AC4000 - Can the USB Ports be utilized for a stacked NAS Device?

AC4000 - Can the USB Ports be utilized for a stacked NAS Device?
AC4000 - Can the USB Ports be utilized for a stacked NAS Device?
2021-01-18 10:07:17
Model: Archer A20
Hardware Version: V3
Firmware Version: 1.0.3

Forgive my ignorance on this subject as technology has far surpassed my knowledge after my retirement many moons ago - lol.  However, after purchasing an AC4000, I'm trying to utilize the USB ports for my 4TB hard drives to access files across the network.  So far I've tried the following:

 

SSK Aluminum USB 3.0 to SATA Dual Bay External Hard Drive Docking Station for 2.5 & 3.5 Inch HDD SSD SATA, Offline Clone Duplicator Function ($27)

 

and then

 

ORICO 2Bay Hard Drive Enclosure USB3.0 to SATA 3.5inch Enclosure Magnetic Tool-Free External HDD SSD Enclosure Storage Case Built-in Fan for Data Backup, NAS Expansion Up to 36TB(2x16) - DS200U3 ($80)

 

Although I had asked before I purchased these if they would work, I got mixed confused answers, and so I decided to try.  Of course they didn't work.  

 

The first one I had every doubt it wouldn't work and of course it did not.  It only showed the first drive.  Back it went.

 

On to the second.  It seemed promising but but - ugh - dang - same thing - only the 1st drive is seen.

 

Some say it depends on the router.  Some say I simply need a "REAL" NAS that attaches via the RJ45 Network Port, but I'm trying to avoid these pricier options ($250++)

 

I know I can get simple one drive cradles to utilize the USB Ports, but is there anything that will work on this model that multiple drives will be seen on one USB Port?

Is it even possible with this model or is there a model that supports this option?

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7 Replies
Re:AC4000 - Can the USB Ports be utilized for a stacked NAS Device?
2021-01-18 14:50:55

@TooTechnical 

 

As far as I know, NO router will support via the USB port any attached device that has more than one partition. That means and individual drive with more than one partition (that is a data partition, and can't handle drives that even have a Boot partition on it) or a single enclosure with more than one drive in it. I could very well be wrong though.

 

You've got 2 choices:

 

  1. Use both ports on the A20, the USB 3.0 and 2.0 and attach drives to those 2 ports.
  2. Get a REAL NAS and attach it to the LAN.

 

In case one, I've got on my A20 2 devices, a 2TB USB drive and a small flash drive:

 

 

I can easily access them as devices on my LAN using the share or even assigning then a drive letter via a Network drive with NET USE.

 

=============

C:\>net view \\tp-share
Shared resources at \\tp-share

samba server

Share name  Type  Used as  Comment

-------------------------------------
G           Disk
H           Disk
The command completed successfully.


=============

 

Again, I could be wrong about enclosures, but this is the only way I know how to do it.

 

Using the USB 2.0 port, depending on how you device connects to the router and the disk type on the USB 2.0 port it might limit your connection/transfer speed vs. the USB 3.0 port.

 

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Re:AC4000 - Can the USB Ports be utilized for a stacked NAS Device?
2021-01-18 15:03:39

@TooTechnical 

 

Thank you for your reply.  Forgive me if I'm using the wrong vernacular by using the term "Stacked".  What I meant was multiple hard drives.

 

Yes, I did put two (loose) 4TB hard drives on each of the two USB ports and they work great.  What I was looking to do, was, instead of getting individual cradles for each hard drive, was to get an enclosed NAS box that can hold 2 hard drives or heck even 4 hard drives and run it off of one USB port.  This way, perhaps down the road, I can have, well heck, a whole mess of hard drives on these two USB ports, if it would work with these USB devices they sell that work on PCs.  If only they would be seen by the router the same way...

 

I'm sure I'm going to have to go the way of a "Network" NAS, but was hoping to avoid this costlier way as well as try and utilize these ports.

 

Again, thanks for any help you can provide.

 

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Re:AC4000 - Can the USB Ports be utilized for a stacked NAS Device?
2021-01-18 15:49:02

 

TooTechnical wrote

@TooTechnical 

 

Thank you for your reply.  Forgive me if I'm using the wrong vernacular by using the term "Stacked".  What I meant was multiple hard drives.

 

@TooTechnical 

 

Yes, I understood you were asking about enclosures holding one or more drives.

