Airport Extreme - USB File Transfer

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by wikus, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. wikus macrumors 68000


    Jun 1, 2011
    Planet earth.
    I've got an Airport Extreme Base Station, MC340LL/A Model No. A1354 and I'm *really* disappointed at the transfer speeds. In the image below I'm trying to transfer a 9gb MKV movie file from my Mac Pro's secondary internal hard drive to a hard drive connected via USB on my AEBS. (_Storage -> Sony HD5)


    Initially when I started the transfer it said nearly 2 hours to transfer. About 15 or so minutes later it dropped down to 'about 1 hour' and at the 4.11gb of 9.17gb mark it has 51 minutes to go.

    Looking at the iStats Menu my upload transfer speed to the USB hard drive fluctuates anywhere between 0.5-2.5mbp/s, which is far slower than both the hard drive's read/write speeds as well as USB 1.0 & 2.0's read/write speeds.

    Playing back some of my movies from the USB connected drive on my AEBS gives me poor performance as well; VLC plays the files fine but a lot of movies will pause every 15-30 seconds for about 2 seconds and cause the image to look fragmented for another 5 seconds.

    The write speeds aren't absolutely critical as I mainly intend to use the external drive as a media hub to read from for all computers connected to the router, so my READ speeds are more important but that doesnt seem to be the only priority as almost any movie I'm watching keeps cutting off every now and then. While watching a 2.8gb MKV movie that is 1.5 hours long my download/read speeds via iStat Menus can climb up to 1mb/s (which makes sense given the size of the movie, but fluctuates also between 200kbp/s-1mb/s). Loading movies also takes a while, as it takes about 5-15 seconds before it actually starts playing in VLC.

    Why are these speeds so painfully slow? For a router that costs so much I would expect much better performance especially with the holy grail apple logo on it. Typically, I say you get what you pay for but this here isnt the case.

    Do the latest 5th Gen. Airport Extreme Base Stations (Model No. MD031LL/A) solve this problem, or speed up connected drives to USB via WIFI??

  2. apunkrockmonk macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2005
    Rochester, NY
    Do you have the Mac Pro connected via Gigabit Ethernet or WiFi?
  3. wikus thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jun 1, 2011
    Planet earth.
    I've got it connected via wifi (hence the statement at the end of my post and the wifi icon being on in my status bar).

    I have heard that usb transfer speeds are also dog slow even when connected via ethernet.
  4. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_5 like Mac OS X; sv-se) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8L1 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Distance to the router and obstructions are the most common problems. I can't stream a movie in my bedroom (6m/20-25ft from the router because of the concrete walls, but I can stream a movie from a lot further away if I'm on the street since the signal only has to pass through a window.

    Also, a wifi router should be placed as high as possible to minimize interference.
  5. wikus, Oct 3, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2011

    wikus thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jun 1, 2011
    Planet earth.
    I've got thin walls with simple insulation. As you can see from my screenshot, im 5/5 bars for signal strength. I can be right next to the router and it'd still give me poor transfer speeds.

    I wonder though, why is it that Time Machine via wifi has acceptable speeds but AEBS does not?
  6. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    I get "perfect" signal strength in my bedroom as well - doesn't help ;)

    A few weeks ago, my transfer speeds suddenly dropped to next to nothing for about two days until suddenly - without having done anything - everything was like normal again. Have you always had this problem?
  7. phassat macrumors member

    Dec 19, 2010
    I am trying to revive an old post... I saw the last discussion was on 2011..

    I just bought the latest extreme ac and wd 3 tb drive to go with it. The router was fixed in a room downstair and i can not move it around without having to really change the installation of my broadband cable.

    My bedroom is upstair and i only have 3 bar connection but not all second floor covered. Extreme has to pass at least two solid concrete. I put an extender from tp link upstair so the whole house covered by wifi.

    When i try to access the drive connected to extreme ac, download is not a problem.. Both through extender or direct with 1-3 bar connection. I haven't check the transfer speed but hd movie never lags.

    The problem is when i try to upload a file to the drive... Throughout the house it is constant at 600kbps either through the extender or direct. Even if i move next to aebs at 5ghz, it is still 600kbps transfer.
    i tried to connect through cable and it gave me 150-300mbps upload transfer... After disconnecting the cable, 5ghz connection next to aebs through wifi gave me 150-300 mbps too... But once i restart my mbp, even at 5ghz next to the aebs with full bar signal, it gave back 600kbps upload transfer.
    It is frustrating to upload a file....

    Other problem is remote access... I can access remotely through my mbp but using file browser for ipad and iphone gave me error...
    I manage to connect using file browser when i try to use flash disk on the aebs... But once i change with 3tb wd drive (mac journal format) it gave me error sign and ask me to check firewall or smb settings... That's strange provided that the flash disk doing okay.

    The drive type is wd essential 3tb usb with self powered.
  8. phassat macrumors member

    Dec 19, 2010
    Trials that finally works

    Airport Extreme Transfer Speed Test

    Trial 1
    Location: Anywhere - next to AEBS and at different floor through 2 concretes with 35 feet distance
    Initial setup was with special SSID for 5Ghz channel enable, main SSID and Guest SSID
    At All SSID, both 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz, download speed around 15Mbps, Upload file constant 600Kbps.
    Near or far the router, direct or through the extender (Tp-link) upload and download remain the same. Tried with all SSID.

    Trial 2
    Location: Next to AEBS
    Remove the special 5Ghz SSID and Guest SSID, remains the main SSID.
    At 5Ghz channel nearby the router, transfer speed for both up and down became above 100Mbps.

    Trial 3
    Location: next to AEBS
    Add Guest SSID with the main SSID. Special 5Ghz SSID off.
    All still at 100Mbps or more for up and down (at 5Ghz)

    Trial 4
    Location: Next to AEBS
    On airport utility add Special 5Ghz SSID back along with all other SSID.
    Speed remains at 100Mbps for both up and down when connected to main SSID at 5Ghz
    Connected to Guest SSID at 5Ghz, speed slows down to 15Mbps down and 600Kbps up
    Connected to Special 5Ghz SSID, speed 15Mbps down, 600Kbps up
    Connected back to main SSID, down 100Mbps, up 100Mbps (2.4Ghz connection)
    Connected back to Special 5Ghz, down 100Mbps, up 100Mbps
    Connected to Guest SSID 5Ghz, down 100Mbps, up 600Kbps

    Trial 5
    Remove everything besides main SSID again….
    Location: Next to AEBS
    Down 100Mbps Up 100Mbps at 5Ghz
    Location: Moving upstairs, connected at 2.4Ghz through Extender, 35 feet distance with 2 concrete walls.
    Down 20Mbps, Up 70Mbps…
    Okay.. problem solved… I take it... 20Mbps down and 70 Mbps up is good enough for me rather having 600Kbps upload which is frustrating

    Remove the special 5Ghz SSID, don't use the guest SSID on AEBS.... connection for file transfer with USB drive became much better.
  9. phassat macrumors member

    Dec 19, 2010


    On 5th trial, I thought I was connected through TP-Link extender but I was not... after further checking, I was connected directly to the AEBS at 24% signal (from iStumbler)....

    I try again and get connected through the extender and the down result became 10Mbps and up was back to 600Kbps....

    Seems like I need to invest on Airport Express.....

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