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MrkJensen

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 29, 2009
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I am looking for a WIFI router where I can connect a few USB drives. -Mainly for files in a primitive local cloud, but if it could work as a TC/Backup it would be nice.

I thought it was easy and I bought a Nighthawk RAX80 as they claimed they supported Mac. Well, not so much as USB drives formatted as APFS will not mount as NETAGEAR so now say the only support HFS and HFS+ so pre High Sierra. So that was returned...

I've looked around and it seems difficult to find a router there supports APFS. -I tried the usual suspects with no luck.

I hope I can find some help here
 

Mikael H

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2014
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Since macOS itself can use (and seems to prefer) SMB for Time Machine backups and file shares since a couple of years back, this is a non-issue. Just make sure to select something that utilizes a modern (SMB3.0+) implementation, or things will likely be considerably slower than with APFS, for some reason.

EDIT:
Sorry for the brainfart: APFS the file system and AFP the network protocol are very different things. Still my advice stands: At this point there’s no sense in trying to find routers that provide APFS support. Also, for network shares, the file system on the remote disk is mostly irrelevant to the client.
 
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techwarrior

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Jul 30, 2009
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APFS is not intended to be a network share solution. It is a local file system intended to be more efficient for the OS on the local machine.

I don't even think Time Machine is supported on APFS partitions, be they directly connected by USB, etc, or network. When a Catalina user selects a USB drive for TM, it is still formatted in the older macOS disk format.
 
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satcomer

macrumors 604
Feb 19, 2008
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I am looking for a WIFI router where I can connect a few USB drives. -Mainly for files in a primitive local cloud, but if it could work as a TC/Backup it would be nice.

I thought it was easy and I bought a Nighthawk RAX80 as they claimed they supported Mac. Well, not so much as USB drives formatted as APFS will not mount as NETAGEAR so now say the only support HFS and HFS+ so pre High Sierra. So that was returned...

I've looked around and it seems difficult to find a router there supports APFS. -I tried the usual suspects with no luck.

I hope I can find some help here

You want the Synology RT2600ac.

Yes you can with the router connect a USB3 drive to work as Time Capsule drive:
 
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MrkJensen

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 29, 2009
49
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Thanks for all the great comments, and I might be a head of myself with APFS. I did consider using SMB and guess I need to understand it better.
 
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HDFan

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Jun 30, 2007
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APFS is not intended to be a network share solution.

It is not a great choice for hard disks due to poor performance. It is best for SSDs.

If you are buying a new router you might want to consider one that supports ax. Prices are dropping.
 
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hobowankenobi

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Aug 27, 2015
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on the land line mr. smith.
Thanks for all the great comments, and I might be a head of myself with APFS. I did consider using SMB and guess I need to understand it better.

File system choices for external -

  • APFS: As discussed, no real advantage, several disadvantages for externals
  • HFS+: Legacy default for Macs, bootable, good performance, not useful for Windows
  • ExFAT: Reasonable performance, Read/Write on both Macs and Windows

HFS+ Journaled is the best for external drives for Most Mac users.

ExFAT is best if you need to use an external for both Macs and Windows.
 
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HDFan

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Jun 30, 2007
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If you get the Paragon NTS driver (which enable writes) you could add that to your list.
 
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MrkJensen

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 29, 2009
49
12
Just an update

I bought an ASUS GT-AC5300 router, not that I am a gamer, but it lets you do a lot of setup. Perhaps I should had bought a ax router, but I do not have any devices which is supported (My iPhone X dost support and it works just fine). I have a bit of Smart Homes devices connected so it is nice to have separate 2.4G channels just for that.

I got a couple of Seagate drives connected and it works well as a “fake” NAS and I can read/write without using the Paragon NTS driver. Well, I have it installed on one of the computers as it came with the external drives, but not the remaining computers which is 3 MAC’s and a Surface. So I have a mix of HFS+ and ExFAT formatted drives. I am connecting via smb so very steady, and quite fast but then again I have 450+Mbps on the WIFI running 5G

I am struggling getting the Time machine being stable. Meaning it runs the first backup over the WIFI but then somewhat drops out. I guess it is a setting thing, I need to get sorted.
 
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hobowankenobi

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Aug 27, 2015
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on the land line mr. smith.
TM only supports HFS+ volumes on NAS according to Apple. SMB to TM info here.

In the past, TM has been finicky about using network storage. I have not tried to troubleshoot it for years, but many have, with limited success. Even once running, many users over the years have reported that TM backups occasionally fail, and the TM reports the data corrupted, meaning: lose all history, and start over.

I would look at a different tool than TM to do backups to a network share. There are many out there that seem much more flexible regarding network interruptions or other issues compared to TM.

