on 2 February 2015
I can see a lot of conflicting reviews, as there are with most NAS devices. This is mainly due to variations in people's network setups/speeds.
Put simply, if you're not using the latest technology, you're not going to be able to take full advantage of the My Cloud or any other NAS device. It will work, but slowly. I think a lot of confusion is created by the difference between megaBITS and megaBYTES. Transfer speeds are often quoted in bits rather than bytes, yet file sizes are commonly known in terms of bytes. For example a transfer speed of 100Mbps is not the same as 100MBps. The capital B makes all the difference. 100Mbps (bits) actually translates to a transfer speed of about 12.5MBps.
Now lets talk ethernet. Ethernet is the standard internet cable you plug into the bag of your router to connect to your PC or from the My Cloud to your router. The My Cloud is a gigabit ethernet device. That means it can potentially transfer up to 1000Mbps (megabits), or roughly 125MBps (megabytes). Most older routers are limited to 10/100 ethernet, which is limited to 100Mbps (megabits), or 12.5MBps (megabytes). The difference is obviously huge. At it's peak, that means a 10GB 1080 movie file will transfer in just over 13 minutes on 10/100 ethernet, but barely over 1 minute on gigabit.
I imagine a lot of people are buying the My Cloud expecting the quoted transfer speeds and being hugely disappointed when they're capped at around 12.5MBps. To check, look at the back of the My Cloud. There are 2 lights next to the ethernet port. The top light is the activity light. Ignore that one and look at the bottom light. If it's a dull amber looking colour, that means you're connected via 10/100 and your speed is limited. If it's a brighter yellow/green colour similar to the activity light, then you're gigabit enabled.
So why are you limited to 10/100? The reasons could be:
1. Your router is not capable of gigabit. Only quite recent routers have gigabit ports, and even then usually not all of the ports are gigabit enabled. On my router I have four slower 10/100 ports and only one gigabit port. Obviously, if you plug the My Cloud into a 10/100 port, it's limited to 10/100 speeds.
2. Your cables are no good. Cat 5 is no good. You need a Cat 5e or Cat 6 ethernet cable, or gigabit won't work even if you are connected to a gigabit enabled port. There are also various reports about the quality of cables being a factor. Cheap cables might not give you the required results However the cable included with the My Cloud IS a Cat 5e cable and should work fine with gigabit, having tested it myself.
3. The connection between your router and your receiving end (PC/laptop/tablet/phone) isn't gigabit. You also need a gigabit connection from your router to whatever device you're streaming/transferring to. That means another Cat5e/Cat6 cable running from your router to your device. Problem is a lot of routers (like mine) only have ONE gigabit port. If I connect my router to my PC, I'm stuck with 10/100 speeds, even if gigabit is working fine between the My Cloud and the router. The solution? You have two choices, either buy a router with more gigabit ports, or buy a gigabit switch (not regular, has to be gigabit) to act as a kind of splitter which will give you additional gigabit ports. Google it.
4. The receiving end isn't capable of gigabit. Whatever device you're streaming/sending to has to also be capable of gigabit. That means you have to have your Cat5e/6 cable connected to a gigabit enabled port on your PC motherboard or laptop. Check the device manual and it should state whether or not the ethernet port is gigabit. As always, make sure you're drivers are also up to date.
--- A NOTE ABOUT WI-FI---
I think this is where most people here are coming unstuck. If you're accessing your My Cloud wirelessly, you're more likely to have problems. Connect by ethernet, using the guidelines above, and you should be fine. If you DO want to use wireless regardless, bear in mind that unless you have "ac" wireless, you're not going to get gigabit-type speeds. Regular wi-fi is a/b/g/n (usually n) which is similarly limited to 10/100 speeds (12.5MBps). This means, first of all, you need to have an ac router. Secondly, your receiving device needs to have ac. Only the very latest phones/tablets are ac capable. For example, an ipad air 1 doesn't have ac. An ipad air 2 does. Most wireless cards in laptops are NOT ac. You may need to buy a new wireless card e.g. Intel 7260.
Once you're set up with a wireless ac device connecting to an ac capable router, expect vastly improved speeds but still not as fast as a hard wired gigabit ethernet connection. If I'm about 6 feet away from the router I get about 11-12MBps (megabytes) using NON-ac wireless. With ac wireless I get 40-50MBps. It's a huge difference.
