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Summary:

The other day my friend called me to tell me that he bought this new product called Pogoplug. The Pogoplug is pretty cool; you plug it into the wall, connect a hard drive to it, then connect it to your local Internet, and you have an […]

apple-time-capsule-1The other day my friend called me to tell me that he bought this new product called Pogoplug. The Pogoplug is pretty cool; you plug it into the wall, connect a hard drive to it, then connect it to your local Internet, and you have an NAS ready to go. I thought it was a pretty neat product idea, and the ease of use was great, but when he showed me that he could mount it over the Internet so that you could access your files over the Net, I knew I needed to have one — almost.

After a few minutes of of shopping, I had found a 2TB USB hard drive and had the Pogoplug in my cart, but then saw I was going to spend about three hundred bucks. I then started thinking that I already had a Time Capsule 1TB hard drive with all my media on it, and that there must be a way to mount my Time Capsule over the Internet just like the Pogoplug. Unfortunately, there is really no documentation on how to mount the Time Capsule over the Internet, but after a few minutes, I ended up figuring it out myself. I can now have my files wherever I am!

Some Things to Note

  • This tutorial assumes you are using your Time Capsule as an NAS, not as the router. It’s possible it would work when in use as a router, but I didn’t give that a try.
  • Wherever your Time Capsule is must have a static IP address. (My broadband Internet came with that.)

Determine your External IP Address

We’re going to be referring back to this number a lot. Make sure you write it down.

  1. Go to What is My IP Address?
  2. Write down the number next to “Your IP Address is”
    ip-address

Determine your Time Capsule’s IP Address

  1. Launch Airport Utility: Applications → Utilities → Airport Utility
  2. Find your device in the left-hand column and select it.
  3. Copy the number down next to “IP Address” in the right-hand column.
    timecapsuleIP

Determine Your Time Capsule’s Disk Password

When we try to remotely connect to the Time Capsule, we are going to be prompted for the password for it. To set up a password for the Time Capsule disk:

  1. Launch Airport Utility: Applications → Utilities → Airport Utility
  2. Find your device in the left-hand column and select it.
  3. Click the “Manual Setup” button.
  4. Click the “Disks” tab.
  5. Click the “File Sharing” tab.
  6. Make sure the “Enable File Sharing” box is checked and “With a secure disk password” is selected from the “Secure Shared Disks” drop-down menu.
  7. Enter in a password in the “Disk Password” and “Verify Password” boxes.
  8. Click the “Update” button.
    timecapsulepassword

Forward Port 548

Port 548 is the Apple file-sharing port. We need to forward from our external IP address to the Time Capsule on our internal network.

Every router is different, so below I’ve outlined the basic steps. You’re going to have to consult your router’s documentation for exact instructions. Portfoward.com has documentation for a lot of routers, and I also wrote an article for how to do port forwarding with Airport Extremes.

  1. Log in to your router. If you have left it as the router as the default configuration, launch a web browser and enter “192.168.1.1” (most routers default to this IP). If this doesn’t work, consult your router’s manual for directions on how to get to the configuration panel.
  2. Once you are logged into your router, find the port forwarding section (mine was under the “Applications and Gaming” tab).
  3. Forward both the TCP and UDP ports from the router to your Time Capsule’s IP Address

AppleScript to Mount Drive (For Laptop Users)

We are going to make an application to mount the drive. After you save it in your Applications folder, anytime you are away from home you can simply double click it to mount your Time Capsule.

  1. Open Scipt Editor: Applications → AppleScript → Script Editor
  2. Paste the following code (be sure to replace Your External IP Address, Your Username, and the Time Capsule Password):
    mount volume ¬
    "afp://YOUR EXTERNAL IP ADDRESS" as user name "YOUR USERNAME" with password "TIME CAPSULE PASSWORD"
  3. Click File → Save As.
  4. Select “Application” from the “File Format” pulldown.
  5. Save it to your Applications folder.

Mount Drive From Any Mac Computer

Here is how you mount the drive from any of your friends’ computers. Obviously, you won’t have your application with you. If you’re feeling lazy, you could email it to yourself and store it in your email so you always have it.

