5N remote access

I’m new to Drobo and to networking so I apologize if this is in the wrong forum or has been discussed prior. I’m sure it’s been discussed a lot but I’ve searched the knowledge base here and haven’t found a discussion that addresses my specific issue. Bear with me…

I recently started a small architecture firm and have installed a 6TB Drobo 5N at the office which is attached to our gigabit switch. Everyone attached to the switch can see the shared drive letters on the Drobo that I set up. That part is working great. On the Drobo we store and access our shared AutoCAD, Revit & MS Office files. I back up the Drobo contents to a portable HDD weekly, which I keep in my work bag, just in case. Probably unnecessary but I’ve seen everything lost before due to one catastrophe or another.

What I would like to do, and for my employees to do as well, is to access the same Drobo share drives from home through Windows Explorer, just like if we were at the office. I realize there is a huge security concern here, which I could also use help with. This may be more of a general networking question, but since most of our files to access are on the Drobo, I thought I would start here.

I’ve started to look into Windows Network and Sharing Center as recommended (Windows 7) to set up remote access to my office network. But our “network” is basically just the Drobo and a few other devices attached to a gigabit switch, which is attached to a AT&T 2wire modem for Internet. We have no dedicated server machine yet. And like I said, I haven’t done this before…

I realize these are open-ended questions since much is dependent on my setup, but hopefully there’s someone here who can recommend some steps in simple language or point me to the right place.

Here’s my office setup:

AT&T 2wire modem >
. . 12-port gigabit switch >
. . . . #1 port: 2wire modem
. . . . #2. Open
. . . . #3. Dell laptop
. . . . #4. Mac laptop
. . . . #5. Dell workstation 1
. . . . #6. Open (future Dell workstation 2)
. . . . #7. Drobo 5N
. . . . #8. Open
. . . . #9. Open
. . . . #10. Open
. . . . #11. Multi-function printer
. . . . #12. Large format plotter

I have the 2wire modem wireless mode ON since my partner prefers to work wirelessly. She uses a Mac and I have not verified if she can see the shared drives while using wireless. She CAN see the drives when connected to the switch through Cat6 cable though.


Hi Paul,

I own a small laser scanning to as-built modeling company and we have a similar setup running Drobo 5N as a pseudo-server. For distributed working, we did also create a VPN that allows our team members to work from wherever and access share Revit files.

In order to do this you need 3 main components:

  1. A VPN client to create the secure tunnel between your employee and your LAN. For this we used a free VPN client names OpenVPN (https://openvpn.net/)
  2. Open a port or ports on your router to allow for the connection to be made from your remote employee and your Drobo5N data. We have a Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 and there is in most if not all routers a tab that allows you to create a port for the VPN connection.
  3. Authenticate your remote employees machine to access the Drobo5N. This is done whether they are local or remote using the Drobo Dashboard with a username and password.

If you need further help or explanation on this feel free to email me: leo@newcts.com


Leo R Castillo | Principal
CTS Incorporated