Connect your disk to the router to access stored files from anywhere on the network, including videos and music
In this guide we will show you how to put a hard disk on the network via the modem’s USB porttaking advantage of the network sharing features found on modems sold in recent years, including many modems provided by Internet telephony operators.
READ ALSO -> Sites to transfer files between PCs in the same Wifi network
1) How to connect hard disk to a modem
Before proceeding with the rest of the guide, let’s make sure that the modem at our disposal has at least one USB port on the back (preferably USB 3.0 type, recognizable by the blue color of the contacts). The port should be enabled foraccesso al file system NTFSthe most used for very large discs.
Once this important check has been carried out, we connect any external USB disk of at least 1 TB and let’s continue with the rest of the guide to access disk space from any network device.
On some drives, make sure to use a hard drive case with a separate power supply, so you don’t have power problems when you connect the hard drive to your router. For further information we can read our guide to best portable external hard drives.
2) Enable network disk sharing
Once we have connected the hard disk to the modem we access the configuration panel from a browser on any connected device, to see if it can be used to share files over the network. The IP addresses most used by routers are 192.168.1.1 e 192.168.0.1. In case of problems, it is best to refer to the router manual or check the label on the bottom or back of the device, so you can verify the access address and credentials to use.
Once inside the router we look for one of the following entries:
- File sharing
- Disk sharing
- USB sharing
- USB configuration
- USB hard disk
With one of these entries we will have access to the functions reserved for sharing files on the network. The entries and screens change depending on the router model you have, but the features are pretty much the same everywhere.
For sharing we can activate various services, the most famous are:
- DLNA: with this service the modem will check the presence of multimedia files (video, audio, images) on the connected unit, so as to make them visible to any other device on the network. If we have a Smart TV we will be able to access the disc via Wi-Fi or Ethernet and immediately see all the films saved on the disc from the DLNA app or from the video player integrated into the TV.
- File Sharing: with this service it will make the entire connected drive visible to other devices on the network, which will be able to read, modify and create new files or folders as if it were a drive present in the system.
Some router models also have printer support (Print Server), which is very useful for making printing available to all devices on the network without using WiFi or an Ethernet cable (not all printers support these features).
3) Best routers for file sharing
If our modem does not have USB ports and/or does not support sharing services we can buy a new router to obtain these features, without necessarily having to change the old modem provided by the telephone operator, as seen in the guide above how to change fiber modem even if restricted by the operator.
1) TP-Link Archer AX55: an excellent WiFi 6 router with Dual-Band AX3000Mbps support, 5 Gigabit Ports, 1 USB 3.0 port for hard drives, TP-Link HomeShield support, OneMesh connection, Tether App and compatibility with Alexa voice commands.
2) AVM FRITZ!Box 7530 AX Edition International: one of the best routers we can buy for the home, equipped with Wi-Fi 6 Dual Band up to 2,400 Mbit, Internet port and telephone port (for VDSL connectivity), support for Mesh networks, 1 USB 3.0 port, file server, server multimedia, support for VPN connections, call filtering and parental control.
3) MSI RadiX AX6600: for the most demanding gamers we can focus on this router, which boasts a Wi-Fi network up to 6600 Mbps (5GHz, 2.4GHz Wireless), AI QoS Priority system, MU-MIMO technology, Beamforming technology, WPA3 secure access, port 2.5 G WAN/LAN, 4 1G LAN ports and USB connectivity for hard drives.
4) AVM FRITZ!Box 7590 AX Edition International: enhanced version of the AVM modem seen above; in this case we will have fast Dual Band Wi-Fi 6 up to 3,600 MBit/s, ADSL/VDSL support up to 300 MBit/s, Mesh support, DECT Base support, Media Server access, file server access (via USB), VPN and parental control support.
5) NETGEAR Nighthawk Router WiFi 6 Pro Gaming XR1000: among the most expensive routers that can be purchased on the market, which boasts an AX5400 Wi-Fi network (up to 5.4 Gbps), DumaOS 3.0 operating system (optimized for server connections), 4 1G Ethernet ports and 1 USB 3.0 port for disk connection.
By connecting a USB hard drive to your modem or router we will have access to your shared space from any device compatible with network sharingquickly accessing your most important files and documents without having to move them from one computer to another.
After sharing the disk, just open it This PC -> Network on Windows and press on the shared network disk to access it; if the disk is not visible we recommend you read our guides on how to solve connection problems between PC and file sharing on LAN come on how to activate network discovery in Windows 10 and 11 and solve problems.