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Extremely slow performance transferring data over USB with Time Capsule

2983 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Feb 23, 2010 3:12 PM by captnkirk2010 RSS
jwadleigh Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Jan 13, 2010 5:24 AM
I have the 2TB wireless Time Capsule. I have it setup as an extension to my current WiFi at home, since I already had a WLAN router. I have an external harddrive (500gig) that I connected to my Time Capsule because I wanted to transfer data from the Time Capsule to the external HD. The external HD is formatted with FAT32 file system, so read/write is no problem.

When, using my MacBook Pro, I navigated to the Time Capsule and dragged files over to the connected USB harddrive (connected directly in the Time Capsule), the performance to transfer is extremely SLOW! It was slower than doing the transfer completely wirelessly (USB drive connected to laptop and transfer wirelessly from TC)!

I do not understand this at all! It should be a simple transfer using the USB connection! When I do a transfer from my laptop directly to the USB harddrive, with it connected directly to the laptop, the transfers are super fast!

What happened? Can someone please explain this or tell me what I need to do?

Thank you!
MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.7), 2.93 Ghz Core 2 Duo, 4GB, 320GB harddrive, Lightroom, iLife '09
  • Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (47,575 points)
    When accessing a USB drive, attached to the TC, from a 802.11n wireless client, you should be getting something like 8 MBps (read) / 6 MBps (write) for data transfer performance. This configuration would offer the least performance. On the opposite extreme, accessing the TC's internal hard drive, from an Ethernet client, would produce data transfer rates of around 18 MBps (read) / 13 MBps (write).

    I'm assuming, based on your description, that your MBP is connecting wirelessly to access an external USB drive attached to the TC ... correct?

    If so, how is the TC configured with your existing home Wi-Fi? Is it connected to it by Ethernet or by wireless? If by wireless, is it joining it or extending it? Finally, what is the make/model of this Wi-Fi router?
     Mac Mini 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo 4 GB RAM 320 GB HD, Mac OS X (10.6.2),  MacBook 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo 4 GB RAM 160 GB HD  PowerMac 1.2 GHz G4 1.5 GB RAM
  • Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (47,575 points)
    An extra question - I was told I can get better performance if I connect my TC directly (using ethernet cable) to my WLAN. Is this really true?

    I'm assuming that you are referring to data rate performance ... correct? If so, the best performance is for the client to be attached directly to the TC by Ethernet, followed by 802.11n wireless.

    The benefit to connecting the TC by Ethernet to the WLAN router would also depend on how the TC is currently configured. Unless your WLAN router is another TC or AirPort, then it can only "join" this other router as a wireless client. As such, when transferring files or performing Time Machine backups, the client must first communicate with the WLAN router. In turn, the WLAN router will then communicate with the TC. With that said, you wouldn't see any benefit by connecting the TC by Ethernet, unless you reconfigure it as a Wireless Access Point.
     Mac Mini 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo 4 GB RAM 320 GB HD, Mac OS X (10.6.2),  MacBook 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo 4 GB RAM 160 GB HD  PowerMac 1.2 GHz G4 1.5 GB RAM
  • MagicMushroom Calculating status...

    I just thought I would mention that I'm having EXACTLY the same issue. Here's what I did.

    I have a 500Gb TC with a 2Tb USB WD (RAID 1) drive plugged in. It appears as the second volume in the list when you open the TC from my MacBook Pro. All good.

    I connect the to TC over wireless and have perfect signal.
    Before I plugged the USB drive into the TC, I tested it directly connected to the Mac. I wanted to copy a 25Gb VM file across. Started that and the estimates were in the 50 minute range. Fine.

    Plugged into the USB on the TC, dragged and dropped the file and... 470 hours!! It was dribbling in at a rate measured in Kb per second...

    I then connected to the TC via 1Gb LAN. Same test - better - but still 42 Hours.

    Two questions are therefore raised..

    1) Why did connecting via the LAN make such a huge difference? It should make NONE in this case.
    2) Why is the USB performance so totally hopeless!!

    The USB drive is a brand new USB 2.0 device which boasts "Full Capacity data rates" up to 480Mb / Sec.. I was not getting 480Kb per second.. (That's 1000 times too slow for my liking)

    So - What's happening.. I've just purchased 2 of these beasts to run as large backups, and at this rate, it would take several MONTHS to fill the drive if I left a time machine backup running..

    Please tell me it's not some issue with the TC.. I haven;t got time for this..
    MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • captnkirk2010 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    The USB port on the Time Capsule should mainly be used for connecting an External Backup drive to the Time Capsule in order to Archive its contents, using the Airport Utility App. This will activate a process in the Time Capsule controller that will transfer data from its internal drive to the external drive over the USB connection, at its maximum speed.

    Note : the Time Capsule will disconnect all network users while in Archive mode and the hard drives will not be available until the process is over.

    When you connect an external drive to the Time Capsule and then try to copy data from the internal drive to the external drive using the Finder, for example, the data is actually transferred from the Time Capsule to your computer over the network and then copied back back to the external drive over the network again. This will never be very fast.

    You would be better off connecting the external drive to your Mac, and then copying data from the Time Capsule to the external drive. This configuration will entail only one transfer over the network.
    MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.2)


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