Wirelessly hosting a External HD

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by chrf097, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. chrf097 macrumors 68040

    chrf097

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    Dec 16, 2011
    #1
    I want to be able to back up Via Time Machine but not have to plug my HD into my computer every single day, as it's powered via outlet and has to stay on my desk. Seeing as how an AirPort Express doesn't support external HDs and the AirPort Extreme is already too expensive, what is the CHEAPEST way (hoping for sub-50$ but if not at least sub-100$) to have my external drive accessed via wireless.
     
  2. Nielsenius macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    An AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule is the most sure-fire way to get what you have in mind working. I have an external HDD hooked up to my AirPort Extreme and it works very well for both backups and as an internet file server. You could also try a network attached storage (NAS) solution. Both of these are, likely, going to be over $100.

    I don't recommend buying a router with a USB port. I tried this a while ago and it had clunky software and didn't do a good job of being a NAS. I could be wrong, but I think that Apple or a dedicated NAS are your best bets.
     
  3. mstrze, Dec 28, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011

    mstrze macrumors 68000

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    #3
    Cheapest way to do this is to plug in your external every day...or every other or once a week.

    At $177...for what it can do and how robust a piece of equipment it is...an Airport Extreme is a bargain if you ask me.
     
  4. chrf097, Dec 28, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011

    chrf097 thread starter macrumors 68040

    chrf097

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    #4
    Would you say then that backing up once a week via Time Machine is a good idea? Or would you say every day?
     
  5. Nielsenius macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    That depends on you. If you have a lot of valuable data and your life depends on keeping it safe, then you'll want to back it up as frequently as possible. If you don't bring your Mac anywhere and your data isn't valuable, then a week or every few days will do.
     
  6. chrf097 thread starter macrumors 68040

    chrf097

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    Dec 16, 2011
    #6
    Is just constantly backing up via wired my only choice? I'm very mobile with my computer constantly switching rooms or being outside and it is a *major* pain to have to keep my computer on a desk for 6+ hours. Is there no AirPort Express hack to support Hard Drives, or something like the AirPort express that I can just use solely for a Hard Drive. Getting an AirPort Express is too extreme since I won't be using it to connect to the internet and the only device using it would be my MacBook Pro and nothing else.

    EDIT: Can the Mac even connect to the AirPort Extreme base JUST to use My Hard Drive without making switch from my Home Wireless to the AirPort?
     
  7. Nielsenius macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    The only time that it'll take 6 hours to create a backup is the first time you do it. Actually, it might not be 6. I have about 60 GB of data and that takes about 1.5 hours. Wireless backups are automatic and the most convenient. However, if you can set your Mac down for a few minutes every day you can avoid the expense of an AirPort Extreme and simply use your external HDD, which was suggested above.

    You can't connect to the AirPort Extreme only for backups. Backups will only occur when you're on the same network as the Time Machine hard drive. But, you can use multiple Apple routers in tandem to extend a single network. You don't have to have 2 separate networks to use 2 routers.
     
  8. chrf097 thread starter macrumors 68040

    chrf097

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    Dec 16, 2011
    #8
    See, the issue there is that we have an AT&T U-Verse 2WIRE Gateway box which is also the wireless router. I don't know how to make it so I can use a separate router while still keeping all my AT&T U-Verse services (TV & Home Phone) in tact.
     
  9. Nielsenius macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    I see. I have FiOS, which comes with a WiFi router. In my case, the router provides connectivity for the various DVRs throughout my house. The FiOS router can also be used for internet access for my devices. I chose to buy an Apple router for my personal WiFi because of its added features. The FiOS router is only used for the FiOS services. I'm not familiar with your service, but it might be possible to do what I've done and set up a separate network for your wireless devices. I don't think this would screw up your TV or phone. Do you have any ethernet plugs or cables in your house that a computer can be connected to for wired internet?
     
  10. noisycats macrumors 6502a

    noisycats

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    #10
    Check the refurb store. You can likely pick up an AE for under 130.
     
  11. Nielsenius macrumors 6502a

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    #11
  12. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #12
    Likewise. In my case I am using my Airport Extreme as a Wireless Access Point (WAP) only and have routing and DHCP disabled.

    B
     
  13. chrf097, Dec 28, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011

    chrf097 thread starter macrumors 68040

    chrf097

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    Dec 16, 2011
    #13
    Yes, the back of the box has an open ethernet port that I've sometimes used for direct connection with some of my older non-Wifi apple computers. I'm assuming I could take an AirPort extreme, plug it in through that port, and then use the AirPort Extreme as the home network router?


    Off Topic: How is FiOS? I wanted to have them as our provider but they currently aren't in our area.
     
  14. Nielsenius macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Yes, you should be able to plug the AirPort Extreme into your AT&T modem and set up a network.

    FiOS is pretty good. My family had Dish Network, then Comcast, and now FiOS. We have the phone, internet, and TV package. The rate is pretty competitive and the services are reliable.
     
  15. chrf097 thread starter macrumors 68040

    chrf097

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    #15
    Upon looking at the refurbished AirPort Extremes, I noticed that one is going for $130 that was released on October 2009, and then another for $150 released June 2011. What is the difference?
     
  16. Nielsenius macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    I believe they're essentially the same. Both have dual band (2.4GHz and 5 GHz) n WiFi which is backwards compatible with a/b/g devices. The more recent one has a better range from what I've heard. I have the 2009 and it seems pretty good to me.
     
  17. chrf097 thread starter macrumors 68040

    chrf097

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    Dec 16, 2011
    #17
    1 last question. I saw that Apple was selling a 802.11n enabler for Macs. Does that enabler apply to the Late 2011 MacBook Pros or do they already have 802.11n enabled, and do the MBPs run on 2.4GHz or 5GHz?
     
  18. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Portland, OR
    #18
    Those are Gen 4 and Gen 5 Airport Express routers. The Gen 5 has better range... however, both are quite good. Some people complain that under load, the Gen 5 might make a humming sound.

    /Jim
     

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