Airport Time Capsule review

So I got one of these recently and wanted to share my thoughts. It’s pretty nice, robust router and it can back up all your Macs.

I held off for the longest time because I have a little home SAN box, but Apple won’t let me use it. I think that’s true. I think it’s impossible to use SMB with the time machine feature of the Mac. I can use my SMB drive to store files from the Mac, but not with time machine which requires a Mac formatted disc and (I think) whatever proprietary Apple network protocol is used. Anyhow, i didn’t buy it on principle for the longest time, but I wish I would have caved sooner because it’s a much better piece of hardware than the old Netgear router I had, which constantly needed someone to cycle the power. That Netgear router would just stop routing for unknown reasons. i tried every combination of settings, but nothing seemed to reliably work. The Apple router is rock solid in that regard. I haven’t had to cycle the power since I plugged it in last week.

I got the 2TB Time Capsule. It’s also much greater range than either of my Netgear routers could ever manage. I needed two on my network (one is now gone) to cover the whole area in my small, single floor, ~1000 square foot house. The Time Capsule gives good signal all throughout the house.

I still have one of the Netgear routers attached to my cable modem, and it’s doing the DHCP and NAT. I am still using it this way because it was easier to add the Time Capsule with no Internet down time, and I didn’t have to redo the whole network. Another reason is the Time Capsule only has 3 wired ports and I need 4 in the room where the existing Netgear is.

Set up of the Time Capsule was a little finicky. The kid at the store insisted I would have to rip out all my existing network gear and set up the Time Capsule on its own, so it wasn’t clear to me that you could set the Time Capsule up as an access point (no DHCP or NAT), but you can. I just needed to go thorough a wizard and that’s where the Time Capsule set up was a little funky. It threw a generic error a few times (the truly generic message said “something went wrong try again”) and it kept insisting on creating a new network (use DHCP and NAT) instead of adding to an existing network. But once I got through the wizard, everything worked solid.

Despite the wonky set up and the lack of four RJ45 ports, I am very happy with this product.

Well, fawk. Not more than 3 weeks in and I may have to take this thing back. It works fine when it’s on, but … it powers down on its own sometimes. It’s happened twice.

The first time I thought maybe someone turned it off or pulled the plug, but it’s hard to imagine that happening because it doesn’t even have a power button. You just plug it in and it works. So now it’s happened twice that I try to use the wireless, see the network isn’t available, look at the device and find it turned off. The only way to get it on is to yank the plug out of the back and replace it. Sheesh.

I called support but they couldn’t help me. I have to take it into the store this week to get it diagnosed.

I couple years ago, I did a search for Apple-friendly NAS providers, and the name Synology came up a lot. I ordered a cheapie 2 TB NAS drive and hung it on my existing network. I use it for Time Machine backups as well as shared folder space for all the machines on my LAN. I’ve been very pleased with it.

Thank you baren. I appreciate your help, but I hope I don’t have to buy another nas!

I already have a d-link DNS that works pretty good, but I couldn’t figure out how to get it to work with the apple stuff. I am going to slog down to the apple store tonight and see what they tell me.