11 Replies Latest reply: Apr 13, 2014 6:18 PM by dingo sky
hanskfroschauer Level 1 Level 1

Hi everybody


After a couple years with an Airport Express I upgraded to a brandnew Airport Extreme last week. The one feature I was most looking forward to was to connect an external USB-disk to the basestation, and having wireless access to it from all our computers (all macs).


I connected my 1TB Lacie disk to the AE (USB 2.0), it mounts just fine, and everything looks great – until I try to move a file to or from the disk. A 800mb file takes between 15 and 20 minutes to copy?! If I connect the drive directly to my MacBook Pro, the same transfer takes about 1 minute. Nothing wrong with the disk, or the cable.


I was hoping to use the disk for Time Machine backups (amongst other things), which Apple's product-info lists as a feature, and to have access to movies and music from anywhere in the apartment: But at those transfer speeds, the AirDrive-option seems rather useless, and I feel kinda cheated. Is there anything I can do? Why is the transfer rate so low? Is that really as good as it gets?


Any help is appreciated.





MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.2)
  • Weilishu Level 1 Level 1

    I am having the same problem, with the difference being that I'm on an "extended Airport network", as in I have two Airport Extremes, not sure if that makes a difference.

  • hanskfroschauer Level 1 Level 1

    Nothing? After 3 days and more than 70 views? At least, the lack of responses / solutions explains why I couldn't find a solution elsewhere.


    But still – I consider myself an Apple evangelist. I'm fortunate enough to live and work in an Apple-only environment (for more than 15 years now), I had the very first iPod, I had a G4 Cube (anybody remembers those?), and I even held iTunes workshops for various mac-usergroups, back when iTunes was first released. What I'm building up to is that I really appreciate Apples products, I use them every day, and I know my way around (and inside) them.


    For the first and only time I experience such a gap between Apples advertising and the actual product/feature. How can AirDrive be marketed the way it is, when its pretty much useless in real live? The transfer-rate is too slow to stream a movie, to slow for a photo slideshow, and as for sharing stuff – well, read my OP.


    Since I haven't been able to find a single solution for improving transfer-rates, I assume that it's either a) a bug that noone has fixed yet, or b) this is how it's supposed to be, and Apple's fine with that. I'm afraid it's b), althoug I'm having a hard time imagining that Steve Jobs would have been satisfied with this.


    Well, I'm done with this rant, I guess.


    Have a nice weekend!


    Cheers, Hans

  • pamela huntington Level 1 Level 1

    I have this problem, too and it certainly would be great to have a solution..!

  • parish_chap Level 1 Level 1

    Another "me too" post I'm afraid, but the difference for me is that it used to work just fine - sustained 7-10MB/sec


    The problem has only started in the last few months. The main use for me is updating Aperture Vaults and they started taking a ridiculous time - even for small updates. As Aperture has recently been updated I thought that was the root of the problem, but then I tried copying a bunch of files in Finder and exactly the same - initial burst that peaked at 7.5MB/sec then dropped to a steady 40-50kB/sec!!!


    So, I'd eliminated Aperture as the cause so started diagnosing other potential problems. Mountain Lion has recently been updated, but copying to a Linux box (using AFP) still works fine.


    Then I recalled that I'd recently updated the firmware on the AEBS so I downgraded to the previous version - no joy.


    I've got a total of 3 disks, three different makes, two of which have been connected for a couple of years. The third is new, freshly formatted HFS+. I've tried connecting them directly rather than through a (powered) hub; tried different cables; tried connecting my MBP using Gigabit Ethernet rather than W-Fi. Nothing makes any difference.


    Googling the problem returned plenty of hits (many from these forums) but they all date from 2007-2011 - this thread is the only one I found post-2011 - so my assumption was that it was an old problem that had long since been fixed, and that seemed to be the case as it's worked fine for me up until recently.


    The only thing I can assume is that it's something in 10.8.4 as that is the only other thing that's changed recently, but why should that only affect USB disks on an AEBS? Doesn't make sense, but you can't downgrade to 10.8.3 to test the theory.


    Sorry I can't be any more help, but I thought it worth posting my experience in case it gives any clues.


    Oh, BTW, mine is an older (3rd generation) AEBS. The latest ones are 5th generation.

  • LaPastenague Level 9 Level 9

    Connect one of the disks to your computer directly and test the copy speed.. if it is ok.. I doubt the OS upgrade is affecting it.


    The USB disk on the AE does go at about half the speed of the same disk directly connected to the computer.. this is best case scenario.


    The following things make a big difference.


    Network congestion.. wireless in particular has very limited bandwidth. Always test speeds by direct connection to the AE with ethernet and the wireless turned off.. there is no other way to be sure.


    Ensure the AE ethernet link is connected at gigabit. It will show up as gigabit in the Network Preferences and if you check by ifconfig in terminal.


    If you still have slow speeds. Stop all other usage of the AE.. remember it is a router and has limited memory.. reset it to factory and use it in complete isolation from the network.. with a single USB drive connected ... via a powered hub might be good.. but test both.. direct and hub.. and plugged into the one computer. Continuing very slow speed shows some hardware fault in the AE.. if it is 3rd generation it is well out of warranty.

    Current one is 6th generation.

  • parish_chap Level 1 Level 1

    LaPastenague wrote:


    Current one is 6th generation.


    Ah, my bad, I forgot they released a new one at WWDC

  • kpurcell Level 1 Level 1

    Get that it will run slower than a direct connection but it took 3+ minutes to transfer 10Mbytes.

  • Douggie70 Level 1 Level 1

    Now I am nervous.  I just bought an Extreme, to replace my aging non-Apple router.  I had hopeed to use it with my express to externd my network, but after 5 hours on Apple support that didn't work.  I had also hoped to move my Time Machine external hard drive to the router location away from my desk - just to save space.  That is looking bleak as well.


    It has been a while since this post - have you had more success?

  • SWD-17 Level 1 Level 1

    Add me to th elist of unhappy AirPort Extreme purchasers.  I feel cheated at this point.  Have spent hours trying to get it right (have been a mac enthusiast for a long time) but still such a terrible lag time in any videos.


    I'm going back to my original set-up of a Linksys router connected to my PC to stream m2ts videos to my LG blue-ray/media player.  Believe it or not, it's a much better solution and faster.

  • ChrisRyan400 Level 1 Level 1

    i too was having issues, to the point the transfer would fail completely because it was going so slow... but i did manage to come up with a workaround, and i really can't explain why it worked, but it did, i had 3 apps i was trying to backup to the drive attached to the extreme, they were .app files  200mb, 600mb, and 800mb...i simply right clicked each file and compressed it, (so now they were zip files), i then tried to tranfer each file, and all 3 went thru very fast, i'm talking about 20 seconds for the biggest file..whereas before the estimated time was about 25 minutes for the 200mb unzipped file.


    might be worth a shot folks:)

  • dingo sky Level 1 Level 1

    > and i really can't explain why it worked, but it did,


    The zipped files will transfer much quicker for two very different reasons:


    1. The zip file of the app is probably smaller. That depends on compression ratio, which of course depends on the nature of the files in the app. You undoubtedly already knew this.
    2. Perhaps not as obvious, the zip file is one file, whereas the app is a directory containing potentially many, many files. When you copy the app directory across the wire the transport mechanism copies the contents one file at a time, meaning each and every file has some transport overhead.


    You can see the effect of this second factor independent of the first by using tar on the directory, without any compression. On my simple test of an 282 MB app, the directory copied at a typical speed of just under 1 MB/s, whereas the tar file moved across the same connection at a bit more than 10 MB/s. Same number of total bytes in 1/10 the time.