By Evan Ackerman
A NAS (network attached storage) drive is quite a handy thing to have on your home network. You can stuff it back behind your router (assuming it’s not a part of your router, that is) and forget about it, except that it’ll always be available to any computer on your network… It’s an easy way to add flexible storage for things like media that multiple people want to share. Or, it should be an easy way, but it often turns out to be expensive and troublesome.
This little box from Hitachi is called SimpleNet, and it’s able to turn any external USB drive into a NAS drive. From the look of things, you plug your router into one and a USB drive into the other, and that’s it. $80 might be a tad steep for this convenience, but there’s a lot of possibilities with this little device, and it gives you the flexibility to hot swap as many USB drives as you like. I haven’t run the numbers on this, but my guess is that you’ll probably save money (and headaches) if you get SimpleNet and some regular dirt cheap external USB drives, as opposed to a couple external drives designed with integrated ethernet ports. Yes, you’re going to take a speed hit with the 10/100 ethernet port (plus the USB) on the SimpleNet, but I bet it’ll work great for backups and light media access.
The Hitachi SimpleNet USB NAS adapter should be available now(ish) in retail stores.