Freecom FSG-3 Storage Gateway
More than your average NAS box
Installing the FSG-3 starts off easy: plug in the power then connect the FSG-3 to the network by cable and you're pretty much done. However, from here on in things get a bit tricky - now you have to configure the FSG-3. Freecom supplies a utility on the CD which will find the FSG-3 on your network and this then allows for some basic parameters, such as IP address and DNS settings, and from there on in you have to access the FSG-3&'s web interface.
The layout of the web interface is good, but once you need to access the more advanced settings, it gets quite complicated all too quickly. The FSG-3 allows for user groups and user accounts to be created, and each user is given their own share on the hard drive. This share can be limited, but by default there is no limit to the amount of space allocated to each account.
In its shipping state, the FSG-3 has a built-in FTP server, Apache web server with SSL encryption, print server, file server and an SPI firewall. Download the latest beta firmware version and you also get a streaming media server which does both music and video, as well as an email server and an SQL server. There's also support for UPnP, VPN pass-through and dynamic DNS addresses to mention just some of the additional features.
Indeed, it's quite amazing how much Freecom has managed to squeeze into such a small box. The FTP server was a doodle to set up, although my ADSL router wouldn't let the traffic through and doesn't have a DMZ setting. I also got it working with my Canon i865 printer, the only problem here is that only computers connected to the FSG-3 in a network can access the printer. However, I couldn't get it to work with my external 2.5in hard drive, nor my Crucial Gizmo! USB key.
Freecom seems to be working hard on releasing new firmware for the FSG-3, and there are still features that aren't quite there yet, but considering that the SRP for the Freecom FSG-3 starts at £230 (you can find it cheaper online) it's not a bad piece of kit.
The Freecom FSG-3 is an affordable NAS box, particularly for users interested in the extra server functionality that the FSG-3 has on offer compared to similar devices. It's not a product for the non-technical, and it's certainly not the best option for consumers looking for a simple box for copying files back and forth between computers. But the FSG-3 is entirely suitable for the home or small office, especially if you have several people that need to have easy access to each others files, on site or off site. ®