I just started testing a free one that backs up/syncs to mounted shares (one would need to automate shares mounting to make it truly automatic)....seems pretty good so far: SmartBackup

I am not backing up the user Library, only data. Library and System folder can be harder because of the most recent security provisions.

Paid tools make backing up to network volumes (even over a WAN connection) easier....like CCC or Chronosync.
 
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MrkJensen

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 29, 2009
49
12
@hobowankenobi I agree with you there is a lot go great apps doing all sorts of tasks, and perhaps we (or at least I) think macOS "should" come with a complete and the best solution for everything -and free. Then again I use the Office Package, Adobe Acrobat, Capture One, TechPro Tools etc. because.... yeah better. I'll take your advice and look into backup alternatives, as it may very well solve my problem easier.

I do use a complete separate external HDD for backup for the Mac's, so not mixed with daily used files etc. That means I cannot have Windows backup and macOS on same drive, not that HDD is expensive its just that things are growing and growing.

In regards to SMB I started using AutoMounter and I find it so much easier to setup, than mock around in Finder and Terminal to get things going.
 
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satcomer

macrumors 604
Feb 19, 2008
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@hobowankenobi I agree with you there is a lot go great apps doing all sorts of tasks, and perhaps we (or at least I) think macOS "should" come with a complete and the best solution for everything -and free. Then again I use the Office Package, Adobe Acrobat, Capture One, TechPro Tools etc. because.... yeah better. I'll take your advice and look into backup alternatives, as it may very well solve my problem easier.

I do use a complete separate external HDD for backup for the Mac's, so not mixed with daily used files etc. That means I cannot have Windows backup and macOS on same drive, not that HDD is expensive its just that things are growing and growing.

In regards to SMB I started using AutoMounter and I find it so much easier to setup, than mock around in Finder and Terminal to get things going.

I bet(from your shouting)that you don’t use the
C:
man networksetup
 
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hobowankenobi

macrumors 68000
Aug 27, 2015
1,666
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on the land line mr. smith.
@hobowankenobi I agree with you there is a lot go great apps doing all sorts of tasks, and perhaps we (or at least I) think macOS "should" come with a complete and the best solution for everything -and free. Then again I use the Office Package, Adobe Acrobat, Capture One, TechPro Tools etc. because.... yeah better. I'll take your advice and look into backup alternatives, as it may very well solve my problem easier.

I do use a complete separate external HDD for backup for the Mac's, so not mixed with daily used files etc. That means I cannot have Windows backup and macOS on same drive, not that HDD is expensive its just that things are growing and growing.

In regards to SMB I started using AutoMounter and I find it so much easier to setup, than mock around in Finder and Terminal to get things going.


Long term, you might consider an actual NAS for backups.

Redundant drives, always on....and in the case of Synology, they have a free backup/sync client for both Mac and Win boxes. It is pretty good. Not perfect, but continuous backups, version control, good logging, server-side control, backing up over WAN, etc.

The biggest shortcomings ( for me) of Synology Drive is that:

1. You have to configure the client from the user that needs to be backed up. Less than ideal on multi-user machines, but not a big deal for most users.​
2. Due primarily to the ever-tightening security limitations in MacOS, backing up some things, including stuff in user's Library can result in access errors. Again, not a deal-breaker as the most important data is typically unique user created stuff (documents, pics, videos, etc.).​

Many third party back up tools have similar issues. It would be grand if TM could rise to the level of being rock-solid over wifi and internet, as well as more logging and configuration options. Until then, I will supplement with other tools that can fill in the blanks or cover the limitations.
 
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MrkJensen

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 29, 2009
49
12



Long term, you might consider an actual NAS for backups.

Redundant drives, always on....and in the case of Synology, they have a free backup/sync client for both Mac and Win boxes. It is pretty good. Not perfect, but continuous backups, version control, good logging, server-side control, backing up over WAN, etc.

The biggest shortcomings ( for me) of Synology Drive is that:

1. You have to configure the client from the user that needs to be backed up. Less than ideal on multi-user machines, but not a big deal for most users.​
2. Due primarily to the ever-tightening security limitations in MacOS, backing up some things, including stuff in user's Library can result in access errors. Again, not a deal-breaker as the most important data is typically unique user created stuff (documents, pics, videos, etc.).​

Many third party back up tools have similar issues. It would be grand if TM could rise to the level of being rock-solid over wifi and internet, as well as more logging and configuration options. Until then, I will supplement with other tools that can fill in the blanks or cover the limitations.


Since my last post I actually the TM working, l and all runs (for now) I am considering a long term solution as you suggest getting an actual NAS and Synology looks interesting will check it out. -We do not have multi user machines so not an issue.
 
