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Hey all!

I do home user computer repair. Basic set-ups, network, email, tweaking, reinstalls, data recovery, etc...

I had a call tonight from someone who got my name from a friend. This person is setting up a small business, 6 pc's, and wants a wireless network + able to access data between them. I got the idea she wants a repository where everyone can read/write to. The work is going to be basically documents.

In my home, I use a Netgear DGND3700 modem/router. It has 2) USB 3 ports to allow for the addition of external HDD's as storage accessible through the router.

I also have a Linksys Mediahub which is plugged via ethernet- this is also web accessible & has the option of RAID. I'm on the fence with RAID as if the unit fries, both drives go. If there are 2 HDD's, however, the odds of both dying at once are slim.

So, the question is: would a modem/router as above work? Is this a viable way to go about this? I have limited working knowledge (as in, hands-on) with "servers" in the technical sense- I know what they are & what they do- but not sure the difference between this scenario & a true server.

Also, what would be the best way to back everything up assuming 6 pc's saving to an external device via router?

Sorry this is sort of vague- I had a very quick conversation with her & just said I'd research & let her know. I'm still Googling, but wanted to post this here in case someone had a great idea.


asked Oct 23 '12 at 09:40

geekomatic's gravatar image


edited Oct 23 '12 at 09:41

If a a small business has 6 computers then you want to avoid a home network and get a MS-windows SBS server in there and create a Domain. If you are unable to do this then i would strongly suggest you advise this company to go to a professional to do it for them. The advantages of this are endless.

I (unlike you) would also strongly suggest RAID storage, After all you say that if the unit fries both drives fail... Hello! If your single HDD failes your screwed, If you have RAID it creates redundancy thats the whole point; if a drive fails it can be rebuilt using the other! You dont want the collapse of a company to be on your back do you? No, so either create a working solution which CAN NOT FAIL (because at the end of the day these guys will turn to you and ask why the hell has it gone wrong and you will have to answer to them! Or tell them to go elsewhere!

answered Oct 26 '12 at 07:45

Headwards's gravatar image


Hi Headwards,

What are the specific advantages, to creating a domain, in your view?

RE: RAID etc...The router set-up I propose will have two, individual HDD's attached, not one. It IS redundant.

The reason that this person has come to me is because they have had terrible experiences before. They have tried quite a few of the "professionals" & weren't impressed. I've done computer work for them (on the home-owner level) & quite a few friends, so they called. The first thing I told them was that I don't do business work which relies on servers because I'm not trained in that. The woman proceeded to explain the need they had- & it is exactly what I have set up in my home now. So, I told her about it.

I have dual-drives hooked to the router. I manually backup files to both (I also keep a 3rd copy on a 2nd HDD in my main desktop) & it's simple enough for me to backup my home folder every so often. I can FTP into the drives from anywhere using Filezilla.

Naturally, I'll be sure to have everything powered through either UPS or good surge boards. The wireless component on this router is really good, as well. The owner doesn't want to run wire/cable.

You're right about having things come back to haunt me- & I'll be sure to word the contract (& verify with them) so that they accept that I am not a trained networking tech but am willing to set them up to the best of my ability & that they acknowledge this.

Who knows? They may never decide to call me or may hire elsewhere in the meantime. It won't bother me either way.

Cheers & thanks for the warning.

(Oct 29 '12 at 05:11) geekomatic geekomatic's gravatar image

Hi geekomagic,

It's very easy to do. I'm assuming that you're basically saying that you want all 6 PC's to be able to connect to the hard drive connected to the router, and all be able to write and read files to that hard drive?

That's not even networking, just set up the computers as normal like you would at home, with access to the router, or make sure that the router is somewhere plugged into the network, then connect the hard drive as followed in the routers instructions to the router, and then tell every computer to go to the IP of the hard drive that the router will assign it using Windows explorer.

Netgear tell you how to do this on their website. It's no different for one computer than for 6.

Note that this doesn't work with all routers, some routers even with USB ports only suport printing, not hard drive reading, although the Netgear DGND3700 you mention does.

With regards to backing up, for legal reasons I now prefer using cloud based backup solutions, as insurance rarely covers you in the event of data loss from a fire, if your external hard drive gets melted too! Whereas with cloud storage it's secure, accesible from anywhere, you get almost infinite space, for a few dollars, and it's all automated and there's tonnes of tested and proven options, however if you insist on using that hard drive connected to the router then Microsoft produce folder syncing software called SyncToy which can sync every day for example, and just update new changes, such as when stuff is added to a word document, similar to Time Machine on a Mac. There's also many other paid for backup options, but they may not enjoy working with your chosen router hard drive setup over a network.

Hope this helps! I'm happy to help further if you have more questions.

Thomas Crabtree

answered Oct 23 '12 at 16:22

Thomas%20Crabtree's gravatar image

Thomas Crabtree

edited Oct 23 '12 at 16:23

Hi Thomas,

Thanks for the SyncToy link. I've been reading about that vs. other similar apps. I'm waiting to hear back from the woman who called me. She had said it would be about 6 weeks before they were ready to set it up. I'm not 100% sure if she meant that multiple people would access & alter the same documents- or if it was merely a repository that was needed so that each user could alter their own documents. Additionally, she expressed the ability to access the drives from home- which can be done via FTP utilizing the router.

According to SyncToy, you map a drive & assign folders to sync. I'll have to set it up here to see if it works correctly when passing through the router.

Thanks for the head's-up. I'll try to remember to check back with whatever transpires.


Btw- what cloud service do you use/recommend?

(Oct 29 '12 at 04:55) geekomatic geekomatic's gravatar image
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Asked: Oct 23 '12 at 09:40

Seen: 998 times

Last updated: Oct 29 '12 at 05:11