Time capsule as file server for casual use

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Baconstripss, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. Baconstripss, Oct 9, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013

    Baconstripss macrumors member

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    #1
    Hey guys. I know this question have been asked a bunch of times on the internet, but no question/answer really applied to my situation.

    I have a MBP, iMac, iPad, iPhone and Apple TV 3rd gen.
    I have a dynamic IP adress, but can get VPN/static if necessary

    I'm thinking about buying a Time Capsule (the new ac time capsule) and use it as a backup/time machine, but more importantly, to share my files between devices.

    Now, I understood from the Apple rep. I just talked to, that sharing on my local network at home should we no problem at all. But what about WAN sharing? When I'm at my parent's, sister's or friend's house. Is there a workaround? The Apple rep told me if I had a mac turned on at home i would be able, but that isn't really an option.


    I'm primarily interested in sharing movies (.mp4, .avi, .mkv files etc.).
    I'm not asking for a heavy duty NAS or anything. Just casual file sharing. Pictures, movies, documents for school etc.

    I understood from some articles that the iTunes library is tricky to share on the TC because is couldn't backup internally or something I don't really understand.. If it can - great, if not - don't really care. I don't have my movies in iTunes and i use Spotify for music.

    Any help appreciated :)
     
  2. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

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    #2
    Most folks here will tell you that using a TC for file sharing isn't a great idea. You can partition it for such a purpose, but they have a habit of losing the most important part of their function...Backups.

    I'd buy a cheap WD passport drive for sharing files. These are cheap now, and if you do buy a TC, I'd use it for backups only.

    We have a 3TB unit backing up an iMac, an rMBP and a Mac pro, but that's all it does. That and acting as a router for our wifi of course.
     
  3. Baconstripss thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    One of my reasons to buy the TC is the replacement of my crappy router/modem from my supplier. So the 3-in-1 "feature" of the TC would be awesome (backup, file sharing and router)
     
  4. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

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    #4
    People do do it, don't get me wrong...It's just not something I recommend. As a router it's fantastic...added in a second generation AE for the bedroom and we get great wifi coverage. I just don;t like the idea of file sharing on what is essentially a backup device....I do sometimes put a USB stick in it and share stuff that way, but I've never allocated a partition to anything on it. It just has the 3 sparsebundles for each Mac, and it's over half full now too.

    I'm lucky though, I have a Pegasus R4 Thunderbolt unit too, so we have plenty of storage on hand.:)
     
  5. Baconstripss thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    First of all. Thanks for helping me out :p I'm pretty new to all the NAS, file sharing, TC features and so on..

    But are you worried that I might completely drain my TC of storage when using it both as backup and file sharing? Because I can assure you that won't be a problem :) If I used 500 gigs I would be kinda proud of myself ;) And if it should come to storage issues, I'm sure I would be able to find a lot of unnecessary stuff to delete.
     
  6. AppleNewton macrumors 68000

    AppleNewton

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    #6
    if this was something that was plausible or worked somewhat, i think there would be more of a niche on here especially.
    but simply put the way the timecapsule is designed, is merely for a back-up appliance.
    you can use backtomy mac to remote in, and you can definitely share your TC HDD over WAN using AirPort Utility.

    My best recommendation is, get a Mac mini, get OS X server, configure your router/network the way you like either for DHCP, external access, etc.
    and set up what you're looking for that way.

    theres really no way to easily and without throwing up flags to your ISP, to stream media content over WAN.
    for that, get iTunes match for music.
     
  7. Baconstripss thread starter macrumors member

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    #7
    I guess you're right. But what about home sharing? That don't be a problem right?

    Can I easily access any file from time machine backups on any device?

    Example: I have a time machine backup on my iMac with a movie, can I then watch/stream that movie on my iPad/MBP/iPhone without any hurdles when I'm at home on my local network?
     
  8. priitv8, Oct 9, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013

    priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #8
    Also, you need to keep in mind, that while file sharing to WAN works perfectly with a TC (esp if you can turn on Back to my Mac), it only works for file copy (no streaming) and only for Mac-s.
    There is no Apple-approved way to connect to network shares from iPhones/Pads.
    There is no Back to my Mac support on any of the iOS devices.
    Granted, you can get some 3rd party movie players from App Store, that are able to connect to file shares, but then you need to set port forwarding on TC appropriately.
    As others have mentioned, TimeMachine eats up all available space on TC over time, so sooner or later you will be facing a space contention between TM and your own files.

    That's the worst idea ever! There is nothing you would want to tinker with inside the TM backups on TC.
    Backing them large movies up (esp if they are rather volatile on your drive that gets backed up) is a sure way to exhaust available space on TC disk fast.
    PS You can only access those TM files from a OS X operating system, so no iOS support there either.
     
  9. costabunny macrumors 68020

    costabunny

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    #9
    imho you would be better off getting a LAN connected external drive. Something like the Western Digital range.

    The Time Capsule is not designed as a file server. Whereas the external NAS drives are. You can use them for time machine backups; but also as a file share that can be accessed by other systems.
     
  10. Baconstripss thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    Okay I see your point :) Note to self: Don't mess with TM backup.

    I called the Apple Store sales service earlier and was told that the TC could be used as a regular external hard drive as well as TM backup.

    So can I manually transfer e.g. a movie wirelessly from my iMac to the TC and then wirelessly download/stream/watch it on my Macbook Pro when home and connected to the same network? That's what the Apple rep. told me at least :eek:
     
  11. AppleNewton, Oct 9, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013

    AppleNewton macrumors 68000

    AppleNewton

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    #11
    essentially it comes down to this. dont use TC for anything but backups.
    if you have a USB drive connected for storage then that can be accessible no problem via LAN and WAN. no streaming content.

