Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Remote access to an USB drive

I purchased recently a MV-4000 Mvix Media Center from newegg.com. This is Mvix’s lowest end product and the cheapest you can find. It lacks Ethernet connection in favor of USB connection. At the beginning it looked like a good deal, but the hassle of moving the device back and forth between the living room (where the TV) is and computer room became annoying.

So I start looking for ways to access this device remotely, without disconnecting it from my entertainment center. Until now I found the following solutions:

Regular USB Cable – available for a few dollars from various stores
Advantage: hi-speed connection
Disadvantage: maximum 16ft

USB 2.0 Active Extension Cable – available for $16.95 from sewelldirect.com
Advantage: hi-speed connection. 5 such cables can be linked together for a maximum of 80ft
Disadvantage: new wiring

Belkin Wireless USB Hub - available from newegg for $185.99
Advantage: Wireless
Disadvantage: bad performance (about 30% of the wired connection)

Silex SX-5000U2 10/100Mbps USB 2.0 Device Server - $199.95 from sewelldirect.com
Advantage: extend USB cable via CAT5
Disadvantage: price and slower than USB2.0

Black Box USB 2.0 to CAT5 Extender - $649.95 from sewelldirect.com
Advantage: extend USB cable via CAT5 without affecting USB2.0 speed.
Disadvantage: price

LINKSYS NSLU2 Network Storage Link for USB2.0 Disk Drives - $79.99 from newegg
Advantage: Turn an USB drive into a NAS available on local network
Disadvantage: Slower than USB 2.0

Any NAS with USB Host Port
Advantage: seamlessly integrate the USB drive with a NAS. Good performance if Gigabit available.
Disadvantage: should keep NAS near USB drive.

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