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Using a QNAP Thunderbolt NAS to set up a high-speed file sharing system

Transferring a sizeable file or a large number of small files can be time-consuming. While 10 Gigabit Ethernet can reduce the overall transfer times on Windows systems, this can be harder to achieve with Mac systems.

QNAP Thunderbolt NAS is the perfect solution for Thunderbolt-equipped Mac & Windows users with 4K workflow, file storage, and backup needs. QTS (QNAP NAS operating system) supports Thunderbolt networking that connects your NAS to other systems as an Ethernet connection. Each Thunderbolt connection can cascade (daisy-chain) up to six devices (storage devices and computers) through a single port without needing a hub or switch. Thunderbolt as an Ethernet connection is compatible with all network services (such as file sharing, FTP, and other services). This tutorial provides an overview of how to set up a Thunderbolt network between the NAS and your computers.

Note:

  1. The number of Thunderbolt interfaces varies by NAS model.
  2. Check with the device manufacturer to determine if the device supports Thunderbolt daisy-chaining.
  3. The total number of connections in a daisy-chain will affect overall performance.
  4. Mac OS X El Capitan 10.11 or later is required.

Set up Thunderbolt networking on the NAS

1. Open Qfinder Pro to find your NAS, and double-click on it to open its login page. Qfinder Pro is a utility for Windows, Mac, and Linux that allows you to quickly find and access a QNAP NAS over a LAN. Please follow this link to download Qfinder Pro: QNAP Utilities.

2. Log into the NAS as an administrator. Go to “Main Menu” > “Network & Virtual Switch” > “Interfaces” > “Thunderbolt”.

  1. Click “Edit” under “Thunderbolt Bridge Address” to configure Thunderbolt’s network settings.
  2. Thunderbolt will automatically assign IP addresses by default. If your network environment requires static IP addresses, choose “Use static IP address” (if you use iSCSI, NFS, or other file sharing services to mount network drives, use a static IP address for greater reliability).
  3. After applying the settings, you should see the correct IP address for the Thunderbolt port. To check the connection status, you can go to “System Settings” > “System Status” and select the “Network Status” tab.
  4. To set the network preferences of the Thunderbolt ports on your Mac, go to “Apple menu” > “System Preferences” > “Network”, and select “Thunderbolt Bridge” from the services list. By default, computers using Thunderbolt in a network environment automatically receive an IPv4 address using DHCP. If you have set a static IP address, you should manually configure the IP address accordingly. Refer to "Manually set Thunderbolt IP addresses" for more information.

Set up file sharing and access shared items on a network

QNAP NAS offers various forms of file service so that other operating systems can connect to your NAS with built-in tools or common application programs. Forms of file service include:

  • AFP (Apple Filing Protocol)
  • NFS (Network File System)
  • SMB/CIFS (Microsoft File Sharing)
  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
  • WebDAV

To share with other computers, simply turn on the service you want to use in “Network Services” (in “Control Panel”) on the NAS, and then use one of the following methods to connect to your NAS from your Mac: “Network Drives” in Qfinder Pro, “Network”, and “Connect to Server” in the Go menu of Apple Finder.

Use Qfinder Pro

1. Open Qfinder Pro and select “Network Drives”.

2. Choose the protocol, and enter the name of the folder to mount. If you do not specify the shared folder name, you can choose it after you enter your username and password.

3. Enter your username and password for the NAS.

4. Select the folders that you would like to access. Make sure you have the access privileges to the shared folders.

5. The connected folders will show up in Finder.

Use “Network” in the Go menu

The Network function displays whatever is available on your network in the Finder window. You may need to enable the Bonjour service first. Bonjour is a TCP/IP-based advertising and discovery protocol used by Macs. By enabling Bonjour, available services such as file sharing, printers, and remote speakers (used by iTunes and Apple TV) will be advertised throughout the network.

You can enable Bonjour from “Control Panel” > “Network Services” > “Service Discovery” > “Bonjour”.

1. On your Mac, go to “Finder” > “Go”, and then select “Network”.

2. Select the IP address of the Thunderbolt port of the NAS.

3. Select the folders that you would like to access.

4. The connected folders will show up in the Shared section of any Finder window.

Use “Connect to Server” in the Go menu

Use the “Connect to Server” feature to directly connect to the NAS. For example, you can connect to Microsoft File Sharing (SMB) offered by the NAS.

You can enable Microsoft File Sharing (SMB) from “Control Panel” > “Network Services” > “Win/Mac/NFS” > “Microsoft Networking”.

1. Select “Go” > “Connect To”, and enter a URL, IP address or DNS name.

2. Type the network address for the computer in the Server Address field using one of these formats:

smb://DNSname/sharename
smb://IPaddress/sharename

If you use services other than SMB, see Network address formats for shared computers and servers

If you do not specify the shared folder as part of the address, you can choose it after you enter your username and password.

3. Follow the onscreen instructions to enter your username and password. You should have access privileges to the shared folders. To make it easier to connect to the computer in the future, select “Remember this password in my keychain”.

4. Choose the shared folder you want to access.

5. The shared folder icon should appear in the Finder window sidebar or on your desktop.

Obtain the Thunderbolt IP address

There are two ways to obtain the IP address of the Thunderbolt port of the NAS as illustrated below:

  • Use the LCD display. Press “Select” to show the Thunderbolt port’s IP address.
  • Log into the NAS as an administrator. Go to “Main Menu” > “Network & Virtual Switch” > “Interfaces” > “Thunderbolt” and then check the IP address under “Thunderbolt Bridge Address”.

Manually set Thunderbolt IP addresses

You may need to use a static IP address for Thunderbolt Networking in your network environment. Here is how to set it up.

1. Log into the NAS as an administrator. Go to “Main Menu” > “Network & Virtual Switch” > “Interfaces” > “Thunderbolt”.

2. Click “Edit” under “Thunderbolt Bridge Address” to configure Thunderbolt’s network settings.

3. Click “Apply” when finished.

4. You need to change the IP address on your Mac accordingly. On your Mac, go to “Apple menu” > “System Preferences” > “Network” and select “Thunderbolt Bridge” in the network connection services list. Here you should choose “Manually” from the “Configure IPv4” pop-up menu and configure an IP address in the same subnet as your NAS.

Release date: 2015-08-18
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