New TC Use Best Practice/Advise with Mult Macs

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by deeve, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. deeve macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    #1
    Hello, I have a 2tb TC coming from Apple and was going to set it up to back up 4 Macbook Pro's in the house. Any advise or best practices for doing this? I have been lucky in the 4 years I have had some of the machines and not backed any of them. I am done pushing my luck.

    I will also be setting up the TC with my Airport Express to extend my network to the further reaches of the house. Any suggestions there too.

    Thanks!
    DAVE
     
  2. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #2
    I've got (an older) Time Capsule and it's been great. If I were you, I'd just set each MacBook's Time Machine preferences to back up to your new Time Capsule and be done with it. Each machine's backups will be kept in its own ".sparsebundle" file, so they won't be mingled together.

    I'm assuming your new 2 TB TC disk exceeds the total of the MacBooks' data by a decent amount. Say, double the backup data size, or at least 50% more.

    TM will manage the situation when the TC disk fills up by automatically deleting the oldest backups. For quite awhile I had two machines backed up to the same TC internal drive, and had no problems.

    You don't get to specify how much disk space is used for each machine's backups this way. If you really want more control (or need more backup space), you could plug an external USB hard drive into the TC and use it as the backup destination for one or more of your MacBooks. It could even be partitioned (you can't partition the TC's internal drive without removing it, and even then it may not work correctly).

    But, like I said, I've had good luck just letting two machines share the backup space.

    ----------

    The Airport Express should work well to extend your wireless network range. I have that set up too. The best and recommended way is to run an Ethernet cable from a Time Capsule LAN port to the Airport Express WAN port. Then set up the Airport Express to create a wireless network with the same SSID, security settings (e.g., WPA2 and password), and channel number as your TC is set up with. This will give you a roaming network with the best performance.

    If you absolutely cannot run a cable from the TC to the AE location, you can place the AE within the TC's wireless range, and set the AE to "extend a wireless network". However, from what I've read, this incurs a lot of overhead which affects performance significantly.

    This http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4145 gives more info.
     
  3. deeve thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    #3
    Thank you. My current Airport Express is connected to a Frontier (Verizon) Mi424 router and because it is FIOS it has to be set up as a bridge. I am not sure how that would effect using the Express with as an extender. Ether way, it certainly doesn't look like using the Express wirelessly would make much sense. Maybe the new Time Capsule will have better range and I can do away with the Express.

    I do not know all the ins and outs of using the Moca system, but I do have another Mi424 in the upstairs that is set up as Moca router to connect my Tivo to via hardwire. I wonder if I could use the express up there connected to the router? It would be a different wifi name I would think...

    DAVE
     
  4. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #4
    I agree with Brian33 - just do it. Point them all at the TC and let it run.

    I'd first try replacing the AirPort Express with the TC, if the range is OK then leave it alone. If you still have dead areas, you can use the Express to extend the TC wireless.
     
  5. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #5
    Having the TC or AE set in bridge mode won't affect how you extend your wireless network.

    I have FIOS too. An ActionTech (Verizon) MI424WR is connected to the coax from the ONT, and my old 1st-gen Time Capsule is connected to the Verizon router (through a network switch, but we can ignore that) and running in bridge mode. I have the WiFi radio turned off on the Verizon router, but it does handle my port forwarding and DHCP (IP address distribution) duties.

    So my main wireless network is generated by my TC. My Airport Express is cabled to my switch (could just as well be cabled to the TC) and set to "create a wireless network" to increase my WiFi range.

    However, I could set the AE to "extend a wireless network" and then I wouldn't need the Ethernet cable from it to my switch. It would be a performance decrease set up that way, but I'm not sure how much difference it would make in real life if you're mostly doing email and web browsing, because it might still be faster than your internet connection... WiFi throughput is mostly something you'd notice when transferring large files within your local network, say, a movie from one machine to another, or a large backup. I'd say wirelessly extending your network with an AE could well be worth a try.

    Good luck!
     
  6. deeve thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    #6
    New TC Use Best Practice/Advise with Mult Macs

    Thanks! Question... This is probably obvious, and I think I know the answer, but is you AE close to the TC or in another part of the house?

    We do do some XBox gaming and Netflix streaming, so bandwidth/performance hit could be an issue. Any thoughts on a good way to check the performance hit by wirelessly extending the network?
     
  7. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #7
    My AE is on the other end of my (relatively small 44' x 26' footprint) split-level house. That way I get good WiFi signal at each end and can access either signal in the middle. Plus I get good signal outside in my yard. I was able to run the Ethernet cable through the crawlspace and up through a small hole in the floor hidden in the corner of my living room.

    Yeah, I'm not sure how significant the performance hit is and I'm not all that knowledgeable about exactly how the "extend" feature works. Once you have the equipment, you could pretty easily set it up both ways (run a temporary Ethernet cable down the hall or whatever to direct connect the AE) and measure the throughput you get each way.

    I would use the free "jperf" utiity (which itself uses "iperf") to test the throughput. I recently downloaded them and have fiddled around a bit, but I admit I don't know what all the various settings do. But it was easy to set up and get some initial results.

    Works with Windows, Mac, and Linux, I believe, and free to download:
    http://code.google.com/p/xjperf/
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/iperf/
     
  8. Heli0s macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    #8
    Can you partition a TC drive to only allow a certain amount of space for backups? Also, can you set up time machine to only back up once a week instead of every day?
     
  9. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #9
    You can't partition the TC drive without removing it from the TC itself, and even then (from what I've read) it's tricky to make it work and may not be reliable. However, you could plug an external USB drive into the TC, which may be partitioned whoever you like. You could use the external drive for TM backups, or your own data, or both. Be aware, though, that files put on any Time Capsule disk (internal or external) cannot be backed up by Time Machine. You must have some other backup plan for them if they are important files!

    I believe there is some third-party utility to make Time Machine back up on your desired schedule, but I haven't looked into it myself. (BTW, TM by default backs up every hour, not every day. In my experience, this works just fine for both desktops and portables.)
     
  10. deeve thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 20, 2012
    #10
    It is my understanding that TC will back up every hour, but only files that have changed, so no changes during that hour then no backup..correct?

    ----------

    Thanks for all the help Brian33. To hardwire the routers together I would have to run the network cable up to my second floor and I am not sure I can easily do that. Wish I could though. I am going to try and centralize the router more if I can and see if that helps.


    DAVE
     
  11. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #11
    In effect, that's correct -- yes, only files that have changed get copied to the backup destination.

    The truly accurate answer, though, might point out that if the Mac is running (i.e., not in sleep mode), there are always some files changed during the hour (I'm guessing various system logs, at least). So the backup sequence will still be done every hour (connecting to the backup disk, mounting the disk image file, copying a few MB of data, ejecting the disk, etc.) but with so little data to copy won't take long or be noticeable.

    I base this upon my machine: while I usually let my iMac sleep all night, it just happens that I have recently disabled sleep mode, and I let it sit idle all last night. Looking at the system log, I see that backups ran each hour. For example, at 3:30 A.M. it copied 17 MB of data to my Time Capsule.

    The difference doesn't really matter, unless you're interested in how often the backup destination disk gets mounted or something.

    Glad I could help you, Dave!
     

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