iPhone and iPod Touch NAS Integration with NetPortal by Stratospherix

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Posted December 30, 2010 by Patrick Kennedy in Client Tips

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
NetPortal Document Commands

NetPortal Document Commands

Media Streaming

  • 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.
NetPortal Streaming Music

NetPortal Streaming Music

File Viewer

  • View various document and image types including PDF, iWork, RTF, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG, TIFF, html
  • Uses CIFS/ SMB for connectivity.

NetPortal Connect to Server

NetPortal Connect to Server

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.

Conclusion

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.


About the Author

Patrick Kennedy

Patrick has been running ServeTheHome since 2009 and covers a wide variety of home and small business IT topics. For his day job, Patrick is a management consultant focused in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about basic server building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

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