The ease at which cloud storage and sharing have become for household and business users is exceedingly simple. One minute you’re borrowing flash drives and external hard drives to share data and the next minute, that same data is being shared with everyone without having a physical storage medium placed in front of you to plug in and access that data. Furthermore it becomes extremely frustrating; not to mention tedious when you need to lend your expensive flash or hard drive to a friend just because they need to access a 100 KB file. Fortunately, you will be happy to know that networking and technology has refined the way we share things and now, data can be shared across a single network. Without further ado, let us jump right in on how to share data through a router in a household.
Before getting started
- In order for your family and friends to start sharing files off a single WiFi network (or simply through a router), you are going to have to make sure that your router possesses a couple of USB ports to help you connect storage paraphernalia such as flash drives and hard drives. Some routers also possess USB 3.0 ports. If you’re going to purchase a router that has a couple of USB ports, then be prepared to dish out some cash because these things don’t come cheap.
- When you have successfully connected the storage medium and configured it properly to be shared by everyone across a network, then all devices, ranging from smartphones to tablets to PCs will be able to access that data.
- Some routers have a limit to how much storage you can grant access to people connected to the same network so do your homework well before you head out and purchase your golden item. If you need maximum amount of data to be shared across a single network, then the router doing all of this heavy lifting will cost a bit more.
Sharing the drive
Using a computer or any other device, connect it to your router, and then launch any web browser and type in the IP address of your router in the URL box. By default, the IP address of your router is going to be 192.168.0.1 but if it isn’t, then you’re either going to have to consult your manual or, search the web for the IP address. Different router brands come with different default IP addresses.
Even though every router has a different interface, if yours possesses a USB port, then you’ll find a link titled File Sharing or something equivalent in the Administrator settings. In this window, enable the file sharing server (also called SAMBA). Apply the settings, and exit the router’s webpage.
Accessing the shared drive
After you have successfully configured your storage drive, it is now time to access it. This can be done by opening a file explorer window, and navigating to the Network folder that is placed in the left sidebar. Then, empty out the path at the top of the explorer window, and enter \\[your IP address]. So if you are going to enter an IP address, it should be done in this format:
Entering the correct IP address will help your drive to appear. After this, you will successfully be able to access its contents and so will anybody who has access to your WiFi network. If you’re asked to log in, then you need to enter the same credentials that you did when you accessed your router’s web interface. By default the credentials are given below:
If you plan on leaving your hard drive attached, so that you can easily access it from any Explorer window, you can do so by right clicking on the drive and selecting the option, Map network drive. Assign a name of your choosing and the folder will appear in the sidebar.
If others want to access the attached drive, then they will have to repeat the last step. With this simple tutorial, you will no longer have to continuously maintain the tiring operation of lending your flash drive or your hard drive to access a file of negligible size.