Review: Pogoplug Wireless Adapter - Page 2

By Gerry Blackwell

December 06, 2010

The Pogoplug simplifies sharing one or more external hard drives over the Internet. With its new wireless adapter, you're free to place it anywhere you have a drive.

Pogoplug Biz

The Pogoplug Biz product adds some useful business-specific features, such as usage statistics and auditing. You can see how many times a file or folder has been viewed, streamed or downloaded. An administrator can set up access levels and storage quotas for individual users.

The Biz product also lets you customize the look and feel of the Pogoplug interface, with your own company branding and graphics, and customize in a similar way the look and feel of emails you send out when sharing files.

CloudEngines provides customers with custom email addresses which let even non-registered users e-mail files to the Pogoplug as attachments - a simple way of remotely adding data to your private cloud. It's similar to the e-mail mechanisms used by public file sharing and storage services such as SugarSync.

Biz also lets you print from any mobile device, including the iPhone and iPad, to any printer connected to the Pogoplug. And finally, it lets you set up remote backups, continuously mirroring all or part of your Pogoplug storage to a second Pogoplug in a different location.

Going wireless

In many home and office environments, it won't be convenient to have the Pogoplug sitting right beside the router, or have Ethernet cables draped all over to connect it. That's where the new "Little Buddy" wireless extender comes in.

Assuming your Pogoplug has been flashed with the latest firmware -- which CloudEngines pushes out over the Net in much the way Microsoft pushes out operating system patches -- setting up the "Little Buddy" is a breeze.

Plug it into an available USB port on the Pogoplug, log in to your account at my.pogoplug.com, click Settings and then select Wireless Settings.

This is where it can get interesting. If your Pogoplug hasn't been flashed with the latest firmware supporting the wireless extension, the Wireless Settings option won't appear in the Web interface. You can't proceed. Some users were complaining in CloudEngines user forums about not seeing the option as late as mid September.

That was our experience. It may have been because our Pogoplug was offline for a few days after being activated and so unavailable for the automatically pushed update. In any case, the company finally had to flash our Pogoplug unit selectively. After that, it truly was a breeze setting up the wireless capability.

Two-step process

When you click on the Wireless Settings option in Pogoplug Account Settings, the system presents a list of available networks in range. Click your network name, key in the encryption key, if required, and you're done.

Now you can unplug the Pogoplug from the router and position it anywhere you want within wireless range of the router. To test this step, we moved the Pogoplug to an area in our home office that has notoriously poor Wi-Fi coverage. The Pogoplug immediately connected to the network, indicated by a blinking, then a solid green light on the front.

From a recent-model laptop (i5 dual-core processor) - a computer connected to a different Internet service from the Pogoplug (so no question of Pogoplug using the local network) - we launched the client software and logged in to the Pogoplug.

The Pogoplug-attached hard drive immediately appeared in Windows Explorer, and we were able to select and stream music from the drive. In truth, Pogoplug is not a top-notch streaming media player, but it does work, with a few initial hiccups.

However, it took an agonizing five minutes and 25 seconds to download one 16.9MB file from the Pogoplug to a computer on the second Internet connection - obviously much slower than downloading a file from a commercial download site.

Slow Internet service upload speeds and network congestion could have played a role in this result, and Pogoplug doesn't claim to be fast, just easy to set up and use. Moving the same file with Pogoplug attached by Ethernet cable took almost as long, suggesting the bottleneck is Pogoplug's routers.

Bottom line

Wireless Pogoplug? Yep. It works, it's easy. It's not lightning fast, but it does work and it makes the product that much - i.e. slightly - more useful.

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