Wireless External USB Drive Set Up

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by ChristopherM, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. ChristopherM macrumors member

    ChristopherM

    Joined:
    May 2, 2009
    #1
    I'm really hoping that this hasn't already been covered and I'm simply being a pest but I have a question regarding setting up my external drives to be accessed over my wireless home network.

    We have three usb externals(2 x WD passports and 1 x Lacie 1tb) that, as I've already mentioned, we'd love to be able to access over our network. We have two computers, a Dell(four years old) and a Macbook Pro(one year old). Our wireless modem is a fairly recent Belkin but does not have any usb ports.

    So my understanding is that we need to invest in a wireless usb router. I've looked at the Apple Airport Extreme but it only has one usb port. Can a usb hub overcome this? Will the three drives be accessible on both computers? Does the PC/Apple environment make things complex? Is the airport extreme a good choice? Are there other options? Is it fairly commonplace to do this?

    Sorry for all of the questions but as shallow as these waters might seem they are a little deep for me. Thank you all in advance.
     
  2. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    #2
    To answer some of your questions, a powered USB hub will allow you to share all of your externals using the AEBS. A mixed Windows/Mac environment won't be an issue, since the AEBS allows both Windows and Mac computers to access any hard drives or printers attached to the USB port. Some setup may be required on your part but it's fairly simple and the information easily accessible via searches both on MR forums and Apple's Support forums. As to whether the AEBS is your best choice, there may be cheaper alternatives out there but from experience AirPort Base Stations are quite simple to set up compared to more complex routers. Your mileage may vary though.

    Also, make sure the drives are formatted HFS+ as I'm unsure if AirDisk will work with NTFS or FAT32 drives...
     
  3. j2048b macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Location:
    Cali
    #3


    i HAVE TO FIND THE LINK, but there was a device that has a usb plug on one end and a rj45 for network on the other, then you just plug them into the network hub.

    I will find it and get back to you!
     
  4. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    #4
    Something like this?

    Probably a good idea, but the cost of one of those will run you around the cost of a new router anyway (usually)...

    Just do a search for USB device server if you want to find more products like the ones in the link.
     
  5. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #5
    A regular USB hub will allow you to plug as many USB devices as you want into an AEBS or TC. Keep in mind that you will need to have all the drives formatted as HFS+, but as you have multiple drives, it should be easy to juggle the data around while formatting if they aren't in the correct format.
     
  6. j2048b macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Location:
    Cali
    #6
    not like this, but this one is pretty awesome!!!


    i may have to get it!!!
     
  7. ChristopherM thread starter macrumors member

    ChristopherM

    Joined:
    May 2, 2009
    #7
    This is brilliant! Thank you all so very much.

    I'm going to go and pick up the usb hub and Airport Express Base Station this week and am just now trying to sort out the externals. I do have a couple of questions though;

    How do I do the HFS+ formatting? Is that through the disk utility? Do I have to partition the drives? Will that leave all files accessible to both PC(boo!) and the Mac(yay!)???
     
  8. paduck macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    #8
    Careful, the Airport Express will not do USB hard drive sharing. The Airport Extreme, however, will.

    Note also that the Airport Extreme's former capability to do Time Machine backups with Air Disks doesn't work under the latest version of the firmware (by design, apparently, since this feature was never officially supported).
     
  9. rkdiddy macrumors 65816

    rkdiddy

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    OC Baby!
    #9
    paduck - I've read this in a few areas - what exactly has been disabled?
     

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