Joined on 12/29/04
TP-Link 8 port switch
Pros: The switch seems to be well constructed, with a good fit and finish. It's on the heavy side, when compared to my 5 port 1Gb Belkin and Netgear switches, though those switches have plastic casing and this one is metal. I did several file transfers of various sizes, from 3Mb to 100Gb, using each of the switches and they all performed similarly. Each port of the TP-Link was tested, and each performed comparably to the others.
Cons: As others have mentioned, the power input and RJ45 inputs are on opposing sides and the LED indicators are on the RJ45 ports. I have other switches with the same setup. I would prefer all of the cables on one side and have indicators on the other, as some of my other switches are, but that's just a cosmetic issue.
Overall Review: When I renovated my house, I wired the whole thing. My network has 2 NAS servers, a media system a house monitoring server, surveillance system and several PCs. All network compatible components in my entertainment center (blu ray, TV, game consoles, etc), and my appliances are all hard wired.
Decent starter camera
Pros: Easy setup: The camera's pretty much just plug and play, There's a template to use in order to mount directly to a surface, or you can use the included bracket to offset the mounting location. Motion detection: You can use motion detection to send you alerts or to begin recording video. The alerts can include an image of what triggered the event. Remote viewing: You can log on to the dlink cloud service to view your camera from anywhere you have an internet access. Recording: You are able to record the camera's stream onto a local network drive. Day/Night mode: The camera can see in total darkness. It can auto select day and night mode or you can manually select it. App: DLink has an app for Android and iPhone. The android app works well and can be used anywhere that you can connect to the internet.
Cons: Internet: You must have an internet connection to use the install software or to get the manual. Only a quick start guide is included in the packaging. Pan/Tilt: The included software makes panning and tilting a hit or miss affair. The camera only responds occasionally. The camera can easily be heard when moving and sometimes ticks at random intervals. LEDs: The IR LEDs are readily visible anytime they are on. That makes the camera easily seen, which is gets it identified in a surveillance situation, there is also an activity LED that is always on or flashing, I haven't been able to find a way to turn it off, which other cameras allow. Apps: There is a free app, but there is also a paid app. The free app is constantly searching on a tablet, making a phone the only viable option for a mobile application.
Overall Review: You can access the camera directly by going into your web browser and entering it's IP address, which your router will supply. I have installed surveillance systems in residential and business environments. This camera is good for this price range.
An acceptable router
Pros: Gigabit ports all provide gigabit speed according to my tests. Superior wireless range compared to my dual channel Linksys E3000. Far better wireless speeds than my Linksys E3000 and equal distances. In most cases, the TP-Link is at least double my Linksys. Guest network after firmware update. On/Off button. On/Off button for wireless, no need to go into the settings and change things there. The reset button doesn't require a pin. Each frequency can be set up individually or identically. This can give you 4 separate wireless networks.
Cons: I needed to do a firmware update to get the guest network and the extremely limited, makeshift QOS. This is my biggest issue so far. The QOS type feature is a joke. It's basically a bandwidth limiter, which you need to setup for every machine connected. See "Other thoughts" for more detail. The lights are distracting. I have the router on a shelf, about 1 foot from the ceiling, with the front toward the wall, the thing lights up the room. A firmware update will wipe your settings. This isn't all that abnormal, but there is no warning about it.
Overall Review: My network setup includes (wired) a few switches, IP network cameras, 2 desktops, printer, 3 TVs, HTPC, a NAS, XBox, PS3, Wii, Roku and various A/V components. (Wireless) Some laptops, tablets and phones. My router must have a decent QOS option or I cannot stream shows and movies. I must be able to have specific programs have priority, not entire machines, which is what this router does. This is a good router that could be much better with decent firmware. There are alternate firmware options out there that provide all of the options most would need, but I have not tried them on this router.
Good for HTPC
Pros: The WD Green series is a great option for storage or media playback. I have this drive in my HTPC and have not had any issues with it streaming video to multiple sources. It runs much cooler than my Reds and Blacks. It's quieter than my Reds and Blacks.
Cons: If the drive has been inactive, it takes a little longer for it to spin up and serve up data then the Blacks. It's not as fast as most other drives, but that's an intentional design. This is an OEM drive, it does not come with a retail box, mounting hardware or instructions. All OEM drives are like this. The two year warranty is pretty short, most of my other drives have had five year warranties. I've never had any of my WD drives fail before ten years, so I'm not concerned about this.
Overall Review: I have several WD Greens, Reds and Blacks. I use the Greens for storage and media playback, the Reds are being used in my NAS and surveillance system, the Blacks are my main drives. This drive shouldn't be used as a main drive, it should be used for storage. It should not be used for virtual memory either. It is not a performance drive and shouldn't be compared to data transfer rates of other drives. I see comparisons with SSDs and can't help but wonder why anyone would make comparisons between the two, they are each meant for significantly different things. This drive is being used in my HTPC, and I wasn't concerned with doing benchmark tests on it. Streaming video isn't a very data intensive activity.
Not as good as I had hoped
Pros: It's a nice looking device and kept my phone going for a bit longer than it normally would.
Cons: The Android app constantly crashed on me, on every device. Any time more than one device connected to the MobileLite the app would crash on each device. When the app would crash, I would usually need to restart the MobileLite in order to be able to connect to it again. I was only able to get moderate reliability when using the web browser to access the MobileLite. Finding the IP for the MobileLite took some minor digging, since it's not noted in the instructions. I was able to get it from the app. The MobileLite will occasionally show up twice in the app, with different IP addresses. The longest the app has stayed running for me, on any of my devices, was for about 10 minutes. The internet passthrough option does not work well. I've only been able to access the internet with the pass through one time. Transfer speeds are painfully slow. It's significantly faster for me to plug into a computer and transfer files. There is no charger included, and only a short micro USB cable. You have to use your computer or a phone charger to charge it.
Overall Review: I reviewed the MobileLite with Android devices, an HTC One, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. I used USB memory, SD cards and Micro SD cards. I've had the MobileLite for 2 weeks and have worked with it every day.
Pros: It seems to be well constructed, with it's compact and solid design. It easily fits in small areas. It has a slightly larger footprint than my router. Basic install is simple, you just plug it into the router and plug it in, then follow the directions. No internet connection required. You can install it through the website or with the included software, I used the website. It went smoothly for me. Cloud access can be identical to local access. Pulling drives is simple and straightforward. There are several useful apps that are readily available.
Cons: Setup isn't as straightforward as it could be. I had to look things up online to figure out how to setup some features. You need physical access to the NAS while installing the software. In my case, that required me to leave my detached office and go to my network room, in my house. It interferes with our wireless baby monitor. It's set up about 6' away from the monitor, on the other side of a wall, and is regularly interfering with the monitor. Moving files isn't as simple as it should be, I have an easier time transferring files to and from other computers on my network than the NAS. Installing a new drive can take a few attempts if you don't line things up just right. When I reinstalled a drive, I couldn't get it to lock in. The drive would go in too far and the latch wouldn't line up with the case. Many things in the interface have no description, or very limited description. Unless you know what they are already you have to look them up online. I'm sure there are things I would use if I knew what they were without having to spend extra time looking them up.
Overall Review: My NAS arrived formatted in RAID1, I've seen others post that there's arrived without formatting. I reformatted mine to RAID0, for the extra space. In RAID1 it has 886GB, in RAID0 it has 1.74TB.