AirPort Extreme, Time Capsule gain MobileMe sharing support

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
New versions of Apple's wireless base stations supporting USB shared hard drives -- AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule -- have gained remote file sharing features via MobileMe. A firmware update is also expected to extend the feature to previous-generation models.



Back to My AirPort



"Say you?re traveling and you need a file on your Time Capsule back at home. If you?re a MobileMe member using a Mac with Mac OS X Leopard, no problem," Apple says. "You can now access all the files on your Time Capsule drive over the Internet. Simply register your Time Capsule with your MobileMe account, and its drive appears in the Finder sidebar of your Mac just like any other attached drive. It?s like having your own personal file server wherever you go."



A firmware update is soon expected to extend the new feature to existing models, in addition to the revised versions introduced today. Both units actually shipped with support for Wide Area Bonjour, but Apple didn't explain how to configure the systems, a procedure that requires setting up a public Dynamic DNS account and registering the base station with it.



With Mac OS X Leopard, Apple packaged a series of technologies together under the marketing name "Back to My Mac," including a Dynamic DNS service added to .Mac (now called MobileMe). Access to Dynamic DNS allowed Mac OS X to register its shared services, such as file shares and screen sharing, with MobileMe, making them discoverable, via Wide Area Bonjour, to any other Mac registered with the same MobileMe account.



Without the Dynamic DNS component, users would have to keep track of their home IP number (which is subject to change), manage port forwarding in Network Address Translation records for every system that was performing sharing, and supply the IP address and port numbers whenever they wanted to share files from a home system to a remote system. Back to My Mac handles all those tasks and relays them through MobileMe, making users' shares available to them anywhere on the Internet.







IPv6 Security



Back to My Mac also involves a security component. When a user on a remote system, authenticated with MobileMe, attempts to connect to a shared drive, a secure, encrypted IPv6 tunnel is created to protect the user's data from snooping as it moves between the home system and the remote computer over the Internet.



AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule can already be registered with a Dynamic DNS service. However, the soon to be released firmware update will automate this process by allowing users to simply enter their MobileMe account information into the base stations' configuration via AirPort Utility. Once configured, the base station will obtain the necessary security keys to set up secure remote access using the same MobileMe account.



The settings to enable a link with MobileMe will apparently be supplied in a base station firmware update numbered 7.4.1, according to a message posted by TUAW and attributed to an anonymous user with access to "the Apple Sales internal site." The current base station firmware version is 7.3.2. Once applied, the update will add a MobileMe button to the Advanced tab of the base station's configuration.



Note that this feature is not the same thing as certain "do it yourself" instructions posted on the Internet, which claim to "do the same thing without needing MobileMe" by simply opening up the base station's firewall and providing open and unencrypted access to its file shares.



Waiting for the other update to drop



The new firmware update will not provide new hardware-based features of the revised AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule, including the ability to operate both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks at once or the ability to run a parallel guest network with its own password, isolated by firewall from the main network.



Apple has already begun distributing an AirPort Client Update which addresses issues with roaming and network selection in dual-band environments, and AirPort Utility 5.4.1 , which adds compatibility with the new features and client update. The 7.4.1 base station firmware is not yet available through Software Update nor Apple's software downloads site.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    Will WDS finally be available over a full 802.11n network (not just an 802.11b/g compatible network)? And will this require the new hardware or will this be available with the previous Extremes?
  • Reply 2 of 44
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Sounds groovy, but other than this somewhat sparse explanation:

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Both of Apple's wireless base stations supporting USB shared hard drives, AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule, will gain remote file sharing features via MobileMe following a firmware update release....



    What does this actually mean to the end user?
    • Does this mean my Time Capsule hard drive will be accessible over the internet?

    • Does this mean that my Home Computer will be? (cause it already is)

    • Does this mean that my computers will be accessible via MobileMe on the Internet regardless of what computer I am on?

    I'm thinking (and hoping) it's that last one, since the first two would be useless or just duplication, but not everyone is in on the lingo here. It might be nice to take the time and explain what this actually is for the dummies in the audience like me.
  • Reply 3 of 44
    I have to agree with the poster above.



