Researching Airport Extreme Base Stations

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Apocrathia, May 1, 2009.

  1. Apocrathia macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I've got a Linksys WRT610N right now, and it has to be the most god awful piece of **** I have ever owned. The first ethernet port went out today, which was my last straw. I'm looking into one of the new Airport Extreme's because it's about the same specs (Plus i can use it as a native airdisk), but I have a few "technical"questions that i can't find a solid answer anywhere else on. I've looked through mroogle already and couldn't find anything straightforward.

    When setting up the attached storage, can you specify directories to use as what. For instance, I have my raid setup on my linux server shared with 2 folders, Backup & Storage. you can guess what each is for. I'd like to be able to hook a drobo to the time machine and get somewhat of the same functionality out of it. I've been considering buying osx server for my mac mini, which is just overkill for a file server, so this might prevent that.

    The other big question is can you do a MAC address clone on the airport extreme? My ISP is retarded and won't accept any other mac address than my macbook (the first mac i gave them), they just refuse to add another mac address for me. So I have my current router set to clone my mac, which completely bypasses that problem. it allows me to keep all of my systems online and their network 'engineers' get to keep being lazy f**ks.

    I've always used linksys products, and have always had great luck with them. However, linksys went under, and now I see why. I've been migrating all of my gear over to apple's equipment and i figure I might as well go for an airport box next. Should it be able to work for me like I need it to?
     
  2. Heilage macrumors 68030

    Heilage

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #2
    I don't have any exact answers for your questions, but my two cents might come in handy.

    I've owned quite a few wireless base stations (or routers, if you will) over the years. And they've all been a spawned piece of fecal matter from the place where the light bringer was condemned to rule until Judgement Day. (Not sure about swearing here, so I play nice)

    Until I bought a Time Capsule (essentially an Airport Extreme with a hard drive) in August. I can honestly say that it's the most stable router I have ever used. It's not quite as fast (bandwith-wise) as it could be, but it will never drop out on you. All my other ones used to die on me a couple of times every day (this does not apply to professional gear, like Cisco. Know this.) and I'd be generally annoyed by the wireless signal through a couple of walls and all the normal hassle with wireless stuff. This has yet to be a problem with my Time Capsule. The only time I ever had to reconfigure it (i.e. actually enter the AirPort Configuration application) was when I had to redirect a few ports. As of today, it is still the best wireless base station/router I have ever used.

    And as for your Drobo-related question, since the AP Extreme's USB-port is capable of having a USB-drive connected to it, there shouldn't be any reason why a Drobo shouldn't work (which essentially is two or more drives going on the same BUS).


    It won't buy you a cup of coffee, but you're two cents closer I hope. :)
     
  3. Apocrathia thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    I think that i'm pretty sold on the airport express so far, I really have more than enough storage space to hold time machine backups, so no need for the time capsule. I work with professional grade equipment everyday, so i'm used to things being reliable. This little linksys, is not. it's nice to hear someone who's had experience with professional hardware say that they're satisfied with apple's equipment.
    Would you mind digging around in your time capsule's settings and seeing if you can find anything that might hint to mac address cloning? unfortunately i know of nobody with an apple router, so i have no way of finding information out for myself. and as i've mentioned google & mroogle have been of no help to finding a specific answer. I hope i'm not asking a pestering request by this.
     
  4. Heilage macrumors 68030

    Heilage

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    #4
    I didn't try to persuade you into a TC, I just thought that a TC and an AP Extreme is basically the same thing wireless-wise, so it might be relevant.

    I can try do to a bit of digging when I get back home (weekend at parent's house, wee) but I can't promise any results. :)
     
  5. Apocrathia thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Your right, the time capsule is nothing more than an airport box with a hard drive built in. i really don't need the extra space, so the time capsule is just a waste for me.
     
  6. danny_w macrumors 601

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    Austin, TX
    #6
    I have an AEBS (the previous version) and a WD MyBook attached to it with 2 partitions (one for Time Machine and one for Other). It works well for me, except that TM will grab almost all available bandwidth and starve everything else that tries to use it while TM is in use. I have my old Linksys WRT54G router set as a secondary b/g network for my iPhone and older iMac G5, and have the AEBS set to 5GHz mode. I also have a Drobo which I intended to setup as a TM backup and iTunes library but I never got around to it. What I would do is to partition the Drobo and use the first (fixed) partition for Time Machine. Alternatively you can use a single partition and a DroboApp called Time Tamer to limit the amount of space that Time Machine is allowed to use. Note, however, that the i/o speed is abysmal (around 2.5-5MB/s); don't expect it to approach the speed of a dedicated NAS.
     
  7. Apocrathia thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    I'm beginning to think I might just go for the time capsule and conserve my hard drive space for data. I think having the drobo hooked to my mac mini via fw800 then shared over afp works fine. it takes a little bit longer to seek, but once the stream is open, the speeds are fine. I've got the extra cash to go for a 1tb time capsule anyways. The only thing I despise about the apple routers is only have 3 lan ports though. I suppose I can make do with that and just use wireless everywhere else though.

    So that just leaves the question of mac address cloning. i'd be screwed without it.
     
  8. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #8
    Something like an unmanaged 8-port gigabit switch is only like $50.
     
  9. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

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    #9
    ...in my experience with friends who have time capsule units, they get very hot... I'd be worried about the life span of the HDD in them...

    I have a current gen AEBS with an eHDD 1TB hooked up to it and its working well (only been setup for 3 days though)...
     
