What is UPnP and DLNA?
There are many ways of sharing files within a computer network, but the 851N use a specific media sharing protocol called Universal Plug and Play (UPnP). It is also compatible with devices that support the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA). Both protocols were developed to simplify the way networked media devices can find, connect, and communicate with each other within a network.
The UPnP service automatically grants access to devices declaring themselves to be UPnP compliant, so in certain professional or commercial environments it is not recommended as it offers inherently weak security. For this reason, the UPnP service on some or all of your devices may be disabled by default.
Note: You should refer to the relevant documentation for your devices and software to determine how you enable the UPnP service. Devices where this might be necessary include, but are not limited to your PC, Mac, NAS drive and Wi-Fi router.
This means in order for your 851N to play your music, it must first identify a compatible UPnP or DLNA music server in the network.
What is a Server?
A server is a software or hardware device that accepts and responds to requests made over a network. The device that makes the request, and receives a response from the server, is called a client, or in this instance your 851N. The 'server' essentially accesses the music stored on your storage device (NAS, HD, computer, etc.) and 'serves' it to your network player - it's basically the middle man between your locally stored music and the 851N.
On Your PC:
Most modern PC's running Windows include Windows Media Player (WMP) which can be used as a UPnP media server. The UPnP and sharing options may not be enabled by default so if you wish to use WMP as your media server, you must configure it appropriately.
On your Mac:
By default, there is no UPnP software installed on a Mac, so if you wish to use your Mac as the server you must first install your server of choice and configure it. See the paragraph at the end of this section for more information on some of the available applications.
On your NAS:
Many NAS devices include at least one UPnP or DLNA app (some may even have more), but they may be disabled out of the box for the reason already mentioned above. The default servers should work with the 851N once enabled and correctly configured, however there can be distinct performance advantages if you download a third-party dedicated music server app. These apps are generally available in the NAS brand app store or can be found and downloaded directly from the publisher's website and installed manually.
NAS brands worthy of note include Netgear ReadyNAS, QNAP, Synology, Asustor and Melco, although there are many others. It is worth noting that not all third-party apps will be available for every brand of NAS, but it is fair to say that at the time of writing, those listed above have by far the greatest variety and the best support.
If your NAS is not included in the above, don’t despair, it may still have an integrated solution available and provided it is correctly configured, should work fine with your 851N.
Other third-party solutions include apps like Minimserver, Asset UPnP and Twonky. These are specialised music/media servers offering greater flexibility, functionality and in some cases a streamlined browser experience. They can be downloaded and installed on your PC in minutes and for music fans with a large collection, recommended over and above the default Windows Media Player solution. There are also plenty of other alternatives and you will find a number of these during a quick browse on the internet. We suggest you try a few out until you find the server that best suits your needs and preferences.
Once configured, a UPnP or DLNA music server will be identified by the 851N and visible both on the device itself (in the Music Library option in the Menu) and in the Library tab of the companion control app, StreamMagic.