I have an Airport Extreme wireless router and I use the usb port on the back to connect my old IoMega HDD to it as sort of a fake NAS (until I have enough cash to get a Drobo).

Every time I wish to access the external HDD I cannot connect via my mac or windows pc. So what I have to do is reset the Airport then connect. I have googled this and tried other suggestions like rolling back the firmware on the Airport but nothing seems to work.

Any other opinions?

  • what exactly do you mean by "i cannot connect"? any error messages? please describe the exact steps you take to connect – Kim Jul 24 '09 at 13:29
  • The message it gives me is: "Unable to connect" then the drive disappears on the mac side. Like it doesnt see it as being attached any longer. To get it "re-attached" I have to restart the router. – Mike Fielden Jul 24 '09 at 13:51

Maybe the drive is sleeping and the Airport is losing it?

I had an old HD that I used for media, it would spin down when not used, then eventually power itself off. When that happens I had to reconnect it completely to make it visible again, as it could no longer be woken by the device it was connected to.

Perhaps you could continuously connect to the drive? A Finder or Explorer window left open on a folder on the share could prevent the drive from sleeping.

  • Actually, that makes a lot of sense... I will run a little test to see if that helps... thank you... – Mike Fielden Jul 27 '09 at 14:56

Make sure you define an explicit firewall or port forwarding rule to allow the ports which your sharing service uses. I have seen this kind of thing cause very annoying drive disconnects when you need it the least.

Another thing which can cause an annoyance like this is the router's ability to arbitrate a large number of wireless connections which have specific ports assigned to them. As the ports open and close you get to a point where the device needs to flush something to keep operating. invariably it will get something wrong as it rolls the dice with the oldest connection the router is aware of.

Also transmission errors can also cause this sort of problem. Typically the protocols have a specific period of time before they completely time out. Once the connection to your "NAS" completely times out, the connection to the device is dropped. You can sometimes tweak the TCP settings to aleviate this problem.

Wireless interference will also cause the same kind of annoyance if you have another access point banging away transmitting on the same frequency you are using.

Hope this helps you...


My Airport Extreme was stable with a 1 TB external USB used for time machine. I was running 7.3.1. I got the bright idea to upgrade to 7.4.2, and then I could not access my external drive at all. I reverted to 7.4.1, and that allowed me to connect to my drives, but now everything is running extremely slow. Internet feels like a 56k connection. I'm going to have to go back to version 7.3.1.

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