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A server for sharing content at home

home server for content sharing

The home is an area of investigation for the most enjoyable uses of data. There is a great common demand for a server to share content with others inside and outside the home or to access the content from outside the home.

Since the content is data, sharing content in the home can be achieved in many ways, which are not always easy to grasp. Although, there are “classic” methods that offer excellent solutions, what’s often more complex is when we want to share from the home, within the home and outside the home with friends or with ourselves when we’re on the move.

There are two problems to be addressed here: what does it take to achieve sharing in the home; and how “open” is this space to the Internet? The issue here is not shared from external to internal, but rather from internal to external. We’re not talking about where you save photos and videos for online hosting.

On the server side, you can use a PC running Windows 7 or Windows 8 that will distribute content on a WiFi or Ethernet network. The problem for WiFi with video is that it works well in a room. However, it becomes complicated when it needs to pass through a wall, which is more typically load-bearing. The best and easiest way that works in almost all conditions is the powerline adapter. But not just any powerline adapter. The Devolo 200 AV adapters work perfectly, even in difficult conditions. The main advantage of this type of adapter is that they adapt and eliminate a lot of noise from the multi-socket environment. The idea behind this is that one adapter is connected to the ADSL box or fibre adapters, preferably from the same brand and the same type of electrical outlets as are used in the home. It is a complex thing to try and make generations of powerline adapters work together and this can reduce the overall communication abilities on the electrical wiring.

It’s easy to share content with this Windows solution, but there is a limit to the video file formats that are supported (as is the case with the Microsoft-based solution, Windows Media Player), and the complexity of opening the network to the Internet. In order to simplify the whole system, there is the NAS (Network Advanced Server), a small box that is more or less complex to configure and install, but it has the advantage of being easily compatible with audio and video equipment in the home in terms of server recognition. Thus, a TV of DLNA standard will easily find the content from a NAS that was made 4 or 5 years ago. It should also be noted that NAS, unlike much video equipment, shares all video formats, which is not necessarily the case with Windows, except if it’s a Microsoft format. For video sharing, the benefit of NAS solutions optimised for video technology is that they don’t offer a simple download, but rather a way of streaming that adapts to both the terminal and the ADSL flow. In most cases, you can watch your videos on the move from a smartphone or tablet. Although, you don’t have DVD quality that you would have in the home, you can enjoy the same movie in HD.

Certain NAS solutions, such as My Cloud from Western Digital (WD), are among the universally acceptable and easier to implement solutions as they come with software that can set up access to your shared drive from your iPhone and any computer from any location. In particular, this uses a system of “Cloud presence” that allows the NAS server to tell the WD Cloud on the Internet that it is available. This allows other authenticated devices to very easily access content with the same account without asking questions about how to open up the Internet in the home. This is made more secure by the fact that you don’t need to learn how to install it.

In summary, a good small network in the home and an optimal NAS are the two keys for easily achieving qualitative sharing of all types of audio, photo and video content.

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