Router USB connection question

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Tomb01, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. Tomb01 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Colleyville, TX
    #1
    I have a TP-Link router that has a couple of USB ports. Sadly it does not seem to support Mac OS formatted drives. Does anyone know of a Router that supports Mac OS formatted drives in it's USB port? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
  3. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #3
    There are so many routers out there and at different levels of bells and whistles.

    Here is the Netgear r7000 (a 1900 ac router)
    The router supports the following file system types for full read/write access:

    • FAT16, FAT32
    • NTFS
    • NTFS with compression format enabled
    • Ext2, Ext3, Ext4
    • XFS
    • HFS

    • HFS+
     
  4. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #4
    You don't need hsf for the drive to be seen by OS X.

    What exactly do you need that would help??
     
  5. Tomb01 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Colleyville, TX
    #5
    Thanks for the replies, folks. What I am looking for is something that tells me whether the USB port on a router will support remote access to a Mac OS X Extended filesystem or not. My TP-Link Archer C7 does not. Spent some time trying to get some assistance from TP-Link support on why my drives were not showing up correctly when I connect to the router, but got no responses from them. Saw in the TP-Link forum that some folks were not having a problem, so started trying different drives and discovered that an old NTFS formatted one worked fine. So the problem is not my OS X side of the equation, it seems to be the router USB driver. Then started hunting around to try to understand what routers WOULD support the Mac filesystem, only to discover that most descriptions don't actually talk about what the USB port supports from that perspective. So, phrehdd, where did you find the list for that Netgear hub?
     
  6. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #6
    Here is at least one of them -- http://kb.netgear.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/24059/~/what-are-the-usb-drive-requirements-for-my-nighthawk-router?

    I had found a few.

    I'll also add that it shouldn't matter which format your router uses for the drives, if you are connecting via Ethernet or WiFi and the firmware/software for your router is set up correctly the usb drive should look like a network drive. The only other thing to consider is how the router handles "rights and permissions" with respect to access to the drive.

    Before I forget -- it might be wise to consider two things about usb attached storage on routers:
    a) go for USB 3 not USB 2
    b) read up on the particular router as sometimes there is a challenge when accessing the USB drive that impacts other connectivity and visa versa.
     
  7. Tomb01 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Colleyville, TX
    #7
    Right, phrehdd, I was 'assuming' it did not matter the format of my drive but apparently that is not the case. TP-Link responded to my ticket. They indicated that their "FAQ" has an entry indicating that the only supported filesystems/formats supported by their hubs are FAT/FAT32/NTFS. Can't find that anywhere in the product documentation, though.
     
  8. Tolien macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2005
    #8
    It doesn't matter in that the disk doesn't have to be formatted HFS+ for your Mac to be able to use it if the router's sharing it as a Windows file share - as phrehdd says, as long as the router can read and write to the disk you're good to go.
     
  9. Tomb01 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Colleyville, TX
    #9
    Unfortunately some routers do NOT support HFS+ (like my current Archer C7). So, yes, I can connect it to the router and share it on the network, but cannot see anything on it. The Router presents my 2TB Seagate drive as an empty 196MB folder, and my 4TB Cineraid enclosure as an empty 206MB empty folder. TP-Link has confirmed that their USB driver in their routers does not support HFS+ formatted drives. If I connect my NTFS drive (I still have 1 of those) it works as expected. Have been looking at other routers, and this looks like it is more common than not.
     
  10. Tolien macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2005
    #10
    So format it NTFS? As phrehdd and I have said, it's irrelevant what it's formatted with if you're going to leave it plugged into your router.
    It's a common "issue" because HFS+ is a niche file system.
     
  11. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #11
    For me, the bigger problem with the A C7 is that it is limited to 2 USB2 ports. USB2 might be fine for a printer but certainly not for adding an external hard drive which should be connected via USB3.

    The goal for adding external drives would be to find the fastest combination with the least negative impact. This means a good performing external drive, connect via USB3, a router that has a good reputation for handling access to the external drive along with requested reads and writes without impacting other connectivity (WiFi and Ethernet). I think the A C7 is a nice utility router. USB2 for printers and emergency, lackluster handling of 5grtz (it suffers when signals are too strong) but works well and is faithful based on more serious technical reviews along with some comments by owners.
     
  12. Tomb01 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Colleyville, TX
    #12
    Well, Tolien, my 'main' objective was to share my Drobo mini. I have four 2TB drives in it (about 6TB of usable space after the Raid setup), and it is mostly full of virtual machine images, but it is a pain to have to go to my 'home office' to access it. I have a number of other drives, all mostly formatted HFS+ already, which I travel with, and moving my data to reformat them would be problematic. I have an old PC that I use occasionally, will try connecting my drives to it this week to see if it can serve as a 'sharing' hub.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 16, 2016 ---
    Yeah, starting to do some research on it now... the Archer is not my 'main' access point, that's an Apple Time Machine in another part of the house. Just use the TP-Link in my home office, and don't actually use the wifi portion much. Do virtual training on the internet, and prefer a wired connection for that when possible, so when I'm up the the office I connect my laptop to a docking station that has my drives, display, and network connections. but when I am not in the office, I would still like to connect to at least my Drobo. There seem to have been (historically) some 'NAS' devices specifically for connecting drives to your network, but most of them seem to be out of production, and even if I could find one they are not the current technology (most seem to be USB2). Still working on it to see what the best option might be that does not require buying a $300 router. :)
     
  13. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #13
    If you opt for a router, and select a specific model, go to whatever forums there are for that model and see what users say about the model. Let's understand that one of the most obvious issues are drives going to sleep (or not). If a drive goes to sleep, you need to know how to wake it up with minimal effort and if a drive is allowed to go "offline" you need to know how to get it back on line. These things may sound trivial but to many they are a major annoyance and those that put their iTunes library on shared router storage get very frustrated when the library is off line and iTunes (depending on how it is set up) can't find it and defaults to a local empty library or similar).

    A casual look at SmallNetBuilder site's router charts, places this model as having best typical throughput (read and write) with disks that are NTFS formatted.

    Linksys WRT1900ACS AC1900 Dual Band Wireless Router
    .
    second to this one is
    Linksys WRT1200AC Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router

    This is not a top of the line 802.11ac router but a respectable one with less bells and whistles. Typical cost - $175.00 and for the second one less of an offering but nearly as fast USB3 storage at $95.00.

    The only other advice I might offer is that since you don't use WiFi much, try to only use the 5ghz so there is no interference between WiFi and USB3 (which stomps on some 2.4 ghz WiFi).

    Those two above are just suggested for your research based on what you wrote. Try Smallnetbuilder and other sites for some more objective info.
     
  14. Tomb01 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Colleyville, TX
    #14
    Thanks for the pointer to smallnetbuilder. Have attached my Drobo mini to a Lenovo PC that I use 'occasionally', and that seems to be working well (have the Paragon HFS+ drivers installed on it). Perhaps at some point in the future I'll swap out my Archer hub for something that has a bit better 'shared drive' capability so I don't have to leave that PC turned on.
     

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