Netgear ReadyNAS RN212 Network Attached Storage Review

Netgear ReadyNAS RN212 Introduction

Netgear has released a new line of high-end-yet-consumer-friendly Network Attached Servers (NAS) dubbed the RN210 family. They are available in both two-and-four bay models, and this time around we’ll be examining its two-bay model, the RN212. Keep in mind, however, that almost everything we cover here applies to the four-bay model as well, which goes by the moniker RN214.

The big deal with this NAS is that, according to Netgear, it’s the “only ARM-based NAS that delivers full HD 1080p to 480p transcoding,” with the purpose being the ability to stream content from the NAS to your smart phone or tablet without any dropped frames. Another notable is that it uses the BTRFS file system, which is a copy-on-write (CoW) system designed to improve data reliability and scalability. It’s quite uncommon among consumer products, so we applaud Netgear for using it, and it will also surely make the Linux admins happy.
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The RN21X family also uses Netgear’s ReadyCLOUD platform, so any data stored on the NAS can be accessible from any device connected to the Internet, just like Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. Aside from rudimentary file sharing it also doubles as a streaming media box, and is DLNA certified, so it can also run a Plex or iTunes server as well. It includes dual LAN ports for Link Aggregation if you have a router, such as the Netgear R8500, or switch that supports this feature too.

Before we dive in too deep, let’s take a look at the specs and at the unit itself...

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Netgear ReadyNAS RN212
Specifications & Features
Capacity 0TB, 2TB, 3TB
Processor ARM Cortex A15 quad-core
CPU 1.4GHz
System Memory 2GB DDR3
RAID RAID 0,1, 5, 6, 10, JBOD. 
Bays Dual
Ports Ethernet x2, USB 3.0 x3, Power supply port, Kensington Lock
OS Support Windows Vista/7/8/10, Mac OS X, Linux/Unix, Solaris, Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2/2012
Included Software Web interface
Dimensions 5.59 x 8 x 4 inches (HxLxW)
Warranty 3 years
Price $329 - $619 on Amazon

rn212 front

The RN212 has a piano black finish and the front of the unit includes a USB 3.0 port, a one-touch backup button, a power button, and activity lights for both bays. The glossy finish picks up lint and fingerprints easily.

rn212 openfront2

The front door opens to reveal two easy-to-remove bays. With the push of a button the trays unlock and slide out quite easily.
rn212 back
Around back we see the fancy dual-LAN ports, two more USB 3.0 ports, an eSATA port, Kengsington Lock, and a reset pinhole.

The unit itself is quite slim and measures 8 inches deep by 4 inches across, and it stands a mere 5.59” tall. Netgear offers the RN212 as a diskless configuration for $329, with two 2TB drives for $539, or with two 3TB drives for $619 (Netgear inexplicably sent us a unit with two 4TB drives inside). According to Netgear it supports drives up to 6TB capacity. The drive comes with a “limited” 3 year warranty that covers the internal hardware including the fans and power supply, but you can also purchase additional warranty coverage such as 24x7 on-call support as well as express hardware replacement.

The heart of the unit is a quad-core ARM-based processor running at 1.4GHz along with 2GB of RAM, which makes it a powerful NAS drive. All this silicon muscle allows for faster file transfers and for the aforementioned media transcoding without dropped frames.

With the hardware out of the way, let’s take a look at the software.

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