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hobowankenobi

macrumors 68000
Aug 27, 2015
1,666
609
on the land line mr. smith.
Keep your eyes peeled.

For most, the common issue with TM over network is: it works for a while, perhaps months, then you get an error saying the data set is corrupt; start over. History is gone, plus you are without backup until you erase the target and start over. Anecdotally, seems like wifi worsens the issue.

It also seems like all goes well for a period, and then Apple changes something (typically with a new OS roll out), and then NAS TM users have issues, until sorted. It's too bad that Apple will not share more info with Devs and hardware vendors to really make TM rock solid to third party storage, especially since Apple has been out of the server/storage market for years.

Not cool...unless you have a secondary backup routine.

Synology is a good target for TM....but (at least in the past), same issue. It works, until it doesn't.
 
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HDFan

Contributor
Jun 30, 2007
2,908
930
Synology looks interesting will check it out

You might also want to check QNAP. Both support Time Machine Backups. QNAP more expensive, but has more features, such as Thunderbolt 3 on some models which makes for very fast file transfers (for a NAS).

Although I haven't figured out how to do a restore from either. All I seem to see are just the local snapshots.
 
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satcomer

macrumors 604
Feb 19, 2008
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Since my last post I actually the TM working, l and all runs (for now) I am considering a long term solution as you suggest getting an actual NAS and Synology looks interesting will check it out. -We do not have multi user machines so not an issue.

Yes! I bet you never used the open source Darwin that used that command for over 20 years and Mac OS sense the Mac OS bought Next guys and brought those techs into Apple (along with Steve Jobs) and created Mac OS X beta up to Snow Leopard!

So use networksetup instead of ifconfig when working with a networked Mac! That command is way better and more powerful anyway!
 
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MrkJensen

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 29, 2009
49
12
Yes! I bet you never used the open source Darwin that used that command for over 20 years and Mac OS sense the Mac OS bought Next guys and brought those techs into Apple (along with Steve Jobs) and created Mac OS X beta up to Snow Leopard!

So use networksetup instead of ifconfig when working with a networked Mac! That command is way better and more powerful anyway!
No I newer did, think I heard about it as I've been Apple user since 1995, as not really in to coding. Should I understand it as Darwin can fix the issues some seems to be facing with TM over LAN?

Not sure that writing network codes and things like that is ideal for a small company like mine -it's in the end about resources (people time and skills). Ideally plug n' play is what we need, whatever that may be of NAS system. I think the "fake" NAS we have will identity and define our real needs for then do adequate upgradings.
[automerge]1583966052[/automerge]

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No I never did, think I heard about it as I've been Apple user since 1995, as not really in to coding. Should I understand it as Darwin can fix the issues some seems to be facing with TM over LAN?

Not sure that writing network codes and things like that is ideal for a small company like mine -it's in the end about resources (people time and skills). Ideally plug n' play is what we need, whatever that may be of NAS system. I think the "fake" NAS we have will identity and define our real needs for then do adequate upgradings.
[automerge]1583966052[/automerge]
 
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satcomer

macrumors 604
Feb 19, 2008
7,397
1,318
The Finger Lakes Region
Just an update

I bought an ASUS GT-AC5300 router, not that I am a gamer, but it lets you do a lot of setup. Perhaps I should had bought a ax router, but I do not have any devices which is supported (My iPhone X dost support and it works just fine). I have a bit of Smart Homes devices connected so it is nice to have separate 2.4G channels just for that.

I got a couple of Seagate drives connected and it works well as a “fake” NAS and I can read/write without using the Paragon NTS driver. Well, I have it installed on one of the computers as it came with the external drives, but not the remaining computers which is 3 MAC’s and a Surface. So I have a mix of HFS+ and ExFAT formatted drives. I am connecting via smb so very steady, and quite fast but then again I have 450+Mbps on the WIFI running 5G

I am struggling getting the Time machine being stable. Meaning it runs the first backup over the WIFI but then somewhat drops out. I guess it is a setting thing, I need to get sorted.

I always tried to tell Mac user NEVER do an initial Time Machine wireless on it’s first run to networked drive! Directly connected is WAY faster so if this is connected to router, plug straighten into the routers Spare port! After that do it’s wirelessly because the changes files are always much smaller!
 
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MrkJensen

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 29, 2009
49
12
I always tried to tell Mac user NEVER do an initial Time Machine wireless on it’s first run to networked drive! Directly connected is WAY faster so if this is connected to router, plug straighten into the routers Spare port! After that do it’s wirelessly because the changes files are always much smaller!
I can only agree to that, and even wired then first run is not really quick process. In fact Asus mention it as well, but is is sort of common sense that "moving" 200Gb on wifi is not really great idea. I can not imagine how long time it would take to restore a backup wireless.
 
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