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I'm looking for a router that provides file storage requirements for OS X Time Machine to see the router as a backup destination. I found that Netgear R7000 is supporting it. While unfortunately, Linksys WRT1900ACS doesn't.

Of course, Apple sells their own solution (Time Capsule) which serves as a router and a time machine destination for backups but I don't prefer to invest in that hardware.

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Just to clarify, the term "router" is incorrect here mostly because it is used incorrectly by manufacturers who sell products in the retail market.

A router is neither compatible nor incompatible with Time Machine. A router simply routes network traffic (packets) from one network to another.

What these retail "routers" actually are is an amalgamation of

  • the network router (described above)
  • a network switch
  • a WiFi access point
  • a NAS (network attached storage)
  • a server (DHCP, DNS, Web, etc.)
  • whatever other nonsense they try to jam into an overpriced, but severely under powered, extremely low quality SoC (System on Chip) covered by flashy plastic.

What is incompatible is the NAS functionality of the device. Specifically in this case, the protocol(s) the router manufacturer chose to include don't include support for Bonjour.

Solution: Buy a separate NAS Device

Relying on a single device that is literally at the edge of your network (meaning it's the security between your internal network and the rest of the WWW (wild wild web), it's risky to store your backups there.

Instead, get a separate NAS device that supports Time Machine. Like the Synology (I personally use the DS212j at home) It fully supports Time Machine and is designed to be a NAS and functions as such.

If you have an old computer you can install FreeNAS on it and basically get the NAS for free. If you have an old Mac, you can turn it into a "server," make a shared directory and backup Time Machine(s) to it over the network.

Bottom line: Backups are important. Put it on reliable hardware, not devices that add it on as an afterthought.

  • The DS212j isn't wireless, or? I mean that I have to connect it to my Mac via a cable. – Chiron Jul 18 '16 at 19:31
  • Not wireless out of the box, but it does support USB wifi dongles. I prefer to use the cable (gig ethernet) from my Mac because it makes moving files extremely fast. – Allan Jul 18 '16 at 19:44
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    If a term is used 'incorrectly' by a wide majority of people, then it eventually changes the definition to include said usage. For example, 'literally' now means literally and figuratively, depending on context. Or, Gigabyte can refer to 10^9 or 2^30 bytes. Just accept it, router can mean either a popular all-in-one device for consumer internet, or it can mean a piece of networking equipment used to route packets. I'm sure there are other valid definitions too. – cavalcade Jul 13 '17 at 11:56
  • @cavalcade - By your your logic "you're" = "your." Nowhere is the accepted definition of the word "literally" even synonymous w/ the word "figuratively." Neither does a Gigabyte refer to two different numbers; the binary multiple is a Gibibyte. Repeated use of incorrect terminology doesn't make it correct nor accepted; just indicative of ignorance. "Just accept it" is the clarion call of the apathetic; if you are going to attempt to lecture someone, at least know what you are talking about, first. – Allan Jul 13 '17 at 12:38
  • >Nowhere is the accepted definition of the word "literally" even synonymous w/ the word "figuratively." Not sure why you all puffed up? Just want to point out, you might be a little behind the times ;) merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/misuse-of-literally – cavalcade Jul 13 '17 at 16:00
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I personally use a Synology RT1900ac which most definitely supports using an external hard drive for Time Machine quite easily. https://www.synology.com/en-global/products/RT1900ac

You connect your external storage of choice to either its single USB-3 port or an SDXC card into its Card Reader.

This review goes into a little detail of how that works if you're interested: http://www.shadowandy.net/2015/10/synology-rt1900ac-review-using-as-nas.htm

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The Eero router is a good solution; not only does it create a mesh network (meaning it's easier to access the internet and upload files to your Time Capsule from remote corners of a house) but it also is significantly faster. I have had great success with eero + Time Capsule for months.

Eero's website

Eero on Amazon

  • This might need to be deleted. The op is looking for file storage integrated to the router. – bmike Jul 10 '16 at 15:17
  • @bmike but doesn't the op already have a Time Capsule? – owlswipe Jul 10 '16 at 15:43
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    My reading is they have none and are looking to invest / buy one. You would have to comment and ask the op directly to know... – bmike Jul 10 '16 at 15:50
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The simplest long-term solution for a Time Capsule-type setup is an older Mac with an external backup drive. I've seen reports here and there that non-Apple systems can have issues when used as Time Machine backups. The entire thing is a house of cards to begin with, but having an Apple system host the backup means it will work as well as you can expect, regardless of the router. I use an ancient 1st-generation Mac Mini with a 4 TB drive plugged in via FireWire, and let that (rather than the router) handle the backups. It shows up as a standard network share and all of our Macs connect to it automatically when needed for backup. The Mini set me back a total of $0, free hand-me-down due to age. I run it headless and connect remotely when I need to do anything to keep it running. It also means that when my router goes down (which has happened due to bad caps or a borked firmware upgrade), I can swap in a spare emergency router without impairing my ability to access Time Machine backups.

As for Time Capsule, it's likely that Apple is waiting until APFS is ready to push an update, as the versioning controls in APFS (which do not exist in HFS+) should allow for a much more robust Time Machine setup. (I fully expect that I'll have to retire the Mini when this happens, as it's unlikely Apple will have APFS ported back to PPC machines running Leopard...)

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