In summary, the read speeds you can expect are roughly:
1. Ethernet gigabit wired - 75MBps
2. Ethernet 10/100 wired - 12.5MBps
3. Wireless non-ac - 8-12MBps
4. Wireless ac - 20-50MBps depending on how close you are to the router
If you want to compare these speeds to e.g. a USB 3.0 drive, these usually top out at about 100 to 125MBps, so if you're getting the top speeds over your network the My Cloud can make external storage pretty much redundant.
If you're setting up the My Cloud solely as a media streamer, you might not have to worry too much about speeds. MKV files encoded with h264 tend to be at most around 20GB. For a standard 2 hour film that only requires 10GB per hour, 166MB per minute, or 2.8MB/s. 10/100 will serve you absolutely fine for streaming HD. Your problem will be when you're transferring your content TO the My Cloud. If you have e.g. 1TB worth of films to transfer, on 10/100 that's likely to take about 24 HOURS! On gigabit it'll be done in about 6 hours. If you have the patience you might not mind.
Let's start by briefly explaining what this is supposed to do. Connect it to your router (via the supplied Ethernet cable), plug it in and access the WD Dashboard (either through the software you install from the WD site or through the Network folder on your Start menu). From there, you need to register for the WD MyCloud service - this enables you to view files (music, video, pictures etc) through the WD2go website or the WD apps.
Unfortunately, I kept getting error messages saying unable to register. This was due to two things - firstly, my router (BT Hub 4) needed changes to allow port forwarding and I'll get onto the second issue shortly. Now, I'm not techy in any way so took a long time to figure out how to do port forwarding (the WD forum has details on there). I'd have thought that if this device doesn't work with certain router settings, there would be clear instructions provided to resolve this. A quick start up guide is not useful, neither is a 142 page user manual considering this is advertised as a plug and play device. I eventually registered for the WD MyCloud service and received the confirmation e-mail. From there, I successfully transferred some video files from my computer HDD to the Video folder in the NAS. I could then view those files on my devices (iPad and iPhone) so all was well.
Unfortunately, this NAS is plagued with server issues at WD's end. Although you can transfer files to the NAS so it operates to a point, you cannot view these files in the WD MyCloud service unless it's working. There have been server issues at WD's end for about 2 weeks and no current details of when they will be resolved. This is a real shame, as if you can get the device set up (I'd say if I can do this, it's in most people's grasp) it actually does everything you'd want it to. But with the server issues this device is essentially useless as a cloud based device. I'm tempted to return this (sorry Amazon, not your fault) for a refund and go with a Seagate or Buffalo NAS. I'd recommend reading the posts on the WD forum before purchasing, but until their service is stable you are taking a risk.
So to summarise, if you aren't that bothered about accessing your files in the cloud through your devices, this functions fine. If remote access to your files is something you want, unless WD can resolve their server issues and provide some stability, look elsewhere.
Update - 24th April.
Shortly after posting the above review, the WD servers came back on line. I also discovered that to access your files from other devices outside your network, port forwarding is required on any router you use not just the BT hubs. The WD servers being down did not help in the inital set-up of the NAS, making it difficult to figure out whether there was a problem with the device, my router/network or the WD servers.
Now the servers are up and running, this really is a very good device. The purpose of mine is to store my movie collection and use XBMC as a media centre, but also be able to access my collection from iPad or iPhone. I've now got about 250gb of data in the NAS and can access everything on my other devices. I simply drop the file into the shared videos folder in the NAS and have had no problems so far. I sometimes have to enter my username and password to access the NAS folder location, despite both my HTPC and NAS constantly being switched on.
Now that WD have resolved their server issues, this really is a great device for the price and does everything I wanted it to. The WD apps are easy to use and all my files are available.
on 7 November 2014
Having read such mixed reviews and researched the options, I finally bit the bullet and bought one last week. I have a 2TB portable drive which is full and goes everywhere with me, so I needed to ensure it was backed up somewhere else. My partner and I also want to share access to photos, music etc.
I unpacked this and plugged it all up with my breath held and... so far it has simply 'just worked'. Everything has been perfect without any setup. I did configure shared folders and security/access rights of course but the drives/folders just appear on all devices within the home wifi network including Windows 7 (via mapped drives), Windows XP (using WD software), iPhones and iPads using the appropriate apps. Need to test with partners MacBook next but am optimistic.
It has also worked seamlessly away from home. I can still reach back to my cloud from any internet connection. My mates are delighted that I can show them 10 years of photos whilst in the pub...