 

NAS enclosures have an 'OS' that handled the drives, and those would connect via the LAN, not USB ports.

 

Not sure how much you were spending or if you already had the drives, but something like this, a NAS stand-along drive would work for you, https://www.amazon.com/Buffalo-LinkStation-Private-Storage-Included/dp/B00JKM0ES2/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=computer+network+aware+hard+drive+enclosure&qid=1610983532&s=pc&sr=1-4

 

Of course, there are multiple drive options (that link is just one of many from different vendors). Multiple drive ones usually are RAID units, that is the drives are linked, and you'd have to break the RAID to use each drive individually, and I'm not sure how that would work?

 

Bottom line, using 2 USB ports (some routers can't handle all the large drives that exist either, depends on the filesystem built into the firmware) is the cheapest way or buy a real NAS and attach it to your LAN.

 

I have seen some drive enclosures that hold multiple drives that 'appear' to be selectable as to which drive is active, but I don't think those might work either? Doubt the router's filesystem can handle the disk switch though.

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Re:AC4000 - Can the USB Ports be utilized for a stacked NAS Device?
2021-01-18 17:20:01

@IrvSp 

 

I want to thank you once again for all your help with this. It seams I'm not the only one with this type of question as I'm getting a lot of different opinions and questions out in the Amazonian world as well.

 

Although as I said, I was trying to keep this on the cheap, first $27 and then $80 (which was more than I wanted to spend), I see to do this right my budget is going to have to go into the double digits - ugh.  I looked at your link and although a nice unit for $190, I also found another one at a bit lower price here:  https://amzn.to/39BuYIs

 

It's only $150, which is only about twice the cost of the unit that was already 3 times over my original budget - LOL!

 

So I'll give one of these a try and check back and let and let you know.  Perhaps, I'll still utilize the two USB for two hard drives anyway, along with the Raid unit so as to protect my files with  good backup system...

 

Thanks again for your help - it helped me to brainstorm my thoughts ;)...

 

 

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Re:AC4000 - Can the USB Ports be utilized for a stacked NAS Device?
2021-01-18 17:30:56
RAID's are OK, but you have to know which to use. On some if one of the drives die, you lose everything. See https://www.promax.com/blog/the-best-raid-for-performance-and-redundancy. As for a 'backup', I use a program that can write to a network attached drive, and the one I like is Acronis (https://www.acronis.com/en-us/) but some people don't like paying for backup programs and there are free ones available. We use it to backup to a USB External drive on each computer. Depending on the usage of the computers, back-up methods vary as well as frequency of back-ups. To be fully save of a PC or hard drive failure, randomly we do copy a back-up file to the Router USB drive. I don't know what your intended purpose is for the router attached drives? depending on your network connections, locally attached drives will usually offer better performance.
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Re:AC4000 - Can the USB Ports be utilized for a stacked NAS Device?
2021-01-18 17:49:51

@IrvSp 

 

I use a free back up program called FreeFileSync which has a scheduling program called RealTimeSync of which both work phenomenally well!

 

I use it to back up my local laptop drive (via wifi) to my usb port 4TB hard drive on the wifi router.  Then I did a sync backup between one usb hard drive and another usb hard drive on the wifi router.  So basically I had the 2 hard drives on the router working like a quasi-Raid system.  The only thing I want to change is adding a double hard drive unit so that after the one usb hard drive syncs to the one hard drive in the double drive, the double drive stays in sync.  This way, if one of those drives fail, I'll have an immediate backup.  Should by chance the 1st USB hard drive fail before the backup from the laptop begins, then all I would need to do is pull out a hard drive from the double unit and throw it onto the usb port as a temporary action so that it can backup to the 1 hard drive left in the double unit, while I hurray to get a new hard drive.

 

Hope that make sense...

 

Far too often I find myself with a catastrophic failure where when I lose one I lose both.  In this scenario, I feel more confident that I have 3 separate "systems" if you will, that should have me protected, to a point ;).

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Re:AC4000 - Can the USB Ports be utilized for a stacked NAS Device?
2021-01-18 18:34:57

@IrvSp 

 

Also, this all came after I originally only wanted to get cradles for my hard drives that would hook up to the USB Ports.  But by the time I found anything halfway decent I'd still be spending between $55 and $70 for two of them, which is why I figured I may as well go the route I spelled out above.  

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