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The “cloud” has many advantages in terms of accessing your data from anywhere you’ve got Internet access, but it’s got lots of limitations – in particular if your Internet connection is temporarily unavailable and personal privacy concerns. I prefer my own “microcloud” – a privately accessible USB drive which all of the computers, smartphones, and other devices on my network can access and share data. It’s easy to set up, inexpensive, inter-platform, and can be expanded as your needs change over time.
Step 1: Requirements
2) A USB storage device – anything from a 32Mbyte USB stick to a 2 Terrabyte hard drive (or even larger).
I’ve got a Belkin Share N300 wireless router. It has four hardwire ports and is B/G/N wireless compatible. “Share” is Belkin’s buzzword to indicate that the router has a NAS port. It retails for about $60. Other brands routers will also work as long as they’ve got a USB port which is capable of Network Attached Storage.
One thing I especially like about this router is the capability to set up multiple passwords. Whenever friends visit with their laptop computers or smartphones and I want to give them WiFi Internet access but don’t want them to have the capability to explore around on my network I give them the guest access password. When a computer needs to be integrated into my network to transfer files or have access to the microcloud I give them the full access password, and (if necessary) set up a user account for them on each of the computers they need to access.