Disclaimer: I recently received a second Transporter (Individual) unit from Connected Data in Australia to review how synchronisation worked between individual units on a LAN and WAN, amongst other things. I provided my own hard drive for the second unit. Big thanks to Philippe from Connected Data in Australia for reaching out to me in the first place and Josh from Kayell for organising the unit to be sent my way.
I recently wrote about adding a second Transporter to my home network. This post covers the results of some of the scenarios I wanted to look at from a functionality perspective. The scenarios I worked through included:
- Photo data sync between laptop / Transporter over a LAN and WAN;
- Video data sync between Transporters over a LAN;
- Sharing video files to a non-Transporter user; and
- Accessing files using the mobile app on iOS.
Photo data sync
Photos were pretty easy to move around. For my test data I used a 450MB folder of photos of sneakers. I copied it to the Transporter and noticed within a minute that the Transporter client on my Mac was picking up the changes.
Once the folder was on the Transporter and syncing with my devices I then had a copy of the photos in a number of locations. Pretty simple stuff.
Video data sync
Let’s be clear – copying large files to the Transporter, even over a LAN connection, can be slow. There’s a lot getting in the way of this being a speedy operation, including the fact that the Transporter itself just isn’t a blazingly fast unit. So don’t waste your money putting in a flash drive, or think that this is going to be the right tool in a video rendering workflow – because I don’t think it is.
However, if you keep things simple, and count on stuff taking a little while, you can certainly do a bit with this unit. I copied about 40GB of files directly to the Transporter. It took close to an hour to complete, but I expected it would. While that was happening, a few other things happened. Firstly, the other Transporter on my LAN got the message that there was stuff on the Transporter that should be synchronised. Cool.
Secondly, I could then decide to share the files on a limited basis, either via the Transporter application, or via SMB if I really wanted to. You can read the Transporter FAQ on SMB here.
Note that even when you turn on SMB on the unit, you won’t see the files until you share the folder in question.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll see the files via SMB.
Sharing video files
So now I have about 40GB of video files on my Transporters. What if I want to share those with someone who doesn’t have a Transporter? It’s pretty simple. I can right-click on the file I want to share, create a link, and then send links to people I want to share the files with. Note, however, that links are generated on a per-file basis. You’re better off just inviting people to access the shared folder.
Another cool thing you can do is control which Transporters will store the files you’re sharing.
I tested playback of the video over both Wifi and LAN connection. The video files were standard definition MPEG files in PAL (720 x 576) format running at about 4Mbps. They played back well with some choppiness. Still, as far as a simple way to distribute a bunch of files, this is one of the easiest ways I’ve found to do it, particularly when it comes to sharing with people outside the network.
Accessing data over mobile
The Transporter mobile app is a snap to use, and works well on both the phone and iPad. I only tested the iOS version, so I can’t tell you how the other flavours behave.
You can do cool things like setting it to automatically upload photos. I can see that this is going to be a handy feature when I’m travelling and don’t necessarily have my Crashplan-protected laptop with me.
I gushed about Transporter when I first came across it at SFD7, and after testing the use of multiple units, I’m still a fan. For the most part, it does what it says on the box, and it’s a snap to setup. The key thing for me is the mobile access and ability to securely share files with the outside world in a controlled fashion. I like that there’s a nod to SMB in there, and the ability to create read-only shares as required. I also like that my daughters (both of whom use their iPads heavily for school work) can easily access files at home and at school without bloody e-mailing to me them all the time. I’m giving it two thumbs up – it does what I need it to do. Obviously your mileage might vary.