  10. Apocrathia thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Oh yeah, you can get an unmanaged switch for cheap. it's still just an extra toy to have to buy. Luckily I think I can knock one wired device off of my network by getting the Time Capsule instead of an AirPort Extreme. I'll just get an extra airport base to use as a bridge if I need to in the future.
    Still trying to figure out the mac address cloning, chatting with an apple store rep right now. I'll post the log once I find something out.
     
  11. Apocrathia thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    I simply just got told to call in the morning and ask about it when someone who actually knows what they're talking about can help me.

    I found a couple of posts from years ago stating that the airport stations could not clone mac addresses, however I'm hoping that apple has added that function since then. I'd hate to have to run some sort of a passthrough device just to clone my mac address.
     
  12. Apocrathia thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    I just got off the phone with a rep from apple and asked him if the airport express and time capsule support mac address cloning, he 'claimed' it did, however i just want someone to confirm it for me before i go and spend $500 on a new router. Apparently, the setting to edit the devices airport ID (mac address) is in the advanced settings of the airport utility. Can someone tell me if you see an option like this?
     
  13. danny_w macrumors 601

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    #13
    I cannot find a place to edit the Airport ID, but then again I do not have the latest fw version 7.4.1 either so if it is in that version I wouldn't know. Ever since the newest version came out I have been afraid to upgrade b/c of all the failures being reported here from people who did; perhaps it has been long enough now that I can safely upgrade, but I haven't.
     
  14. Apocrathia thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Yeah, the guy i talked to on the phone sounded like he didn't quite know what he was talking about. I'm probably going to call back and ask to talk to a systems engineer or something.
     
  15. danny_w macrumors 601

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    #15
    I'm not saying that it is not there, just that I couldn't find it where I would expect to find it. However, Apple sometimes puts options in odd places it seems to me, so it may be there somewhere.
     
  16. hellfire88 macrumors 6502

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    Apr 28, 2008
    #16
    I just checked on my Time Capsule (1 gen older than current) with v7.4.1 firmware and do not see a MAC address cloning feature setting. Maybe a newer firmware or the current gen (that supports dual-channel WiFI) does, but I somehow doubt it :(.
     
  17. danny_w macrumors 601

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    #17
    Have you had any problems with the 7.4.1 fw on the TC? I want to upgrade my AEBS but am afraid to do so. I know when it first came out the people here had a lot of trouble with it, but it may have been a combination of fw/driver/utility that all had to match up correctly.
     
  18. hellfire88 macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Not really had any problems. Although I haven't really used it since my girlfriend took my Unibody Macbook 2.0 a few months back since she liked it so I've been using my Windows laptop with my older 802.11g router for a few months. Her Time Machine backups seem to be working fine.

    I'm finally back in the Mac world (got a 2.4GHz Unibody MB) and it doesn't seem to let me restore from my old Time Machine Backup (Migration Assistance only recognized my GF's MB and Mac Mini). :(
     
  19. danny_w macrumors 601

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    #19
    OK, I just updated and no problems so far...
     
  20. Apocrathia thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I just got off the phone with someone in apple's technical support department. I was finally able to get ahold of someone who knew what the hell they were talking about and was told that there is NO way to spoof the mac address of a time capsuile or airport extreme. Which really sucks for me, however I'm still looking into a time capsule, and just running my linksys as a passthrough device.
    My ISP is just god awful and retarded. They won't add another mac address to my account, not change the one I have on file. I've already asked several times with no luck. I live in an apartment complex with a contracted private ISP (wavelength) that just leeches off of qwest's bandwidth. They're truly idiots.
    Anybody have any ideas? I kinda want a 1tb tc now.
     
  21. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

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    May 27, 2006
    #21
    I bought a 500GB Time Capsule and ignoring the fact that the hard drive failed after a few months, that thing was the worst router I have ever owned.

    Not only does it need proprietary, single format software in order to configure it, but it also happens to be pretty selective about what devices it is compatible with. If you hate seeing your games console drop connections in the middle of a game or actually want to use the internet, don't buy one of these.

    I didn't even mention the hideous prices that Apple charges yet!

    In short: you can get much better for much less elsewhere.
     
  22. Apocrathia thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #22
    I'll admit that I don't really care for the crappy hitachi drives that apple chooses to use in their hardware. Perhaps it would be easier to just get another 1tb hard drive and setup a time machine share on my drobo. I just need to find out how to do a supported time machine share without having to go out and buy leopard server.
     
  23. danny_w macrumors 601

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    #23
    I don't know if this is what you mean, but if the Drobo is attached to your Mac by USB, the Mac only needs to be running Leopard in order to share it as a TM drive, NOT Leopard Server. I would either partition the Drobo and use the first (fixed) partition for TM or use the DroboApps utility to limit the size of the TM backups from each client that you want to use.
     
  24. JasonR macrumors 6502a

    JasonR

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    Nov 11, 2008
    #24
    Get a new ISP. I bought an Airport Express yesterday because my Linksys Router was having intermittent issues. So far so good. Easy setup (even with PPOE on the router via AT&T DSL), sharing printers/hard drives, Wireless N, dual band support, gigabit ethernet. Definitely future proofed.

    I wasn't able to change the mac address on the router. Like I said, get a new ISP.
     
  25. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

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    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #25
    ...I also have a wireless video sender running from my living room to my bedroom... with my Linksys WRT54GS I had no interference but when setting up my AEBS it was over powering the video sender...

    I was bummed but found the "robust" setting and now it seems to be working ok - both the AEBS and the video sender...

    Its so nice to be able to watch cable in the bed room with out paying for an extra cable box every month - go X10.com
     

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