Question: Airport Extreme with Multiple USB Devices

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by inimitablegeek, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. inimitablegeek macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2010
    Hello! For some background info, I will be sharing a suite-style dorm this year with three other people. Three of us already have Macs, and are looking into getting an Airport Extreme for the dorm, as the building is not wireless-ready.

    If we were to connect three external hard drives and a printer to a powered USB hub and into the USB port on the Airport Extreme, would we be able to each automatically back up to our respective external hard drives via Time Machine upon connecting to the network?

    Also, would we see a significant drop in speed while backing up, considering that we will all be using the 802.11ac protocol? Thanks! :)
  2. Operant macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2013
    All of you are using AC? As far as I know, the only Macbook with an AC card is the 2013 Air.
    Also, if you're just going to use it for time machine (and not other types of storage), then why not just get one external harddrive (2tb ideally) and partition it 3 ways? That should be plenty of backup space. As for hooking up a printer, I prefer a native wireless printer to having to hook it up through a router. There's always more that can go wrong that way, and then you might not be able to print the day you really need to (happened one time in college when I shared an apt with 3 guys and one of them brought his APE 4th gen).
  3. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    Can’t answer the question about connecting the hub and multiple drives.

    Backups are de-prioritized for speed, so the network speed isn’t impacted. Also usually only the first backup is large. After the first one you’ll only be backing up new or changed files.

    Remember that the speed of your internal Airport Extreme network is going to be much, much faster (chances are) than your internet connection, so the only time you’re using the full capacity of the Airport Extreme is if you’re sharing files with your flatmates.
  4. inimitablegeek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2010
    We all have been using our own external hard drives for Time Machine, so we've already done the whole "first backup" thing, but we figured that if we get an Airport Express, we can eliminate more cables on our desks.

    Also, the printer probably won't be used regularly. The campus has printing services and free prints for each student, but in the event that we need them sooner or are too lazy to go to the printing rooms, it will be nice to have around.
  5. opinio, Aug 23, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013

    opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    I've run 4 separate hard drives (WD passports) on a Logitech USB 2.0 hub that was plugged into an AirPort Extreme (2011). I had 1 drive for each Mac for Time Machine. I just formatted each drive as HFS+(journaled) and named it specifically for the Mac. Worked fine. Ran it like that for a year or so. This was on a 2011 Extreme though. I had two minis and two MacBook Airs. The Airs worked well across the wifi, while the minis were on ethernet.

    I see no reason why it would not work on the current Extreme given it now supports TM on the external drives.

    I have replaced that config with the current Time Capsule and put a 4TB drive inside instead of the OEM 2TB.
  6. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    If you want wireless printing, I've found that printers with wireless built in work with less drama than one shared through and airport. Wireless printers are currently inexpensive, not easy to find a quality one without.

    I found multiple drives off an airport extreme to be problematic in that they have a tendency to disappear. Multiple drives off of a time capsule works better, but my experience has been that its much better to have just one drive attached.

    Technically you can do what you want (with a powered hub), but your reliability may leave something to be desired and you may find reseting the APE two or three times a week the norm. The net is full of discussions, but there are some that seem to be lucky. I think those are situations that the drives are used more or less continuously.
  7. orestes1984 macrumors 65816

    Jun 10, 2005
    It will will work providing as you say that the hub is powered. USB is USB, I just achieved this with my airport extreme.

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