Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Networking > Airport Express and Time Machine

Airport Express and Time Machine
Thread Tools
NDBounce
Senior User
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Webster, NY, USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 21, 2008, 09:28 PM
 
Okay, I did a search so forgive me if this is a repeat question (if it is, Admins, please lock and point me to the correct thread).

I am wanting to do wireless backups with Time Machine. Will a new (801.11N) Airport Express (as opposed to an Airport Extreme) allow me to do this. If so I am all about buying one.

Peace,

O
B unce!
     
mduell
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 21, 2008, 09:58 PM
 
No.
( Last edited by mduell; Mar 22, 2008 at 01:46 PM. )
     
slugslugslug
Mac Elite
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Durham, NC
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 22, 2008, 12:47 AM
 
NDBounce, I think you need to be a little more specific with your question. I think the answer is no, but here's what I'm assuming. You want to plug a disk directly into the Airport Express and back up any Mac on your network to that disk via Time Machine. If you look at Apple's Airport Express web page, you'll find that there's no mention of an ability to plug an external drive into the USB port. That port is pretty much only for printers, though I believe it'll charge USB-powered devices.

On the other hand, if you use an Airport Express to set up a wireless network, you can use Time Machine to do backups over the network. But this means you're backing up to a volume that is locally connected to a Mac running Leopard. You should be able to do something like that no matter what wireless router you're using.
     
forumhound
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Kathmandu Nepal
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 22, 2008, 02:51 AM
 
Originally Posted by slugslugslug View Post
NDBounce, I think you need to be a little more specific with your question. I think the answer is no, but here's what I'm assuming. You want to plug a disk directly into the Airport Express and back up any Mac on your network to that disk via Time Machine. If you look at Apple's Airport Express web page, you'll find that there's no mention of an ability to plug an external drive into the USB port. That port is pretty much only for printers, though I believe it'll charge USB-powered devices.

On the other hand, if you use an Airport Express to set up a wireless network, you can use Time Machine to do backups over the network. But this means you're backing up to a volume that is locally connected to a Mac running Leopard. You should be able to do something like that no matter what wireless router you're using.
Slug, thanks for helping NDBouce, as I was looking for answers too. It's true, the Airport Express usb port has always been for printers or charging. What I am interested in is how to get TM to see networked drives, regardless of how connected. I have read lots of posts that say the drive has to be a local volume attached to the machine u want to back up. It looks that way from here, as TM preferences/ Change disk... NEVER shows any attached network drives, so how do you do it?!? Thanks!
ccfccp

Dead MBP 2.2 4gig / New Aluminum iMacs / "Old" iPhones / 1st Gen Ipod Shuffle
     
analogue SPRINKLES
Professional Poster
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: T •
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 22, 2008, 04:32 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Yes.
No.
     
ghporter
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
Mar 22, 2008, 07:20 AM
 
mduell's affirmative response doesn't require any explanation, but your negative response, analogue SPRINKLES, does. Please elaborate on why this won't work.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Simon
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: in front of my Mac
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 22, 2008, 07:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Yes.
The correct answer is of course NO.

The AirPort Express' USB port has always been there exclusively for printing. The Express doesn't do SMB or AFP so there is no way you can do any disk sharing. This has always been the case and Apple has never mentioned disk sharing on any of their Express spec sheets. Also, the USB port on the Express supports one printer only. No hubs.

If you want to do disk sharing and/or TM you need either the Extreme BS or TC.
( Last edited by Simon; Mar 23, 2008 at 03:34 AM. )
     
NDBounce  (op)
Senior User
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Webster, NY, USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 22, 2008, 11:15 AM
 
Sorry about he unclarity. I was of course wondering if I could attach a USB drive to the USB port on the Airport Express and use Time machine with that drive. The answer seems to be no.

So my only options for wireless backup with time machine appears to be either a Time Capsule or an Airport Express, + Hard drive. I am against Apple routers in general as they tend to be slower than other brands, and more expensive. So I guess i am stuck with the old fashioned Firewire drive.

Thank you for the input. I never realized that the Airport Express's USB port did not support Hard Drives.

Peace,

O
B unce!
     
analogue SPRINKLES
Professional Poster
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: T •
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 22, 2008, 12:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
mduell's affirmative response doesn't require any explanation, but your negative response, analogue SPRINKLES, does. Please elaborate on why this won't work.
My guess would be because the older model never supported it and Apples website says nothing about it working. That is not something they would hide.
     
turtle777
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: planning a comeback !
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 22, 2008, 12:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
mduell's affirmative response doesn't require any explanation, but your negative response, analogue SPRINKLES, does. Please elaborate on why this won't work.
mduell should have backed up his response by a link / facts.

The old AExpress did NOT support TimeMachine like backups with connected HDs, so it's NOT safe to assume the new one will, just because the the AExtreme does.

-t
     
mduell
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 22, 2008, 01:45 PM
 
Augh, that sucks.
     
ghporter
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
Mar 22, 2008, 02:44 PM
 
Oh no. The old "I confused the Extreme and Express" thing again. My apologies...

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
analogue SPRINKLES
Professional Poster
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: T •
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 22, 2008, 03:57 PM
 
Last I heard the USB port on the EXPRESS and old UFO airport Extreme's USB port is one way only and that is why you can't use multifunction functions when you plug it into those models as the scanner can't send information back to the computers.
     
mduell
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 22, 2008, 06:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
Last I heard the USB port on the EXPRESS and old UFO airport Extreme's USB port is one way only and that is why you can't use multifunction functions when you plug it into those models as the scanner can't send information back to the computers.
I doubt it... how would the printer identify itself to the Airport?
     
ghporter
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
Mar 22, 2008, 07:48 PM
 
The "one way" issue has nothing to do with the port and everything to do with the printer's driver-which almost never supports network connections.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Simon
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: in front of my Mac
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 23, 2008, 03:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
Last I heard the USB port on the EXPRESS and old UFO airport Extreme's USB port is one way only and that is why you can't use multifunction functions when you plug it into those models as the scanner can't send information back to the computers.
This is wrong.