    After having read this article twice, I still have no idea what new service this update will provide.



    I already can see the machines using BTTM. I presume the idea is that the Time Machine HD or the HD attached directly to an Airport Extreme will now get their own IPv6 address so that they can be "served" as well?



    This is my best guess from the article.
  • Reply 4 of 44
    Will this mean we will have access to our Time Machine from anywhere? Will my laptop be able to back up to my Time Capsule at home when I'm at school, for example? That would be an excellent feature if it were secure.
  • Reply 5 of 44
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CosmicSquirt View Post


    Will this mean we will have access to our Time Machine from anywhere? Will my laptop be able to back up to my Time Capsule at home when I'm at school, for example? That would be an excellent feature if it were secure.



    Agreed. That would be awesome.



    I just hope it actually works. I have back to my mac enabled and I can see my home machine in my sidebar, but I can't ever seem to connect unless I'm on my home network \
  • Reply 6 of 44
    dagamer34dagamer34 Posts: 494member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CosmicSquirt View Post


    Will this mean we will have access to our Time Machine from anywhere? Will my laptop be able to back up to my Time Capsule at home when I'm at school, for example? That would be an excellent feature if it were secure.



    Unless Apple places a restriction on the amount of data sent, that would be really bandwidth-intensive and irresponsible.
  • Reply 7 of 44
    boogabooga Posts: 1,081member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post


    Unless Apple places a restriction on the amount of data sent, that would be really bandwidth-intensive and irresponsible.



    Considering how slow Time Capsule is to sync a few megs, I don't think the network has anything to worry about.
  • Reply 8 of 44
    amac4meamac4me Posts: 282member
    As a current first generation Time Capsule owner, I'd love the firmware upgrade to enable MobileMe access. Please let it be true.
  • Reply 9 of 44
    mistergsfmistergsf Posts: 230member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post


    Will WDS finally be available over a full 802.11n network (not just an 802.11b/g compatible network)? And will this require the new hardware or will this be available with the previous Extremes?



    I thought that the WDS feature was used only when setting up b/g/n compatible networks and when using older Airports prior to Extreme. If your network is only Extreme n and/or Express n, you are able to do the same thing except you choose "Extend Wireless Network" instead of "Participate in WDS" in Airport utility. I may be wrong but this is what I just learned from the Apple Support forums this past weekend while setting up my Extreme and two new Express n's to extend my wireless network. Or maybe I'm misunderstanding your question. I can find and post the thread if you need the information.
  • Reply 10 of 44
    noirdesirnoirdesir Posts: 1,027member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CosmicSquirt View Post


    Will this mean we will have access to our Time Machine from anywhere? Will my laptop be able to back up to my Time Capsule at home when I'm at school, for example? That would be an excellent feature if it were secure.



    TM works over simple AFP (connect via the IP) but this is unencrypted. I sounds like you need MM for IPsec.
  • Reply 11 of 44
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    So could this mean you could stream from your home iTunes to your iPhone? (assuming an app was produced)
  • Reply 12 of 44
    irelandireland Posts: 17,746member
    Try Screen-sharing over the internet Mac to Mac using only technologies built into Leopard, quite tricky indeed. Very fiddly process that involves setting up the thing on the other end by enabling UPNP, among other things, and getting the other persons public IP address. Not exactly ideal. And even at that Dynamic DNS can become an issue depending on the brand of router you're sharing with.
  • Reply 13 of 44
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wolfneuralnet View Post


    I have to agree with the poster above.



    After having read this article twice, I still have no idea what new service this update will provide.



    I already can see the machines using BTTM. I presume the idea is that the Time Machine HD or the HD attached directly to an Airport Extreme will now get their own IPv6 address so that they can be "served" as well?



    This is my best guess from the article.



    See updates to the article: This means you'll be able to access your Time Capsule's hard drive over the internet.