    Local Home Sharing is simple. the same way you stream content to an appleTV via Home Sharing is the same way you can access a centralized media content on your iPad or iPhone, or another Mac.
    Hence having a dedicated machine, ie MacMini host your content. that way it can wake up on those requests and local LAN requests.

    Also if you go the MacMini route and set it up properly, you can also use that additionally as a backup server. SO it would solve your two problems backups and media streaming. but not necessarily over WAN unfortunately.
     
  12. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #12
    Yes that will work just fine. The only reason you may not want to do this is if your only copy of a file/movie is on the TC, then it is not being backed up anywhere. Also the TC is not the fastest file server out there.

    But beyond that, it will work for what you just described in this post.

    Just make a folder on the TC and drop your movies or whatever in there so they are not commingled with the Time Machine backups.

    I agree with others this it not the top performance solution for serving movies, but if you want a new router with Time Machine support built in, and you want to occasionally serve up movies etc to your Mac understanding the limitations, there is nothing wrong with doing that.
     
  13. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #13
    Actually, MacMini + OS X Server can be set up to perform 100% of TC's functions plus a lot more.
    HomeSharing is (as name suggests) is intentionally constrained to single network segment only (usually your home LAN) and will not transverse the routers (i.e. not accessible on WAN). Not even use of VPN to simulate local LAN presence from WAN helps. Tested. (NB! Neither do iTunes or iPhoto Library Sharing).
    I believe that must again be a requirement from the content owners (like encryption of whole AirPlay/HomeSharing traffic so it doesn't float unprotected in the air).
     
  14. AppleNewton macrumors 68000

    AppleNewton

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    #14
    True it very well can.
    depending ont he users technical experience or willingness to learn it can be much more accommodating then the TC.

    WAN sharing, is one of those "grey" areas where you can but not easily on a consumer broadband and not for what he's trying.

    I'd recommend iTunes Match / Netflix for any out of the house streaming...i haven't seen anything that is truly a reliable service for the home user. I think couch potato was one application or service that allowed streaming from your home servers to your mobile devices anywhere.
     
  15. Baconstripss thread starter macrumors member

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    #15
    Thanks for all your answers. I have placed an order on the 2tb TC. When ordering over the internet I have 14 days right to cancel. Even though I have used the product. So I'm gonna try it out and see if it fits my needs.

    The router function in the TC is actually my main purpose to buy it. So backup and a limited file sharing is worth the jump from AirPort Extreme to TC. It's only 120$ or so.
     
  16. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #16
    Why not use a service like Dropbox or Crashplan? Both of these allow you to upload backup data to the remote server and you can access the files there too. Both services have a free trial where you get something like 5GB to try out the service. If the data are importent you need offset backup, Crashplan is the best for that.

    You already have Apple's iCloud, you can use that now without buying anything. Put a few photos there and you can get them from anyplace.

    If you only want to share photos use a photo upload sites like Google's or photobucket or whatever.

    The problem with a TC is that it makes files available by sharing a disk. That works poorly if at all over the Internet. For internet sharing you want the sever to provide a list of files that can be downloaded.

    ----------

    I actually prefer the AirPort because I plug a USB hub into it then can attach any number of disks and if the disk fails (or when it fails) it is easy to swap out for a new one or to upgrade
     
  17. Philpug macrumors member

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    #17
    I was using a wd 750g he for my back up before. Is there a way to connect that to the time capsule and have access to that as say a media center to put all music and movies on that I don't want to take up space on the laptops.
     
  18. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #18
    Yes, that will work.
     
  19. NazgulRR macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Plex is. Completely private Netflix. Install Plex Server on a Windows/Linux/Mac machine or straight on a certain supported NAS (not many supported though) and Plex Media Center on a Windows/Mac/iPhone/Android/Samsung TV/Roku/Apple TV/Raspberry Pi/etc. to watch anything on it regardless if you are inside or outside your home network.

    Just recently I streamed 1080p mkvs flawlessly across 2000km (yes, two thousand, literally across Europe!) from a Plex server on Windows to a Samsung Smart TV with Plex app installed (server side 20/20 fibre optics broadband, client side 100/10 fibre optics broadband). Hell, I stream movies to my iPhone over 3G as well.
     
  20. AppleNewton macrumors 68000

    AppleNewton

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    #20
    thats pretty awesome.
    how much latency/buffering do get during the stream? does it take a hit on your broadband?
     
  21. NazgulRR macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Check this video I made few weeks ago to see how it works on a Samsung TV: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11502810/IMG_7790.MOV
    That's a 1080p .mkv with DTS sound (12GB file). Barely any hit on the broadband on the client side, but I can't tell how it is on the server side. I would guess it take most of the 20mbit upload speed there.

    I'll check the latency/buffering time on iPhone over 3G as soon as my dad turns on his PC that I am using as my Plex server on the side.
     
  22. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

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    #22
    You do know that it isn't a modem, I hope ?
     
  23. Baconstripss thread starter macrumors member

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    #23
    Yes. To be honest I really don't know why I wrote both things. It was early in the morning :p
     
  24. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

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    #24
    We've all done that !
     
  25. Jaguarxl macrumors member

    Jaguarxl

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    #25
    Another option, you could get an netgear n900 router (WDR4500). It has a service called ReadyShare, free to use, that allows you to share your USB storage attached to the router over wan/LAN. Pretty easy to setup.
     

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