Please take a look at my review of the Dual Band Airport Extreme: Apple MB763LL/A AirPort Extreme Dual-band Base Station I have pasted it below this review for your convenience.
Since I have already reviewed the airport extreme, I will not go into details on the routing/wireless/speed options of this time capsule...they are the exact same product and I assure you, you can get great details from my review below.
Time Capsule remains as an exciting niche product that houses a hard drive in its body. The capsule can be purchased with a 500gb and or a 1TB hard drive. Note: the hard drive is not user servicable.
The primary reason for this device to exist was so that MAC users could easily backup their OS X machines using time machine directly to the router. For that it is the ultimate product.
Why then do I give it a 4 out of 5?
Simply because my experience with the hard drive has been that it regularly disconnects and drops connected users....which to me is a flaw when Time Machine is trying to backup my computer. Yes, I have restarted from scratch, reloaded the firmware, etc...but to no avail. I have also spoken to applecare and will be trying a replacement capsule in the days ahead to see if the problem can be alleviated.
I still give this a 4/5 due to my belief in the routing engine and software that sets up and maintains these devices. My review on the airport extreme base station will solidify my 4/5 reviews.
This product is worthy of a 5/5 review once the hard drive issues are ironed out. I hope I am alone in this problematic situation but time will tell. Ironically, my older time capsule has been running for about a year without any issues....so I am hopeful I have a one off problem.
As always, please leave me comments with suggestions, questions, etc.
Below is my review of the dual band Airport Extreme Base Station:
True to my gadget envy, I acquired one of these dual band extreme base stations to see if they held up to the hype. Sure enough, Apple has improved an old mediocre product with a new more powerful hardware engine and improved software abilities.
802.11 A/B/G/N DUAL Band radios at 2.4ghz and 5ghz simultaneously.
Gigabit Ethernet ports 1x Wan and 4x Lan.
Guest wireless network.
Disk sharing via USB connected drive.
Access to shared disk via MobileMe (apple mobile me subscribers on os x).
The box comes with the router, the power cord, software cd, and documentation....limited documentation.
Time to test.
Setup: Setup of an apple base station is unlike any other in that you cannot access the setup portal via your web browser. You must install the Apple Airport utility (both mac and windows) in order to set the router up. The software is built very well and provides the typical ease of use known to MAC users. You simply walk through a setup wizard and define simple options for your internet connection, your wireless network, etc, etc. NOTE: When setting up your wireless networks you are able to hit the options button so that you can define a 5ghz network as well (example, main wireless network called wifi, the 5ghz is called wifi (5ghz)). Very easy to setup and get going. You are also able to easily define a SECURED (wpa/wpa2) guest wireless network....which simply means that if you have a visitor they can use wi-fi but not get to any of the computers on your home network. Very Secure....and a great feature to boot.
I was using the old Apple Base Station and kept switching between it and a d-link wireless n router.... I got one of these primarily due to dual band and guest access.
Yes, there are other routers out there that can do this for a bit of a lower cost...but the elegance of the Apple Airport Utility make this a router that can be setup without too much hassle. The software will also identify problems in the setup and have you correct them before it uploads them to the router. These abilities alone make this a router for the non-geeks to be able to setup a robust networking environment at home.
Wireless: As I mentioned before, I am comparing this to an older model apple base station that was single band and worked in the N range. Also compared this against a D-Link DIR-655 which is a 2.4ghz Wireless N router. The section on speed below will detail my wireless experience.
Speed: I have Comcast cable modem service which gives me about 15-25mbps down and 2mbps up....I live in an area where there are probably 5-10 subscribers...so my speed is generally GREAT and never experiences a slow down. The first thing I do when I play with a new router is do a speed test....the new base station is comparable to the others and gets the same exact download/upload speeds over ethernet. There is one exception....using the wireless on this unit yielded BETTER results then the older model and the d-link. Normally when doing a speed test over wireless I get about 12-15mbps and 2mbps up....with this router I was able to successfully hit the 20mbps mark and 2mbps UP. WIN WIN!!!! So I figured that this may be an anomaly and thus proceeded to test a download from Microsoft - a 3.4gb file - which normally downloads anywhere between 900kpbs and 1.2mbps. Surprise.....with the new base station I stayed at 1.3mbps and it did not hiccup even once. The same was true when downloading via a wireless connection, albeit the speed was 1.0mbps....faster then I have ever gotten before. WIN WIN again!
Disk Sharing - Not much to be said here...I attached a Western Digital USB hard drive 320gb and shared it. You simply go into the Airport Utility software and setup sharing of the hard drive and define which password should be used. You can either use the password for the router or setup a separate password to use with Disk Sharing. Speed is dependent upon wired or wireless. I tested while transferring 3 files...one was 2mb one was 100mb and one was a 2.5gb file. The two mb file of course went over before I could blink...the 100mb transferred over in about 3-4 minutes...the 2.5gb took about 15 minutes. The first transfer test was with ETHERNET connectivity. I did the same tests over wireless and found that the times doubled...naturally since wireless is a bit slower I expected that and had no issue with the times.
