USB Drives disappear from AirPort Extreme
January 29, 2009 5:41 PM   Subscribe

I have an AirPort Extreme with a printer and two external hard drives connected via a USB hub. Quite frequently one or more of these USB devices won't appear in the AirPort Utility and I can't access them. Rebooting sometimes helps. Where does the problem lie?

Is this likely a problem with the AirPort Extreme, or the $10 USB hub I'm using? The hub is unpowered, but since the devices all use their own power I don't think it's necessary to have the hub run off the mains.
posted by krunk to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Rebooting what helps? Your computer?
posted by ODiV at 5:45 PM on January 29, 2009

I use an unpowered USB hub and rarely do the my drives or printer get disconnected. And by rarely I mean I think it happened once. Restarting the drive and then the AirPort Extreme fixed it. That was months ago. My USB router cost closer to $40 though.
posted by birdherder at 5:56 PM on January 29, 2009

My first target would be the hub, if it's different devices and not just one particular one that always does it. If other devices ARE being detected, it's highly unlikely the problem's in the Extreme.
posted by fearnothing at 6:05 PM on January 29, 2009

Use a powered hub.
posted by kid_dynamite at 6:08 PM on January 29, 2009

Unpowered hub. A cheap unpowered hub I carry with the laptop (it's tiny) barely works with 2 powered devices on my Airport Express, a different (larger) one mostly works but is flakey like yours, but I've had no probs with a powered one.
posted by Pinback at 6:56 PM on January 29, 2009

Interesting; shouldn't the power supplied directly to the devices (they're all on AC adapters) be enough for the hub?

I'm using this hub. I'll see if I can find an AC adapter for it before I buy a new hub.

ODIV: Rebooting the router helps -- sometimes. And sometimes power cycling the drives, etc.
posted by krunk at 7:16 PM on January 29, 2009

Airport Extreme disk sharing sucks.

I had a single (powered) USB HD plugged directly into the Airport and the Airport would still decide to disconnect it every so often.

Check out and you'll find its a common problem.
posted by schwa at 7:48 PM on January 29, 2009

I second Airdisk being pretty flakey. I use it on a rather large volume here, and I've found at least one (glaring, irritating) permissions issue involving lock files and how they're treated on Airdisk volumes. Honestly, and this probably isn't the answer you want, I would consider looking into Drobo if you're serious about operating a small NAS. I've heard lots of good things, and there's no latency or flakiness like there is with the Airport Extreme disk sharing.
posted by littlerobothead at 9:02 PM on January 29, 2009

Hmm, I've heard a lot of bad things about Drobo lately. Plus, I've already got 1.5TB of disks hooked up to the AirPort, with one of the drives acting as my Time Machine disk.
posted by krunk at 5:09 AM on January 30, 2009

A new, powered USB hub seems to have done the trick (for now, at least!). Thanks for all your help.
posted by krunk at 3:39 PM on February 9, 2009

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