2:45 - Friday, 18 April 2014

Accessing An AirPort Extreme-shared Hard Drive Over The Internet

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I have an AirPort Extreme with a 16GB flash drive formated in FAT32 attached to it via USB. I can see it as a network location on my Windows computer.

On the AirPort Utility I have “Enable file sharing” checked with “with device password” and guest access: “not allowed”. I also have “Share disks over WAN” checked but “Share disks over the Internet using Bonjour” is not checked. Both workgroup and WINS Server are blank. I have no idea what a WINS Server is.

I want to be able to share the USB flash drive over the internet.

Under “Network” I can see our router sharing the disk as a computer in a workgroup, and when I ping it I do get my router’s IP address. But if I type my router’s private and public IP addresses into my browser, I don’t get anything. As in Internet Explorer just says “cannot connect” unlike other routers where you get the router configuration page.

I have basic knowledge of IP addresses and networks but if someone could provide step by step instructions describing what I have to do, it would be much appreciated!

AirPort Extremes share FAT32 volumes via SMB (Windows-style file sharing). It does not share it over HTTP (the main web browsing protocol). So you connect to it via any SMB/CIFS client, not via a web browser.

So from Windows Explorer (NOT Internet Explorer), you could connect like this:


Or from other tools, you could enter an smb:// or cifs:// URL something like this:


Note, however, that the ports used for SMB and its supporting protocols are some of the most-attacked ports on the Internet, so many ISPs block all external accesses to those ports automatically just to keep malware/botnet/script-kiddie/hacker traffic to a minimum. If you can’t get this to work, you might want to check with your ISP to find out if they block those ports by default, and if they do, if they can unblock them for your IP address at your request. But you should keep a damn good password on that service.