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That sounds strange to me. Doesn't active file accessing keep it awake too, or is it the times when you are not accessing the NAS that bother you? Are there no settings to extend the go-to-sleep-if-inactive interval?
Are you using the auto-mount package? I think that keeps polling an external mount, or at least should send a WoL (Wake-on-LAN in case anybody doesn't understand what we're talking about - and NAS means Network Attached Storage). I expect a WoL poll could be sent periodically on a cron job if required.
Can you clarify that you are talking about wake on lan and not hibernation
Most NAS's with WOL funtionality have 3 possible power states
1. Completely Off - this happens when the power lead is disconnected from the socket - after plugging back in, you have to manually press the on button to get it to turn on
2. WOL - While the NAS is powered up, it goes through what looks like a complete shutdown (all lights are off, and no visible or audible activity is seen) - it uses a minimal amount of power to keep the LAN connection alive, but the rest of the NAS is off (CPU, Hard disks etc are off)
3. Hibernation - NAS is still on, but goes in to a low power state by turning off the hard disks and maybe the fans (CPU, motherboard etc is still powered up)
For WOL to activate, you have to physically send a magic packet to the NAS to get it to turn back on (Windows does not do this automatically, you have to use a special utility from the NAS manufacturer or a 3rd party WOL utility and it goes through a full boot up sequence as if you were manually turning it on for the first time and can take a few minutes)
To come out of hibernation, a PC just has to access a shared folder on the NAS for it to come alive - normally only takes a few seconds
If you do indeed have to use you WOL function to bring it back alive, then this is a very strange behaviour for a NAS, and also a PITA
My NAS (Synology DS1010+) is set to hibernate every 10 minutes if nothing is accessed, and just needs a click on to one of the shared folders to bring it back alive - this can be done with a PC or from the Humax
At the end of day (12 o'clock at night), it is set to shutdown, and then it automatically turns on at 6 o'clock in the evening
If I need it to be turned on during the day, I either manually press the on button, or I can use the WOL feature to turn it on from the Synology WOL ulitity, 3rd party utility or remotely via my router (router has a WOL utility built in)
I have checked in the current Buffalo manual and I now understand what the Auto switch is for
Quote from the manual
AUTO: When the switch is in the AUTO position, the LinkStation automatically turns off when all computers on the network with NAS Navigator2 turn off. If any computer on the network is powered on, the LinkStation automatically powers on as well.
ON: The LinkStation stays on, even when all computers are off.
OFF: Turns the LinkStation off.
The 'auto' is designed to turn on the NAS when a PC is turned on (just as long as it has the 'Navigator' software installed), and then turn off, when the the last PC on the network is turned off
It is using WOL to turn the NAS on when you turn on a PC
Once the NAS is on, it is not using WOL then, it's just sending it a signal to tell the NAS that the PC is still on, so that it doesn't turn itself off
From what I can see from the manual, there is no other 'hibernation' feature, unless it is not referred to in the manual
From several forums, it seems that the Buffalo does not support hard drive spin down, so as you said, setting the switch to On would mean the NAS stays on all the time, and if it is set to Auto and the PC is not accessing the NAS, the drives will still not spin down - this I think is a bit of a boob on Buffalo's part, as the whole point of a NAS is low power consumption, but the Buffalo is running at full power all the time it's turned on
All other NAS's I have come across have another 'hibernation' mode
This kicks in when a PC etc hasn't accessed the NAS for a specified period of time, and it allows the NAS to go in to a 'soft' hibernation (hard drives spin down to save power, but the NAS is still on), and to bring the NAS back awake, you just need to access a shared folder
Mine is set to hibernate every ten minutes giving me the following power consumption figures
1. NAS in use = 55 watts - instant access
2. 10 minute hibernation = 20 watts - take a few seconds to awake
3. Powered down for WOL = 1 watt - takes a couple of minutes to boot up
4. Completely powered down = 0 watts - takes a couple of minutes to boot up
Unless someone on this forum can replicate what you Navigator software does on the Humax to stop the NAS from shutting down, you may be out of luck
Which Iomega NAS do you have? I have the Home Media Network Drive (non-cloud version), and it doesn't seem to have any elaborate power options at all, just plain old 'on' and 'off'. I've seen lots of complaints about this on various forums, since the HDD never spins down unless you switch it off completely (not ideal on a NAS!)
NAS-Central is a good place to look for info on this kind of thing, there's a wiki with sections for various makes a models, and a set of forums too. http://www.nas-central.org
You need a stick or drive plugged in, the standard Humax firmware doesn't go looking for USB mounts unless there is one so doesn't see the virtual mounts either - but what's the problem with that? A cheap USB stick is all you need, stuck in the rear port if you want it out of sight.