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Question: Time machine very slow over wireless

My time machine backups are very slow over wireless. Using iPerf3 I tested my wireless link which is pretty good (and normal file transfers speed are "in range") but Time Machine seems to encounter some difficulties on its tasks.


The backup speed can't go over 1Mbit/s, while transfering files can fly over 60Mbit/s pretty easily.


The backup is encrypted, I don't know if this can request some extra-work which slows down the process over wifi but when using a wired connection (NIC over usb-c) the speed is pretty good once again.


Do you have any suggestion?

MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2016), macOS High Sierra (10.13.4)

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For the shake of clarity: yesterday night I figured out what wasn't working properly and now my Time Machine backups works great again.


I have two Time Machine AFP shares on my network NAS (FreeNAS) but I did setup only unix priviledges on write-read access for each user that was supposed to use that share.

I did not setup the "allow list" properly in one of those two shares and - don't ask me why - it seems like the Macbook sometimes tried to use/pool the second share even if it wasn't supposed to access/connect to that share (I can see two network Time Machine disks from System Preferences GUI and obviously for each Mac assigned one share).

When I inhibited not only read-write capabilities but even the access to the wrong disk, suddenly Time Machine stared to work like a charm.


I don't know why over ethernet this issue was not present but that's all.

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May 29, 2018 5:10 AM in response to P|xeL In response to P|xeL

Unlike a simple file transfer, Time Machine's progress is not linear and cannot be quantified in terms of a number of bytes transferred per second.


When Time Machine performs a backup task, periods of time elapse during which there is no apparent progress.

May 29, 2018 5:10 AM

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May 29, 2018 5:18 AM in response to P|xeL In response to P|xeL

Wireless backups require a little bit more attention. Do your initial backup over a wired ethernet. This will still take longer than an external hard disk would, but it will complete eventually. Then let Time Machine run normally. Do not use any software that modifies the frequency of your Time Machine backups. Those tools are never a good idea, even with external drives. But they are a very bad idea for wireless backups. They cause individual backups to be larger. And with wireless backups, that is going to increase backup time exponentially.


If you have been backing up wireless for some time and it starts to behave poorly. The best idea is to erase the backup entirely and start a new one - again using hard-wired ethernet.


If you haven't already guessed, it would be a good idea to also backup to an external hard drive.

May 29, 2018 5:18 AM

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May 29, 2018 6:27 AM in response to John Galt In response to John Galt

Yes, I know. I am using Time Machine since 2006 and backupped my Macs on NAS or USB storages during the years. It makes no sense to me that Time Machine - now - needs more than one hour and half to backup 400MB. Something is wrong for sure somewhere.

May 29, 2018 6:27 AM

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May 29, 2018 6:33 AM in response to etresoft In response to etresoft

That's how I did: I created a new backup using a wired connection, then I wanted to test/check the performance over wireless (that's how I suppose to use mostly my MacBook). Performance were astonishing bad. I cannot even complete a backup during a two hour timeframe. That makes no sense.

I know TM process is a low-priority one on CPU, but it is not that slow using a wired connection (or, it is not that slow if I do my backups on an USB disk): the task to build the backup infos is the same.

I don't use any software that force/modify/interact with my Time Machine backups.

May 29, 2018 6:33 AM

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May 29, 2018 7:10 AM in response to P|xeL In response to P|xeL

You aren't using a non-Apple NAS for backups are you? Because that won't work.


... Time Machine - now - needs more than one hour and half to backup 400MB.


Clearly something is wrong. TM shouldn't take more than a few moments to back up that amount of data, and the time required shouldn't be appreciably more for wireless vs. wired vs. directly connected (USB / FW / TB).

May 29, 2018 7:10 AM

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May 29, 2018 11:14 AM in response to John Galt In response to John Galt

John Galt wrote:


You aren't using a non-Apple NAS for backups are you? Because that won't work.


I would be thinking the same if over a wired connection the performance were not that good.

Is there any debug log I can check to identify where it gets stuck?

May 29, 2018 11:14 AM

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May 29, 2018 11:47 AM in response to P|xeL In response to P|xeL

Apple describes the SMB requirements in this developer document: https://developer.apple.com/library/content/releasenotes/NetworkingInternetWeb/T ime_Machine_SMB_Spec/index.html


You can check what you have with this:

smbutil statshares -a

May 29, 2018 11:47 AM

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May 29, 2018 3:05 PM in response to etresoft In response to etresoft

It works fine when I use a wired connection. To the NAS it is transparent, since the data reaches the NAS after travelling two switches. I would agree with you if TM was having issues even with backups over ethernet, but that's not the case.

May 29, 2018 3:05 PM

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Question marked as Solved

May 30, 2018 9:16 AM in response to P|xeL In response to P|xeL

For the shake of clarity: yesterday night I figured out what wasn't working properly and now my Time Machine backups works great again.


I have two Time Machine AFP shares on my network NAS (FreeNAS) but I did setup only unix priviledges on write-read access for each user that was supposed to use that share.

I did not setup the "allow list" properly in one of those two shares and - don't ask me why - it seems like the Macbook sometimes tried to use/pool the second share even if it wasn't supposed to access/connect to that share (I can see two network Time Machine disks from System Preferences GUI and obviously for each Mac assigned one share).

When I inhibited not only read-write capabilities but even the access to the wrong disk, suddenly Time Machine stared to work like a charm.


I don't know why over ethernet this issue was not present but that's all.

May 30, 2018 9:16 AM

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Question: Time machine very slow over wireless