Hooking up External HD to network?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by TimJim, Nov 18, 2007.

  1. TimJim macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2007
    I have an external hard drive w/ only usb 2.0 and no power cords, how can i hook that up to my network?

    Ive got this type of setup, i'm on a MBP hooked up wirelessly, and i have an iMac hooked up to the router. Link
  2. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2007
    I'd look around for info related to NAS (network attached storage) and "Network Drives".

    WD makes network hard drives (plug into ethernet) I think there are now a few WIFI network drives too. I believe Linksys offers an adapter that routes from WIFI/ethernet to a USB drive. It's called "WD Netcenter" though they may have a new model replacing it. Mine works with both PC and Mac no problem.

    Most USB hard drives require a separate power source, because they draw more current then USB will provide on most devices. (including an adapter to route to ethernet/wifi)

    Netgear made a toaster-looking hard-drive box that might be right down your alley. You could slap your current external hard drive in there, and it would have a power source and ethernet interface ready to go. Be advised - you'll likely lose the data on the drive currently, because of the required formatting to work with a network drive.

    Several companies also offer empty "multi interface" external drive boxes - just search around for "External Network Drive cases".

    Be aware that Network drives can be vastly slower than USB and Firewire drives. Look and compare with network drives from different vendors - because the difference between network drives can be huge itself. USB 2.0 drives give you a data rate of hi 30-40 Megabytes a second read/write. Firewire 800 - around 80 Megabytes a second. On a 100Mb ethernet connection, my WD gives me 7-11 Megabytes a second read/write. Sometimes a bit slower if my router is getting hammered, or I'm cueing several files at once.

    Now - this should have been said first - but you can share hard drive space on one (or several) of the PCs or Macs in your network. Except that the other computer (hosting the space) must be on, and have quite a bit open to allow full read/write access to it's drive. Network drives can go to "sleep" and be woken up whenever you need data - most even offer WAN access options - so you can grab your data from anywhere with an internet connection. (which can be done on PCs and Macs - just not a simply, and security can be of huge concern)

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