802.11ac Time Capsule USB/NAS Access Performance

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Malacoda, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. Malacoda macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Location:
    Meridian, ID
    #1
    I currently have the older Time Capsule, dual band but not dual radio. You can plug a USB device into it, and access it NAS-like (I am not much of a network guy, I am sure my lingo is all wrong). The access speed to this drive is horrible, regardless of distance, G vs. N and so on. It's like there is a bottleneck in there that was slower than the drives or the network.

    I recently went all mobile with a new tricked out 13" MacBook Air, and have been considering buying the new 2TB 802.11ac Time Capsule. Anyone have experience with hooking up a powered hub to the USB port for access to external drives and a printer? I have 3 external drives that aren't getting used much as I tend to use the Air while sitting on the couch.

    Basically, I'd like to be able to hook those three drives up to an 802.11ac router and access them as fast as possible, and if the Time Capsule has good speeds for such things then it seems the right choice. I have done some research, but I can't find the answer on it's speed through to the USB-attached devices. I am also open to other possibilities—a real NAS or whatever—as long as they are simple, as networking is really not my strong suit.

    Thanks!
     
  2. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #2
    The current version time capsule is much more capable than the one you have. The AEBS not so much as far as connected HDs go.

    I have connected several drives to time capsules via a powered hub and they seem to work fine.

    Someone posted speeds here awhile ago.

    A mid-high line NAS should provide better performance but at more cost... and it may be lacking in other features. Like do you plan to time machine backup to the drives or stream video to an appleTV.
     
  3. rgarjr macrumors 603

    rgarjr

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    #3
    The bottleneck here is the USB controller chip. You should consider a 2-drive NAS.
     
  4. Malacoda thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Location:
    Meridian, ID
    #4
    I do not own an Apple TV, but I do run Plex through to a Roku 3. I don't mind having the Air open to do this, as long as Plex can see, index and play the content on the Time Capsule-attached drives. The Time Capsule would be hooked into the DSL router with the Roku.

    Finding solid info on Mac-friendly NAS is kind of a pain in the ass, when what I mostly want to do is hook up a few USB drives and get decent speeds.
     
  5. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #5
    The Time Capsule makes a lot of sense for time machine backups and wireless access point, otherwise I think its expensive for a simple NAS type device. It does an excellent job, however.

    Any USB drive connected to a NAS type device is going to be slow, much slower than a USB drive directly connected to your Air. Transfers to/from the internal Time Capsule drive will be faster. Perhaps think about moving all or most of your content from your USB drives to the 3TB Time Capsule internal drive.

    For less than the $400 3TB TC you could think about a Synology DS112 with a 4TB internal drive (the DS112 has 2 USB 3.0 and an eSATA ports for adding drives) .
     
  6. bristolgadget macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2013
    #6
    The problem is the USB port.

    On the older as well as the newer airport extremes/time capsules, the port is still only usb 2.0. This throttles the connection speed for read or write to about 30-35MB/second.

    If you get a time capsule from 2011 until now, then you should be able to connect via the Gigabit ethernet ports and get from 80-110MB/s transfer speeds.... but only when you are connecting to the time capsules internal drive only.

    if you have the latest Airport time capsule with 802.11ac, you should be able to connect via wifi, with clear line of site to the router, no walls and get anywhere from 60-95MB/sec read/write to the internal sata drive. This is maximum you will be able to get via wifi to any NAS of any speed due to it being max supported speed of 802.11ac. To get more, you will have to plug into the timecapsule via an ethernet cable.
     
  7. priitv8 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #7
    Sir, you are mistaken! The problem is not the USB port! It's the lack of CPU power inside the router. In my testing, the same USB 2.0 drive achieved 100+ MBps read speed, when served from a Mac Mini.
    Had Apple built a USB 3.0 into the device, it would've been pure waste.
     
  8. bristolgadget macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2013
    #8
    if you achieved 100MByte/sec + when connecting to the drive on the mac mini, then your mac mini has a USB 3.0 port giving you a theoretical max throughput of 5Gbit/s , real world or around 4Gbit/sec or about 300-350MByte/sec, although at this point your drive is maxing itself out at just over 100MByte/sec

    the USB port on any Airport extreme new or old has never been usb 3.0, only USB 2.0 or below. this gives you a max throughput of 480Mbit/sec, real world is about 280-300Mbit/sec or about 35MByte/sec

    The specs don't lie.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB

    "USB 2.0 was released in April 2000, adding higher maximum signaling rate of 480 Mbit/s or an effective throughput up to 35 MB/s or 280 Mbit/s ..."

    "USB 3.0 was released in November 2008. The standard defines a new SuperSpeed mode with a signalling speed of 5 Gbit/s and a usable data rate of up to 4 Gbit/s or around 280-300 MByte/sec."

    http://www.apple.com/uk/airport-extreme/specs/
    http://www.apple.com/uk/airport-time-capsule/specs/

    "USB 2 port for connecting a USB printer or hard drive"
     
  9. priitv8, Dec 5, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013

    priitv8 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #9
    I don't dispute the USB specs per se. But there just is not enough processing power inside AirPort router to take any advantage of USB 3.0-s throughput.
    As for Mac Mini (my drive is USB 2.0!), it must be doing some efficient read-ahead buffering or something. You may also question BlackMagic Disk Speed Test's testing algorithm, if you will.
     

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