Sunday, March 9, 2008

Apple Time Capsule

Apple's new Time Capsule is one of only two devices we know of that incorporates both a wireless router and a hard drive into the same product. The other, a year-and-a-half-old router from Asus, offers neither the same high-speed wireless bandwidth nor as much storage capacity as the Time Capsule, which comes in 500GB (for $299) and 1TB (for $499) varieties. In its niche, then, the Time Capsule is the most advanced product on the market. Its price is also fair compared with a separate router and network-attached hard drive. Mac owners and the space or design conscious should consider the Time Capsule if they're in need of a router upgrade. Windows PC owners should look elsewhere for more advanced storage capabilities, as should anyone that demands fast wireless performance.

This brings us to the Time Capsule's USB port. The Airport Extreme Base Station had one as well, so much of the functionality is the same. The idea is that you can plug pretty much any networkable USB device into the Time Capsule and share it across your network. It can also accept a USB hub if you want to attach multiple devices. We successfully added a USB flash drive and a USB hard drive, each of which created another distinct drive volume on our network. Apple offers no RAID capability with the Time Capsule (unlike the old Asus router-storage combo product), so it cannot mirror added drives or map them into a contiguous volume. Mirroring a drive already set to backup might be excessive, but it would be useful to create a single volume out of multiple drives.

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