I am thinking of getting a 802.11n wireless router. A lot of the companies use the Atheros 802.11n chipset and there is some talk that they have drop the connection a lot. So I am wondering if anyone has any thoughts or recommendations. I might get the Trendnet that was in today's Fry's ad. Just beginning to investigate the various 802.11n routers.
$180 will get you an Apple Aiport Extreme. It's simultaneous dual band and 802.11n. I've been playing with one erratically for the last week or so (which gets installed tomorrow). It's a bit shy on the long range (no external antennas), but works quite well in a reflection infested environment (my office). Dropped connections are usually caused by interference from other wireless networks, microwave ovens, and such. I haven't seen any dropped connections with the Airport Extreme yet, and I'm running 3 different wireless routers on the same channel (6) at the same time. There's some interaction, but no disconnects yet.
Have you tried it with an external USB Hard Drive yet? I have been looking at a few reviews and noticed this on CNET:- "We didn't get to try the print-serving feature, but we found that the router's support for USB external hard drives was rather limited. It doesn't read drives formatted in the NTFS file system, but only FAT32 and Mac OS Extended. Generally it's more difficult to format a drive larger than 32GB using FAT32. This means Windows users can't simply plug most of their USB external hard drives into the router and expect to share the data contained on it. If you are willing to reformat your hard drive, you'll need to use a computer to do so, as the router doesn't include the formatting feature."
Yep. Works fine with my Western Dismal 320GB USB drive:
which is FAT32 formatted. However, a SimpleTech 330GB USB drive didn't work because of NTFS formatting. Apple knows about the issue. Apparently, it's intentional:
where vendors are expected to deliver PC only and Mac only drives.
I've been told that it's not terribly difficult to reformat external USB drives to FAT32, NTFS, HFS+, EFS, or whatever is deemed useful.
I did have a problem with a Seagate Free Agent | Go drive:
The drive comes with two USB cables. One cable has two USB plugs in order to get more power to run the drive. That's not a problem with the 250GB version, but the 500GB version would sometimes fail to start if powered from only one USB plug. The problem is that the Airport Extreme only has one USB jack on the rear panel.
I had kinda hoped that the Airport Extreme base station would support
802.11e (WMM or Wi-Fi MultiMedia) but doesn't. I've been playing with it on a Buffalo WHR-HP-G54 router running DD-WRT v24 SP1 at a crowded hot spot. WMM divides apps by background, best effort, video, and voice. I have SIP and Skype setup for the highest voice priority (and file sharing set for background). It seems to work well for what seems to be a deluge of Ipod Touch PDA's running Skype.
Note that WMM does not mean that priority packets get sent before non-priority packets. It simply means that the backoff time, and other delaying mechanisms are shorter for priority packets and that they have a better probability of being sent first.
I forgot to mention that the Seagate Free Agent Go drive didn't work with the Airport Extreme even after I connected the 2nd USB connector to a 5V USB power supply. I thought I was doing something wrong, but later determined that it didn't work because it was formatted for NTFS.
FAT32 versus NTFS is apparently a never ending debate. In general, NTFS is a much better filesystem for anyting over 8GB. FAT32 uses very large cluster sizes, which allegedly wastes considerable diskspace. If you have a large number of files, the large cluster size will cause considerable waste. In addition, the OS had to read the empty space, which slows things down. Such wasted space is NOT an issue when dealing with big files, such as my usual backup images. These are typically split into 2GB chunks and are 6 to 40GB per machine. These fill up the drive quickly, but there's little waste because there are only a few files.
I've also been playing with NAS drives. My favorite (this week) is a Buffalo Linkstation Live LS-CH500L. About $200. Lots of goodies and features I'll probably never use, but are fun to play with:
Gigabit ethernet, SATA, and a big cache are a must. Be sure to upgrade the firmware to the latest. I don't see any reason to attach the storage to wireless router. It's handy, but for performance (i.e. massive backups), the ethernet to USB2 transition constitutes a 50% slow down.
We have been using a couple of freecom 500GB drives
which we use as storage for up to six people rather than system backups and I was hoping I could either use one of these on the USB port or use our portable USB drive as I don't wish to add a switch to the network, having only 3 ethernet ports is annoying. We have recently been given a
320GB USB drive which now contains backup's for the windows machines
It's "only" 100Mbits/sec on the ethernet port. The SATA drive is probably 3Gbits/sec. With a gigabit interface, you can go much faster. I've been benchmarking my backups and simply copies across the network. In my never humble opinion, gigabit ethernet is a definite requirement.
Ummm... don't forget to backup your backup. I use two NAS boxes. The
2nd box is replicated from the first. I haven't found anything I like yet. I'm doing compressed image backups of the main NAS server, but have not found any software or company that makes me feel safe.
Add the switch but remember that the bottleneck will be the
100Mbit/sec ethernet at the NAS drive. If all your traffic shares a common cable or port, it's a bottleneck.
Nothing wonderful about those drives. I can't tell if they're FAT32 or NTFS. The latest fad in backups is to backup by file type. Most vendors have added that feature. For example, the Arcsoft TotalBackup software that came with the Simpletech drive will do that:
The catch is that most of these products are totally useless for backing up the entire drive and getting literally everything. That's what I want. I want to be able to restore a machine to its original condition without missing anything. Sure, I have to deal with big bloated files and useless garbage, but that's the price of image backups. Besides getting everything, image backups are also much faster than file by file. One image backup program I've bought and tried 1.5GBytes/minute to a USB2 drive.
