The modern family can consume gigabytes upon gigabytes of data on a monthly basis: streaming their own shows, listening to different music, gaming, and consuming online data like hot water in the morning. Here's a solution to ease the burden of filled up hard drives while being able to share files and media across devices in a household, family-style.
Network Attached Storage, known by its handy acronym NAS, is one of the most convenient ways of storing your family's data. NAS consists of a hard drive that's connected to a WiFi antenna. The hard drive sits on your home WiFi network, and everyone within its range can access the drive. This can allow massive amounts of storage for your data-hungry children, especially if they've got lots of video files. You can easily set up a system that can store a spacious 5 to 10TB of storage, in excess of the average family's needs, but with room just in case.
The NAS we like is the Data Robotics Drobo. The Drobo comes in a few different flavors, but all of them allow you to plug at least four hard drives for combined capacity. With up to 3TB per drive, a NAS can create a capacious storage solution. We'd actually recommend setting any NAS as a full RAID array (a redundant data setup that trades some storage space for backed up data), ensuring all of the data stored remains safe, even if one of the hard drives has a critical failure. Check out other options in our comprehensive list here.
Reusing an Old PC as a Data Server
If you're on a budget you could possibly wrangle some use out of old desktop equipment you might already have laying about in your basement. Once you've formatted the PC, you'll need to either connect it to your modem or buy a WiFi card. You'll also need a bunch of hard drives for storage. We'd recommend buying a RAID card, which would run the hard drives in a similar way as the Drobo. This option costs less, but it's best reserved for the people who know a bit about computers and who don't mind poking around and tweaking settings.
MORE DATA STORAGE ON APARTMENT THERAPY
• 5 Easy NAS Devices
• Make Your Old PC into a Data Server
• Are Desktop Computers Obsolete?
(Images: Flickr member Thomas Hawk licensed for use under Creative Commons, and Flickr member Clemmm9 licensed for use under Creative Commons and Flickr member William Hook licensed for use under Creative Commons)