Synology, the Taiwanese NAS production company has become a trusted name in Surveillance Stations and Network Attached Storage appliances. The DiskStations and RackStations produced by Synology are widely used as reliable storage commodities. The Synology DiskStation 216 + 2 Bay NAS, more commonly known as the DS216+II, this 2 Bay NAS is aimed for home users or small office owners. It is the perfect storage medium to provide secure and efficient data sharing and storage solutions as well as an effective video transcoding solution for a verity of viewing mediums. The question is, does the DS216+II live up to the Synology name? Let’s fund out and jump in to the Synology DS216+II review.
Synology DS216+II Review – What’s in the Box?
The new Synology DiskStation216+II bay NAS comes in a nondescript light brown colored cardboard box. The box lacks any fancy graphics or colors. Instead, the sturdy packaging is simply emblazoned with the DiskStation Logo in a huge font at the bottom corner on each side, with a smaller colored sticker pasted on the other corner, showing the device model and a brief device intro. The box features a briefcase handle on top for easy handling.
Upon opening the box, you can see the unit covered in thin white protective foam covering paper, surrounded by packing foam. A smaller box is placed on the side, containing the accessories, which include an Ethernet cable, a power cable and its power brick and a quick installation guide. If you intend to use your NAS for surveillance purpose it comes with 2 IP Camera licenses. If you require additional licenses you can purchase a Surveillance Device License Pack that includes Camera License Pack and VisualStation 360HD, these will enable you to set up your observing and playback station.
Package contents include:
Synology DS216+II 2 Bay NAS
Quick installation guide
The Synology DS216+II – Modern and Sleek
The NAS unit itself is a black colored 165mm tall, 108mm wide and 233.2mm long, rectangular shaped device. The body or chassis is made of high-quality plastic. The front of the NAS is predominantly covered by a shiny black plastic panel, which can be removed to reveal the two HDD bays. The opposite corner has four LEDs; each has the following label marked as; status, LAN, Disk 1 and Disk 2. Below the LEDS is a 3.0 USB port, followed by its one-touch copy button. And the last button on the front panel is the Power button.
When you turn the NAS on its sides, you can see Synology® embossed on either side in the plastic chassis. The back of the device is dominated by the 92 mm x 92 mm fan. Below the fan is the two USB 2.0 ports. Beside the USB ports, you can find the Ethernet port. Just beside these ports, a Kingston lock is located, and under the ports, you will see the eSATA port followed by the 12 Volts Power outlet for the NAS.
Now let’s return to the front of the NAS and have a closer look behind the removable plastic panel that hides the HDD bays. The panel can be easily popped out by a slight pull, as it is held in place by four rubber grommets. The bays themselves can be pulled out by small push release latches located on top of each bay. These bays are completely tool free and can support both 2.5 inch and 3.5-inch drives.
The new DiskStation 216+ II has it all. All the functionality a moderate home user or a small office could want, the Synology DS216+II can deliver.
This Synology NAS comes equipped with Intel N3060 Dual core Celeron processor with 1.6 burst up to 2.48G Hz. The CPU has an AES-NI hardware encryption engine incorporated in it. Whereas the hardware transcoding engine also have impressive specs; with H.264 AVC, H.265 HEVC, MPEG-2 and VC-1 support; and a maximum resolution of 4K (4096 x 2160); along with the maximum frame rate per second (FPS) of 30.This NAS has an internal memory of 1 GB DDR3.
The system can deliver encrypted data transfer speed of 113 MB/s reading and 109 MB/s writing. The DS216+II NAS also features real-time support to transcode H.264 4K Ultra HD video. And can support a single channel 4K transcoding or triple channel transcoding in Full-HD. All these functionalities along with the NAS’ facility to utilize the DVB-T/DVB-S sticks as well as the recording utility, makes this Synology NAS device a media heaven for small-scale users. The Video, Audio, and Photo Stations featured in Synology DS 216+II bay NAS support DLNA and AirPlay, as well as Bluetooth or other wireless transmissions via dongles.
The DiskStation DS216+II features a front facing 3.0 USB port with one-touch copy button, as well as two 2.0 USB ports in the back. With the Ethernet connection, one eSATA port, and two swappable SATAIII/SATAII SDD and HDD drives; hardware wise, the DS216+II offers an impressive array of functionalities.
