YAAPENDC (Yet Another AirPort Extreme-N Disk Complaint)

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Anonymous Freak, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    Yup. So I'd read various hints on how to move your iTunes library over to an AirPort-hosted net disk. Sounds good to me. I've got a 30 GB library, and that's a lot of space on my MacBook Pro's 100 GB hard drive. Since when I'm mobile, I usually have my iPod, I don't need to carry my whole library around with me twice. So I decided to do some testing, first.

    USB drive plugged directly into USB port of MacBook pro: about 20 minutes to copy 30 GB. About 25 MB/s (200 Mb/s.) Obviously, way faster than I will achieve over the network. So my disk isn't the bottleneck, good.

    Copying large files from this USB drive, still on the MacBook Pro, over the AirPort network, to another computer. 1 GB took about 8 minutes. Round about 2 MB/s. (16 Mb/s, not too bad, considering it's going HD -> USB -> MacBook Pro -> 802.11g -> AirPort Extreme-N Base Station WDS main -> 802.11g -> AirPort Express Base Station WDS relay -> 802.11g -> AirPort Extreme-G Base Station WDS remote -> 100Mbit Ethernet -> eMac.) So the wireless, even through THREE routers, is still decently fast.

    For comparison, I can play 1500 kbps+ movies hosted on the above-mentioned eMac (my movie server,) on my MacBook Pro connected over wireless just fine. Just plain 'double-click and play in QuickTime Player', through iTunes sharing, or via Front Row's 'shared movies' interface. All three ways, no problem. So obviously, I have enough bandwidth to play these 1500 kbps movies.

    However, when I plug my USB disk into the AEBS (AirPort Extreme-N Base Station,) and share it via AirPort Disk Sharing, even older 256 kbps movies stutter occasionally, and 1500 kbps movies are completely unplayable. This is when connected via wireless, or wired directly in. Copying a file to or from the drive is also pitifully slow, less than 2 mbps. (About 10 minutes for a 100 MB file.) I have tried with three different USB disks, all have the same results.

    And, based on other complaints, I'm not alone in my slowness. While this may be fine for storing backups, it is *NOT* sufficient for main drive use. (I had been hoping not only to offload my iTunes library from my notebook, but also to consolidate all of my computers to run off one iTunes library.)
  2. klaxamazoo macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2006
    Thanks for running the tests. I was considering an Airport Extreme -N, but between you tests and all the complaints now I know that I had better just hold off until they fix it.
  3. Koodauw macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2003
    The question remains though if it is fixable. If not the air disk feature seems to be useless. Also, thanks for the review, this is good stuff to know.
  4. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England

    Are you playing the movie on your MBP from the eMac's iTunes library or from the MBP's library.

    I think it'll make a difference, unfortunately, if the MBP just knows that the file is on the AEN disk, the bandwidth required should be about the same as before. If you're getting it from the eMac it seems like you're unnecessarily burdening the network with > 2x the traffic. Once to get the movie from the AEN disk to the eMac and then over to the MBP.

    Just a thought...

  5. Anonymous Freak thread starter macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    What works fine is when I'm playing a movie (via iTunes Sharing) that resides on the eMac's USB-connected external drive. ("Media HD", with the eMac's iTunes set to have it's "iTunes Music location" of "Media HD:Music:iTunes Music")

    What does not work is when I try to play a movie that is on the local (MacBook Pro) iTunes, but the movie file itself is hosted on the AirDisk. (heh. I like that. Like "AirTunes", only with a disk.) To explain fully, my Extreme-N-USB-connected disk is named, appropriately enough, "iTunes HD" because it is solely used to hold my iTunes library. I have it mounted on my MBP's desktop via the AirPort Disk Utility. iTunes is set to store its music on "iTunes HD:iTunes Music" (The "iTunes Music" folder in the root of the "iTunes HD".)

    Again, even when I am going through THREE wireless routers to connect to the eMac, movies play fine. But when I am wired directly into the Extreme-N router, I can't play movies hosted on the Extreme-N-USB-connected disk.

    What I have not tried (but I suppose I should,) is plugging the USB hard drive into the eMac, and connect to it through the eMac. It might not be an Extreme-N Base Station problem, it might be a problem with iTunes itself not being made to work with an iTunes Music folder that is connected over a network. It could be that when using iTunes Sharing, it 'streams' the file, but when it thinks the file is local, it tries to load it differently, that doesn't work over the net.

    Although that wouldn't explain my slow data transfer speeds, either. I'm guessing that the Extreme-N router just has crappy disk support.
  6. jeremy.king macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Macintouch had very different throughput results than what you are experiencing. Your wired bandwidth seems to indicate that you may have a problem with your network layout/config or the device itself. Have you tried testing with just the AEBS and a LAN connected machine (with everything else off)?
  7. Anonymous Freak thread starter macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    Good point. Haven't tried that. I always had things connected via wireless.

    (I average two wired and three wireless devices connected to the main station; one of those being a WDS relay station, and one an 802.11b computer; one of the WDS stations generally has the second WDS station connected wirelessly, plus a second wireless computer; plus three wired computers; and the other WDS station has two wired and one to two wireless computers.)

    When I get home, I'll have to try removing all wireless from the base, and try my test again.
  8. manzico macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2008
    I've got the same issue...

    Slowness is readily apparent when using the AEBS disk, but the disk and all other paths seem to run very quickly. I had hoped to use this disk to hold media to stream around the house, but it looks like that's not going to work any time soon. I'd love to know if anyone has done any further testing to see if there is a fix. I'm thinking of simply hooking the HD up to a computer on the network to see if things run faster that way. I'll post the results as soon as I can (I've got exams this week so it may have to wait until next weekend.

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