A beginners guide to setting up a Synology NAS | Part 1 | Preparing your home network

In this series of video’s we are going to take a look at how you perform a basic setup and configuration of a Synology, Network Attached Storage device. While a NAS is simply a piece of hardware designed to create a central location on a network to store and share data. As most NAS devices have the potential to be much more than just a file server, we will try in a step by step fashion, to provide you with what we consider best practise when setting up a new NAS.

As this is the first video in this series, we are going to recommend that before you start to configure your NAS, you check your Internet connection, your router and its wireless network. Not only will this help to prepare you for when you setup your NAS, it might also help to minimise having to do a lot of troubleshooting later.

Note: As no two networks are the same, whenever we make reference to a network, we will be making reference to want we consider to be a typical home network. So for this series while we will be using a Google Nest WiFi network as our point of reference. The features and concepts we will be discussing will aways be generic to most models of wireless routers.

Check your Internet Speeds

The speed of your internet connection will be important, if you intend to access your NAS remotely. So we recommend that before configuring your new NAS, you check both the upload and download speeds of your internet connection. While download rather than upload speeds tend to be highlighted by Internet Service Providers (ISP). If you intend to access your NAS remotely, make sure that you have good upload speeds.

Check your WiFi Speeds

WiFi speeds are also important if you intent to access your NAS wirelessly. So before you setup your new NAS check that you have no WiFi dead zones, and that data transfer speeds are in line with what you expect from your wireless network.

Is your Router secure

While no device can be truly secure when connected to the internet, you need to make sure that the router you are using is as secure as you can make it. An important area to check is that the administrative credentials for your router are in line with modern security best practise. So as a minimum we recommend that the admin password to your router is at least 10 characters in length, uses lower and upper case letters, contains numbers and at least one no letter character.

We also recommend that you check that the firewall on your router is working correctly. While by default your router should be blocking all incoming traffic. If you do have open ports on your firewall, this may not necessarily be a bad thing, as long as you understand why they were opened in the first place.

Advanced network settings

In order to configure your new NAS, at some point in the future you will need to make changes to the following router settings: DNS, DHCP, UPnP, and Port Forwarding. While at this stage you do not need to worry too much about what these network settings are for. It can be useful to be aware of where specific settings are located and check that you have the access privileges to change them.

Check your router is up to date

If your router is not able to automatically receive security fixes and updates, you should be manually updating it yourself. Also if your router is over 5 years old, check that your router is still being supported by the manufacturer. If it is not, we recommend that you replace your router before you start configuring your new NAS.

Internet of Things

As Internet of Things (IoT) devices often are not kept up to date with security patches and fixes. It is now considered best practise not to have IoT devices on the same network as your NAS and computers. So an easy way to isolate IoT devices from your main network, is to move them to your Guest WiFi network.

Note: Not all wireless routers will create a Guest network that is fully isolated from your main network. However by placing your IoT devices on your Guest wifi network, if an IoT device is hacked, it will be harder for that hacker to access computers or your NAS.

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