Help w New Time Capsule Best Practices

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Jack Sun, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. Jack Sun macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2013
    (tldr: does anyone use TC as file server? family iPhoto library? internet-accessible NAS? Best ways to use TC in tandem with attached external drive?)

    I bought the latest rMBP, and since everything else in the house is Apple, completed the ecosystem with the latest Airport TC 2GB.

    First, may I say its awesome! We have Comcast 25mb/s internet and the old Cisco router on the first floor only managed 18-21mb/ the second floor bathroom, only two bars, and many times was dropped in the middle of live timed iOS billiards games (8 Ball Pool app, so great!). Anyway, the new TC is in the basement, dishes 28.9 mb/s consistently across all devices (very noticeably faster!), AND from the basement all the way to that second floor bathroom still does 28.6 mb/s with full bars!!! Whoa, I'm impressed!

    Anyway, so before I set up Time Machine on the MBP and MBA, I want to find out about using the TC as a file server or NAS. Can anyone suggest best practices about using it in tandem with an external drive? I'm toying around with the idea of setting up Time Machine on a USB-attached external drive and using the TC as a NAS with a family iPhoto library, internet accessible personal cloud, etc. Not even sure if this all is possible, or if there are better suggestions.

  2. disasterdrone macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2013

    You can do all of these things, but I wouldn't recommend them all. First, don't mix time machine and server discs. While it's possible, it's better to connect an external drive and separate them, otherwise TM will eventually fill the drive. It's possible, but hard, to manually manage all this.
    Don't put a shared iPhoto library on a wireless drive. Unfortunately Apple has not come up with iPhoto server edition, which is a shame, but you will create problems using it (a) wirelessly (very slow) and (b) as a multi-user platform (its not). You may be better off with a mini running iPhoto with sharing on, but again, that's not ideal.
  3. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    What I would do is use the Time Capsule's internal drive for backups of one or more Macs, and plug your external drive into the TC's USB port as a poor-man's NAS area. This allows you to keep the wonderful wireless backup feature of TM-->TC (you really don't want to plug/unplug an external to the rMBP all the time to do backups, do you?) and allows you to share files with all your local network machines without worrying about what to do when TM fulls up its backup disk (since that would be the internal drive and your shared files on the external drive).

    I believe that the TC's external drive can be made internet-accessible, but I haven't tried it.

    The TC can work fine as a NAS, as long as you don't expect high performance. It may or may not be "fast enough" for iPhoto's library. I think it would work, though, as I've seen posts describing success putting the iTunes library on a TC, and also streaming movies from it.

    I haven't tried these things, though. I do have an external plugged into my 1st-gen TC but I use both it and the internal disk as TM destinations, and a little USB thumb drive where I share small files on my network. (You need a USB hub to have more than one USB drive plugged into the TC.)


    Oh, one important thing to add: if you do plug your external into the the TC and use it as shared file space, be aware that Time Machine cannot back up that drive. If the files are important, you must back them up in some other way!
  4. Jack Sun thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2013
    Thanks, these are helpful. I'm going to try out some things to see what I can get working, and then I'll report back. I've found some relevant websites with detailed instructions for some of these more "advanced" set ups.
  5. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    To ensure that you have great performance, I recommend using a drive or NAS with an Ethernet port on it. Then simply connect the drive/NAS to a Gigabit port on the TC. The USB port is fast enough for basic tasks, but is easily bogged down transferring data. I keep a flash drive plugged into the back of the AirPort Extreme functioning as the controller for a school wireless network. It houses basic applications and provides 16 GB of space to store some settings files for the other access points. However, the speed does seem to be slow transferring to and from the flash drive. Just a word of advice is to use Ethernet whenever possible and a good quality Cat 5e or Cat 6 cable!

    :apple: Altemose :apple:

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