Many routers now come with one or more USB ports to let you connect 3G dongles or/and storage device(s) to share the data on your local network. If you want to go with a fully integrated solution, and obvious solution is to go with a NAS, but these usually cost a bit more, so instead TCL SL-WR5028J (aka TCl T1) router could make a low cost (and low performance) NAS alternative thanks to its internal 2.5″ SATA bay, and it can be had for just $45.99 on DealExtreme. [Update: GearBest sells it for $35.98 with coupon TCLT1]
- SoC – Mediatek MT7260 MIPS WiSoC @ 580MHz
- System Memory – 64MB DDR2
- Storage – 8MB Flash for firmware + SATA bay for 2.5″ HDD (5, 7.5 or 9mm thick hard drives are supported). Max capacity: unlimited… 🙂
- 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi up to 300 Mbps with two external antennas
- WAN – 10/100M Ethernet port
- LAN – 2x 10/100M Ethernet port
- USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port
- Power – 9V/1A
- Dimensions – 240 x 159 x 45 mm
- Weight – N/A
The router comes with a power adapter, and a user’s manual in English. The user interface is said to be in English too.
In order to insert the hard drive you just need to lift the top cover, and slide it in there.
Mediatek MT7620 is probably part of the reason for the low cost, but unfortunately it’s also why there’s no Gigabit Ethernet, and for a NAS it can be a serious limitation depending on how many people access the data at the same time, and the type of data. The SoC also supports OpenWRT, so it might be possible to hack the router too, and
SATA should not be a problem, since it can only be achieved via a USB to SATA bridge [Update: It’s not clear whether MT7620N or MT7620A is used here, and the latter has a PCIe port too]. Strangely, I can’t find any information about TCL T1 anywhere else on the web.
Thank you onebir! (Which reminds it’s beer time too…).
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.