which router (usb support) for timemachine and file access?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by wakkaday, Jan 30, 2016.

  1. wakkaday macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2014
    #1
    is there a router which has usb support which I can use my MacBook pro to backup via timemachine and also backup generic files movies, music and read them directly from the router via devices such as my MacBook
    at the moment I have a usb hub connected to MacBook pro with my externals but would rather like to have the main external hard drives connected to a router or another device..

    my MacBook pro is currently set up a desktop system to a 27 iinch monitor

    thank you
     
  2. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #2
    Apple makes a router that can do this, although it's rather meh.

    Netgear makes some as well.

    Go to smallnetbuilder.com if you wanna see some reviews.
     
  3. LiveM macrumors 6502a

    LiveM

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2015
    #3
    Get an Apple Airport router. So much better than the rest for what you want
     
  4. BGBUXA macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    #4
    I can agree with netgear. I have the nighthawk router. It works very well.
     
  5. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #5
    Just some peanuts tossed into the gallery.

    If you are planning on using a hard drive connected to your router be aware -

    1) try to get a router that has USB3 connectivity rather than USB2. Not only is it faster but less chances of connectivity issues.
    2) not all routers are the same. Just because a router has USB connectivity doesn't mean the speed of throughput is the same.
    3) some routers' connectivity to a hard drive can be subject to other activities of the router. In short, you may find that the speed of the USB connection being impaired by other connections (Ethernet or WiFi).
    4) type of external drive - no real need to mention that some are faster than others.

    With the above, you may want to check out smallnetbuilder site and review some of the routers there. You may also want to check out 1 and 2 drive NAS as a possible choice for back up.

    As for me, I am not a fan of Mac's offerings for routers. They are expensive for what you get and are not that flexible or shall I say capable of handling various settings associated with today's typical routers. However, they do work and fit within the "eco system." I had a Western Digital Router given to me a while back (802.11n capable) that out performed the Airport Extreme, offered more ports and settings. This router was in my estimate, only fair. Today, I happen to use a Netgear r7000 which is "good" (nothing these days really rates excellent in my book due to firmware and interface limitations). What I can say is that 802.11n works better as well as having 802.11ac which made it a worthwhile contender. Again - check out routers and in particular, your need for drive attachment for TM.
     
  6. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #6
    Op is your current router meeting your demands? If so then why not go with a raspberry pi 2, with basic knowledge you could slap a light weight free os on there and Connect and share your drives etc.
     
  7. LiveM macrumors 6502a

    LiveM

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2015
    #7
    USB 2 speed is never going to be a limitation as the bottle neck is the processor, not the port.
     
  8. phrehdd, Feb 3, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016

    phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #8
    Interesting, I have used usb3 and usb2 ports with the same external drive on the same router. I will only report that the usb3 was indeed faster. It was faster in both reads and writes of large and small files. I do appreciate your statement on bottlenecks and as I mentioned, some routers take a hit on USB connectivity when other ports are thoroughly active.

    Items that can bottleneck - chipset used with external drive for USB, any arbitration done by the hardware within the router and the actual chipset involved in USB connectivity. USB3 comes in two flavours and the faster one is certainly no slouch and bests the USB2 and older USB3 with typical drives and file move/delete/copy/write/read.
     
  9. CarlJ, Feb 3, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016

    CarlJ macrumors 68000

    CarlJ

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    #9
    I just solved a related problem for myself. I have a previous gen AirPort Extreme, that I'm happy with, as well as a previous gen Time Capsule. The TC is full of backups of old machines that I don't want to throw away. Both devices would accept an external drive, but only over USB2 (to my mind, not fast enough for backups; also, my 2011 MBP has no USB3, so all the cheap USB3 drives were unattractive - preferences for speed were Thunderbolt, GigEther, or FW800 in that order), and I wanted a quick, but inexpensive, way to back up my current MBP (with Time Machine and preferably over WiFi). Would love to get a proper RAID-capable NAS (Synology or QNAP), but can't afford it right now.

    After much searching (and considering a lot of alternate arrangements of hardware, ways of attaching "normal" external drives), I ended up getting a 4TB WD "My Cloud" for $160, which is basically one of their standard 4TB external drives, but with a gigabit ethernet jack (and a USB3 port), and enough CPU/firmware so it can represent itself as a network server on your LAN. Supports Time Machine as a first class citizen with no extra software needed (also has optional software to facilitate backups of Windows machines, and does DLNA, iTunes streaming, and a few other bits). With my MBP plugged into Ethernet for the first backup, it did 750ish GB in something under ten hours (wasn't watching too closely), and subsequent backups over WiFi have gone well. And it presents separate shares for Time Machine and "normal" file storage, to keep things tidy. The "Cloud" part of the name is because you can hook it up to WD's website and use software they supply to access it from outside your LAN via OS X and iOS, but I turned off the cloud bit first thing, wanting neither the feature, nor the security liability it presented. The box itself is configurable via any web browser.

    Anyway, not trying to sell you on this particular alternative, but I was surprised to find such things available for way less than a traditional NAS.
     
  10. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #10
    Really glad this worked out for your needs. As I said in a previous post "You may also want to check out 1 and 2 drive NAS as a possible choice for back up." WD's MyCloud NAS seems to be an effective means to an end.
     