Mobile-Me - I have not tested the mobile me features just yet but will be testing them in the days ahead and post my results here.
So far I feel this router has hit perfection and will now find a permanent spot in my home...at least until something better hits.
Please do leave me comments with suggestions on the review and or any questions you may have.
I had originally purchased a Linksys WRT160n a few weeks ago and for the most part it was a fine router but it had one issue. I couldn't run my sling player and surf the net at the same time. Seemed to be something with the Linksys uPnP but even disabling that feature only fixed the issue slightly, basically surfing was so slow it was not worth it.
Having thought about a Time Capsule for some time I decided to pick up the new one and see if it fixed my sling issue and allowed me to have auto backup from my new Mac Book Pro. Setup was easy if you are familiar with routers and how you had your previous network configured. Mine is a bit complex due to having a VOIP router between my DSL box and my Time Machine. Even with that setup was pretty quick and straight forward. I takes a while getting use to using the airport utility to configure everything rather than your typical web admin page that companies like Netgear and Linksys use. The airport utility is a little more limited then the Linksys configuration admin pages but its enough for most people.
After setting up the router to match my prior wireless network all my wireless devices, including Vista laptop, Wii, PS3, Iphone, Apple TV, came up fine. I have a number of wired devices as well running over Powerline Ethernet Netgear devices and no issues with those either and yes it fixed my sling issue that my Linksys had.
My first backup went smooth. I plugged directly into the router so that I had 1 gig speed from my MBP to the router. I kicked it off before I went to bed and it was completed when I got up for work. Now the incremental backups are seamless and working great. I had 54 gigs to backup on the first go around so might be a bit smaller than most users but still worked fine.
A nice feature that I didn't seem to have in my Linksys is that on the Time Capsule you can pick a combo of WPA/WPA2 and what ever your device will support it will utilize that security level. I have one device that doesn't seem to like WPA2 so on my Linksys I had to put everything at WPA where on my Time Capsule I can have that device on WPA and all the others on WPA2.
I like the guest network ability and I'm surprised other companies have not created the same. The guest network just creates a vlan on a subnet outside of your regular network and anyone visiting your house can have access to the net without access to your network. This is nice for me as I like to have my SSID hidden which caused problems when my wife had friends visiting and they couldn't figure out how to add my network as it wasn't advertised. With the Time Capsule I can hide my network and leave the guest network visible so her friends can get on the net without my having to walk them through a setup each time.
Only thing I wish the time capsule did have was an extra lan port, it has 3 where most routers have 4. Outside of that I think Apple did a good job on the new Time Capsule.
on October 7, 2009
My Time Capsule has died after 18 months. Apparently the power supplies overheat and die. I'm not the only one either. As of this writing there are 16 pages of complaints about dead Time Capsules in the discussions section of [...]. If you've got the money to replace this thing every year and a half, enjoy. In my case though, I definitely didn't get what I paid for and won't be replacing it.
on December 7, 2011
The previous Time Machines have an acknowledged problem with overheating and frying the power supply (which is internal). Apple will apparently replace those. Unfortunately, they have not acknowledged that this problem exists with the 2009 models. Mine died after a few years of being the best router I've ever had because of this problem.
After finding out that Apple wouldn't do anything for me, I opened the case to take the hard drive out, and it's obvious why this problem exists. There is a fan, but it doesn't go anywhere. There are vents in the case, but they are completely blocked by the rubber "foot" that covers the bottom of the device. The fan exists in its own little cavity and as far as I can tell there is nowhere for air to enter or exit from. With this setup, the fan may actually add to the internal heat rather than dissipating it. The power supply and full sized hard drive are packed into the same ventless space (it's a 3.5" desktop hard drive, I had assumed it would be a more compact, and lower power consumption/heat producing 2.5" laptop drive), no wonder these things fry after a few years.
I love the promise of this device, and for a few years it worked exactly as advertised. However, I'm not willing to shell out hundreds of dollars extra for a router that won't last as long as a $50 off brand model (even if it does work infinitely better prior to expiring). I think I'll get another Apple router, the software in particular is second to none, but I won't be getting another Time Machine.
Let me start by saying that I am not using this as a router, just as a wireless access point. Apple has created a great idea - wireless devices that are easy to configure, lots of features and very reliable. While they are not the cheapest devices on the market, they are worth the extra money. Rather then configure this through a web browser, you use the Airport Utility - which is fairly strait forward and warns you if there you have a potential configuration problem. I really like using this utility becouse if you are managing more then one airport/time capsule, it makes it a lot easier then web-configured routers.
Setting up this device to be used with time machine could not be any easier. Once it has been enabled for time machine, it shows up on the local computers time machine preferences. You can also add you MobileMe info to log into it over the network with zero-config.
One of the greatest new features that this has is the dual wireless networks. I am simultaneously running a 802.11n network for my laptops and 802.11b/g for anything else. This is nice becouse if you do a single network that is 802.11b/g/n - your network throttles down to the lowest connection for everyone on the network (it is a bit more complex, but that is the basic idea).
