Transporter network storage device cuts cost with bring-your-own-drive option

Cloud storage and back-up services like Dropbox and Carbonite deliver the convenience of anywhere access and the security of offsite backup, but the subscription fees for those services add up. Network-attached storage systems like WD’s new My Cloud are attractive alternatives, but it’s not always easy to sync two of those systems over the Internet to provide offsite data redundancy. That’s why I’ve been intrigued by Connected Data’s Transporter 2.0–and now the company has announced a new version that looks even more promising. 

The Transporter Sync operates exactly like Connected Data’s earlier Transporter 2.0 device, but it’s smaller and costs less–just $99–because you provide your own portable USB hard drive. This network-attached storage (NAS) device is accessible from the cloud, and, like cloud-storage services such as Dropbox, it can sync the data stored on a connected hard drive with your PC, smartphone, or tablet.

Unlike most online storage services, however, Connected Data doesn’t store any of your data on its own servers; therefore, it can’t access your data or be legally compelled to produce it. The clients and one or more Transporters operate on a peer-to-peer network, and the data is encrypted with a 256-bit AES cipher while in transit. Connected Data’s server is used only to connect Transporters and users.

“A lot of customers who have looked at the Transporter said �?I have a whole stack of external drives, can I use one of those existing drives?'” said Jim Sherhart, Connected Data’s vice president of marketing. “The Transporter Sync answers that question.”

Since the Transporter Sync doesn’t house a 2.5-inch hard drive, it’s 3.5 inches shorter than the original Transporter. It retains a gigabit ethernet port, but its USB 2.0 port has been repurposed to host an external hard drive (the USB port on the original Transporter can host an optional Wi-Fi adapter).

The Transporter Sync can host up to a 4TB external USB hard drives, but Sherhart says that limitation is in place only because Connected Data has not yet tested it with higher-capacity drives.

The new device is expected to hit retail outlets in the coming weeks.