Circumventing the Airport Extreme: Dummy Needs a Protection Plan

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by baloophi, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. baloophi macrumors newbie

    Apr 16, 2009
    Thanks in advance and sorry for wasting anyone's time.

    Having spent all day researching external hard drive backup solutions for my set-up I feel even more confused. Also my lap is very warm so I've probably inadvertently devised a very different "protection" plan.

    Here's what we've got:
    Two MacBooks (his and hers... awww)
    Airport Extreme

    Here's what we want to do:
    Wirelessly backup files/programs
    Not think about backing up files/programs

    I was hoping I could do all this via a powered USB hub off the Airport Extreme but from what I've read that seems to be real hit-or-miss given Apple's unsupportive stance toward non Time Capsule solutions. I'd consider the TC but the "18 month" shelf life concerns me too much. Obviously a simple "connect your MacBook to an external hard drive every once in a while" plan would work but I'm far too lazy to trust myself with that kind of discipline. I yearn for automation.

    One solution I've been contemplating is to purchase a Mac Mini, connect it to an external hard drive (firewire), and then connect the Mini to the network via one of the Airport's LAN. Would I be able to backup our MacBooks (through Time Machine and/or SuperDuper) with that set-up?

    Before someone points out that purchasing a Mini solely for this purpose would be wasteful I actually have some use for the Mini as a dedicated desktop since docking my laptop is a nuisance (SEE above: "too lazy.")

    I'm obviously open to other solutions... to the network/backup thing, not the warm lap issue.
  2. Celeron macrumors 6502a

    Mar 11, 2004
    Yes, that works, and is supported by Apple. I have that exact setup right now. I have a 1TB WD Green drive hooked up to the mini via USB (boo, slow), and all my machines back up to it using Time Machine. It really works great. With the Airport Extreme base station the Mini is asleep until one of the computers attempts to do a backup and then the Airport wakes the Mini up. Good stuff.
  3. baloophi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 16, 2009
    Hot pants! I'm assuming you can still use the Mini as a fully functional desktop if you so choose... ?
  4. Celeron macrumors 6502a

    Mar 11, 2004
    You could, I don't. My Mini is hooked up to my HDTV and I have an external webcam attached to it. We use it to do video chats using iChat with my parents to they can see the grandchildren.

    The only other thing I use it for is an OpenVPN server, which also works nicely.
  5. b8b macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2008
    Using the Mac Mini for the backup solution, can it backup to a NAS drive? Do you have to use Airport Extreme or can I just use my Linksys wireless router?

    I was thinking of getting myself an iMac or Mac Mini and the two MBP's for the rest of the family (switching over to Mac from PC entirely, all at once). Rather then spend more on getting a Time Capsule, I thought I could use my existing 1TB NAS which is connected via ethernet directly to my Linksys wireless-N router.

    Otherwise, if I can only attach physically via USB, I can't have the NAS by the HDTV so the Popcorn hour can play the video off of it... I'd rather not have to buy a bunch more product, but I do want a reliable backup solution. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.
  6. Celeron macrumors 6502a

    Mar 11, 2004
    I'm not sure if the Mini can share a NAS resource and make it available for Time Machine. I would suspect not, but you never know. I've only ever used a USB drive connected straight to the Mini.

    You don't have to use an Airport Extreme, a regular Linksys router will work, however, it won't have the Bonjour Sleep Proxy which allows the Mini to be woken up when someone wants to backup to it should it be sleeping at the time.

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