Why isn't my AirPort's USB device visible to my wired PCs?

PaulinMaryland

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 17, 2006
231
0
Maryland, USA
I have a home network consisting of three wired PCs, one wireless notebook PC, and (when my college daughter is home), a MacBook. For backing up files, we all back up to an external USB hard drive that's connected to one PC; he PC must be turned "on" in order for anyone to back up.

The two laptops connect through an AirPort Extreme that's connected by CAT5e to our wired router.

Last night it occurred to me: Why not connect the backup drive to the AirPort's USB port? That way, the drive could be used by anyone, anytime.

To my surprise, our wired PCs can't see the hard drive. It doesn't show up under "My Computer" or "My Network Places." I haven't tried finding the backup drive with my wireless laptop; I assume that the laptop, at least, will be able to see it.

The AirPort is wired to the main router; should anything connected to the AirPort be visible to one and all?

Have I left out a step?
 

liketom

macrumors 601
Apr 8, 2004
4,157
24
Lincoln,UK
hold on one minute - you telling me you can have a HDD on the AE ? i always thought for the Airport Express it was only printers ?
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,199
6
Adelaide, Australia
I'm pretty sure only network drives (ethernet connection) work with the AirPorts. The USB port (as far as I know) cannot be used for an external drive. :eek:
 

Chundles

macrumors G4
Jul 4, 2005
11,966
375
The USB port only supports printing, for network storage you need a network HDD which connects via ethernet.
 

robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
24,638
61
Harrogate
dextertangocci said:
Can I connect a usb hub to my AE base station and connect multipe printers to the base station?
As far as I am aware no. The AE is a single "port" print server. It is does not have generic USB capabilities. Plugging in a hub and a single printer might well not work either.
 

PaulinMaryland

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 17, 2006
231
0
Maryland, USA
Just for the heck of it, I think I'll test it with my Epson 4990 scanner. Traditional Ethernet sharing solutions for scanners are few and expensive. For now, we share the scanner by means of a USB mechanical switch and must press a button each time we switch PCs. What's more, our two laptops must be physically plugged in, defeating the point of wireless networking.
 

robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
24,638
61
Harrogate
mad jew said:
The AirPorts don't allow for wireless scanning through their USB ports either. :eek:
But if the scanner is Mac supported the Image Capture allows for the sharing of capture devices (at least to other Macs).

The confusion around the AE USB port seems to be due to people assuming that because it's USB all USB devices will work. The AE has a print server, nothing else. For a harddrive to work it would need some sort of network disk server. For a scanner it would need some sort of network image server (not sure what this would be like). And for a mouse? Well I've no idea.
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,199
6
Adelaide, Australia
robbieduncan said:
But if the scanner is Mac supported the Image Capture allows for the sharing of capture devices (at least to other Macs).

Hmm... I haven't managed to get anywhere with my Brother MFC. I'll look into that when I get some more time.