Why do you like it? Much as I value everyone's opinions, they're kinda useless without the attendent testimonials.
I tried Acronis image backup about 2 years ago and had the same problem I had with every other image backup program that backs up while Windoze is running. Files that change during the backup appear on the image as corrupted garbage. What inspired my recent search for the one true backup solution was having two important hard disk drives fail after a relatively short running period (2 years).
In one case, I had run a DVD backup using Farstone DriveClone 5.1:
back in Dec 2008. I just noticed that this product isn't offered on their web site any more (it was last week). When I restored from the backup, I received a boot error which indicated that the registry was corrupted. No problem as I was able to restore it from backups I made using ERUNT. However, there were a variety of other file corruptions that pointed to other open programs and files were also corrupted. Support was totally useless and could only answer my questions with more questions. To add to the confusion, the machine would not boot the XP CD or recovery console. Both resulted in a blue screen and a stop 0x0000007B error. The failed SATA drive was a Samsung, while the replacement was a Western Dismal. After much Googling (and 4 days of worrying), I discovered that I had to disable AHCI IDE emulation to get the Western Digital drive to work.
A week later, another drive died (Maxtor 80GB SATA). For this adventure, I used DriveClone Express 6.0. This one did NOT run from Windoze but booted from a CD or USB flash drive. No open file corruption. It worked much better until I had to backup a failing hard disk. Drive Clone Express 6.0 would proceed until it hit a CRC error, and quit with an Error 0x17. My email to support (no phone support) asking for a list of errors and how to bypass a CRC error were answered with "run chkdsk /f /r". In addition, their built in chkdsk feature returned "invalid argument" if I checked the /F box. Nothing like customer debugged software. I quickly switched back to Norton Ghost 2003 (floppy disk boot) but the drive died in the middle of the backup. By pure luck, all was not lost. The customer had a 2 month old backup on his SimpleTech backup drive using Arcsoft TotalMedia Backup. I reinstalled Windoze XP, updated, restored from the backup, and then spent the next 3 days untangling the mess. It was great for restoring the user files, but useless for system files. Fortunately, the really important files all came back. I also had to do it twice because I mis-spelled the user name. Yet another backup program that runs from Windoze that doesn't work quite right.
I note that Acronis True Image:
offers: Live Backups Keep working right through your backup for maximum convenience. which in my never humble opinion, is an invitation to a repeat performance of my aforementioned backup horror stories.
So, now you have what I consider to be typical problems with backup software. Back in about 2002, I tried using Acronis backup at a local ISP. I forgot the exact details but I have correspondence log somewhere that details a long and disgusting horror story. $500 and many hours wasted trying to make that mess work.
I'll probably try Acronis True Image 2009 and try to break it. I have a few drives with CRC error floating around the office. At least I know some of the impending problems. However, it will have to wait. I have to deliver the restored machines and I'm out of diskspace on my assortment of USB drives because I've been furiously backing up everything in sight. I'm also headed for a colonoscopy on Weds, which is a good excuse for a few days off.
Trying to image a running machine always makes me wonder if I got a good snapshot. Assuming Windows boxes then with TI it all depends on your apps being VSS aware. A few years back they just weren't ready for prime time. What I used to do previously was boot up on the recovery CD. Then you were really sure nothing was open or uncommitted.
One of the problems with image backups is that it's difficult to do a file by file verify. Sure, it's possible to run a checksum on the entire image file (or files), but that won't tell you which file has changed. The means you'll might end up with an unrestorable image mess, like I did. Incidentally, note that the vendor (Farstone) no longer offers the failed product on their web pile. This should be a clue.
It wasn't the apps that were a problem. I was paranoid enough to reboot the computer and make sure as little as possible was running. I wanted speed, so running the backup in safe mode was undesireable. So, I had Skype, AVG 8.5, Google Desktop, and various startup programs (Winamp, AOL, Superantispyware, etc). All of these were trashed on the backup, in addition to the Windoze services that were running (print spooler, networking, Windoze update, etc). Simply having apps that know about Volume Shadow Copy Service, would not have been sufficient.
Ummm... fire up the task manager and look at the huge list of programs running in the background. All of them (and their data and log files) are susceptible to corruption. At this point, I'm abandoning my quest for a program that runs from Windoze, and only looking at programs that boot from a CD or flash drive.
something i found useful for me at least on a bunch of different systems (had it on a flash drive for a while, ran real slow, but found a more usefull way), i have a few 500gb-1tb external usb drives, that both boots, and has acronis on it (also burned a few boot cd's with acronis, for the systems that don't boot from usb)... just plug it in, boot from the usb drive/backup/reboot- back to whatever the machine had, and move on to the next machine.. tested to make sure i could boot/restore with it also... should deal with backing up a running sytem, since it isn't running on it's own, but runs lickity split at usb speeds unlike the flash drive at flash drive speeds
haven't tried it on one laptop with linux, not sure what i'm gonna do with that one... any ideas?