Recently, my MacBook Pro screen just went blank and then the computer won’t boot. I realised the need for a backup, and with that, a working Time Machine that I can access from anywhere.
Devices and Software I am using:
- Apple Airport Extreme
- USB Hard Drive, attached to the Airport
- PC running Windows Vista
- Macs running latest OS
- iOS devices using FileBrowser (Business) App
Setup the Airport Extreme.
Using Airport Utility on a Mac, go into the “Edit” menu and confirm the “Disk” tab has a partition. Check both “Enable File Sharing” & “Share disks over WAN”. Add any usernames and accounts that you want to have access.
Airport extreme WAN setup for external USB drive.
Next, add port settings for redirection of correct port to the Disk. Quick Tip: The port IP of the Router is the port of the USB attached Hard Drive. If using a builtin or Standalone TimeMachine or NAS device it will have an IP of it’s own, therefore you will need to make a DHCP reservation for that IP before setting up the Port Settings. The “Port Settings” are found under the “Network” tab.
Port Settings in Airport Extreme
In my case, I use the DHCP range of 192.168.1.2 to 192.168.1.200, but there are other range options. Here are the setting I used for each port entry I wanted.
Personal Web Sharing – this is my website I setup via a Mac Apache server. A DHCP reservation was required for setup of this web server.
AirPort Drive – as the title and main reason for this post.
SMB 20445 – added for giving simple file server access on iOS and Windows.
Please note that some Internet service providers or service packages may block certain ports.
You may also want to setup a Dynamic Global Hostname if your IP address frequently changes, found in “Internet Options” under “Internet” tab. Setup of that is a whole Post on it’s own.
Once you have completed the above steps, UPDATE your Airport and wait for it to come back.
Windows & Mac OS
Accessing the Drive should be simple if you don’t have any network problems, firewall or ISP blocks, with your computer.
On a Mac, in “Finder” -> “Go” -> “Connect to Server…” (Or shortcut “⌘K” will get the window). Type in either your IP address or dynamic url with the “:445″ at the end. An example in my case is smb://me.ddns.net:445 or smb://188.8.131.52:445 into the server address field. This Port might need to be “20445”.
On a PC, the same url address can be used in a window/browser or “Mount a network drive” by right clicking “My Computer”.
There are many iOS apps with can be used for accessing file or web servers. I personally found FileBrowser a great option that allows lots of control and video playback. I tired the FREE (Lite) version and later upgraded to Business for my purposes.
In FileBrowser Business, under “Locations”, I added a new TC location. I put the Address “\\me.ddns.net” along with the username/password I set in the Airport Utility. I enabled “Auto List Shares” and “SMB Pipelining” along with the SMB Port Number “20445” my Global Port number.