Information Technology Reference
Decide Whether to Buy a Time Capsule
Apple's AirPort Time Capsule is a device that combines an 802.11ac
Wi-Fi gateway, a gigabit Ethernet switch, and a Time Machine-
compatible, network-mountable hard drive in a single compact case.
The first two features are found in the AirPort Extreme ($199), but
the Time Capsule adds an internal drive and is neatly tied into Time
Note: In June 2013, Apple changed several things about the Time
Capsule—its shape, its specifications (adding 802.11ac), and even
its name. Although the official name is now “AirPort Time Capsule,”
I stick with the less-cumbersome “Time Capsule” in this topic.
You can use a Time Capsule as the backup destination for one or more
Macs or PCs on your network— even if you're using a third-party
archiving program rather than Time Machine —as well as to store
other shared files on the device. You can attach one or more external
USB 2.0 drives to a Time Capsule to increase its storage capacity, as
well as a shared USB printer (though you'll need a USB hub to attach
more than one USB device). As I write this, two models are available—
one with a 2 TB drive ($299) and the other with a 3 TB drive ($399).
I think Time Capsule is a fantastic idea, and with the latest release,
its features and price have become more attractive. Even so, while
it's a great choice for some people, it's not ideal for everyone. If you're
considering a Time Capsule, be aware of the following potential
No bootable duplicates: You can't store a bootable duplicate
on a Time Capsule. Even if you connect an external drive, you
can't make a bootable duplicate over the network, not even with
a program like Carbon Copy Cloner that can normally do that,
because all such programs require software to be running on the
backup device itself with administrative access. Since you can't
install software on a Time Capsule, you can't make a bootable
duplicate with one.