Outgrowing fat32

After purchasing the Netgear wifi router, I went out today and picked up a 1TB 2.5″ drive to tap into the USB NAS port.  One problem with appliances is that you can only use the filesystems that are the “lowest common denominator” so to speak.  Naturally, that’s FAT32.  One problem though!  In Windows, if you tap in a 1TB drive, it will only format in one of two filesystem styles:  NTFS or ExFAT.  Netgear is excruciatingly slow with NTFS, close to 2MB/s at max.  This would have been the end of the road for this if I didn’t realize that Netgear routers are using Linux on the inside.  What does that mean?  I can use an EXT3 filesystem on the 1TB drive.  So, I blew the dust off my Linux laptop and booted it up, tapped in the USB 1TB drive and formatted it EXT3.  For you Ubuntu users, you can’t do EXT3 through the graphic interface, you need to open a terminal and first see what drive it is (‘df’ and see where the system automounted it and note the drive name on the left, e.g. /dev/sdb1).  Then, unmount the drive through the terminal with “umount <where it’s mounted>” e.g. umount /media/UNTITLED_MEDIA.  Then, format the drive to EXT3 with “mke2fs -j <drive name>”.  Replace <drive name> with the drive’s name you got earlier, e.g. /dev/sdb1.  This will take some time, as 1TB isn’t exactly small.

After that, your free to unplug the 1TB disk and poof!  A working 1TB shared drive to your network.  After you plug it into the Netgear router of course.

“Testing” the drive consisted of popping content onto it, which consisted of about 138GB of AVI/MPEG.  (movies, ripped from my DVDs)  I was happy with the throughput, as it didn’t hinder the speed of the gigabit network at all and dropped ~10-20MB/sec onto the drive.

My next step: utilizing the space on the drive by finding a decent video codec that will work over the network to my Sony bluray through DLNA.  I’ve gotten MP2 to work, but that’s 720×480.  Not the greatest on a large 1080p screen.

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