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This FAQ applies to the MRT Communications NAS boxes 35HD-DUAL-NAS, 35HD-DUALIDE-NAS, 35HD-DUAL-NAS-E (also known as GigaNAS), 35HD-QUAD-NAS. These are cheap & cheerful Storlink based NAS boxes (the ones you get cheap off eBay).

How do I get shell access to my NAS box as root?

You'll need a telnet program. Simply telnet to your NAS box and enter 'root' as username and 'admin' as password.

If telnet doesn't work (newer firmwares have it turned on), try visiting http://yourip/cgi/telnet/telnet.cgi and ticking the telnet box.

Why doesn't hard drive spin down work?

Cleverly, MRT never mentions that formatting your hard drive as ext3 causes journalling information to be written fairly frequently, thus causing your hard drive to never spin down. Use either ext2 (preferred) or FAT32.

Also, make sure Bonjour is turned off along with anything else which might access the HD on a periodic basis. Finally, in the end the MRT firmware stores its config on a partition on the HD and because it will periodically access that the HD will be woken up.

What other firmwares can I install on these boxes? Is there a newer firmware?

See the Main Page.

I can't connect to my NAS box from Vista/Windows Mobile/non-PC!

See this guide.

Can I insert USB flash disks and external USB hard drives into my NAS?

Yes you can. Follow this guide. It'll be very slow unless you're on a Gemini based chipset which has USB2 rather than USB1.1.

My NAS box is really slow! I'm not getting fast speeds!

Well, you did pay less than €100 for it! The Gemini based NAS boxes (which have Gigabit LAN) are MUCH faster than the Centroid (which have just 100Mbit LAN) because the processor is 50% faster. Nevertheless, it looks like a driver problem because performance sucks far more than it should. For example, on my GigaNAS running the latest MRT firmware and a top end 1TB SATA hard drive:

NAS> hdparm -t /dev/hdd

 Timing buffered disk reads:   44 MB in  3.01 seconds =  14.62 MB/sec

This is for a HD which should return in excess of 80Mb/sec. 14.62Mb/sec is vastly slower than a Gigabit ethernet connection which could max out my SATA HD. The processor is more than capable:

NAS> hdparm -T /dev/hdd

 Timing buffer-cache reads:   276 MB in  2.01 seconds = 137.31 MB/sec

No, this looks like badly written drivers which are wasting cycles somewhere. If we could get a full Debian release running on this hardware I'd be very interested to see if performance would be maximised. As for the poor Centroid NAS boxes, apparently their max HD speed is about 7Mb/sec which is okay given their 100MBit ethernet - a 100Mbit LAN can only shift 8Mb/sec anyway.