The plastic chassis can be easily removed from the NAS by removing a couple of screws. The most important feature on the inside is the motherboard. The motherboard in Synology 216+II NAS is surprisingly small.
The RAM is soldered onto the motherboard and is not augmentable. Since there are no other channels present for any additions, your only option is a 1GB DDR3. The board also features two VRMs, Voltage Regulation Meters. Other important chips present include a PIC16F1829 8-bit microcontroller, the BIOS flash chip, a Micron 25Q064A, and as the Ethernet manager a Realtek RTL8211E. A noticeable feature on the motherboard itself is that only the polymer caps by Chemi-Con and Sanyo are used.
Other features present inside include a small STMicroelectronics SOC and its heatsink sans any fan, and a couple of voltage regulation modules (VRMs) on the mainboard. The only PCIe slot present on board holds the SATA expansion card for another SATA connector.
For external drives, it can support Btrfs, EXT4, EXT3, FAT, NTFS, HFS+, and also exFAT when purchased separately in Package Center. With the Btrfs you can now have features like data integrity check, a variable Shared Folder/User Quota system, the innovative snapshot technology with adaptable backup plans that can facilitate up to 64 replicas of shared folder backups, and very convenient folder level data restoration options.
Let’s take the time go over a few features that make Synology DiskStation 216+II 2 bay NAS a valuable addition to your network.
It offers high-speed data transfer as well as hardware encryption engine all rolled into one easy package.
Its installation is simple and easy along with hassle-free long time maintenance.
Like its predecessors, it also offers the Synology signature video transcoding feature, but in 4K Ultra HD!
The Operating Station in DiskStation 216+II DiskStation Manager is as efficient as they come.
Your new Synology DiskStation 216+II 2 bay NAS can be easily amalgamated into your business environments quite easily.
The Compatible sharing options available in Synology DiskStation 216+II 2 bay NAS makes it an Admin favorite.
With real-time backup solutions, you can rest easy that your data is in a secure environment.
Utilizing all the Cloud services has been made easier than ever. With Google Docs, DropBox and OneDrive your data sharing and updating can become completely hassle free.
With great mobile apps, comes great freedom of movement with apps. You can enjoy apps like DS note, DS audio, DS video, DS photo, DS cloud, DS file, DS get and DS cam. You can even manage your data via your mobile or tablet. With Synology mobile applications your data can always be at your fingertips.
CPU Intel Celeron N3060 dual-core 1.6GHz, burst up to 2.48GHz
Hardware encryption engine Yes (AES-NI)
Floating point unit Yes
Hardware transcoding engine Supported codec: H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-2 and VC-1; maximum resolution: 4K (4096 x 2160); maximum frame rate per second (FPS): 30
RAM size DDR3 1GB
Compatible drive type 3.5”/2.5” SATA III/II x 2 (hard drives not included)
Maximum internal raw capacity 20TB (10TB HDD x 2) (actual capacity dependent on volume types)
External ports USB 3.0 port x 1, USB 2.0 port x 2, eSATA port x 1
Size (HxWxD) 165 mm x 108 mm x 233.2 mm
Weight 1.25 kg
LAN Gigabit (RJ-45) x 1
Wireless support Yes (wireless dongles not included)
You can use the File Station present in the DSM software using your web browser. The file station can be used just like your standard windows explorer. Add new data by simple drag and drop in the browser; and easily access, organize and further share your data already present on the NAS.
The File Station can also be used to set access levels for users to the shared folders. Additionally, all the important cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive can be utilized using File Station.
For the Synology DSM, the Photo Station app serves as the centralized photo organizer. Your photos can be accessed from anywhere from your home or office network. A useful feature for both professional and amateur photographers, Photo Station provides secure access to photos on the go, from any device. It also makes sorting and storing photos, and of course showing them off on various media output devices very continent. This application supports remote photo viewing, effective and secure photo sharing and even blog postings! Additionally, if you have enough space you won’t even be needing third party services like Flickr. With the help of DS Photo app, you can upload photos to the NAS using your Android or iOS directly into the Photo Station.
