Yech. The attic is the worst place to put electronics. It gets VERY hot in the summer and could cook the drive. In case of fire, it will be the least likely location to survive. Put it down low, in an area with better temperature control.
CAT5. You wanted reliable, and copper wiring is the most reliable.
Let's make life easy (for me). Consider the wireless and NAS parts seperately. If the NAS device can do ethernet, it can do wireless by simply adding an "ethernet wireless client bridge". Any wireless device that has a client mode will work. See:
Just make sure it has a "client mode". Any of the "game adapters" will work.
For NAS, I've been using various boxes by Buffalo and Simpletech. Neither is wireless, particularly wonderful, offers anything unique. I treat them as commodity items at $150 for 250GBytes is cheap.
The big problem you're going to have is speed. With a 54Mbit/sec wireless connection, the BEST you can do is about 25Mbits/sec. The various proprietary modes might get you to 60Mbits/sec, but that's at fairly short range and not going through any walls. At the distances that you can get 60Mbits/sec thruput, you are close enough that CAT5 cable will be both better and more reliable. Recently, MIMO devices have offered as much as 400Mbits/sec thruput (using both 802.11a and
802.11g simulaneously), but you don't want to know the current price.
Anyway, you can continue your quest for a wireless NAS in one box, but methinks you'll do better with seperate boxes.
I've discounted a single device to do both jobs for the reasons I outlined in the original post. Running ethernet cable from my father's computer to the attic is not an option hence the requirement for a wireless bridge. I'm simply after recommendations for a reliable wireless bridge from those that have experience of them. Amongst many others I've looked at the Linksys WET54G which sounds promising. For the NAS element I'm looking at either Western Digital or Buffalo and
250GB should be ample.
I'm planning on the attic as there is cooling up there and whilst he's been broken into twice he's never had a fire and I figure that hidden in the attic is as secure as I can realistically make it.
Hmmm - only reason why I think anybody would want to put a HDD on a wireless bridge into the loft is because they want to make it difficult to find because it contains something dodgy. I'll let peoples imagination decide what 'dodgy' means.
You're right I do want to make it difficult to find. As I previously explained, my father has been broken into twice and on both occasions had his computer stolen. If he backs-up to a NAS that's sat on his desk next to his computer you can guarantee that it will also be taken. I'm simply trying to ensure that he has the most secure back-up that I can pragmatically provide.
Why is it that because I want to do something that you don't, you automatically assume there's something dodgy about it? Not that it's any of your business put the data is predominantly financial i.e. investment history, portfollios etc and his own program to deal with the tracking of values and the tax liabilities etc etc.
I have not experienced much burglary, but I am much more paranoid about my backups than you. My solution is to use a pair of external USB 2.0 disk drives for backup. At any given time, one of these drives is connected to my home computer, and the other one is sitting in a drawer in my place of work. I swap these drives once a month. My reasoning is that fire/earthquake/burglary is possible at both locations, but destruction at both locations simultaneously is not very likely.
Do you visit your father often? If so, I suggest that this backup strategy would suit you well. A pair of ordinary USB disk drives is a lot simpler than a wireless network, more secure, and possibly cheaper too. You could keep one drive at your father's home and one at your own home.
I agree 100%. I cannot accept the casual attitude that most people have about backing up their computer data. Apart from the financial data, people are ditching their film cameras in favor digital at high speed. Music is migrating from the CD rack to the computer as well. The data on home computers gets more precious every year. It's all good, it should be protected, and it should be private.
I have deployed approx 20 WET54G's both version 2 and version 3. The version
2 bridges worked well if the signal was strong. If the signal was variable (shooting through several walls or long distances) they would tend to lock up frequently. Most of the version 3's - about 8 - that I have out there seem to require a reboot every week or so. A couple of them hang in there for a month or two at a time.
For the last couple of weeks I have been testing a pair of WRT54G routers with DD-WRT. So far so good. If it were up to me I would give the WRT54G DD-WRT combo a try, it is also cheaper than the bridge.
Ok, that's reasonable. For a wireless ethernet client bridge I've used:
Linksys WET11 - Flakey. Doesn't work reliably as peer to peer. Linksys WPA11 - Hangs all the time. No WPA. Linksys WAP54G - Hangs erratically. Dlink DWL900AP+ - Very reliable but only 802.11b. No WPA. Buffalo WLI-TX4-G54HP - So far so good. Works nice. No surprises.
3com something workgroup bridge - Complicated setup but ok. Cisco 342 Workgroup bridge - Very nice but 802.11b only. Cisco 350 Workgroup bridge - Very very very nice, but expensive. Linksys something Game Adapter - Limited testing but seems to be ok.
I've also been playing with a WRT54GS v4.0 and a Buffalo WHR-HP-G54 router configured with DD-WRT firmware v23 SP2. This has a client mode, which seems to work well enough. However, I've done no real testing and have only been playing when I have the chance. Still, I suggest you look into this approach as it has the advantage of open source firmware.
Well, it's none of my business but if all you're backing up are some financial records and maybe the usual docs, methinks a 1GB or 2GB removeable USB flash memory thing would be sufficient for backups.
250GB would make sense if you're archiving images of multiple machines or collecting music and videos.
I've had a bit too much entertainment with several Buffalo Linkstations. I sold and installed 5 of them. 3 worked without much trouble. The other two drove me nuts. The problem was that the web interface for configuration of the server was incredibly slow. The supplied Windoze domain authentication barely works and has some weirdness (as outlined in the docs). The admin tools seem to only find the server some of the time. Directory and volume passwords were difficult to configure. Password sync with a PDC/BDC would fail erratically.
So, I switched to SimpleTech SimpleShare 250GB.
The interface was quite different, more detailed, much faster, and showed none of the oddities I found in the Buffalo products setup. However, all is not perfect. It was a bit slower than I expected. I had a hell of time trying to add an external USB drive. It hated my USB flash drive. The docs are in some odd English dialect.
Here's a review which fairly well covers everything except the filesystem specifics:
I'm not going to say recommened, but it's the best of the what I've seen on the bottom end of the price scale. If you want to spend the bucks for quality, see:
If theft is an issue, I suggest you reconsider and look into removeable backups such as DVD, USB flash drives, or external USB removable drives. By removing the backups from the premisis, the chances of having something happen to both the computer and the backups is greatly reduced.
 Greatly reduced but not eliminated. In 1989, we had an earthquake in Santa Cruz. My customers backups were in a bank safe deposit box. Some buildings collapsed, converting the servers into scrap metal. I built up new servers but couldn't get to the backup data for about 2 weeks while officials and attorney's debated the liability issues of who would be responsible if we had another quake while recovering the backups. I'll spare you the details of the bureaucratic idiocy but it's sufficient to say that none of my customers backups are now in bank safe deposit boxes, and are all easily accessible when necessary.