As NAS drives become common these days as a centralized storage of data at home or office, we find the need to integrate it in our connected lifestyle where everything is accessible over ip network and everything is accessible from everywhere. To cater to the modern lifestyle of a connected world, device makers are making devices which are cloud based so that your service is accessible from anywhere over the internet. These devices have cloud softwares and applications for your laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc which make accessing your content seamless This article is not about those devices because as you know, those devices have seamless connectivity. This article is about those devices which do not have built in remote access feature like many of the NAS drives today and need little tweaking to make them work.
In this blog, I will cover how to connect to your NAS storage (Buffalo Linkstation) from I devices and Androids but you can use these guidelines for NAS drives from other manufacturers as well.
I have read many people complain about how slow the buffalonas.com website is and that it is very slow to transfer data from the Buffalo server. This could probably be stemming from the misrepresented diagram which comes from Buffalo about how Web Access works. I would like to clarify that nobody would give you 1TB or 2TB of free storage on their server just because you have purchased a hardware from them, not even the cloud vendors. What exactly happens is that when you access the buffalonas.com site with your added url, you are redirected to your own NAS and depending upon the speed of your remote internet connection and the speed of your home connection, your transfer speed will be decided and buffalo does not come into the picture.
How it works
Generally we access our Data stored on Network Shares via Windows SMB (//ip-address-of-share) or Apple’s AFP when we are in our home/office but the problem with these protocols is that you cannot use it over the Internet as your ISP most probably would be blocking these protocols because these protocols have many vulnerabilities and it is very easy to exploit these vulnerabilities and cause a chaos in the network. So instead of relying on these protocols, we are using web based protocol which can be easily secured by encryption and authentication as well as easy to implement. The Buffalo NAS Drive runs this Web access feature on TCP Port 9000. Since your NAS drive is on private ip address, you cannot access it over the Internet. For it to be accessible over the Internet, you must access it over your public ip address. Now there are 2 problems with this. First is that most of us have dynamic ip addresses at home which changes every time and thus we cannot know our ip address while we are on the move. In order to tackle this problem, Buffalo provides the solution of registering your device with Buffalonas.com so that whenever your device registers with it, Buffalo would come to know your Public ip address and thus you need not know your public ip address and hence can access your NAS drive through the Buffalonas.com/yourNASName url.
The other problem with Web Access is that since the remote access request will come over the Internet to your Router of which your Router has no knowledge as to who to send the request to on the LAN, your router will drop the Traffic. The way Buffalo tackles this is by using a protocol called upnp. The upnp enabled NAS Drive can request the upnp enabled Router to send to it all traffic destined to port 9000 (web access port). This way the remote request coming to the router from the internet will go to the router and you can get access to your NAS Drive. There are some cases though in which upnp might not work, like if it disabled in the router or not supported, etc, then you will have to manually configure the router to forward Web Access Traffic to the NAS drive.
Note:Mostly the Internet facing port is configured with a different port than 9000, example 12345.
You have to have a NAS drive which is connected to your network and which has Web access feature.
You have to have an I device like Ipad, Iphone, etc or an Android smartphone.
You should have a wireless network through a router which also connects to the NAS Drive
Enabling Web Access
Access your NAS and go to the settings meant for Web Access. Refer to your manual for further information. Enable Web Access and set the unique name. The name has to be unique because your NAS will need to be differentiated from every other Buffalo NAS in the Planet. This unique name will be used to access your NAS over the Internet as “www.buffalonas.com/youruniquename”. Once your NAS is registered, check whether you are able to access it over the Internet by going to www.buffalonas.com/youruniquename. If it is accessible, then you do not need any further configuration on the NAS or your Router.
Installing Applications on I devices or Android
If you are using Android Tablet or Smartphone, go to google play and install smartphone navigator. Please note that you must be on the same network as the NAS to proceed. You cannot use your 3G connection or any other connection for it to detect your NAS. When you start the Navigator, it will search for the NAS and add it with the Unique NAS name you have configured on the NAS. If it does not add the Unique name, you will have to add it with Easy NAS setup. Be sure to use the same Unique NAS name as configured on the NAS. Your device should be added now and you should be able to see your root folder. Preferably change the admin password. If you have not already defined users for Web Access, you will have go to the NAS settings and User/Group settings and make users. Go to Web Access settings and allow the users access to folders and login credentials that must be used. Go to google play again and install Web Access software. Login with user credentials and it will show you the NAS and all files which you have access to.
You have to follow the same procedure for Ipads, Iphones, etc except that you will have to install these softwares from App Store.
For more detailed installation guide, refer to Buffalo site
For those of you who are not able to access it over the web should not proceed for Application installation. If your url is not giving any output, it means that your Router is not forwarding your web request to the NAS. It probably means that upnp did not work and you will have to do port forwarding manually. First we need to login to our NAS and go to Web Access Advanced settings. Here you have to disable Automatic Firewall setting and see what ports are being used for Internal and External port. Note whatever values are shown. Go to your router and go to the Application and gaming section. ( I am using the example of a Linksys router for Port forwarding and all routers have similar configurations). Here click on Single port forwarding and Add whatever name you want for the NAS. Set the External port as 12345 (or whatever you noted a while back), Internal port as 9000. Set the ip address of the NAS drive and enable the forwarding. Save the changes. Go to www.buffalonas.com/youruniquename in your browser and the NAS site should open. Login with the credentials and you should be able to access your files on the go. Now you can proceed with Application installation on Android or I devices.
There are many among us who want to use the NAS as an extended storage for Smartphones and Tablets which do not have expandable memory and are not much interested in accessing the data over the web. For this I would suggest to use the smartphone navigator App while being in the same network as the NAS drive so that the access speed is high i.e. traffic does not have to go over the internet (through your 3G connection or any other net connection) and then come back to your NAS.
Second thing to note for a faster access over the Internet is to use your own Dynamic DNS rather than relying on buffalonas.com. The Problem with buffalonas.com is that it takes a very long time to convert your url to your actual public ip address. If you are already using a service like Dynamic DNS over your Home network then stop registering at Buffalonas.com and instead use the url provided by Dynamic DNS service. Also, there are some among us who get the same public ip address from their ISP all the time, so instead of using buffalonas.com, use your public ip address for accessing your NAS like http://public-ip-address:12345
Complete Video Tutorial
I hope my post has been helpful in your life but the only guide which can help you in the hereafter is the Qur’an. You can download the English translation of the Qur’an here.