Regular readers of this site may have read my recent article on an Apple iPad app called FileBrowser which allows a user to connect to a NAS an retrieve files, stream music and video, and etc. After that piece, Stratospherix offered to have me take a look at NetPortal, an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch which allows for similar access to network attached storage. I took them up on the offer.
What NetPortal Does
NetPortal effectively expands an iPhone or iPod Touch’s storage when there is an available WiFi, 3G, or edge connection. A user can VPN into their network using Apple’s built-in iOS VPN application, and then using NetPortal access files on the NAS remotely. Main Features are:
Downloading Files Directly to Device
- Store files on an iPhone or iPod Touch
- E-mail files as attachments, even if you cannot open them on the iPhone. This is great for the file left on a network drive that needs to be sent remotely.
- One can even rename/ move files on remote storage
- Streaming compatible video and audio files from servers and other network attached storage, directly from the network (no copy to device required).
- The app can use formats that the iPhone or iPod Touch use including MP3, MP4, MOV, M4V and etc.
- View various document and image types including PDF, iWork, RTF, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG, TIFF, html
- Uses CIFS/ SMB for connectivity.
As one can see from the above picture, one can authenticate with a NAS server, or multiple PCs or servers on the same network. Then view files.
One minor bit of annoyance I saw on my iPod touch is that while streaming music, the iPod touch would go into standby and streaming would abruptly stop. If streaming music or video, I would suggest altering power saving options. On the other hand, the utility NetPortal provides is great for a $2.99 app.
NetPortal is a great alternative to FileBrowser (currently iPad only) for anyone with network attached storage. Retrieving documents securely over VPN is a must-have feature that really helps with storage constraints on iPhones and iPod touches. Where Apple allows a user to max out at 64GB, NetPortal effectively extends this to tens of TBs or more. I will say that I hope FileBrowser is ported to the iPhone and iPod touch, but in the meantime, NetPortal provides a low-cost alternative with a similar intuitive user interface.