.
After researching (and checking availability here in Serbia), Freecom Network Drive Pro 500 Gb looked as a more than correct solution: it is not just a file server, it is also web server, ftp server, and basically mini Linux machine – it has even torrent client.
I could not wait to get unit – as all geeks, I adore good piece of hardware 🙂
It looked as promised – nice, compact aluminum unit, with web administration interface; it stated that current firmware is 4.2.7
Unit was connected to network via LinkSys WAG325N and I start experimenting. At first, all seemed ok (apart from unit freezing once). Than I started with more serious tasks – created couple of network shares and started copying files from/to ND Pro 500 from Windows based (XP, Vista) stations, via Explorer, Total Commander and couple of file/backup oriented applications.
Than it happened: file on ND Pro 500 was different (!!!) than source file on local PC in a “special” case:
- Copy file from PC to ND Pro 500; note size
- Make file on PC shorter (for example, if text is in question, remove couple of characters or lines)
- Copy new version of file from PC to ND Pro 500
File on ND Pro 500 will retain old size and content of file will be: new version content + rest of the bytes from old file version; or, in other words, unusable, which you usualy do not expect from (not-so-cheap) consumer unit to do; at least, file server should protect my data instead of corrupting them.
I started usual route; wrote to Freecom support (30th November) as well as posted message in OpenFSG forum – forum which appears on administrative pages of Network Drive Pro 500. I was not happy seeing that load of users have similar problems.
What is often case these days, it seems that need for quality drivers/firmwares in neglected in favor of “sell, sell, sell and majority of byers won’t even notice that this does not do what is promised”.
I got no response from support. Call them on phone; they stated that they never heard for this (well, for what is OpenFGS forum than?) and that I should write them again. Did that. Forwarded mail and just get “forwarded to R&D, awaiting their response”.
Then they asked for my phone (06th December), I gave my mobile.
Nothing. Zilch. Nada.
After a couple of days (10th December) I decided that this is enough – just returned whole unit and took full refund back. To be honest: I do not expect that someone make firmware correction in two days; I know software production very well – make change, build, test, correct problems, build, test … But I did expect that someone:
- Contact me
- Confirm findings
- Give decent estimate when new firmware will be out
My advice: do not buy units from Freecom; maybe their idea is great, but realization is not and support is close to none; and those products should take care of most important stuff in electronic world – your data.
Or, if you are brave enough 🙂 check forums first and firmware version second – you can save a lot of frustrations.
(Note: all above goes for Windows clients; apparently, there are no such problems if your client is Mac or Linux)