Need alternative to timecapsule

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by iemcj, Aug 5, 2016.

  1. iemcj macrumors 6502

    iemcj

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2015
    #1
    Hey guys, I've had a 3 tb time capsule for about 4 years now and yesterday it suddenly "died." Fan sounds and still warm but no wifi to connect to and no light on. I unplugged and plugged back in and no change, fans ran but no wifi, no light, and nothing if I plugged it in through ethernet. Today I plugged it in and out a few times and magically it turned on again so I'm quickly seeing if there's any old backups I can salvage before it dies for real.

    On amazing the 3tb time capsule is still outrageously priced at 300+ plus! D: Any reason I can't just buy a 30 dollar linksys router, physically plug in an external 3tb harddrive (89 dollars) into said router and get the exact same thing for almost a third the price?

    What I need is something that acts as a router and I can wirelessly use time machine backups on. Every single cord is being used up on the back of my imac so being able to wirelessly backup is a huge plus. Thanks for the help team!


    TLDR: Need a wireless router that'll let me connect my laptop, ps4, printer, and imac (so literally every router in the world lol). Needs to have a port that'll let me plug in an external hd so I can run time machine over the network. Thanks!!!
     
  2. CoastalOR macrumors 68020

    CoastalOR

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #2
    If you want to use Time Machine via the network then,
    Alternative: Airport Extreme with a 3 Tb HD plugged in. My experience is that most 3rd party routers do not reliably support AFP. I bought a Netgear router that "supposedly" supported Time Machine backups, BUT it is NOT reliable.
     
  3. iemcj thread starter macrumors 6502

    iemcj

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2015
    #3
    When you say it's not reliable, what do you mean exactly? Is it not letting you sync? It's corrupting the data as it's going? Just want to make sure I understand fully! :D
     
  4. CoastalOR macrumors 68020

    CoastalOR

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    Jan 19, 2015
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    Oregon, USA
    #4
    It was very hard to get it to work the first time. Once I finally got a backup, there were frequent times the backup would not be performed by Time Machine. No error message from Time Machine, the hourly backups were just not performed to the drive connected to the Netgear router. According to the Netgear forums, having problems performing Time Machine backups were not uncommon.

    You just can't assume a external disk connected to a "a 30 dollar link sys router" will work.
     
  5. IHelpId10t5 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2014
    #5
    How many Mac computers do you have backing up? If only your one iMac, then simply plug an external HDD into it and set TimeMachine to backup to that locally attached drive. If you do have more than one Mac (if your laptop is also a Mac), then spend what it takes to get the latest TimeCapsule that meets your backup storage needs. Although there are other, cheaper routers out there, your will struggle getting them to ever work as reliably as the TC would. I have a recent TC 3TB and it's been wirelessly backing up several household Macs for over a year now without a single hiccup.
     
  6. grahamperrin, Aug 5, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016

    grahamperrin macrumors 601

    grahamperrin

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    #6
    For Time Machine service I recommend FreeNAS. With ZFS as the basis for Time Machine data, FreeNAS is superior to what's offered by Apple.

    I use that (on a cheap headless computer) alongside the router that was provided by my ISP.
     
  7. eyeseeyou macrumors 68030

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    Feb 4, 2011
  8. iemcj thread starter macrumors 6502

    iemcj

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2015
    #8
    Plugging into the back is not an option since the imac has such a paltry number of ports. Hence needing something wireless.

    I ended up going with the airport extreme and an external 5tb hdd for 120 bucks. Net total is still cheaper than the 2 tb time capsule plus I have two and a half times the storage space PLUS the extra safety that if just the harddrive or just the router fails, I only need to replace one product (instead of the situation I'm in now). Thanks team!
     
  9. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #9
    Well as of 2008 you can use a Time Machine external disk as Time Machine target according to the article Airport Time Machine!
     
  10. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #10
    Any device other than a Mac running OS X Server, an AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule, or a directly connected storage device is unsupported by Time Machine. A large number of manufacturers making routers and NASs promote Time Machine compatibility, but this is entirely unsupported by Apple. Some work better than others, but I do not trust my backups to a unsupported configuration. Generally, from my experience, the Netgears had issues with Time Machine not being able to start or complete a backup. These issues are generally resolved in the newer firmwares, but you are still dealing with an unsupported configuration.

    Have you considered getting a powered USB hub?

    That is a great setup that is entirely supported and a fantastic and reliable rig. I hope you got your AirPort as a refurbished model right from Apple for $129 to save a bit of money.

    Up until the 6th generation AirPort Extreme, which was released in 2013, Time Machine to an external drive attached to an Extreme was unsupported. While many people had luck getting AirPort Extremes to reliably appear as a backup destination, there are numerous issues with restoring those backups. I have seen this first hand with a number of Mac users where the backup could not be seen or was corrupted due to this configuration, which does not help when the backup is actually needed.
     
  11. grahamperrin macrumors 601

    grahamperrin

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    #11
    That's an often-repeated misunderstanding.