  11. Flynnstone macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Location:
    Cold beer land
    #11
    I have a 2T drive attached to a Airport Extreme (few years out). Drive is used for Time Machine backups. It's more than fast enough for me. Frankly, I don't notice backup issues at all.
     
  12. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2002
    #12
    Same here. Same set up. Works fine.
     
  13. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    Always a day away
    #13
    Yeah, I'm not sure why the thread got so long before somebody mentioned this solution. Sure, other routers will do the job, too - but, backup and USB qualities aside, my Airport Extreme seems to be a whole lot easier to configure and has more features than my old Netgear router.
     
  14. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #14
    I am curious, what are the "more" features? I have found with the change of the interface that happened awhile ago with the AE, that it is in fact, far more limited in features. Even the no longer made Western Digital middle of the road routers had far more features than the AE. I wont challenge your take on usefulness of the AE as it does function and many are happy with it in their Mac eco system.
     
  15. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    Always a day away
    #15
    It does some things my old Netgear didn't, like setting up a guest network, using it as a print server, hooking up a drive to use as a NAS, plus I can use my iPad or iPhone to reset it remotely if I need to. Perhaps newer models from other manufacturers have these features, but mine didn't.
     
  16. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2002
    #16
    I am not sure most users care about having a million "features". They want easy set up and reliability.
     
  17. phrehdd, Feb 5, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016

    phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #17
    Well you are correct that newer models can do that and a bit more. Thanks for the contrast and compare.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 5, 2016 ---
    Does reliability include a decent firewall or consistency when sharing an attached drive with non-Mac computers such as Windows based PC's ?
     
  18. IHelpId10t5 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2014
    #18
    I can't imagine that this is true. If you have some references then please enlighten us. Considering that USB2 can't even come close to half saturating Gigabit Ethernet, yet USB3 easily can, I would think that the hardware engineers for any major brand of router would consider that if they provide a port that is intended for use with an external HDD.
     
  19. Sedulous, Feb 5, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016

    Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2002
    #19
    Not interested in debating with you. Most people don't care or even know about firewalls. They just want to plug it in and go. Since this thread was about an easy way to set up time machine, I was only seconding the use of AirPort Extreme with attached USB drive.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 5, 2016 ---
    As someone mentioned earlier, USB speed is affected greatly by overhead. One would hope that a router new enough to have USB 3 would have internals that could take advantage of USB 3.
     
  20. LiveM macrumors 6502a

    LiveM

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2015
    #20
    It's a shame, but it's just too tempting to whack on a USB 3 port and let everyone believe that it will work at USB 3 speeds.

    The reality is that USB 2 is actually very fast and that the latest routers and audio interfaces from top manufacturers still use it as it's not going to get maxed out.
     
  21. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #21
    We disagree. It is a relative measure and for spinning drives, typically USB3 is 2.5 times as fast in the real world than USB2. This is by real world tests and even lightweight articles say the same (as can be found in Macworld). Simple 2.5" usb3 drives connected to a usb3 port run faster than usb2 drives connected to usb2. Saying USB2 is plenty fast is fine if that is what you want but USB3 is faster - period.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 5, 2016 ---

    People also want a router where they feel "safe" with less worry about intrusion of any sort. I'll simply say that the older style of interface that Apple had was superior to the crap interface that is now used with Airport Extremes. Look at past threads on that tops here and elsewhere and you wont have to debate just see as others also noticed it was a step backwards and the dumbed down interface is simply lame and insufficient for proper control.
     
  22. chino101 macrumors newbie

    chino101

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2015
    #22
    I returned my Netgear R7000 Nighthawk due to interface issues, and reboots every couple of days at random.
    Have changed it for an Airport Extreme and am loving how it just works flawlessly.
    Ultimately, even though other routers are faster, this only matters if your internet is fast enough to be bottlenecked by the router
     
  23. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #23
    Chino, perhaps you should edit your original statement above to reflect the challenges you had with the AE until you swapped your ISP. Then again, you did state here that the r7000 did (with issues) work with your ISP before swapping while the AE did not.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/airport-setup-issue.1954490/
     
  24. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2002
    #24
    I am familiar with the "older" airport utility interface. And while it did offer a few features missing from the current iteration of airport utility, none of the missing features had anything to do with firewall OR security. Regardless, aside from a dedicated Time Capsule, I have found the AirPort Extreme with a USB drive to be a very easy way to set up Time Machine.

    This thread is not about how to set up the ultimate secure wireless router regardless of complexity. Nor is this site representative of the average consumer. So please, let it go.
     
  25. chino101 macrumors newbie

    chino101

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2015
    #25
    I'm not going to edit my above statements as they are still accurate.

    The issue with my R7000 was separate to the issue I had with the AE. The R7000 had woeful issues with rebooting that were not caused by my ISP. The R7000 allowed me to do what I needed to get it to work with my ISP, however it suffered from issues such as random reboots, and dropped connections.

    In contrast, despite my initial issue with the setup of the AE which was an issue with my ISP at the time, the issues do not cross over to my experience with the R7000, which was unreliable as has been detailed elsewhere. Since switching to the AE, I have had no issues with drop outs or any rebooting. Furthermore, the internet system in my part of Australia is standardised. That means I know that the improved experience is not to do with the change in ISP, but rather the router. The only difference between the providers was their authentication types.
     

Share This Page