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  1. #1

    Lúthien's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 03, 2010
    Accessing my files from outside/internet using the airport extreme

    I have spent all day today trying to figure out what I thought was pretty straightforward, but turned out to be not quite so straightforward

    it's this: I work together with my friend on a couple of projects. Sometimes we work at my place, sometimes at her's. We usually bring our own files with us, either on the disk of the laptop or with a usb stick.
    This week, I bought an Airport Extreme to use for backing up my stuff (I have a MBP and an iMac at home). Reading through the manual and several online articles I began to suspect that it might be possible to set things up in such a way that I could access my USB external HD (which is now connected to the Airport Extreme) from my friend's house over the internet. This would really be handy, so I tried to figure out how to do that.

    My setup is as follows: I had an existing DSL modem/wireless router.
    I connected the Airport Extreme to that using a Ethernet cable - using one of the Ethernet ports on the existing modem/router and plugging it into the WAN port of the Airport Extreme.
    I then disabled the modem/router's wifi, and set up a new wireless network from the Airport Extreme - also using DHCP.
    This worked fine - and the Time Machine also works as it should, both on the iMac and the MBP.

    I was also able to hook up my existing external USB HD to the Airport Extreme, making it thus available to both computers.

    I started off today by reading all I could find about how to go about making my Airport Extreme plus attached HD "visible" to the Internet (password protected).

    The first thing that I could not find a clear answer on was whether it would make a difference that the Airport Extreme is connected to the Internet via the old modem/router. It's still being routed through the "router" part of that thing and is thus not connected to the internet directly - but all howto's that I could find did not mention this. They all seem to consider the case that the Airport Extreme is connected to the internet using only a modem (DSL or cable).

    So when the "howto" speaks of "external IP address of the Airport" - it is a bit ambivalent in my setup. It is still a "LAN" ip address - - and really cannot figure out how to proceed here.

    Maybe I am just overlooking something very obvious. But does anyone have an idea how to do this?
    The logical thing to do would be, I think, to use port forwarding in the old modem/router, which would expose the Airport Extreme to the outside world. But I need to figure out how to set the Airport Extreme in order to make use of that - and also, what ports I would need to forward on the old modem/router.

    I have a static WAN IP address - I checked that.

    I'd appreciate any help!!

    - luthien

  2. #2

    IvanLasston's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 26, 2010
    Rocky Mountain High, Colorado
    1.8 GHz i7 MBA 11" OSX 10.8.2
    If you have a static WAN then you can use NAT to open a port. Note even with password protection this is very dangerous. The stanadard ports (like AFP, or SSH, or HTTP for example) are constantly under probe from bots. Opening a port is like having a doorbell on the internet - people know that your house is there and they will start ringing that doorbell like there is no tomorrow.

    I run a server and I see it get hit all the time with people/bots probing with username passwords pretty much every day. Anyway - long story short - I do not recommend opening ports unless you are fully aware of the consequences. Not only do you have to watch for attacks, you must keep all open systems very very up to date. What you describe isn't as easy as you think.

    Now that being said - if all you want to do is share files and be able to access them from outside your network - consider team viewer. You can control your desktop (iMac) as well as transfer files from that computer with a password of your choosing.
    TeamViewer - Free Remote Access and Remote Desktop Sharing over the Internet
    You can mount your AE Disk on that iMac and access it through teamviewer's file transfer interface. You can give your friend a password to access the files as well.

  3. #3

    Lúthien's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 03, 2010
    Thank you. That's a good point you raise; I had not realised that in full.
    I will check out TeamViewer!

  4. #4

    bobtomay's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 22, 2006
    Texas, where else?
    15" MBP '06 2.33 C2D 4GB 10.7; 13" MBA '11 1.8 i7 4GB 10.10; 21" iMac '13 2.9 i5 8GB 10.10; 5s & 5c
    A couple of other ways to share files, you might want to check out Mobileme or Dropbox.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

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