    Apple published a specification that documents what's required for support.
     
  12. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #12
    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202784

    Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 7.26.00 AM.png

    Correct. That last sentence about backing up using AFP on the network was added to this support document a couple years ago. Just based on forum comments here, it does seem to be somewhat spotty as far as reliability, depending on the hardware manufacturer. My suspicion is a poor implementation of AFP, but who knows.
     
  13. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
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    Elkton, Maryland
    #13

    Some documentation still does not list AFP connected network storage as a compatible location, and I am not sure when support was added into OS X. Furthermore, as @Weaselboy stated, the reliability varies greatly depending on manufacturer.

    I agree, generally AFP is abysmal on NAS devices. A client of mine uses a Synology, and the SMB connections are rock solid but AFP is awful, regardless of the version of OS X.
     
  14. grahamperrin macrumors 601

    grahamperrin

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    #14
    Possibly, although I can't say that of Netatalk; a few months ago I performed some aggressive tests of Time Machine service in FreeNAS.

    Bear in mind, the combination of AFP + TMNIS + journalled HFS Plus + sparse bundle disk image is simply far from ideal.

    That does not equate to third party solutions being explicitly unsupported by Time Machine.

    Recommended reading

    Time Machine Network Interface Specification (TMNIS)
     
  15. ApolloBoy macrumors 6502a

    ApolloBoy

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    Apr 16, 2015
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #15
    Don't really understand why anyone would buy a Time Capsule when any external drive will get the job done just fine. I've been using a WD My Passport drive for my Time Machine backups for three years and I've never had an issue. I just plug it in every week or so, let Time Machine do its thing, and I'm set.

    That's what USB hubs are for. You can get some decent powered USB 3 hubs for less than $20, pretty good investment if you ask me.
     
  16. grahamperrin, Aug 10, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016

    grahamperrin macrumors 601

    grahamperrin

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    #16
    Part of the appeal of Time Capsule is the product combination, and the wireless.

    FWIW http://forums.macrumors.com/posts/23199428
     
  17. ApolloBoy macrumors 6502a

    ApolloBoy

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    Apr 16, 2015
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #17
    Uhh Apple doesn't even sell a USB 3 hub except for the overpriced USB-C hub for the rMB. I have a 7-port Sabrent hub that I also use with my PC laptop and it's never let me down. It's even got two extra 2.4A ports for charging stuff. It's a little pricey at $33 but it works brilliantly and I've never had connectivity issues, whether it be with my external drives or a USB audio interface: http://amzn.to/2bjYPXD
     
  18. matreya macrumors 65816

    matreya

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    #18
    I'd buy another one and setup a 2nd time machine backup... Your WD passport won't last forever.
     
  19. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    The Finger Lakes Region
    #19
  20. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
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    #20
    Would you really want to trust a complete back up to an unsupported solution like this? Backing up is rarely the problem, it is the restoring that scares me.
     
  21. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    The Finger Lakes Region
    #21
    Types I never really do that either but I was pointing it out! For networking I was using the built in a Synology NAS but restore was a pain so I went to USB3 DAS drives for backup!
     
  22. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #22
    For me, it is either a directly connected drive or an Apple Time Capsule, Extreme, or OS X Server. I am not worried about having a backup, but rather the restoring part as all I need is for a unsupported NAS to bless the sparse bundle the wrong way and ruin my backup!
     
  23. grahamperrin macrumors 601

    grahamperrin

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    #23
    @Altemose FYI, this may reassure you about at least one third party product:
    • in the NetBSD package collection, http://pkgsrc.se/net/netatalk30 Netatalk 3 currently 3.0.8nb7
    • NetBSD is the operating system that Apple currently uses for Time Capsule
    • the Netatalk implementation of AFP over TCP/IP is also used by iXsystems for FreeNAS.
     
  24. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #24
    I trust third party products with Time Machine for my own needs, in fact I use a Synology. However, when you have to start busting into Terminal and creating sparse bundles manually I would question the reliability of the guide posted about using Time Machine with SMB. Synology and some other NAS manufacturers do make a great reliable Time Machine destination, but with issues periodically appearing especially with their implementations of AFP, you cannot help but wonder. I trust certain third party Time Machine implementations, but if it is something that needs rock solid reliability I could only recommend an official solution like a Time Capsule or USB drive for example.
     
  25. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #25
    Getting the job done just fine is not good enough for many use cases. There are three laptops in the family that never get plugged into anything but their charger (usually only when the low battery warning pops up). They are truely used as laptops, never see a desk, just laps. Wireless backups for those devices are much more reliable (and transparent) than training the users to plug a drive in daily or weekly.... given the difficulty plugging a charger in is for them :) It seems to be a lot easier not fighting it.

    For me, I like dual backups, one on an attached drive and the other on a TC in another building. I tried to use a synology NAS at one point (maybe two years ago) for TM backups, but found restoring somewhat scary and unreliable... not that a TC is completely reliable.
     

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