Introduction & Closer Look
There are numerous methods of storing your precious and important files these days, but most people I know personally prefer having ‘hard’ copies in case of tragedy. Others want to be able to share their documents across a network securely, but without the hassle of using a paid subscription service such as Dropbox and numerous other cloud services. The Synology DS116 Diskstation 1 bay NAS covers both of those bases and then some…
The Synology DS116 isn’t just a NAS as we know it, but it’s touted as a ‘private cloud’ which enables users to not only store their data, but it also allows for syncing across multiple platforms and cloud services such as Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive; very handy for adopters of those particular services.
The unit features an all-black design and has a medium sized Synology logo etched into both side panels of the unit. This not only looks very professional and stylish, but it also doubles up as air ventilation. This is because this 1 bay NAS is loaded with a Marvel Armada 385 88F6820 dual-core 1.8GHz processor which is complimented by 1GB of DDR3 memory. Not only does this power and keep the NAS unit ticking over, but it also enables Synology DSM (Diskstation Manager) the headroom it needs to work.
On the front panel, there are LED notification slits for status, LAN and Disk; essentially allowing you to see if each different part of the operational cycle is working as intended. Featured towards the bottom right is a power button; this also has a built-in LED showing whether the unit is powered on or off.
Cooling the DS116 and keeping it from overheating is a small 60x60x15mm fan from Y.S TECH who actually make one of my favourite 60mm fans, the 25mm thick FD1260257B; the hot air on this model is vented out towards the rear. Also featured on the back panel is a conveniently placed Kensington Lock, 2 x USB 3.0 ports for the connection if external hard drives, a dc input for the 36w power adapter and a single RJ45 Ethernet port for connection to your network.
The exterior panels have a softish plastic coating which is a bit of a fingerprint magnet, so if that kind of finish puts you off…stop being pedantic! It’s not that bad and if you think about it rationally, you usually only really touch the exterior when moving, or installing/removing the singular 3.5” HDD from the unit.
Inside the box aside from the NAS itself, is a couple of useful and necessary accessories. Included is an RJ45 Ethernet cable, an AC/DC 36w power adapter and enough screws to mount a 3.5” HDD inside the unit; there are 2 screws to spare making 6 included in total in case you are like me and clumsily lose screws!
Let’s take a look at the specifications and feature then we will take a look inside the DS116…
|CPU Model||Marvell Armada 385 88F6820|
|CPU Frequency||Dual Core 1.8 GHz|
|Hardware Encryption Engine||Yes|
|System Memory||1 GB DDR3|
|Compatible Drive Type* (See all supported drives)|
|Maximum Internal Raw Capacity||10 TB (10 TB HDD x 1) (Capacity may vary by RAID types)|
|Maximum Single Volume Size||16 TB|
|USB 3.0 Port||2|
|Size (Height x Width x Depth)||166 mm x 71 mm x 224 mm|
|RJ-45 1GbE LAN Port||1|
|Wake on LAN/WAN||Yes|
|System Fan||60 mm x 60 mm x 1 pcs|
|Fan Speed Mode|
|Wireless Support (dongle)||Yes|
|Brightness adjustable front LED indicators||Yes|
|Noise Level*||16.4 dB(A)|
|Scheduled Power On/Off||Yes|
|Power Supply Unit / Adapter||36W|
|AC Input Power Voltage||100V to 240V AC|
|Power Frequency||50/60 Hz, Single Phase|
|Power Consumption*||10.68 W (Access)|
6.28 W (HDD Hibernation)
|British Thermal Unit||36.44 BTU/hr (Access)|
21.43 BTU/hr (HDD Hibernation)
|Operating Temperature||5°C to 40°C (40°F to 104°F)|
|Storage Temperature||-20°C to 60°C (-5°F to 140°F)|
|Relative Humidity||5% to 95% RH|
|DSM Specifications ( See more )|
|Maximum Internal Volume Number||1|
|Maximum iSCSI Target Number||10|
|Maximum iSCSI LUN||10|
|Supported RAID Type||Basic|
|File Sharing Capacity|
|Maximum Local User Accounts||2048|
|Maximum Local Groups||256|
|Maximum Shared Folder||256|
|Maximum Shared Folder Sync Tasks||2|
|Maximum Concurrent CIFS/AFP/FTP Connections||128|
|Windows Access Control List (ACL) Integration||Yes|
|NFS Kerberos Authentication||Yes|
|Syslog Events per Second||100|
|Add-on Packages (learn more about the complete add-on package list)|
|Cloud Station Server|
|Maximum Concurrent File Transfers||128|
|Maximum Concurrent Download Tasks||30|
|exFAT Access (optional)||Yes|
|Maximum Simultaneous Editing Users||10|
Installation and DiskStation Manager (DSM) Features
Installing a 3.5” HDD is a very easy process inside the DiskStation DS116 NAS, but first, you need to remove the 2 x Phillips head screws on the rear of the panel and simply slide the side of the outer casing off slowly. Once it’s off, you can see this NAS utilises a simple system with 2 bars which perfectly fits a 3.5” drive. The DS116 uses a simple SATA3 interface along with an SATA power connector which is designed to work with all SATA/SATA powered 3.5” hard drives on the market.