Your audio files are also effectively stored and organized via the Audio Station. You can create your own playlists and rate your clips just the way you like. Audio Station also provides support for Internet Radio, AirPlay, and even the Bluetooth devices. Just like the DS Photo app, the DS Audio app allows streaming from the NAS to other Android and iOS devices. You also have the option to play offline audio clips in your other devices downloaded from your NAS.
One of the major features of the Synology DSM is its Video Station. With the updated Video Station you can now save, organize and access your favorite Movies, TV Show episodes, personal home videos, Clips captured from TV all in one place. And all this comes with the ability to stream your videos on a vast variety of visual media output devices, from your own laptop screen to your mobile screen or your living room TV. Video Station can transcode your video on the fly to any watchable format that your viewing media supports. Synology now has introduced ‘offline transcoding’, feature to its DSM too. Now you can pre-transcode any video and use the DS video app to download the transcribed video into your device for later viewing.
A staple in all Synology NAS devices, the Download Station facilitates downloads from a multitude of online resources. DSM Download Station support BT, FTP, HTTP, NZB, Thunder, FlashGet, QQDL, and eMule, downloads along with any torrent downloading directly using the Synology search engine. Now you do not need to keep your PC switched on to keep your downloads going, just leave your much more power efficient NAS to do the job.
Content creation can now be done via your NAS too. The Note Station helps you to generate, organize and share your notes via a user friendly, yet comprehensive interface. This feature-rich content editor can help you create a variety of text styles. From your day to day to-do lists, to lengthy diary entries, class notes or travel itineraries, to small clippings of all your favorite quotes and memos; you can create any content style you want or need.
And accessing this content is made easy via the search feature included in the Note Station; you can even search the attachments to find your desired note. Furthermore, Notes creation is not the only utility you get with this app, you can even encrypt your notes if you want.
With the Spreadsheet provided in the Synology DSM, multiple users can work on data together. The added bonus here is that you will not require clouds like Google Docs to access the data. With Synology Spreadsheet you can enjoy the benefits of collaboration without relying on third parties for data security.
Although you can work your spreadsheets without using clouds that does not mean you are deprived of the various cloud-based services. You can create your own Cloud service via cloud station and take full advantage of all the classic cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox Synology allows you to create your own Cloud service with Cloud Station. You can run your own Dropbox and OneDrive. Retain total control over your data, just update data in one location and all the replicas on all your other computers and smart devices on the network will be updated as soon as you save the alteration. You can now pick up your work at home, exactly from where you left it at your office, without any hassle of external portable devices.
With your Cloud Station utilities; the Cloud Station Backup, Cloud Station ShareSync and DS Cloud, you can now manipulate and safeguard your data with ease. Back up all your data automatically in real-time with Cloud Station Backup. Sync your multiple NAS servers with Cloud Station ShareSync. And do selective syncing with DS Cloud, data backup creation and sharing are made the easiest possible with Cloud Station.
Before powering on your device pop out the front panel, take out a bay and insert the 3.5’’ hard disk into place. If you are using 2.5’’ bays you will need screws to secure them in the bays. Slide the bay back inside the NAS and you are good to go.
Attach the NAS to the network via the Ethernet cable provided in the Sinology DiskStation 216+II NAS Accessories.
Power up the NAS, now using a client system connected to the NAS pull up the browser present in the system and access the web page ‘find.synology.com’. When your NAS is powered on and connected to the network, the web page will self-detect the IP address of your NAS and you can simply proceed with the setup.
You will be automatically directed to download and install the latest version of the DiskStation Manager. Alternately, you can also install a previously downloaded version by choosing ‘Manual Install’ option. Incidentally, beware that during installation, any data already present on the disk will be wiped out. The downloading and installation takes a little time, anywhere from 10 min to 30 min.
Once the installation is completed the NAS will automatically restart. And you will be directed to the welcome page. Now your task is to create your ‘Administrator Account’, here you will be asked to enter your Server name, User Name, and the Password.
Next, you will be asked to enter your DSM update settings, it is recommended to choose auto update so that with Synology constantly updating its DSM software, you won’t be left blind- sighted. The current DSM version available for Synology DiskStation 216+II 2 bay is DSM 6.0.2
Next, the set-up will direct you to ‘Set up Quick Connect’. This valuable feature of Synology NAS allows you to access your NAS from anywhere quickly and securely. You can create a new ID to access this feature, alternatively, if you already have a Quick Access ID you can use that as well.