  1. In the Finder bar at the top of your screen click Go → Connect to Server.
  2. In the server address box, enter in your external IP address that we wrote down earlier.
  3. Click “Connect.”
  4. You will be prompted for a username and password.
    Username: Enter in your computers username. (On your home computer go to System Preferences → Accounts and it’s the name next to “Username”.)
    Password: Enter in your Time Capsule’s Password

systemusername

Optional Step: Forward a Domain Name to Your External IP Address

Remembering a domain name is much easier than remembering an IP address, so for this optional step we are going to forward a domain name to our External IP address that we wrote down earlier. Then, when we go to the “Connect to Server” you can enter in the domain name instead of the IP address.

This guide is for GoDaddy, but the same basic procedure should apply for other domain registrars.

  1. Purchase a domain at Godaddy.com.
  2. Log in to your Account Manager.
  3. In the My Products section, click Domain Manager.
  4. Click the domain name for which you want to create an A record.
  5. In the Total DNS section, click Total DNS Control and MX Records.
  6. Click Add New A Record.
  7. Complete the following:
    Host Name: The host name the A record links to. You can enter @ to map the record directly to your domain.
    Points to IP Address: The external IP address that we wrote down earlier.
    TTL: The time increment for which the server should cache the information.
  8. Click OK.

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  1. Or, if you have Mobile Me you just turn on disk sharing in the Airport Utility and the disk will be mounted on any computer where you are signed in to Mobile Me automatically. A far cry easier, and works great. :-)

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    1. Dear David,

      I did turn on disk sharing in my airport configuration, but my Time Capsule doesn’t show up anywhere. Any idea what it could be, what I should check? I have UPnP turned on, this seemed to be a problem at first but has now been fixed.

      I’m using the latest MacBook Pro and the latest Time Capsule.

      Best, Jerry

      Share
    2. Let me correct that last post: I did not turn on UPnP correctly after all. Now I did, and indeed my Time Capsule does show up in the Finder. However, it’s impossible to connect to it – I do not get to filling in username and password, it just displays that it’s connecting but nothing happens. Any idea?

      Share
      1. I have the exact same problem… Can anzone help with this please?

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    3. drive-by-trucker Sunday, July 19, 2009

      @ David –

      Within Airport Utility I have turned ON disk sharing for MobileMe.

      I have all passwords set correctly.

      I am now within my MobileMe web space, however I can not find my Time Capsule data here… there is only
      [Mail, Address Book, Calendar, Photos, iDisk, Account]
      … there is no TC to be found.

      Any suggestions? Thanks a bunch I appreciate it!

      Share
    4. Works a treat with my MacBook the only down side I have no friends that currently own Macs just PC thankfully this is changing though!

      Share
  2. For Forward a Domain Name to Your External IP Address instead of buying a domain name you can also use dyndns.com services. They will connect a subdomain to your IP. Works fine.

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    1. what are the settings in the time capsule if we use dyndns.com

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      1. Yes, Im stuck here trying to access through any PC anywhere to the TC HDD. Dyndns free services are not compatible with TC. Does anyone have the same issue here?
        Problem: Connect thru internet to HDD TC from any computer…..
        Please Help
        Thanks

        Share
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  4. Anybody seen a read/write speed comparison between Pogoplug and Airdisk? I’m currently using Airport Extreme with a 1TB drive attached, but it’s freaking SLOW. Was wondering if Pogoplug might be faster.

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  5. Second the reccomendatiom for dyndns, works like a charm

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  6. Quirilio Vilorio III Friday, May 15, 2009

    In this case do you need have a a computer that will provide de external DNS or the TC itself will have a DNS to access to?

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  7. @Quirilio Vilorio III no computer is needed on the home network

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  9. [...] Written on June 22, 2009 by Jenny Kortina and No one has commented I previously wrote an article on how to stream your data from a Time Capsule & local computer over the Internet. After [...]

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  10. Does anyone know if the files are then accessible for PC users as well? Am looking for a good cross-platform server that can be accessed from both home & at our small office, as well as working as a wireless network & printer server.

    Time Capsule seems to do all that, but is it cross platform?

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