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Short Question : Is it possible to use an Apple Time Capsule just as a network attached backup drive and not a router?

Background : We want to use a separate router to manage a more complex network. We where looking at not using an Apple Time Capsule and instead a 3rd party NAS (probably Synology) for Time Machine to backup to but as I've read in multiple places that backing up to a 3rd party NAS can cause the Time Machine backups to become corrupt / miss files due to the fact the HDD in a 3rd party NAS is ext4/NTFS/... and can't be OS X journaled (or what ever Time Machine prefers)

We've got a network as follows :

  • TP-Link Gigabit Load Balance Router with VPN (we will also set VLANs, static IPs etc on here)
  • 48 port Netgear gigabit network switch
  • multiple in wall RJ45 ports
  • 4x Ubiquity UAP Wi-Fi access points (some indoor some outdoor)
  • posted an answer, let me know whether it helps or not or if you have any questions – owlswipe Dec 19 '16 at 3:37
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Yes, this is possible and actually quite simple. To prevent the Time Capsule from acting as a WiFi access point or router, and use it only as a backup disk, just open the AirPort Utility app on a Mac (Applications -> Utilities -> AirPort Utility) and do the following:

  • Select your Time Capsule and hit Edit.
  • Go to the tab labeled Wireless (not Network as zhovner suggests, as putting it in bridge mode only stops it from being a router but does not stop it from being a network access point that your devices will connect to)
  • From the Network Mode pop-up menu, choose Off.
  • Click Update, and the base station will restart and load the new settings.

The result will be a Time Capsule you can still wirelessly backup your Macs to, but does not function as a router or access points, so none of your devices will connect to it.

This is the setup that I use; I have 3 eero routers and thus needed the Time Capsule to not be an access point, and these steps stopped it from being that but let me keep backing up to it as usual.

enter image description here From this wireless tab, just choose off in the Network mode pop-up and hit update.

Source is a Macworld article on the topic.

  • Thanks @Owlswipe , couple of questions : - after config as above, does the time machine now act as a wired network device and any wireless backups to it are done via 3rd party acess point --> router --> time machine. Or does the time machine still create its own wireless for backups ? – sam Dec 27 '16 at 14:19
  • - Bit confused by your first line "To prevent the Time Capsule from acting as a WiFi access point or router, and use it only as a router". The last part "and use it only as a router" is that a typo ? Im trying to configure it as neither an access point, or router. – sam Dec 27 '16 at 14:23
  • @Sam 1. backups are done on the local network through the router, the Time Capsule won't make its own network after this. 2. yep, typo, edited. – owlswipe Dec 27 '16 at 15:28
  • Thanks @owlswipe, ive recently been playing around with time machine on my macbook pro backing up to a Synology NAS, my laptop has a wireless N wifi card, and the Access points are limited at 300mbps throughput. Which equates to 37.5MB per second under best conditions. But when i backup im getting somthing much much lower than this. It takes about 4hrs to do a 10gb backup wirelessly. 10Gb zip files saved to the NAS takes about 45 mins in comparison. Do you get the same very slow speeds backing up to a time capsule over wifi (as per your config above) ? or is it quicker ? – sam Dec 27 '16 at 18:16
  • @sam Backups for me are really slow, this is because of the max write speed of a hard drive (HDD). While a solid state drive (SSD) like those in newish macs can write data really fast (like 3 GB per second in the case of the new 15-inch MBP), hard drives (like those in the Time Capsule) max out at write speeds of around 40 MB per second (source). And that speed is if your device is wired to the Time Capsule: it'll be much slower in practice over WiFi. 2.5 GB an hour is slow but not ridiculously so. – owlswipe Dec 27 '16 at 21:03
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Yes, you can simply disable routing on TimeCapsule and set it as DHCP client.

timecapsule bridge

  • 1
    Never set a server-like device (like a NAS) as DHCP-client... – klanomath Oct 8 '16 at 11:59
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    -1 this isn't what the OP Sam wants: putting it in bridge mode only stops it from being a router but does not stop it from being a network access point that other devices will connect to. – owlswipe Dec 19 '16 at 3:38
  • @klanomath what is the problem with that setting? – Jaime Santa Cruz Dec 27 '16 at 17:08

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