To keep personal data and backups we can use FRITZ! Box modems as if it were a NAS, so as to access files from anywhere
FRITZ! Box modems are in all respects the best modems we can use for Internet connections, given the high number of advanced functions that they carry with them and the constant updates they are subjected to to keep them always efficient. Among the most interesting functions of the FRITZ! Box we certainly find the disk sharing over the networkwhich allows you to transform a simple external USB hard drive into a network space accessible to all connected devices, exactly as if we had a NAS installed but spending much less than a traditional NAS.
In the guide that follows we will show you how to connect a network disk to the FRITZ! Boxhow to set up the modem for network sharing, and how to access the shared disk from a Windows PC, Mac, iPhone, and Android device.
READ ALSO -> Advantages of using a FRITZ! Box for your home network
FRITZ! Box modems have a high-speed USB port to which we can connect any type of external hard drive. If we don’t have a disk yet to use as a network disk we may consider purchasing the WD Elements Portable da 2 TB a 59€.
This drive offers 2TB of usable space on the network, so you can keep files from many different devices. The only recommendation is to formattarlo in NTFS and give them an easy name (like for example Disco), so as to maintain maximum compatibility with the FRITZ! Box system and facilitate access from the various devices that we are going to connect.
If we already have a hard drive (taken out of a notebook or desktop PC) and want to connect it to the FRITZ! Box, we can consider purchasing an HDD case such as the CSL External USB 3.0 Case in aluminum a 28€.
This case can accommodate both 2.5-inch hard drives and larger 3.5-inch drives, connects via high-speed USB 3.0 cable and has a separate power supply, so you can dedicate the USB cable only to data transmission (in fact it also supports the UASP standard). Also in this case we format the disk in NTFS and give it an easy name (for example Disco).
To learn more we can also read our guides on SATA adapters, drive cases and docking stations e i best external USB drives.
Configure network disk in the FRITZ! Box
After connecting the hard disk to the FRITZ! Box, go to a PC connected to the modem, open the browser and type the address for the settings screen: usually it is http://fritz.boxbut we can also use theIP address assigned as gateway in the network.
After logging into the settings we expand the menu Local networkwe press on menu USB /Memorie and immediately activate the voice NAS memory function of the FRITZ! Box enabled. After activating the item we will immediately see the disk among the available resources: make sure to also activate the check next to the item Update index automatically and scroll down to find the section Release in the local network.
In this session, make sure to check the box next to the item Access via an active network drive (SMB) and check that the name is assigned FRITZ.NAS and as a working group is assigned WORKGROUP. We press down on Applica for the changes to take effect.
Now we have to configure a new user to access the shared resource, so as not to have to enter the modem access password every time (which is very dangerous). To proceed, let’s take the path System -> Use FRITZ! Box inside the modem, we press the key Add userchoose a username and password then make sure to check the box next to the item Access to NAS content.
After checking this last item we can also choose to guarantee access only to the disk connected via USB (by pressing on Eliminate all, then on Add folder and finally indicating the connected USB disk), thus avoiding giving access to the internal memory of the FRITZ! Box. Let’s press up again Applica for the changes to take effect.
The disc is finally ready! In the following chapters we will show you how to view the new network resource on any modern device.
How to configure disk access from Windows
From Windows 11 or Windows 10 we can access the shared disk on the FRITZ! Box by opening the Start menu, selecting the app File Explorer and opening the section This PC in the lateral sidebar. After opening this screen we press at the top on the menu with the three dots (on Windows 10 we press at the top of the menu Computer) and select the item Map Network Drive.
In the new window we choose a letter to assign to the shared disk and insert the path as a folder \\fritz.box\FRITZ.NAS\Disknamewhere instead of Disc-name we have to insert the name we gave to the disk during the formatting phase; if we used the name Disco as suggested at the beginning of the guide the path will become \\fritz.box\FRITZ.NAS\Disco.
Before proceeding, we put the check mark on the items Reconnect at startup e Connect with different credentialsthen we press on Fine. A login window will open immediately: enter the credentials of the account created on the FRITZ! Box tailored for network shares, also making sure to check the item Stores credentials and finally press on Connect.
From now on the network disk will be visible on the screen This PC and we can access it at any time, also using it as backup path.
How to set up disk access from Mac
Anyone who owns a Mac or MacBook can access the shared resource by opening the app Finder in the system Dock, by pressing on the top of the menu Or and finally clicking on Connect to the server.
In the small window that appears at the top, enter the IP address of the modem or the SMB network path (smb://fritz.box/FRITZ.NAS/Nome-disco), click on Connectwe press again on Connect and, in the new window, we activate the voice Registered userenter the credentials of the account created on the FRITZ! Box, check the item Store the password in the keychain and finally press on Connect. The shared space will be visible in the Mac Finder and we will be able to both move and copy new files inside it.
Alternatively we can also just go to the Finder, press on the Network position and click on the network path of the modem (with its IP address): after pressing on it, click on the button Connect as and enter the credentials to access the shared resource.
How to set up disk access from iPhone
From the iPhone we can access the disk connected to the FRITZ! Box by connecting to the modem’s Wi-Fi network, opening the app Filepressing the button with the three dots at the top right and selecting the item Connect to the server.
In the screen that appears, enter the IP address of the modem or the complete path in SMB style (smb://fritz.box/FRITZ.NAS/Nome-disco), we press up on Connectwe check the item Registered userenter the login credentials of the FRITZ! Box account and click on Avanti to access the shared resource immediately.
Alternatively we can connect to the shared disk on the network by downloading the app Documentsdownloadable for free from the Apple App Store.
After downloading the app, start it, press the + icon at the bottom right, select the item Add connectionwe press on Windows SMB and fill in all the fields proposed, taking care to enter the complete path of the sharing (for example smb://fritz.box/FRITZ.NAS/Nome-disco) in the field URLthe access credentials of the FRITZ! Box account to the entries Log in e Password and any name in the field Title. Compiled all we press up on Fine to add the network disk to the file manager resources.
How to set up disk access from Android
On Android we can access the network disk by connecting to the FRITZ! Box Wi-Fi and using an app to manage files and remote connections. To be on the safe side, we recommend that you download the app Solid Exploreravailable for free download from the Google Play Store.
Once you have downloaded the app on our phone, open it, press the + button at the bottom right, select the item New remote connectionwe press on the item LAN / SMBwe press down on Followingselect the SMB server created by the modem (it should have the IP address of the same) or press down on You did not find what you were looking for? to enter the path of the disc (smb://fritz.box/FRITZ.NAS/Nome-disco), we select Username and passwordenter the famous FRITZ! Box account credentials on the next screen, confirm on Following and confirm where necessary to immediately add the network resource.
If we want to try other file management apps on Android we invite you to read our guide to best file manager for android.
If we want to recreate a home NAS without buying a dedicated network device we can take advantage of our FRITZ! Box modem, by connecting any external USB disk in the appropriate port and activating the file sharing server integrated in the modem, which will work like a data server accessible via network.
In this way we will be able to use the shared space to store the files that we have to use on multiple PCs or different devices, keep system backups or personal files, save phone photos or important documents to be modified later, spending much less than to a traditional NAS (the cost of which is always around € 100 for the cheapest models).