Surveillance cameras have experienced rapid growth over the last few years as security has turned out to be a very important aspect in both home and business environments. Almost all NAS vendors have either specific NVR (network video recorder) models, or provide apps for recording surveillance footage on their generic NAS models. A couple of years back, we reviewed the LenovoEMC PX2-300D with Milestone Arcus VMS pre-installed on the NAS. In that article, we also touched upon Synology's Surveillance Station to get an idea of the typical VMS provided by NAS vendors. Unlike pure NAS vendors, vendors of networking components such as Buffalo Tech and Netgear can provide a complete package for surveillance based on IP cameras. In today's article, we take a look at Buffalo's TeraSTation 5200 NVR (2TB variant) coupled with their 5-port Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) business switch - the BSL-POE-G2105U.

Buffalo Technology markets their NVRs with the promise of being compatible with Axis Camera Companion. Axis Communications is one of the leading vendors in the IP camera space, and the Axis Camera Companion is part of the firmware running on most of their current models. The feature also includes a PC client and mobile apps for control, configuration and viewing surveillance video from the cameras. The Buffalo TeraStation 5200 NVR and the BSL-POE-G2105U switch make up an 'Axis partner solution' for small surveillance systems having up to 16 cameras. In addition to the core review components in the NAS and the switch, Buffalo also provided us with two Axis M1054 cameras for evaluating their solution.

The TeraStation 5200 NVR is physically the same as the TeraStation 5200 2-bay NAS that Buffalo introduced back in 2012. The NVR version is qualified by Axis for use with their IP cameras. In terms of hardware specifications, we have the old Intel Atom D2550 in a 2-bay chassis. Our sample came with 2x 1TB Western Digital Red drives pre-installed and pre-configured in RAID-1. The hardware specifications are summarized in the table below.

Buffalo TeraStation 5200 Specifications
Processor Intel Atom D2550 (2C/4T, 1.86 GHz)
Drive Bays 2x 3.5"/2.5" SATA 6 Gbps HDD / SSD (Hot-swappable)
Network Links 2x 1 GbE
USB Slots 2x USB 3.0 / 2x USB 2.0
eSATA Slots None
Expansion Slots None
VGA / Display Out None
Full Specifications Link Buffalo TeraStation 5200 NVR Specifications

The BSL-POE-G2105U is a 5-port Gigabit PoE switch with four PoE ports and one non-PoE uplink port. It can deliver up to 15.4 W on each port (40 W maximum on all four together). It is available standalone for less than $90 currently.

We won't go too much into the specifications of the Axis M1054 (since they are not part of the core NVR setup, and almost any current Axis camera can be used instead). For our evaluation setup, it suffices to note that they can be powered via PoE. They can output two streams (for example, we set it up to stream out 1280 x 800 15fps streams upon motion detection, but only stream out 640 x 400 5fps streams at other times for recording to the NVR). The maximum resolution stream clocks in at around 1.3 Mbps, while the low resolution stream at 5 fps comes in at 25 kbps.

Setup and Usage Impressions
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  • DanNeely - Friday, July 31, 2015 - link

    That looks a bit bulky for a 2 bay model, is there something extra inside using the extra space?

    For comparison the TeraStation 5200 is 166 x 170 x 231 mm (H x W x D) barely smaller than Synologies 4 bay DS 415+ at 165 X 203 X 233.2, and nearly twice as thick as the 215+ at 157 x 103.5 232 mm.
  • ganeshts - Friday, July 31, 2015 - link

    The TS5200 has an inbuilt PSU - no wall wart / hanging adapter - and that accounts for the extra thickness.
  • DanNeely - Friday, July 31, 2015 - link

    Ahhh. Getting rid of a wall wart/soap on a rope PSU is a good tradeoff for a slightly larger chassis.
  • bds71 - Friday, July 31, 2015 - link

    I know this is primarily a NAS review, but would the Axis Camera and the PoE Switch be able to provide on-demand (only when movement is detected) streaming via in-house monitor or iPhone? this is more what I would be interested in as a hunter on my local property.
  • ganeshts - Sunday, August 2, 2015 - link

    Currently, the Axis Camera Companion mobile app doesn't seem to do push notification. However, if you were to use the camera with a NAS like one from Synology or QNAP (Surveillance Station package and mobile app) - what you want to get done is possible.
  • zlandar - Saturday, August 1, 2015 - link

    Compelling? Only for a computer noob incapable of putting their own system together. For $900 you could buy an i3 PC outfitted with a larger hard drive running Blue Iris. You can buy Hikvision 3MP cameras that are cheaper and run @ 30 fps.
  • ganeshts - Sunday, August 2, 2015 - link

    You do understand that this is for businesses like veterinary hospitals / shops etc. - people who don't want to or have the time to put together a surveillance system with bits and pieces from different vendors / shops. These people also want a one-stop shop for support. Why do you think programs such as the 'Axis Partner Program' under which this Buffalo NVR is qualified exist?

    Yes, if one has the inclination / time / technical know-how, a DIY solution is definitely going to be priced lower. There is always a trade-off, and given that $900 seems to be the price that most vendors seem to be demanding for this type of solution, it looks like the market has spoken.
  • zlandar - Sunday, August 2, 2015 - link

    If you are making the argument that this system should cost more because it's an all-in-one setup then why not just go to Costco and buy a Lorex camera system? You can buy one for a $100 less and get a 4 camera setup:

    These are POE cameras that can run at 1080p @ 30fps and rated for outdoor use. The Axis cameras featured are significantly inferior.

    Does a business owner who doesn't know anything about PCs care about a NAS vs a dedicated recording box like the Lorex? According to you they would not. So why pay such a premium for a NAS with two mediocre cameras?

    I'm giving you a hard time because you said it's "compelling". It's overpriced IMO.
  • wolrah - Monday, August 3, 2015 - link

    Or Ubiquiti's UniFi Video (formerly AirCam before their marketing team decided to shoehorn it in to the UniFi brand) system, which can be had with an "appliance" style controller or can be used with a homebrew type setup on basically anything that can run Java. An appliance, three cameras, and an 8 port PoE switch can be had for about $200 less than this Buffalo thing alone. The cameras include PoE injectors so if you just use those and run the controller on a pre-existing server you're under $100 per camera for 720p.
  • ganeshts - Monday, August 3, 2015 - link

    We are talking about a system that can also double up as a NAS - that is the class of products that this belongs to.

    IMO, the closest product that we have covered before in *this* particular category is the LenovoEMC px2-300d with an integrated VMS. That one costs around the same as this, and actually consumes more power / older Atom CPU / uses enterprise server HDDs instead of NAS drives - and that is the reason this one is more compelling.

    All I am saying is that there is a market for this type of device, and there is a market for the N-channel NVR setups sold in Costco - and I am sure there is an overlap between the two (for example, those who want their NAS device to be separate from their NVR may go for the Costco NVR setup) - but, for those who belong to the former category, I still stand by the statement that the Buffalo / Axis setup is compelling for ease of setup, usage and also cost when compared to systems with similar credentials.

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