Yes - uploading data is slow even over a wired connection at home, but as this is for occasional backups, e.g. the latest set of holiday snaps, I'm happy to leave it uploading overnight or whilst at work. Retrieving data, even away from home, has so far been impressively quick.
The only real alterative to a drive like this is the annual cost of 'real' cloud storage, which has the benefits of redundancy but other risks also. So long as I still have my data in two places and generally keep those two drives in different places, I see this as a good cheaper solution.
Update - appeared to my partner's Mac as soon as I turned it on. Connected as guest initially and thus only public folders visible but easy to hit the 'connect as...' button to login using user credentials, revealing the private folders.
on 31 August 2014
A real shame, despite some of the other reviews I still had high hopes for this product and the ability to have a home network based on this NAS drive. The setup is quite straight forward but I ran into problems with the drive disconnecting itself from the network on the first day. I rang WD support (free phone to the US) and they asked me to re-boot the drive which then reconnected it. It has been less than a week and I have had to re-boot to reconnect the drive around 8 times. It appears that every time you switch user accounts on my Windows 7 PC it drops the connection to the NAS drive and it does not restore when you switch back, or even if the computer goes into sleep mode it also drops and does not reconnect. Additionally the WD Smartware backup software does not work. It should automatically back up the PCs hard drive but has only backed up 80% and then just stopped, omitting my very important Outlook email pst backup files. WD say it only backs up emails once a day and if Outlook is running when it tries to, it fails. So I tried switching on the computer and not launching Outlook, just the Smartware, but the backup again failed to backup my emails. It also has a number of .avi files that it chooses not to backup either. I have since found a number of posts on the WD support forums with the same issues, but no solutions. WD have asked for a log of the drive activity and say they will come back to me. However 2 calls to support concerning 2 elementary and fundamental issues within the first week makes me suspect that I will be formatting the drive to wipe it of my data and returning it to Amazon. No one is more disappointed than me considering I've had WD products for the last 8 years or so and have always been very happy with them. It this turns around I will re-post with any positive developments.
Following the reply to this review by WD and their advice I did the following... apologies if this appears elementary to you seasoned IT users out there but this might just help those in the same position I found myself. Incidentally I have the 2TB NAS attached directly to my Virgin Media Super Hub, and running Windows 7 on my PC.
Assigning a static IP address: fairly straight forward, follow the WD article 11384. However when you need to input the Static Network Mode, right click over your internet connection in the bottom right of your screen, this should give you a prompt to Open Network and Sharing Centre. Open this and screen middle you will have `View your active networks' and to the right of this click on `Local area connection'. This launches a small window with a `Details' button in the centre. Click on that for the Static Network Mode details. You must also tell your router to reserve that IP address for your My Cloud. On the VM hub this is under `advanced settings' then `DCHP', then DCHP reservation. Open this and under attached devices you should see your My Cloud. Click in the circle adjacent left and then below click on the button `add reservation'. That should then assign that IP address to your My Cloud all the time.
Port Forwarding: Article 8526 tells you how to do this but does not tell you which ports to use! I've never done this before and just could not get it to work at all. Spoke to WD who simply sent me a copy of the same article. So here you go... on the VM Hub, advanced settings, security, port forwarding, I set up first port as WD1, start and end port both 8080, protocol as TCP & UDP, and entered the static IP address you assigned above. Then set the second as WD2, start and end port as 8443, protocol and IP address as per first one.
Then on the WD My Cloud control panel (accessed by putting the assigned static IP address into the address bar of Internet explorer) under settings, general, scroll down to Cloud access, switch on Remote access, then click configure adjacent. Select Manual, then port 1 as 80, and port 2 as 443. I then had to then switch it to auto for it to work before selecting it back to manual and it remained connected.
Mapping the network drive: article 2676 works well and is straight forward, make sure you click the `reconnect at logon box'. Seems to have maintained my separate users and SmartWare connected to the NAS even after the computer has gone to sleep or having switched Windows users.
WD suggested enabling Volume snapshot service to allow SmartWare to backup services that are running... this is also better known as Volume Shadow Copy Service. If you search in Google for this with your operating system you will get straight forward instructions on how to enable this on your PC.
Now having done all this will it stop my NAS disconnecting from the Network, Allow SmartWare to backup all my files and not only a chosen few? Only time will tell... I will re-post with an update...