If you do use this as a router, there are somethings to keep in mind. It doesn't appear to support DynDNS (or similar dynamicDNS services). Also, setting some features up (for example - port forwarding) is very different then on other web-configured routers.
If you aren't using an Apple computer, you obviously can't use Time Machine to back up to this device. But you can use this as an NAS. You can also backup to it from a PC if the backup software you use supports a shared network drive.
Regardless of if you are into Macs or PCs, this is a very nice router. If you can past the sticker shock, this is a very powerful device that can do quite a bit and is very reliable.
This product is basically three products: an airport extreme wireless router, a networked drive, and finally, with Leopard, a networked backup system. Overall, it's a very good product, but there are some serious limitation one should be aware of.
As a router, it is fantastic. Typical Apple ease of use, with all configuration done by a very intuitive GUI application.
Unfortunately, it's not a great network drive. The drive appears to be internally connected using a very slow USB connection. You will find that even with a computer connected via Gb/s ethernet, transfer speeds will be limited to around 5-6 MB/s, tops. If you connect two Macs via fast ethernet, you can often get over 40 MB/s transfer speeds, so this is a rather large disappointment, especially for a device which will be getting a lot of use if you use Time Machine.
Time Machine is great in theory, but has a few issues. First, it is a file-based differential backup. That means if even a single bit of a 1 GB file is changed, the ENTIRE file gets backed up. Not only does this take a lot of time, it quickly depletes your backup drive because the same data is added to the disk every regular backup. To get around this, you have to explicitly exclude backing up such files. Good candidates for exclusion are Mail and iDisk caches, as well as virtual machine disk images.
There have also been numerous reports of Time Machine backups being susceptible to corruption. I've experienced this once, myself, after a backup was cancelled, so I can vouch that it happens. However, the problems can often be fixed by deleting the last backup. The next backup will take a long time as the computer must scan the full disk again, but the backups then continue on normally after that.
Time Machine backups have their place, and come in very handy to recover accidentally deleted files. However, they should only be considered part of a larger backup scheme. They probably shouldn't be trusted for a full recovery, and won't be of any help if your computer's drive completely fails, anyway. (How are you going to run Time Machine if you can't boot your computer?) As such, you should image your entire drive regularly, in addition to using Time Machine.
I have AT&T DSL which came with an all-in-one 2Wire wireless router. The range was good, but there were parts of the house where we didn't get signal. In addition, I needed an automatic way to backup my MacBook Pro, my wife's MacBook and our HP desktop.
Problem = solved with Time Capsule. I opted for the 500GB model because of price, and because I already had a 250GB USB storage device.
Setup was easy. I put my 2Wire into "bridge mode" and Apple's AirPort Utility app (in the Utilities folder) walked me through setting up my new wireless network with the Time Capsule.
Here are some of the points I really like about Time Capsule:
* The range of our wireless network now reaches into all corners of the house -- at full strength.
* "Time Machine" backs up all of our laptops each hour (if there are any changes).
* You can add, via USB, extra storage and have wireless access to those added storage devices (you can also view, access and add files, etc.) to your Time Capsule wirelessly.
* I now have plenty of free space on my MacBook Pro because I move all large files (video, mainly) to either Time Capsule or the added storage device -- just drag and drop. It's that easy.
Two thumbs up from this Mac and PC user.
on June 1, 2009
I had alot of trepidations about installing this little bugger but all my concerns were unfounded. It truely is plug and play. My only concern now is using it to wirelessly connect to my Apple macbook, circa 2007 and then there is my Apple TV that is sitting patiently in it's box waiting for the old codger to take the plunge. It will happen. The capsulel runs soooooo hot. Is this normal? I don't want to fry anything. All in all a pleasant experience.
on May 24, 2009
the time capsule is easy to set up, and works seamlessly with my imac's time machine back-up program. the range of the wifi signal is better than my old netgear N router, and using the bonjour program, even my windows PCs can print off of my imac. a dual band router without a hard drive costs anywhere from 100-200 dollars, and for 300 you get that + 500GB of network storage that works with XP, vista, and OS X.
on April 13, 2009
It works like advertised and looks very nice. Very easy to configure but I wished that there was more control over "Access Control". Would like to be able to limit "Wired" MAC Access Control and not just "wireless". It does get very warm compared to the Mac Mini (even with a new 320GB 7200 RPM drive I put in the Mini). Probably because the power supply is inside the Time Capsule. I am just using it for the "Time Machine" and it works very very well so far. Very seamless. I just wished we could have a choice of how often it backs up, but it is the "Time Machine" not the "Time Capsule". I have not seen any improvement in range compared to my D-Link DGL-4300 but it then again, I don't have any "N" clients other than the 09 Mac Mini which is hard wired. Have not tried the USB feature yet. Would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a "Simultaneous Dual Band Router" and needs extra external storage. If you rather not have a 500GB/1TB drive built in then, just get the Airport Extreme.