How to wirelessly connect a hard drive?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by edwardthefifth, Jan 31, 2006.

  1. edwardthefifth macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2004
    So here's what I'm trying to do:

    I have an airport express hooked up to my cable modem
    The airport express sits on top of my stereo, so I have the express connected to the stereo

    I have an ibook that is wirelessly hooked up to the airport
    So I'm able to stream my mp3s in itunes from the ibook to the stereo via airport

    My problem is that I have far too many mp3s to keep on my ibook, so I have many files stored on an external lacie harddrive.

    When I connect the harddrive to the ibook via the usb cable, I can obviously play all of the songs on the harddrive through my stereo via the ibook itunes/airport option. My problem is that I don't want my ibook to have to be physically tied down to the harddrive. Does anyone know of an easy way to wirelessly connect the hard drive to the ibook so that I can play the mp3s on the hardrive through itunes?

    I've thought about just buying a mac mini with airport and hooking it up to the harddrive, but surely there has to a cheaper solution.

    Many thanks in advance to anyone who is able to help.
  2. pdpfilms macrumors 68020


    Jun 29, 2004
    I'd suggest setting up a used or refurb Mac Mini as your main music server, to stream through your laptop.

    There is however, some way to setup ethernet hard drives, which could then, theoretically, be wirelessly routed to the lappy... i just know nothing about how to do this or the hardware involved.
  3. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    I think you're out of luck there - you need to plug your LaCie into something which (a) has a USB or Firewire connection, and (b) has 802.11 wireless capabilities.

    And, no, you can't just plug it into the USB port on the AirPort Express.

    The cheapest combo I could come up with quickly is a reconditioned (US$189) 250GB LaCie ethernet drive connected to a $60 Linksys WRT54G (or some such), which you then connect wirelessly to the AirPort.

    But that's pretty contrived....
  4. jeremy.king macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC
  5. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    You need some sort of wireless NAS box. I'm sure there was a cheap one released recently but I can't find a link...
  6. OCOTILLO macrumors regular

    Mar 25, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Wireless HD

    New Belkin wireless USB hub, will be available soon. Connected to computer with a USB dongle which transmits to the hub. The HD is then connected to the hub with a USB cable. I saw this on Engadget. You can also connect your printer, etc to the hub.
  7. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    How about an Ethernet switch and something like the $80 Linksys NSLU2?

    Plug the Cable modem, NSLU2 & Airport Express into the switch. If you're adventurous you could run one of the various linux distros for the NSLU2 and make it into an iTunes server.

    Search the forums for more info:

  8. edwardthefifth thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2004
  9. mrichmon macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2003
    What you are asking for is effectively a NAS (Network Attached Storage). They exist and are commonly used for very large storage needs.

    However, linksys has a Network Storage Link device that effectively adapts a USB drive to be accessible over ethernet. The product number is NSLU2. You could also replace your current external hard drive for a network hard drive. Something like the LaCie Ethernet Disk mini.

    The benefit of going with a cheap mac mini is that you can then set it up so that the mac mini does the song playback removing the playback load from your ibook. In fact, making it so that you do not have to have the ibook turned on to play music. A Mac Mini together with an ATI Remote Wonder remote control means that you can control music playback without needing to touch a computer or even have a display connected to the mini.
  10. quackattack macrumors 6502a


    Aug 13, 2004
    Boise, ID
  11. Wender macrumors member

    Sep 18, 2003
  12. bearbo macrumors 68000


    Jul 20, 2006
  13. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a


    Dec 3, 2002
    I wonder about the iTV. Did it have USB or Firewire ports on it? I mean, Jobs has to know that buying GB-sized movies off iTunes fills up HD's pretty quick. What's the point of buying an iTV if you can only watch 40 gigs of media due to space limitations?

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