Easy DIY network storage
Storing your data in the cloud makes for easy and convenient backup, but it does come with a downside. Where is all your stuff actually going? And what happens when today’s hot new cloud storage service goes belly-up and its hardware gets sold to whoever wants to buy it? Pogoplug lets you roll your own network-connected storage, giving you online access to your data and turning spare external USB
drives into network attached storage (NAS) devices. And it manages to do all this — and more — while still being simple to use and quick to set up.
Pogoplug comes in four flavors. The $99 base model we tested connects via Ethernet, but there’s also a Pro model (also $99) with built-in Wi-Fi, as well as Video and Biz editions. The Video edition ($199) adds HD video streaming, and the Biz version ($299) is geared toward — surprise! — businesses, adding in multiple users, stats, and interface customizations.
Your own personal cloud of data.
Setting up Pogoplug is stupefyingly easy: plug in your external drives, connect to your router, register your device at my.pogoplug.com, and you’re done. We were up and running in a matter of minutes.
In addition to giving you local access to machines on your network, Pogoplug lets you access stored data from anywhere via a web interface and from mobile apps for use with iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Palm devices. From my.pogoplug.com, you can download files and quickly share them via email with friends and family. Send out links to folders of photos, and Pogoplug presents the contents in a gallery that automatically updates as you add new images.
Pogoplug also lets you stream video to mobile clients and Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 consoles—with one huge caveat. If you opt for either of the entry-level models, streaming is limited to 640×480. In order to stream in HD, you’ll have to pony up an extra hundred bucks for the appropriately named Video edition.
The bottom line. If you’ve already got external drives hanging around, Pogoplug is a quick and affordable way to turn them into cloud storage. It’s so simple you’ll wish you had done it sooner.
$99 (Base and Pro models); $199 (Video), $299 (Biz)
Dead-simple to set up. Works as a media server and network backup. Can use a USB hub to add more drives.
Video streaming is limited to 640×480 unless you buy the Video version.