Every printer has to send data back to the host. So the port is certainly duplex as required by the USB spec and as required for the printer to work at all.

As Glenn said, it's a driver issue not a port issue.
     
analogue SPRINKLES
Professional Poster
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: T •
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 23, 2008, 02:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
As Glenn said, it's a driver issue not a port issue.
Really? So why has ZERO companies made drivers for such a large market yet? You'd think someone would want to market a product that would work with it and advertise the fact.

Not to mention why don't hard drives work either.

I think apple is purposely adding software limitations to what the drivers can do which is what I meant by one way communication.
     
Wiskedjak
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Calgary
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 23, 2008, 02:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
Really? So why has ZERO companies made drivers for such a large market yet? You'd think someone would want to market a product that would work with it and advertise the fact.
I would think that such a driver would be a firmware driver that only Apple could implement.

Obviously, if it *is* possible, Apple would be disinclined to do so as a $99 Time Machine capable 802.11n Airport Express would steal sales from a $200 Airport Extreme.
     
ghporter
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
Mar 23, 2008, 06:16 PM
 
I invite you, analogue, to get right on writing those drivers. It's not a trivial task at all. For what its worth, you'll notice that CUPS is also lacking in good, working drivers for multifunction machines, for that very reason. It's not just "do what you do through your USB port through this Ethernet port" type work. There has to be a lot of communication back and forth, it has to be able to handle the kind of drops and slow downs that WiFi causes, you have to manage telling the difference between commands and data-in BOTH directions-and so on. Heck, it's hard to find a decent network driver for a straighforward printer. Example? My Brother HL-2040 runs "ok" with the available driver, but when I print over the network it runs two blank pages after each job. No clue why.

This is also true for network connected hard drives. Check out the prices of NAS devices with internal drives (just the box, not the drive), and then the prices of devices that let you connect USB drives to them. There's a sizable difference because handling a network interface for a USB drive is kinda complex and it's handled by (you guessed it) software.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
stwf
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: May 2002
Location: New York
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 24, 2008, 04:32 PM
 
OK, to clear some things up, its neither a port nor a driver issue. It isn't a 1 way USB port, there is no such thing. USB is USB, as noted above if there was a such a thing even the printing wouldn't work.

A driver is what the system uses to help it communicate with hardware. No amount of driver work can get an OS to support something it isn't trying to support.
Hard drives work off of the Airport Extreme because the OS inside the AExtreme looks for both printers and hard drives and when it finds hard drives mounts them.

The AirportExpress doesn't look for drives and mount them, in fact the system components necessary to do so probably aren't even in the firmware and the hardware might no be up to the task anyway. So unless Apple decides to murder its product line while spending a ton on development costs at the same time I doubt this will ever be supported.

As for using TimeMachine with network volumes they will work, they just need to be served by a devices whose File Systems supports hard links. So this means it will work with many windows servers as well as Macs running Leopard and the Airport Extreme. It will not work on Macs running Tiger or previous.

I believe you need to have them mounted on the desktop before you open the TIme Machine preferences in order to see it there.
     
thibaulthalpern
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Feb 2008
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Mar 25, 2008, 04:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
The correct answer is of course NO.

The AirPort Express' USB port has always been there exclusively for printing. The Express doesn't do SMB or AFP so there is no way you can do any disk sharing. This has always been the case and Apple has never mentioned disk sharing on any of their Express spec sheets. Also, the USB port on the Express supports one printer only. No hubs.

If you want to do disk sharing and/or TM you need either the Extreme BS or TC.
You know, what people are saying is fairly incorrect (and correct) at the same time.

Yes, you can buy an Airport Express and hook up a hard drive to it in order to do backups. Just not through the USB port. Airport Expresses USB port is exclusively for printers and for at least the older version of the Express, you can also use it with a keyspan remote to control iTunes. I know because I have one of those remotes and the older Airport Express.

In order to get a hard drive recognised by Airport Express, you'll need to get a hard drive that is network ready which means a hard drive or hard drive enclosure with an ethernet port. Those are called NAS (Network Attached Storage). Plug in your NAS to the ethernet port of your Airport Express and voila, you have your network drive.

Currently, one of my Airport Express has an ethernet printer attached (via the ethernet port and not the USB, of course).
     
ghporter
Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
Mar 25, 2008, 06:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by stwf View Post
OK, to clear some things up, its neither a port nor a driver issue. It isn't a 1 way USB port, there is no such thing. USB is USB, as noted above if there was a such a thing even the printing wouldn't work.
I oversimplified to some extent; MOST printers need a specialized driver to be able to connect over a network, whether they have their own Ethernet port or WiFi card or not.

The AirPort Extreme Base Station DOES have its own, internal drivers for that USB port because it is a microcomputer itself running some sort of operating system, but we don't have the access to alter its firmware/software. Because of that, the AEBS will only do certain things with that USB port.

With those two issues taken together, we wind up with a number of printers that work fine when connected to the AEBS (because the appropriate drivers are available from the printers' manufacturers) and a much larger number that just won't (because their manufacturers haven't written and released the necessary drivers). The printers that work with the AEBS (in general-I haven't tested all of them myself) also work with a network print server, while the ones that don't will not work with a network print server.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
   
Thread Tools
 
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:14 PM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2017 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.,