    K
  • Reply 14 of 44
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,166member
    I cannot use "Back to My Mac" feature because of our university network configuration.
  • Reply 15 of 44
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kasper View Post


    See updates to the article: This means you'll be able to access your Time Capsule's hard drive over the internet.



    K



    Apple would roll-out the Firmware pretty soon...



    Consider that their AirPort Base and Time Capsule with those new features would complement a solution against HP's Home Media Server.



    And it's like killing two birds with a stone.



    Upgrade current customer's product, expand both Mac Products and iPhone usage.
  • Reply 16 of 44
    columbuscolumbus Posts: 282member
    Apple probably can enable it for older models with a firmware update, whether they will or not is another question entirely.



    What's better for Apple:



    [1] A few disappointed MobileMe customers because they can't upgrade.

    [2] MobileMe customers spending anywhere between $179.00 and $499.00 on new wireless hardware.



    Not forgetting the whole fiddle with subscription based accounting (see iPod touch vs iPhone updates).



    Although technically this is more of a MobileMe feature and not an AirPort feature. I'm not sure how Apple recognises MobileMe revenue.
  • Reply 17 of 44
    meelashmeelash Posts: 1,045member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Try Screen-sharing over the internet Mac to Mac using only technologies built into Leopard, quite tricky indeed. Very fiddly process that involves setting up the thing on the other end by enabling UPNP, among other things, and getting the other persons public IP address. Not exactly ideal. And even at that Dynamic DNS can become an issue depending on the brand of router you're sharing with.



    Not really, I found some guides online that worked awesome, just using iChat. Basically you need a second iChat account and you can set an automatic reply script that accepts any requests for screen sharing. Very simple to set up and works like a charm!



    Unless you're talking about more fancy screen sharing?
  • Reply 18 of 44
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by georgetang View Post


    Apple would roll-out the Firmware pretty soon...



    Consider that their AirPort Base and Time Capsule with those new features would complement a solution against HP's Home Media Server.



    And it's like killing two birds with a stone.



    Upgrade current customer's product, expand both Mac Products and iPhone usage.



    I agree. The cost of personal servers can be quite costly and usually seems to be overkill for most.



    I also agree with the poster that Apple could stream iTunes content via an iPhone/Touch app and through MM itself. That would be a good competitor to Windows Home Server, which is quite solid and useable for a MS product.



    I do wonder if such a feature might be best served with Snow Leopard's QuickTime X. Depending on your throughout, it would be nice to have auto-adjusted bitrate content for optimized streaming.
  • Reply 19 of 44
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I agree. The cost of personal servers can be quite costly and usually seems to be overkill for most.



    I also agree with the poster that Apple could stream iTunes content via an iPhone/Touch app and through MM itself. That would be a good competitor to Windows Home Server, which is quite solid and useable for a MS product.



    I do wonder if such a feature might be best served with Snow Leopard's QuickTime X. Depending on your throughout, it would be nice to have auto-adjusted bitrate content for optimized streaming.



    You make a good point, and I believe Apple is doing that Microsoft did in the past.



    Introducing 1 free tool at a time, and keep enhancing it.



    We have iTunes, then Safari, who knows that's next.



    But, Snow Leopard, could probably do what you just said, realtime compressing your music and movies to stream them via Internet to your iPhone, iPod Touch or MacBook's.



    That'll help them sell more Mac's, right?



    People would bxtch about TC not enough storage.



    However, let's look at Apple's business, are they in the storage business? Heck, no.



    That's why they still have AirPort Extreme Base Station.



    All they want is to spreading their coverage, like iPods. More people who find it ease-of-use, and reliable, customer base would keep growing.



    After all, recent global economic impact, Apple is the only company that has been shipping more hardwares (relatively comparing to Dell and HP).
  • Reply 20 of 44
    chriskeochriskeo Posts: 20member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sandau View Post


    So could this mean you could stream from your home iTunes to your iPhone? (assuming an app was produced)



    There is already an app called "Simplify Media" that allows you to stream your music from a home computer to an iPhone or iPod touch. It requires a desktop app, and works on both Mac and PC. The app is $3.99 and the desktop app is free.
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