AirPort Express + NAS?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by temiller, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. temiller macrumors member

    Aug 30, 2010
    Hey all,

    I'm looking for a "media server" of some sort. Buying a second computer to have constantly running to store movies/music is out of the question since I just want to have it for my MBP, 360, and roommates PS3. I want to get a NAS (Network Attached Storage), but the main router is in my roommates room. I don't trust my roommate to keep a $100+ hard drive safely in his room, and he won't want the responsibility of making sure nothing happens to it when people are over and what not.

    I already have an AirPort Express in my room. I know the AirPort Express can be used as a network extender. Would I be able to connect the NAS to the AirPort Express via Network Cable and have it work?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. ttate90303 macrumors regular

    Nov 22, 2008
    Yes you can enable the port on the AirPort Express and then direct plug it into the NAS. But a better tip I have is to put the AirPort Express, NAS, and your Mac on a gigabit switch (assuming your NAS has gigabit connection port) and this will allow faster transfer when you access it. It still will use the AirPort Express for DHCP network but the throughput will be better for any device connected to the switch. but for normal access you can see things just fine via the WiFi network.
  3. DL16 macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2010
    This doesn't make sense to me. I recently purchased an NAS drive that is enroute. I use an Airport Express for my wifi router and I'm trying to figure out how to connect my PS3 to my NAS, while still using my Airport Express.

    From what you're saying, it sounds like I could run an ethernet cable from my modem to the gigabit connection port (ethernet port), and then connect my PS3, NAS, and Airport Express to the available gigabit connection ports. My question is: Does the gigabit port allow for data transfer between the 3 connections (i.e. the Airport Express, PS3 and NAS), or is the purpose of the gigabit port to split the internet from the modem into 3? Does that make sense? Info is much appreciated!
  4. Eclipse278 macrumors regular

    Jan 21, 2007
    I had an external HDD plugged into my Airport Extreme as a NAS for a few months, but running it all the time made the hard disk crash and suffered a loss of data. A separate NAS is much better if you want the data available all the time. If you are interested, I wrote about my search for the best NAS and ended up building a NetTop computer running FreeNAS:

    FreeNAS Review
  5. DL16 macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2010

    Sorry if there was confusion there, but I was referring to the Express, not the Extreme. If I had the extreme, I think there would already be a built-in port so that I could just plug in my NAS and PS3 directly into the base.
  6. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    You can connect a USB drive to a port on AE, but it seems that many have problems with this. It will be tempting to make this a TM drive, and there seem to be issues with that, too.
    What is being suggested, and I agree with, is to get a gigabit switch. Gb switches care as little as $5/port, sometimes less. Connect everything to the switch than can be easily connected. You will need to make sure that only one device is providing routing services, such as DHCP. Usually, you can switch this off (at least, you can on Linksys/DLink/Netgear-don't know on AE). If you don't do this, your network won't work properly. You should be able to leave on AE wireless services, enabling you to use your AE as a Wi-Fi access point. Couple more points: Consider a Raid1 NAS, so when your drive dies (and it will) you don't lose all your media; and, if you want to use it with Time Machine, make sure the mfg says it can do this. Then, backing up the MBP is painless and thorough. Finally, understand that some NAS's are pretty noisy (fans). BTW, I watch movies from our NAS, ultimately served at 11g, no problem.
  7. DL16 macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2010

    Thank you for the helpful reply. Not sure I understand the part about switching off DHCP, since only the AE can deliver the wifi, but I can live with that.

    As for NAS, I went with the WD My World Edition II

    It does support Time Capsule and has Raid1. Wouldn't have it any other way :) The only complaint I hear about the drive is that it's slow, however being that it's a couple hundred dollars cheaper than the competition, I can live with that.
  8. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    First off, I have to clear up some confusion. The AirPort Express will not allow a USB HDD to be shared. It is for printer sharing only. Secondly, if you want to connect a gigabit switch to your modem, it will not work the way you are thinking it will.

    The switch is not capable of doing DHCP (sharing one public IP address with devices connected to it) and needs to have a router upstream. I would suggest a wired router, or moreover a wireless router, and hardwiring the Express to it. Then disable DHCP on the Express. If you decide to go with a wireless router upstream, select the 802.11n (5 GHz) option on the Express. This way you'll have a simultaneous dual-band network and the Ethernet ports on the router will allow all devices to talk to one another whether wired or wireless.
  9. DL16 macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2010
    Thank you for the help. Any good suggestions on cheap, wired routers?
  10. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    You're quite welcome. Newegg has a D-Link gigabit wired router for $89.99. You can find cheaper routers (around $30), but those only have 10/100 Ethernet ports.
  11. DL16 macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2010
    Gracias, Skorpien. Hey, if I have a second AE, could I hold off and just use the ethernet port on that if it's bridged to my primary AE? I'm thinking about doing that just to hold off on making another purchase. I use my second AE to stream music to the kitchen, but I could potentially move it to the living room and set it up behind the PS3. Was hoping to avoid that, but it might be a temporary solution...
  12. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    You definitely can. I was going to suggest it in my original post but I excluded it as I thought you would have had to purchase an additional AirPort Express. If you check out page 43 of this manual from Apple, it will tell you what you need to do to bridge your wireless network to a wired client.
  13. DL16 macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2010
    Thanks for posting that up. I finally got around to checking it out today. Still having some issues making this work unfortunately.

    I have one 802.11g and one 802.11n AE making up my network. The 802.11n is the one connected to my modem. I can connect the two AE's and extend the network, however my NAS does not show up in Finder when I try doing that. I contemplated trying a WDS to make this work, but I saw this on one of the Apple help pages:

    WDS is designed for 802.11g, and shouldn’t be used for 802.11n devices. Wi-Fi base stations may include AirPort Extreme (802.11g) and AirPort Express (802.11g).

    I'm about to throw in the towel and buy that wired router that you mentioned. I know it would be nice to have the PS3 running on a wired connection instead of the Wifi one I have running now. I just wanted to avoid dropping another $85 for it.

    Any thoughts before pulling the trigger? Thanks again for your help
  14. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    From what I've read it seems that the only way to bridge a wireless network to a wired client is with WDS. I apologize if it seems that I've provided incomplete or partial information earlier. I've never had this setup and all the information I can provide is researched online.

    My suggestion is to try the WDS solution and see if it works for you in terms of Internet/network speeds etc. If not, then I would definitely suggest a wired router as that may be less hassle in the long run.

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