With the Synology DS116 being a NAS, with all of our NAS reviews, I installed one of our 6TB WD Red NAS-specific hard drives in for testing purposes. Speaking of capacity, it supports drives up to a size of 10TB which means that it supports the largest consumer drives on the market; pretty good for a value orientated model don’t you think?
Sliding the drive in and attaching it securely is a piece of cake… Simply slide the drive into the runners ensuring the SATA/power is facing the right way and it should slot in perfectly. You need to use 4 of the 6 provided screws to secure the drive to the runners and there you have it, one ready to go 1 bay NAS!
DiskStation Manager is a well-renowned software suite throughout the industry and I haven’t ever been able to fault it whenever I have had the pleasure of using it. Firstly though, you need to set up the NAS and Synology make the task super easy thanks to the Synology Assistant. Once DSM picks up the DS116, it’s pretty plain sailing from there on in as installation is automatic and painless, to say the least. All this is done inside of your web browser and as installation is progressing, it notifies you to enter information such as user names, passwords and allows account creation within DSM.
Inside of DSM, there are various apps which can be installed to further enhance your NAS’ing experience; some of the best include Download Station, Audio Station, Photo Station and Video Station. Not only does the DiskStation DS116 support up to 10 simultaneous connections, but it’s also a certified DLNA media server. This allows compatibility with some of the most popular devices and streaming services such as Samsung TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku to name a few. On top of this DSM allows access from a variety of different devices including smartphones and tablets making Synology of the more consumer friendly private cloud options on the market.
To test the Synology DS116’s performance along with our WD Red 6TB hard drive, I first set the NAS up as a network drive while connecting the unit up via the switch in our office. Then I ran a benchmark called CrystalDiskMark 5.1.2 which measures drive speed performance in terms of sequential read and write speeds. Power consumption was also monitored at idle and load using a power meter. The results were as follows:
Power consumption is another huge advantage that NAS units hold over traditional file server and even HTPC systems. The Synology DS116 has some pretty good idle and load power consumption which may make it more worthwhile than the options mentioned above.
My time with Synology’s single bay DS116 NAS has been quite an interesting one on the whole as it only hasn’t given me personal insight into the personal benefits of NAS, but also the potential business elements too. Private cloud solutions such as this one are starting to seem a lot more popular recently due to advancements in storage density and as the unit itself supports drives up to a maximum capacity of 10TB, sometimes keeping things simple is the best way forward.
In terms of performance, I’m actually impressed as well as satisfied with the DS116 in collaboration with one of our WD 6TB Red hard drives. Sequential read and write speeds of 112.4/109.3MB/s respectively is pretty damn good for a single bay NAS and Synology have a very great solution on their hands here; perfect for consumers looking for a good quality NAS unit but also looking for a more value orientated model without sacrificing on quality. Power consumption performance peaked at 14.7W under load which when compared to the likes of a file server, is 10 fold more efficient and doing the task at hand; the difference between load and idle in our testing was only 4W apart which is outstanding.
I’m quite a big fan of the simplistic, yet small frame of the Synology DS116 is rather pleasant to look at. Thanks to the 60x60x15mm cooling fan, it’s not too loud under full load which is handy for a small office; not too distracting from my end anyway. The 2 included USB 3.0 ports and single Gigabit LAN port make up a solid connection line up and let’s not forget the conveniently placed Kensington lock for ensuring your unit isn’t stolen! Right from the exterior to the interior, the DS116 is a superb option and I am really struggling to fault it at all.
Some may argue a diskless NAS solution at around £150 is still a frivolous expense to keep their files separate from your computer and even with the ‘value’ moniker Synology have tagged this NAS up with, it isn’t cheap, but it depends on what you define as ‘cheap’. Sure, you could go out and get a cheaper external hard drive and store files that way, but there is absolutely no contest in the difference between quality, the versatility and options this particular NAS unit gives you over these so called cheaper methods. I actually believe personally that £150 is a very good price for a single bay NAS/private cloud option and with the wide array of Synology apps and features on offer; it resembles one of the most comprehensive budget models of any NAS maker in the world.
If you’re looking for a solid, reliable and all-around good quality single bay NAS solution, then the Synology DS116 is one of the best value options on the market. If you’re already a user of Dropbox and other cloud storage providers, you can simply sync your files across multiple platforms with up to 10 simultaneous connections making this a solid option for the home and business.
Big thanks to Synology for sending the DiskStation DS116 NAS in for review.
- Good performance for a single bay NAS
- Offers tons of features and apps thanks to Synology DiskStation Manager
- Very easy to install with a very intuitive GUI
- Dual USB 3.0 ports
- Small, power efficient and most importantly, quiet