Posts Tagged ‘Time Capsule’

Time Capsule, again

Posted: April 12, 2009 in Apple, backup, Mac OSX
Tags: ,

Just a quick update about the replacement Time Capsule (TC) i got that seems to be working as per spec, and even seems to be providing me with a very quick Guest Network.  I downloaded the iPhone SpeedTest app and was checking my stats earlier with it and receiving nearly 2 mb/s download speed on my iPhone which is very good.  As for the wifi signal in the house, its nice to have the TC and the Airport Express working again in unison, the seamless networking in the house is nice, and even though i only had it for a few weeks it was definitely missed when my TC failed.

I haven’t gone through the initial backup using TimeMachine on the TC yet, i’m a bit hesitant to do it since it was after that i started experiencing problems the first time around.  But, its also the best way to see if there is indeed a design flaw.  I’ll know if the TC fails shortly after backing up that there is a problem with the hard drive, possibly from excessive heat as i mentioned in my previous post.

(to be cont’d… again)

TCG

In a previous post i was extolling the virtues of my wonderful new Apple dual-band Time Capsule, and prattling on about the speed and the ease of use and how it was such a wise investment and a good decision, etc, etc.  Well…  Me.  Foot.  Mouth.

I noticed strange behavious on Sunday and when i mentioned it, was told by my family that they had some issues on Friday and Saturday as well with the network dropping off.  Thinking it was my modem (see numerous previous posts about all the issues i’ve had since moving to “the country”) i connected directly to it and was surprised to find it working properly.  I then decided to try removing the Time Capsule (TC) and just using the Airport Express to create my network instead, and sure enough, it won’t perfectly.  Dang.  That meant my TC was the problem.

I could access the files on the hard drive in the TC and i was getting great signal strength but nothing was actually passing through the router in either direction to/from the internet.  To test the theory i hooked up my Airport Express directly to the modem and had a good strong signal and the ability to surf, email, etc with good throughput speeds.  So to ensure it was the TC, i reset it to factory defaults and set it up again from the beginning.  Changed all the settings, named the network, password protected it, set up the guest network and all seemed to be working fine and then just as i was about to finalize the setting i saw the TC drop off the device list and then reappear.  Hmmmm.  I finished the setup, saw the “Completed” message and started to use the network again.  It lasted about 10 mins before i no longer had a working connection to the rest of the digital world.  I launched Airport Utility and sure enough, there were no devices as seen in the pic at the beginning of this post.  I disconnected the TC and setup my old d-link router again and that is what i’m using now.  I called the local Apple Retailer where i got the TC and after explaining the issue and the troubleshooting i had already done, the tech came to the same conclusion as me – faulty hardware.

So, i’ve returned the TC to where i got it and i’m awaiting the replacement.  I’m not yet ready to call it a defective design, we’ll chalk this one up to a lemon and wait to see if the problem reoccurs in the new TC when it arrives.  My gut tells me, its an overheating issue inside the TC stemming from the hard drive usage warming up the device.  Like i said, i’m hoping this is a one-off problem, and i just happened to be lucky that day and got the faulty one.  So now i wait, patiently, but somewhat perturbed since after having such speed and ease of use and excellent wireless reception when the TC was working, being without it and dealing with my old router seems like a step backward and, to use a word that describes so well anything out of date when it comes to technology, somewhat flintstonian.  Its funny how quickly we get used to some things and rely on them and expect them to be the norm.  Makes it all that much worse when its gone, but that is beginning to sound like a topic for another post.  Expectations and entitlement, whether deserved or not, we are definitely a HAVE society, but as i said, thats a topic i’ll delve into in a future post, for now i’ll go watch the spinning beachball and “loading…” message i get so often with my old slow wifi connection, at least i have time to go make a snack while i wait for my mail to get fetched.

(to be cont’d)

TCG

This post took me a while to get finished, mostly due to the fact i started writing it at the same time i decided to merge all my blogs into one, which ended up being a bit more difficult than originally thought.  Word to the wise, before you decide to delete a blog make sure you copy it off the server to somewhere local.  That was an oops on my part that ended up extending the process a bit.  Now back to the topic of this post.  My home network.

As you may or may not know from previous posts, where i live has limited internet access, due to the lack of fibre optic cables in this part of town, or more correctly towns, since we are right near the city limits, in a sort of dead zone when it comes to services.  Because of this, we have our internet provided wirelessly, and since we are on the edge of the coverage area for that as well, the actual modem is in the barn, fed to a router also in the barn and then wireless picked up in the house approx 100 feet away.   This setup has been working for a couple of years, but never very well, so i decided to try something a little different and with the introduction of a dual band Time Capsule from Apple, now seemed like the perfect time.  Apple describes the Time Capsule as “Simultaneous dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi base station” basically a router with a hard drive built in.

the beauty shot

unpacking

As always, the packaging of Apple products is functional and stylish.  It may not be important to most people, but its nice to see that some companies still take pride in their products enough to make them appealing and eye-catching.

The packaging is not all wasted space either and fillers either – as part of Apple’s greening they have reduced packaging in most of their products over the past couple of years.

The setup is relatively simple, which is not surprising since after all this is an Apple product.

Choose a network name, pick your type of security you want and set a password.  The airport utility makes the whole process so easy and simple.  Once i had that setup and functioning i wandered the property to check the range and signal strength.  I was getting very good coverage in most of the house.  Strangely the main network seemed to have a stronger signal than the GUEST network, which really make no sense being as they are both coming from the same source.  The Guest network is a great way to allow visitors (or neighbours if you have some close enough) some limited access to the internet without allowing them access into your network.  I had purchased an Airport Express as well because i was planning on using it to boost the signal strength within the house and ensure there are no blacked-out areas, and also will be connecting it to a wired switch so i can hook up the xboxes to the network and hopefully get better speed when online gaming.  As it turned out, it was a good buy.  Sometimes large appliances or masses within the house can cause some interference.  For us, it was the area between the kitchen and my daughters bedroom.  The appliances and the chimney seem to be causing the signal to drop off to nothing.

The setup for the Airport Express is just as easy.  If you are going to use it to boost your signal there is a spot on the dialogue box for the Time Capsule (and probably the same on the Airport Extreme Base station) where you tell it you want to be able to boost the signal.  After doing that and giving the Airport Express the same network name as the Time Capsule, my signal strength nearly doubled and i had good coverage throughout the entire house without deadzones.  I did speed tests with and without the Airport Express and there was negligible differences between the two, and i’m getting 3meg download speeds through a 3 meg modem, so i really can’t complain.

So far I have to say i’m impressed with both the Time Capsule and the Airport Express, from a setup standpoint and from a functionality standpoint.  After all, they are Apple products and in my opinion, they have done it again in creating a great product that is easy to use and just works out of the box with minimal setup. Definitely a user friendly experience and great for anyone needing a router capable of handling A,B G and N signals seamlessly and giving you yet another place to store your digital files.  Next up is setting up Time Machine on my wife’s laptop and backing up to the 500 gig drive in the Time Capsule, then i can see what else that cute little white box can do besides just being a really good router.

(To Be Continued)

TCG