Ethernet Wireless Hard Drive Music Server

Is anyone using an ethernet hard drive connected to their Airport Base Station to act as a wireless music server? I'm thinking of doing just that but wondered if the speed of the Airport interface delivering an ethernet connection wirelessly is going to be fast enough to provide uninterrupted music? I'm pretty sure I have the most recent Airport Base Station, or at least know it's 802.11g compatible. Not sure of the actual transfer rate though. I'd be using an ethernet hard drive such as this Lacie ethernet hard drive. With ethernet the transfer is limited to 100mb/s. I'm not sure what the minimum streaming rate for itunes files are, and whether or not that rate varies with the file type (I use WAV and Apple Lossless). I would think that the critical, limiting link would be the wireless streaming rate. Is there somewhere in the Mac OSX.4 operating system to check the actual rate your Airport is streaming data?

Thanks in advance for any input.

Your maximum streaming rate from an uncompressed CD is 1.4 Mbps. Even the old 802.11b speed (10 Mpbs) is adequate so the g is more than fine. If you wish to play any of the lossy compressed file formats you're even better off since those bit rates tend to run from 128 to 320 Kbps.

Of course, this assumes two things. First of all the device that receives the music data stream should be buffered. This would allow momentary hiccups (due to other traffic on the connection) to be handled. The second item is that you are not running a massive amount of other traffic on the network. Of course, that could also interfere with a wired connection. However, I've got six devices sharing my home network and have never had an interruption issue while playing my SB3.
Thanks Mlsstl. My receiving end is my Mac Laptop with airport extreme, which goes to a Waveterminal U24 and then to my DAC, so it sounds like I should be fine. Minimal traffic at my house usually. I guess if it doesn't work the drive is also USB 2.0 so it wouldn't be a total loss. Thank you for the input.

I've been researching this. It would be nice if something like this worked, since the price is right, but I don't think this will be fast enough to do what you want, since you will be using the ethernet drive as a wireless server for your music, rather than just streaming from one computer to the airport (like airtunes over an airport express). I considered hooking up a 500GB USB drive to the new Airport Extreme (basically the same as what you're proposing), but I decided against it after reading several reports on the internet of people having trouble using the Airport Extreme as an iTunes server. If you are thinking about hooking up the external drive directly to the laptop, make sure you take into account hard drive noise.

Please let me know how this works out. Although I haven't pulled the trigger yet, the best solution I've found so far for a 500GB music library (with built-in backup and room to expand to 2.25TB in RAID 5) is to buy an Infrant ReadyNAS NV+ and hard wire it to a giga-ethernet router (10/100/1000) in a media/LAN closet. It isn't a cheap solution, but it is very robust, fast and secure.
Thanks for the input, Morris. I've been using external drives for over a year, both USB and Firewire, without a hiccup (well, one or two, but it's very rare and very brief). So that is not an issue as far as I'm concerned. I've been using Lacie D2 Extreme drives and the noise has not been an issue for me, though it is there it's pretty minimal. There have been some reports of drive failure, especially with the cheaper Lacie drives. My good friend had an Extreme drive fail on him. I've had good luck with them as have a few other friends. There are no guarantees, as I'm sure you are aware. The OWC (Other World Computing) Mercury Elite Pro drives have a good reputation, but the one I've heard is pretty loud, and I don't think they have an Ethernet version (they actually sell Lacie's drives for that).

As far as the Ethernet drive, again, thanks for that input. You certainly may have something there. There is, I think, one difference in that, and correct me if I am wrong, Airport Express uses the 802.11B convention, while my Aiport Base Station and Airport Extreme card stream info in 802.11G which is significantly faster. This is why it would be helpful to get input from someone doing exactly what I am proposing to do. So let me know if I'm off base, but there is that difference.

Thanks again for this, and any further input.

The Airport Express is 802.11g.

If you are planning to use the Lacie as a USB 2.0 anyway, then it is probably worth a try as a wireless ethernet drive. Please report back with your results. Just keep in mind that it will be dramatically slower than a USB 2.0 hard drive connection. If you are ok with this, then it may work for you. Sorry, I haven't tried any of this out. Hopefully, someone else out there can help.

In my research, I found the discussion board on helpful as well as the information on
Check out slimdevices. Both the squeezebox and the Transporter are built for wireless music.
Check out slimdevices. Both the squeezebox and the Transporter are built for wireless music.

Thanks, but I don't think either of those are storage devices (which is primarily what I'm looking for here). I don't need a DAC nor a wireless base station. I'm looking for a network server (storage device that holds the actual music files) that I can access wirelessly via laptop. I don't want to have my music library always tethered to my computer, and it's too big to store on the laptop's hard drive (currently my library is 300gb). The Airport Base Station does a fine job at streaming the wireless signal, and iTunes is a great interface (I don't mind using the laptop). I love my DAC, and the Waveterminal U24 does a fine job at reclocking and converting the signal. I don't need a remote (though the modern Macs all have one - my Wife's iMac has one). I don't think either device you suggested is capable of streaming at a higher rate than the Mac Airport stuff. They are all using 802.11G technology so none will move the digits any faster, right?

Anyway, good idea if you're looking for what those devices are capable of. I have no experience with either, but haven't heard much to recommend the Squeezbox as being anything more than adequate as a DAC (that's been at least two audiophile friend's experience with them). I have heard nothing good or bad about the Transporter. It's $2k so I hope it's a very fine DAC. Do you have experience with it? Please correct me if I'm missing a significant detail here that these devices offer, or if your experience has been vastly different. Thanks for the input!

I purchased the Infrant Technologies ReadyNas NV+ running Linux and SlimServer Shareware to organize my library recorded with FLAC. Unit is raid level 5 and has 4x250gb leaving 750gb usable after redundancy. Runs totally independent of my home pc's via the network. The unit is whisper quiet. I then send music to SlimDevices Transporter in a wired mode, and then wireless to a Squeezebox elsewhere. All the Slim products have digi outputs.
My WiFi setup is basically $200 all in and I routinely get ~38MB/s. 

That's roughly 40 24/192 concurrent streams.