Once I had the box assembled with my drives, I hooked up an Ethernet cable and powered it on. Initially the fan in the box spun up fast and loud, but as the unit booted, the noise subsided and the fan slowed. This told me that it had a variable speed capability, which is fairly uncommon in NAS boxes. In its stable state, the fan was loud enough to hear, but not as noisy as some boxes I've had on my network.
Thecus advertises support for Windows, Apple OSX and Linux, so I started the configuration process by inserting the supplied CD into my Apple iBook. Unfortunately, browsing the CD showed only Windows executables, so it was time to check out the manual. It stated that unlike most NAS boxes that default to DHCP for address assignment, the N2100 would come up hard-coded with an IP address of 192.168.1.100. For me, this address was in my subnet and currently unused, but if your network is configured differently, you'll have to adjust accordingly.
Like almost all of these boxes, configuration is accomplished through a Web browser, so I pointed my browser to the correct IP address and found a login screen as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Main Login Screen
As I browsed through the available administration menus, I found a large number of features. These included standard setup screens for password settings, time setup (see Figure 3), user and group creation, firmware upgrade and more. Along with the standard capabilities, there were a number of screens I found interesting.
Figure 3: Time Setup
Figure 4 shows a status screen that geeks (like me) will find informative. You can see the CPU load, temperature settings, fan speed and other statistics. This type of information was rarely, if ever, available on other NAS devices that I've worked with.