The next step is to install all the Synology recommended packages; these packages will help you to use the DSM with its full functionality. These packages include Audio Station, Video Station, Download Station, Photo Station, Cloud Station, and Media Server. After the packages’ installation, which takes roughly 10 minutes you will be given the ‘All Set’ message and are ready to explore the DSM.
File Transfer Speed
The file transfer speed of the Synology DS216+II was fantastic when both sending a file to the NAS and downloading it from the NAS. Sending a 10GB file to the NAS it achieved an average transfer rate of 103.72MB/s. Downloading the same file from the NAS it saw an average speed of 107.23MB/s.
The Synology Surveillance Station – Affordable and Feature Rich Surveillance
Sinology name is synonymous efficient surveillance solutions. The Synology NAS devices are one of the most reliable options to integrate into your system for smart surveillance and all the relevant video management purposes.
For small scale surveillance requirements, the DiskStation 216+II 2 bay NAS can be a viable option. While the large scale surveillance systems are primary targets for Synology Surveillance systems, they have not overlooked the small scale and home users. For small scale surveillance requirements, the Synology Surveillance Station is optimized to handle feed from up to 16 IP cameras.
Synology Surveillance is one of the best options available in value and services. It requires no added software and no added expenditure to deploy. In addition to being your storage medium and video management support, the Synology Network Video Recorder also provides added network server features like integral DHCP, Syslog, VPN Server, NTP, etc., allowing you the best possible surveillance solution, at the most cost efficient and easy maintenance rates.
The Synology DiskStation 216+II 2 bay comes equipped with its own Camera License Pack and the VS Firmware operating system of VS360HD to handle surveillance needs. Improved and manageable license packs are additionally accessible for users who need to increase the number of IP cameras in their surveillance network.
It is ‘the’ compact and all-in-one Network Video Recorder solution for small space requirements. There is no need to add resource exhausting new surveillance systems, with added costs, additional computers and monitoring software, team and storage requirements. The built-in HDMI port, enables you to use your local display for surveillance purpose. The Synology NVR can be swiftly fit in any environment. And additionally, it can be deployed as a stand-alone or amalgamated using the Synology CSM, Central Management System into a larger deployment consisting of several smaller configurations.
The Synology Surveillance Station is feature packed and very simple to use. The thought of setting up a network of security cameras for your home may sound daunting however thankfully Synology has kept this process very simple as well. For our setup we made us of the fantastic Hikvision DS-2CD2342WD-I cameras and the setup process only took a few minutes.
Once logged in to the Surveillance Station is was just a matter of clicking on the IP Camera shortcut and then selecting Add Camera from the available options. On the Add Cameras screen you are asked to enter the following information:
In the Name field you are able to specify a nickname for the camera, making it easy to monitor the cameras should you have more than 1 setup.
The IP Address field needs to be filled with the IP address of the IP security camera. This is generally provided in the installation manual that comes with the camera.
The Port field is prefilled with the most common port however you are able to change this should you need to.
Under the Brand and Model Number dropdowns you are required to select the brand and model of your security camera. Depending on what brand and model you select will determine what other fields will be shown on the Add Camera screen.
TV Standard is where you select the format of your TV – NTSC or PAL
Finally you need to enter the username and password of the security camera which is found within the installation manual that came with the security camera.
Clicking the Test Connection button will test the settings y6ou have entered and if correct a green tick appears on screen and you shall see a preview of what your security camera is seeing.
Once the cameras have been added you are able to configure all of the settings of the camera from within the Surveillance Station. Synology gives you a great deal of control over everything that is being recorded and provides you with a wealth of options for configuring everything.
The Camera Settings in the Synology Surveillance Station consist of 5 sections:
Live View Settings
The Device Settings screen is similar to the screen used for adding an IP camera. You are able to chance the IP address etc. of the camera as well configure the video and advanced settings. The video settings allows you to specify what video format you want the video files to be saved in along with the resolution, bitrate, image quality and frame rate etc. Under the Advanced tab you are able to configure RTSP and RTP settings.
