Airport Extreme lives up to it’s name…

Posted on April 8, 2011

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Homeland Security Advisory System

My Airport Extreme home network started to act like Chicago O’Hare on a bad weather day with TSA security alerts, except it was happening every day.

Data traffic grinding to a halt queued up for Time Machine backups that were no longer going back in time, AirPlay stuttering of videos on our TV to the point no one wanted to watch and it even got to the point where our VOIP phone calls started to disappear into the ether (now I know why it’s called ethernet).

My current Airport Extreme router with a 4 TB external Western Digital My Book Studio hard drive wasn’t going to cut it.  Apple’s Time Machine ability to go back in time was decreasing at the expense of an ever growing iTunes library that only exacerbated the backup problem with every itunes purchase that then got backed up.

The Apple FIX that didn’t work…
I went to Apple.com and saw that the successor to Apple’s Airport Extreme was Time Capsule (basically an Airport Extreme with a 2 TB hard drive for $500).  That just wasn’t going to cut it.  My current setup already had 4TB.

My Airport Extreme only has 1 USB port so adding more drives meant that I would need to add a USB hub.  I did some research and picked up a Belkin 4 port powered (and yes powered is the key) USB hub.  I added a second hard drive, a 1TB Western Digital’s My Book to our existing 4TB My Book Studio drive) and that’s when my duct taped backup and home server setup broke…

Try as I did, I could not get both drives to show up reliably.  Time Machine on our 3 computers basically stopped working because the drive wouldn’t stay mounted long enough to do a backup.  We could not reliably keep both drives mounted in the finder without one or both going to sleep.  Spent about a month troubleshooting this to basically come to the conclusion that this wasn’t the reliable setup we had with just one drive.

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Posted in: Apple