Generally, for network storage needs, I would recommend getting a dedicated NAS server, such as the Synology DiskStation DS1511+. However, if your needs are limited to casual usage, such as sharing documents and streaming music and photos, then a router with built-in network storage capability -- one that comes with internal storage or can host an external storage device and shares that with the rest of the network -- fits the bill better.
While much inferior to a NAS server in terms of features and especially performance, some routers actually have more to offer, in terms of storage, than one might expect and may just be what you need. In any case, getting a router of this type plus an external hard drive is a lot cheaper than a dedicated NAS server.
Following is a list of five top routers with built-in support for network storage that I've reviewed in recent years. … Read more