Recording Settings allows you to specify how the Surveillance Station handles the recordings from the IP camera. You are able to choose how often a new video file is saved, the pre-recording time, post-recording time, how long you want to keep the files for as well as specify how much space you want to allocate to recordings. You are given the ability to archive recordings and are able to specify where archived recordings are saved along with how they are handled. Under the Schedule tab you are able to setup a recording schedule and the Advanced tab allows you to tweak additional recording settings.
Live View settings provides you with the option of configuring Live View settings including the Live View source and multicast settings.
If you would like to further tweak the camera settings you can do so under the Optimization section where you are able configure Time Synchronization, On-Screen Display, Exposure Mode and Video Orientation.
The Event Detection section of the camera settings allows you to setup Event Detection on the cameras such as motion detection. You are also able to configure Tampering options.
Live View allows you to monitor the cameras in real time, giving you a simple way of checking out what’s happening outside. On the right hand side of Live View is where you will see the camera seed along with the current date and time stamp and camera name. With the Hikvision cameras we were using the image quality was fantastic and the shot you can see in the screenshot was taken in pitch black darkness.
To the left of the Live View software you have navigational controls that allows you to pan and tilt your security cameras should they have that functionality and gives you a great way of being able to monitor and track activity outside as it happens. There are a number of other options available to you within Live View including Alerts, Patrol, Digital Output and Audio Output.
With the Timeline Software you are able to select a date from the calendar allowing you to view feeds from other days. There are some included playback controls allowing you to increase the size of the video and make it full screen. Located directly to the right of the video feed there is the timeline slider which allows you to very easily move forward and backwards in the videos timeline giving you full control over monitoring the video. The best thing about all of this is that you can use these functions whilst video is still recording.
The Surveillance Station provides you with the ability to work with your recordings from with the Recording section of the software. Once loaded you are able to view a list of all recording along with the date and time they were recording, file size and the camera name they were recorded from. You are able to playback your recording directly from this view and you have the ability to download the recordings, export them as well as the ability to configure the mounting and storage options for the recordings. You are able to delete any recordings you with or lock them so that they cannot be removed.
Finally, the Surveillance Station gives you even more control of your home security by providing you with a range of other options under the main menu. The main menu gives you access to additional configuration options and applications that further enhance the Surveillance Station software, including:
Synology also offers a companion system for your NAS and Surveillance station software in the form of the VisualStation VS360HD which functions as a remarkably compact observing and playback station for a small scale usage. You can see the product over at their website.
Using the CSM, VS360HD handles and couples video streams sent from several Surveillance Stations at the same time. The Video output of VisualStation VS360HD is in the form of VGA and HDMI, and its Supported Video Resolution is 1080p at 60Hz. With an Audio input and output of 3.5 mm, it has a decent performance level. At its maximum performance level, it can handle 360 Frames per Second at 720p (1280×720) supporting 36 defend channels, in H.264 format. On the other end of the spectrum, for maximum visual impact, it can deliver 10 Frames per Second at 5 megapixels (2591×1944) for one channel only in MJPEG format.
Additionally, you will be able to enjoy features like live view and recording playback, snapshot support, eMap Support, PTZ Control and Patrol and Log Viewer. The VisualStation VS360HD comes with its own set of accessories that include the Main Unit, a Quick Installation Guide, an AC Power Adapter, one RJ-45 LAN cable and its own VESA mounting kit.
Operating the VS360HD does not require a background in surveillance, with Live View panel popping up on the screen automatically when the device is turned on. And the ‘Timeline’ can be easily used to view all the recorded events; it also facilitates taking snapshots and then transferring them to the external storage device.
Featuring Dual Video Output, you can utilize several VS360HD units via KVM switch to deploy a more comprehensive surveillance system in a most cost effective manner.
