Cloud

Review: Wuala cloud storage

Wuala's mesh network and security model for file encryption definitely make it worth serious consideration.

There is one approach to cloud file storage that is both interesting and useful, but Wuala isn't really meant for those who lack patience.

System requirements

  • Operating Systems: Windows XP, Vista, 7, OS X, and Linux
  • Cost: Free (with paid storage upgrades)
  • More Info: http://wuala.com

Who's it for?

Wuala is designed for cloud storage warriors that want good operating system flexibility and ease of use for off-loading files.

What problem does it solve?

Wuala doesn't necessarily solve any problems, given that there are many competing services that offer similar benefits. Rather, it relies on a contingent of other Wuala users to pick up the slack in the storage hosting department, in exchange for the benefits that come with being a member.

Stand-out features

  • Extra space is available: Unlike the majority of online file storage services like Dropbox and Box.com, which offer paid plans only as a means to expand storage, Wuala offers you the option to gain additional online storage in exchange for some of your unused local disk space to commit to the network.
  • Uploads are encrypted automatically: Everything you upload with Wuala is given high-grade file encryption to prevent hackers and other nefarious evildoers from messing with your cache of files. Wuala doesn't even have access to the files you upload. If you lose your password, you are out of luck.
  • Mobile devices are supported: Wuala also offers a simple, yet capable, mobile app for Android and iOS devices, making file access easy and accessible from anywhere.
  • Bandwidth can be adjusted: You can easily cap the amount of upstream and downstream net traffic that will be given to Wuala, so that the rest of your Internet connection doesn't get bogged down.

What's wrong?

  • It can be slow at times: Because of the peer-to-peer mesh nature of Wuala's service, sometimes the nodes are slow to respond to file upload and download requests. Even the speeds of the transfers themselves are solely contingent on how others on the network are in terms of network congestion.
  • Interface with Windows isn't seamless: Sadly, Wuala falters in the OS integration department. Wuala has no direct integration with Windows Explorer, requiring a separate program to work with files.

Competitive products

Bottom line

Without a doubt, Wuala's mesh network, security model for file encryption, and the "give space... get space" option definitely make Wuala worth every ounce of consideration. However, the lack of solid integration into the operating system and occasionally fickle performance could pose an issue for some.

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About

An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Cus...

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