I still have the NAS... Somehow it settled down and now remains connected to my network and SmartWare seems to now be backing up all my files to it... Summary: its fiddly, cumbersome and time consuming to set up (see above) but once its working its not a bad back up drive for £99. I have an iPad backing up photos to it with the free app and have my computer on continuous file backup too. I have also saved all my music to it and Sonos had no problem finding it and accessing it, together with the album cover art and song lists too... So all in all I'm now happy with this and glad I persevered, but came so very close to returning it!
on 21 April 2014
I've dropped the one star because I feel WD are over-selling the ease of use and plug n play features.
While the plug and play does work it is unstable and slow at time of writing. If they manage to get it working well then it looks like a good idea for those less inclined to spend hours setting up!
If you have no idea what a 'port forward' is or if 'FTP' means nothing to you then this may not be what you are looking for and in this case an online service such as google drive or amazon cloud storage would be a less hair pulling experience.
I've now got stable storage and access but I do not use the bundled software. The phone apps are ok for light use but it is easier to ftp.
If you do use the bundled software and have it plug and play then when outside your home network it uses what is called a relay service via WD servers, this relies them working to have a connection and does seem to slow things up even when working. Within your own network your router assigns an IP automatically and the desktop software is used to move things about. I've found this to be unreliable, the drive disappears off the network and the software occasionally crashes. The desktop software also seems to slow down direct transfers.
So ditch all that.
What I have done is:
Assign an IP address in the router to the cloud (I do this for all my devices anyway).
Set WD Cloud Drive to use a static IP (this means it always has that address assigned by the router)
Forwarded http and https ports manually.
Mapped the appropriate drive folders on each machine so we don't need to use desktop software - just drag drop/copy paste etc (this is a lot easier than it sounds - basically a mapped drive is a shortcut to a folder on the network)
For access from outside your home network, FTP works well. Activate FTP in the cloud admin console and forward the FTP ports on your router. You may wish to use an FTP client. I use this in the browser address: ftp://username:password@WAN.IP.Address <this is NOT the address assigned by the router, it is the address assigned by your ISP to you. This can change if you do not have a static IP.
By doing all these things performance seems to be much much faster and there is no software to crash.
The drive is always there and does not "drop off" the network.
The 'backup' software "smartware" doesn't seem so smart. I found it better to just set up a 'backup to network' schedule command in windows back up.
Other than the software issues (which may resolve in time) the hardware is nice looking, quite and doesn't seem to get hot.
on 26 October 2013
I bought the 2Tb package about a week ago. As a middle aged person with limited computer skills it took me a while to understand just how simple it is to install and create User, Shares and Cloud Access.
When you read the instructions they are laid out in separate boxes and it was difficult for me to understand how they relate to each other.
So please, if you are wanting a good product but may be a little doubtful about your ability to set it up, then once you have plugged in the box to the mains and your Internet router just follow these very simple rules .
From the glossy white page of setup instructions go to [...] as at point 2 then follow points 3 & 4.
You can create anybody as a User. If you want them to be able to access the system anywhere in the world on either a mac or PC or tablet, android, iPhone or iPad or I presume any other suitable device make sure you enter an e-mail address for the user.
You have now created your Users but that is only a list of people inside the system it has not created anything for you or them to view.
Now create Share. There will already be Public and SmartWare listed. As you create each user that persons name will also appear in the Shares list. A point to note is that it takes a few minutes to update the system showing the names in Shares so just because you created it does not mean it is necessarily there straight away.
I want to let far flung relatives see family pictures so I created a Share called Photos. By creating this as a share rather than Public I can control level of access by each user. My father in law would be likely to press the wrong button and delete the lot so he only has View access.
Cloud Access is where you actually assign different devices that can be accessed by each user.
Once you have created your Users, Shares and Cloud Access then simply set your Shares to either Public or Private. If you select Private then the option will be given for what level of access you can give to each user.
This to me is the beauty of the system. I have my own storage device and my own Cloud .... Not some facility in a place I do not know.
I tried to use a cloud facility before but after 3 days it was still uploading my photos. With this device everything was on in 2 hours and I use Time Machine to back up my system.
I know nothing lasts for ever, but I have over 20gig of photos so far so to use the normal 5 gig free storage offered by most companies would mean a lot of messing about.
Hopefully by the time this device starts to show its age, the cost of SDD storage will have come down and I will hopefully be able to store without having to worry about system failure.
Until then I am very happy with this device.
on 30 December 2014
Very slow... and since installed slowed down dramatically the Internet speed at home...