Surveillance Station Specifications
Up to 49 channels in 1080p on single live view display
Up to 64 channels in 720p on single live view display
Real-time streaming protocol (RTSP) support
Multicast communication support
Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) and digital zoom support with configurable PTZ speed
On-screen controls to activate audio/digital outputs of external devices
On-screen camera controls including camera zoom, focus, iris adjustment, auto pan, and auto object tracking
E-Map & Snapshot support
Alert panel to quickly display the most recent triggered event
Snapshot editor support for instant editing after taking a snapshot
Video quality settings including bitrate control, image quality, resolution, and FPS
Camera patrol can be triggered by schedule, event detections, or I/O alarm
Intelligence video analysis including no-idle zone, motion detection, missing object, foreign object, camera occlusion, and focus lost
Web plugin for Internet Explorer, Firefox on Windows, and Safari on Mac OS X
Desktop design allows for easier multitasking
Recording modes include manual, continuous, motion detection, I/O alarm, customized, and action rule
The customized recording mode can be configured as a combination of conditional events, including motion detection, audio detection, tampering detection, and alarm input
Edge recording on the SD card of certain camera is supported (please refer to the compatibility list)
Export/mount recordings support
Configurable pre-recording & post-recording time
Recording formats: MP4
Up to 64 channels synchronous and non-synchronous playback
Customizable layouts for playback in Timeline
Playback controls include pause, stop, previous recording, next recording, fast forward, slow motion, and digital zoom in/out
Frame by frame playback support
Divide a recording into four equal-length sessions and playback them concurrently
Intelligence video analysis including no-idle zone, motion detection, missing object, foreign object, camera occlusion, and focus lost
Image enhancements including brightness, contrast, saturation, and sharpness
Embedded watermark for evidence integrity
Support up to 90 cameras on a single NVR, please refer to NVR selector on the Synology website
Create and manage admin/manager/spectator user privileges
Rotate recorded videos by archived days or storage size
Event notification supports SMS, E-mail, and mobile phones
Notifications can be filtered by camera, event type, and schedule
Notifications can be batch edited
Notifications can be triggered by external devices
Recordings can be backed up to an external storage or remote server
Action Rule correlates triggered events and actions to automate Surveillance Station
HTTPS secured connection
Built-in NTP server
Tunnel supports MPEG-4, H264 via RTSP over TCP, UDP and HTTP
Support for 20 different languages: Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese Brazil, Portuguese European, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Turkish
Central Management System
View the live view/recordings from multiple Synology NVR on a single portal
Logs from recording servers are centralized on the CMS host
Camera licenses on all recording servers are centralized on the CMS host
Camera licenses are installed and managed on recording servers
Stream Live view and replay events recorded in MJPEG, H.264, MPEG4 formats (MxPEG is only supported for Live view)
Customize Live View layouts (up to 6 concurrent channels)
Control the camera with PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom)
Broadcast audio via camera speakers with 2-way audio
Activate preset positions and patrols
Take snapshots of Live View feeds (snapshots are saved on the DiskStation)
Search events by camera group, server, event type and time range (enabling CMS is required)
Delete and lock/unlock recordings
Delete and lock/unlock snapshots
Enable/disable individual cameras
Push notifications support
Available on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch running iOS 7.0+ for complete set of features
Available on devices running Android 4.0+, with touch-screen and Wi-Fi capabilities for complete set of features
Video codec: MJPEG, MPEG-4, MxPEG, and H.264 (MxPEG is only supported on Surveillance Station through web browser)
Support Field of View (FOV) to adjust different field of view if the camera supports multiple types
Support constant and variable bitrate control to fine tune the camera’s bitrate
Multiple streams are supported with different camera codec engine
Different TV standards are applicable if the camera supports NTSC or PAL standard
Audio codec: PCM, AAC, AMR, G.711, G.726
Supports camera dewarping via camera or Surveillance Station for certain fisheye cameras mounted via ceiling, wall, or floor
ONVIF™ 2.4, Profile S, Profile G certified
Support over 89 brands
Where to Buy
If you are on the lookout for a new NAS and the DS216+II takes your fancy, you can pick one up for only $299USD over at Amazon.
Whether used solely as a NAS or as a cost-effective surveillance system as well, the Synology DiskStation 216+II 2 bay NAS is amazing! With its robust enough network transfer speeds, efficient CPU that keeps power consumption in strict check, superb encoding and transcoding capabilities, a kickass DSM Operating system and last but not least the singular surveillance facility with that comes with up to 16 IP camera licenses, this NAS has got it all.