Trying to mount external drive through router for share - mac(s) say "no"

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by red all over, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. red all over macrumors newbie

    red all over

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2015
    Location:
    new york
    #1
    Playing around with configuring home network, learning a lot, I wanted to see if there was a performance difference when reordering the connections between computer, router and a shared external hard drive (Seagate Expansion 5TB, formatted on mac, HFS+).

    First I went with the Seagate directly into the Mac mini (USB3), with the mini going out to the router (Cat6). Worked fine. My mbp saw it as a mounted volume with the mini, which appeared in Finder sidebar under Shared.

    Then I tried connecting the Seagate to the router (USB3), with the Mac mini --> router connection remaining as it was (Cat6 ethernet). Nothing showed up, but I guess I didn’t expect anything to. I tried Connect to Server, and when asked for Server Address, entered my router’s LAN IP, per router user manual instructions for mounting external USB drive.

    It then prompts me for my “name and password for the server ‘192.168.xx.xx.’ “ Options to connect as Guest or Registered User. Registered User is already ticked, and in the name window, the name of the home folder of whichever mac I'm trying to connect on has been placed.

    So, I get confused. Seeing my home folder name, I start thinking it wants my administrator password for my computer. But it’s asking for the name and password for the server. A server that doesn’t yet exist? So... maybe it’s asking me to create one? Or, since it’s the LAN IP, maybe I should enter the administrator password for my router’s management page? I’ve tried all of these, and more. And every time, it takes me to a new window, which says “Select the volumes you want to mount on ’192.168.xx.xx.”:

    And in the window list of volumes to choose from, there is only one. Its name is “sda1.” This is not the name I assigned it after formatting, but I have to assume it's meaning the Seagate volume. And so I click OK, and the little window shakes back and forth quickly a few times, as if to say, “guess again.”

    Is it me, the drive, the router, the macs? I’ve checked sites for each company/product, they all list the same basic setup procedure. No mentions of compatibility issues, providing the drive is formatted correctly, which this one is. It works on both my macs. I also have a NAS (QNAP) running, and have connected the Seagate to it before. The NAS had no problem seeing it and writing and reading, and so forth. I’ve checked in the router management settings and everything is enabled. It even has icons for when a drive is connected, and they're all signaling positive for USB drive connection.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks...
     
  2. jermeel macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2015
    #2
    Well the first step would be to see if your router is mounting the harddrive correctly. You don't mention what router you have. I have an ASUS RT model router, which has some USB ports to connect a harddrive or other media. On my router the USB light simply indicates whether a USB connection is detected, and not whether the connected device is properly mounted/ready to go on the network. According to this page, http://event.asus.com/2009/networks/disksupport/ HFS+ file systems are not supported for plug and play disks on Asus routers.

    I suspect that even if your router is manufactured by someone other than ASUS the same file system requirements will apply. If your router has a web interface you should try logging into it and see if there are any error log messages.

    HTH, good luck.
    edit: removed quote.
     
  3. red all over thread starter macrumors newbie

    red all over

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2015
    Location:
    new york
    #3
    Interesting. My router is a TRENDnet AC1900 (TEW-818DRU). There's nothing I can find in the manual that says anything about compatibility restrictions with any formats.

    I never even thought that a router with USB ports might not work with particular formats. That seems kind of anachronistic to me, with so many cross-platform devices talking to each other these days.

    I didn't see any errors in the router logs either. But I think you're probably right. I'm not sure what the benefits of being able to mount my drive through my router could be, but now that I can't do it, naturally I want to even more.

    Guess I'll pay closer attention on the next router.

    Thanks
     
  4. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    #4
    Most routers do not support HFS+ formatted disks.
     
  5. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #5
    Heh heh, sounds like me! I think the reason the filesystem format matters is that the router's firmware that has to be able to read the filesystem on the connected USB drive. The router "shares" the drive over the network using the SMB (or maybe AFP or NFS, etc.) protocol, but it is the router that does the actual reading/writing to the drive. The client machines on the network never see the drive's actual format; thus a Mac could read/write to an NTFS drive connected to a router (assuming the router understands NTFS), and a Windows system can read/write to an HFS+ formatted drive connected to an Apple Time Capsule or Airport Extreme (I know this to be true) even though windows doesn't "understand" HFS+.

    It's probably only Apple's routers that can use HFS+ volumes.
     
  6. red all over thread starter macrumors newbie

    red all over

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2015
    Location:
    new york
    #6
    Interesting. So if I knew I wanted my drive to go through the router, I could format it to the router's accepted specs, and everything would work? Because, you know, macs always recommend their drives be formatted as Extended (Journaled) / HFS+.

    I heard back from the manufacturer. The router supports drives up to 2TB formatted in FAT32. So, yeah.

    Incidentally, I looked at some current models, just to see the state of things. Of five well-reviewed routers that I would consider replacing my TRENDnet with, three of them accepted HFS+ and listed as much in their user guides. These were the Linksys EA6900, Linksys WRT1900AC, and Netgear Nighthawk R7000. The Asus RT-AC68U listed its supported external usb drives and HFS+ was not included. The Archer C7 AC1750 referred to usb disk usage in its manual, but didn't mention which formats it supported and which it did not.
     
  7. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #7
    Yup, that's my understanding, and I'm pretty sure it's correct. Format it FAT32, put whatever you want on it, plug it into your router, and it should be accessible r/w to Macs, Windows, etc. (I'm surprised the router doesn't support NTFS, though -- isn't that pretty much standard in the Windows world now? FAT32 still has a 4 GB files size limit, I think.)

    Interesting, thanks for researching this. I really didn't expect so much support for HFS+ by other vendors! Personally, if a router doesn't explicitly state it supports HFS+ then I would assume it does not.
     
  8. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    The Finger Lakes Region
    #8
    OS X doesn't care about the format on 'networked drives'. So you have to follow the manufacture's recommendation on the router external format (depends on the manufacture). Just use the Finder's 'Go' item and use the 'Connected Servers' and put in the string code smb://IP address of router/drive share name to mount the drive.
     
  9. dynalmadman macrumors member

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    May 1, 2010
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    Vegas, baby!
    #9
    Well, mostly. I am going thru this now. My router, Archer C2 has a usable USB share port, but doesn't support HFS+. I was able to reformat to NTFS and use the drive then, except for Time Machine. TM will only write to an Apple file system.

    Michael
     
  10. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
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    #10
    Read the blog post Configure OS X Time Machine to work with CIFS(SMB) Share. This should help you if you are willing to partion a little.
     
  11. dynalmadman macrumors member

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    May 1, 2010
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    Vegas, baby!
    #11

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