Additionally, and especially considering this is a delicate item (hard drive) the packaging was appalling with next to nothing protection (see photos) and as a result the WD MyCloud box was damaged (see photos).
on 19 January 2015
I Purchased the Western Digital 4TB My Cloud for predominantly watching the hundreds of movie files I have compiled over the years. Set-up was straight forward, as it plugs straight in to the LAN connection of your router. And the set-up wizard is downloaded from Western Digital's website that guides you through the installation process.
Once installed, I connected my Seagate USB 3.0 external drive into the back of the unit and allowed it to transfer all my movie files overnight. By morning the file transfer was complete and all my files had transferred over without a hitch.
Now to playback those movie files here's what I did. My Samsung smart TV was able to search for the WD network device and found it no problem. Playback comes via WI-FI and is smooth without any pixelisation or stuttering.
On my iPad (4th gen) I downloaded OPlayerHD (£3.99 from the App Store) and via its interface, it detects my WD network device, then it's just a case of tapping on it and brings up all my files. OPlayerHD will play MP4, AVI and MKV files no problem. However, the free WD My Cloud app from the App Store doesn't play AVI or MKV files, only MP4s.
On my LG G3 Android smart phone I installed the free WD My Cloud app which enabled me to access my files. To play back the various movie file formats I recommend MX Player Pro (from the Playstore) as this will enable you to playback all the files you have. As I said earlier, the WD My Cloud app isn't the best for playback but you do need it to select the file you want and MX Player Pro does the rest.
Now I can watch films anywhere on any device within reach of my Wi-Fi connection without having to stick a DVD or Blu-Ray in to my player to watch something. This drive is great for movies!!
on 22 March 2014
Like any WD product, build quality is good and looks good as well.
Performance wise, it's a bit of a let down. The software that comes with it is slow, and OK for small number of files. I was a bit ambitious to start with and tried 7000 files, 1.5T worth. It hanged several times at 1.1gb. I went back to file browser and it was fine.
Over the network trying to watch a film on it whilst copying files did not work, lots of lag.
I must have misread the cloud advert for it, I thought that WD was providing an auto back up for the drive, so figured that I would just need 1 drive and no back ups. Had I read it properly, would have gone for the EX4 instead to run RAID for peace of mind.
The good thing about the software is how easy it is to access from external. Documentation lacking though.
Looked at the ad again. Definately said 'no limits' to the cloud storage. This is misleading. I am limited to 4GB. Disappointed that WD is sinking low to mislead customers to sell products.
Whilst streaming a HD movie, there are lags. Not massive, but ruins the movie experience. This is over a 1gb wired network. I do not use wireless at home for permanent positioned devices. I never got this using Iomega NAS. Dropped to 1 star because of the poor NAS performance.
First, a little explanation of what this device does and does not do.
This is not a USB Hard Drive. It has a USB connection, but this is only to plug in other drives to expand the storage.
WDs My Cloud does, however, contain a typical Hard Drive, mine comes with 2TB but you can buy it with different storage options. This is accessed via an ethernet cable to your router, then via WIFI from any device through that. Think of it as a fully wireless solution to storage.
Connecting up the device is easy, despite the terrible user guide, just plug in the included Ethernet cable to the router and then the power lead and it's all done. From here you'll need to set up the software side of things and this is where things can get a little more tricky.
The PC/Mac software is the easiest initial route as this makes it fairly easy to set all the options for access up. This software also guides you through the whole process and helps you understand how to set shares for people (basically, who can access what content). Shares are divided in to Public, which anyone logged in can see, and every other folder, which can have its own specific access for each user. It's really comprehensive in who can access what and I really loved this.
You can also access the settings on an iPad/iPhone through an app or on Android through the internet. I had a go at setting up the device again on an iPad and it works well, though not as easily as with a PC. The app is very straight forward, however, when it comes to accessing the device.
Previous internet (NAS) drives I've owned have been a fiddle to get working remotely and have been very slow in uploading and downloading data. The WD My Cloud surprised me with the speed in which it can handle data (though I do have a 35Mbps+ connection) even remotely. I used 3G to access video, photos and music stored on the device from another town and had no problems doing so. The App logged me on and provided me with access to all my content.
In fact, the only downside to me is the constant flickering light from the device and my uncertainty as to how much electricity this is using when left on all day. Not a major issue as long as you're not overly worried about such things.