Do Macs support Storage Links on routers?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by philipz, Nov 4, 2007.

  1. philipz macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2006

    I want to buy a Linksys WRT350N wireless gigabit router and run one of the *nix firmwares on it. According to the router's specs, you can attach a harddisk to the USB storage link port.
    1) Is this supported by Macs/Leopard? In other words, will I see this drive as a share or directly attached drive? If so, this could become my cheap NAS, right?
    2) Would it recognize a HFS+ formatted drive (to use with Time machine)?
    3) Would I be able to share a printer this way?

    Thanks for clarification :)
  2. ab2650 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2007
    1 - Probably. I'm not familiar with the unit* but most of those create SMB/CIFS shares that are accessable with OS X.

    2 - Probably not. Most of the *nix firmwares do not include the ability to read HFS much like NTFS. It will probably be FAT32 only.

    3 - Not unless the specs say so.
  3. philipz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2006
    I corrected the router type - copy-paste error. Sorry...

    Is there a *nix firmware that can read HFS devices as far as anyone knows?

  4. ab2650 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2007
    Consider what you're trying to do here; If you want HFS so you can use Time Machine, consider you're moving data (a lot of data) across the network; Even at Gigabit speeds, that's still pretty slow.

    If your main purpose is to have a NAS volume to get files off your computer, or share on the network, it doesn't matter what partition type it is: HFS, FAT, NTFS, EXT, etc... Your interface to the volume is over the network and is likewise translated: SMB/CIFS, AFP, NFS, etc...

    Sorry I don't have an answer to your question though, but I suspect you would be much happier getting two devices - a USB/FireWire enclosure for Time Machine, and a NAS for data sharing/availability. That's my $0.02.
  5. philipz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2006
    Thanks, this is really helpful information. Appreciated!
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Within limits of the capabilities of the filesystem, though. Problems with putting 6GB files on FAT32 partitions still apply over the network, AFAIK.

    But if you're using a Linux / Unix firmware on it, it might do ext2fs, which should be a great NAS filesystem.
  7. ab2650 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2007
    Yup, totally true. The same goes for what is considered legal characters and filenames. FAT32 (being archaic) has a lot of limitations that you won't find in EXT2, EXT3, RsiserFS, and HFS. Unfortunately the bulk of devices out there are set to use FAT32, even when Linux based, for the simple fact that Windows is so common: Lots of drives ship with FAT32 pre-partitioned; Lots of home users have spare drives that are set to FAT32. The device manufacturers would be shooting themselves in the foot if they didn't provide immediate FAT32 support.

    I would agree whole-heartedly with mkrishnan: If you have the option for EXT2, go for it! It sure beats the pants off FAT32.

    Secondly, if getting a device for NAS, look to see if one of the protocols they support is AFP. I have an NetGear (née Infrant) ReadyNAS and using AFP over SMB/CIFS is a sheer joy. Of course, SMB is nice to have to share with all those Windows folk.

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