My friend has the following kit in the house (although not all at the same time):

  1. His MacBook Pro 15" with 500gb HD
  2. Her MacBook Air 13" with 256gb SSD
  3. Daughter's MacBook white with 500gb HD
  4. His and Hers iPad 3
  5. His and Hers iPhone 5
  6. Son's iPod Mini
  7. Nanny's iPhone 4S
  8. Grandpa has an iPhone 3GS
  9. AirportExpress for the bathroom speakers (niiiice)
  10. Apple TV in the lounge
  11. XBox 360 in the lounge
  12. Samsung Smart TV in the lounge
  13. TimeCapsule 1TB
  14. Western Digital dual-drive 4TB USB drive (formatted as mirrored 2TB), connected to the TimeCapsule.

The Apple TimeCapsule has recently become unreliable either failing to do TimeMachine backups or losing it's internet connection (even though it is wired to the broadband modem). Even before this, the performance of wifi TimeMachine backups was poor - 300MB of changes would not complete backup before battery ran out. I have to admit, mine is exhibiting the same behaviour.

So, he'd probably like to move away from a TimeCapsule network.

What's an alternative setup to allow all the same (or similar enough) features and functions? Does he have to buy a Mac Mini Server?


The internet connection works fine when we plug a Mac into the modem directly, but the TimeCapsule would not allow WiFi clients to connect, so pretty sure the TimeCapsule is at fault.

  • You have a really rich friend. No seriously. – duci9y Oct 21 '12 at 17:20

You don't need OS X Server for Time Machine backups. Regular OS X works fine so he could just repurpose the white MacBook into a backup server with the external hard drive and get her an Air instead.

I agree that he should confirm that he doesn't have network issues with both his wireless LAN and WAN. Losing the Internet connection is more likely to be a modem or provider issue than a TC issue. Switching the connection to another router can confirm it. The new Apple AE is a good choice but an Extreme might be better if he needs multiple Ethernet ports at the router location.

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You could certainly try backing up to a computer running a server version of the OS which allows for networked TM backups to it much like your Time Capsule.

You could also just get an Airport Extreme and roll your own Time Capsule equivalent.

You could try to nail the performance issues of you TC by attaching wired to see if things improve, and it may then prove simplest to just improve your Wireless capabilities by wiring a couple of cheap Airport Expresses to it, you could then even though a cheap switch on the end of one for faster backups if you have a large one.

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