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View Full Version : Question for people with Airport Base Station...how good is it?


jawad7
Nov 8, 2003, 04:28 PM
Hi,

I've got a Powerbook G4 12" with an Airport Extreme Card in it. i recently bought a Belkin wireless router (it was cheap) but i found that the signal was very poor. there wasn't a signal upstairs in my house.

just wanted to know what the signal is like for an Airport Base Station. does the signal go thorugh walls? the room which has the broadband connection in is downstairs so the airport will have to go there...will it stretch to my bedroom which is upstairs, through a door and about 20metres away?

please get back to me, purchase of one is imminent.

Macette
Nov 8, 2003, 04:41 PM
it really depends on what's between the airport base station and your computer. in my house, the airport base station is about 8-10 metres away from one of the computers, and the signal is only okay - not great. but between the two things are a washing machine, fridge (stainless steel type) and dishwasher. when the washing machine and dishwasher are running, the signal is not so good, and sometimes drops out completely.

if you get an airport base station, make sure you get one that can be extended with an antenna. the cheaper one (without the modem) can't be, but i think it's worth the extra.

unfortunately, there's no good way to test wireless stuff out before you buy. good luck with it.

whfsdude
Nov 8, 2003, 04:51 PM
I love the airport 2.0 but not the airport extreme. I find the airport extreme has signal issues. :(

red rover
Nov 8, 2003, 05:49 PM
Instead of purchasing the Airport Base Station, I bought the SMC Barricade 7004 Wireless Cable/DSL Broadband router for less than $100.00. Very easy to install and configure. I have it running two Macs and two PC's. Both of my mac's are using the Airport card (regular and extreme). I'm able to stand in my yard with my powerbook and get full signal strength. I hope this helps.

big
Nov 8, 2003, 06:44 PM
well, the tiBook signal will always bite the big one, I love the Extreme base station's simplisity and ease of use, though with an iBook, you can get amazing signal strength, form next door, at the end of the drive.... I cant imagine having an antennaa on the thing, that would be neat. Not that I have a reason to take a stroll with a laptop so I can post here, but I guess it could be done....

brogers
Nov 8, 2003, 08:31 PM
In September our lower level flooded in a major rain event. That is where I had my computers. The disaster clean up company set up 12 fans, 2 dehumidifiers and 3 heat blowers for 7 days. I left my Aiport base station pugged in down there and sitting on a shelf but took my computers upstairs to the dining room. I had full signal even with all that electrical mess going on and being a floor away. I love the Aiport. Mine is not Exptreme but the model just before those were released.

Squire
Nov 8, 2003, 08:43 PM
Here's a Forbes.com review of the Airport Extreme. They were quite pleased with it except when it came to concrete walls.

http://www.forbes.com/2003/08/20/cx_pm_0820tentech.html

Squire

big
Nov 8, 2003, 09:37 PM
yeah, steel, concrete, anything with real mass, and any radio waves has a good bit of trouble.....

Chilton
Nov 8, 2003, 11:35 PM
There seems to be either a much poorer transmitter in the AEBS than the ABS, or the Apple Store in Houston lied to a client of mine about whether or not her AEBS was working, to get her to pay a restocking fee.

Here's the current info on the situation. I have talked with 30 other consultants this week, and we're all in agreement that we don't know how the Apple store could have made the claim they did.

http://homepage.mac.com/chilton/.Pictures/AEBS.html

-Chilton

SpaceMagic
Nov 9, 2003, 04:05 AM
Excellent! I've had an Airport Base Station since 2001 (I got the original Airport Base station from eBay). It worked great then, and it works better now i've upgraded to an Airport Extreme Base Station (the old one blew up (literally) in an storm... ).

The base station is in my bedroom (giving me Cancer most probably :confused: ) and I get perfectly ok reception down stairs and about 30 metres (straight line from base -> through floor -> through another door) or out my room -> down the stairs -> through two solid wood doors - > then another 10metres. In all it really does work 50 metres away.

Its as easy to set up as any other, and if it were not for the USB Printer port on the Airport Base station, i probably wouldnt have gone with apple for this, because there are cheaper alternatives.

What did it for me:

-54mbs - theoretical but has speeded up my 802.11b a bit too
-USB Printer Port - absolutely amazing, printer server basically!
-56k Modem - Sadly NO Broadband where I live so this is a god send my whole family use 56k at same time now :eek
- I've got two windows laptops, one ibook and an imac running off it!

Hope thats helped -

P.S - This one has survived two electrical storms so far... so good

astray
Nov 9, 2003, 05:39 AM
Ive been using my extreme base station at uni, and i find it works excellently, whether im in my room, or in my friends room three stories down in the building next to mine, (i generally get 4 though sometimes 3 bars) though this does have line of sight.

astray

kwajo.com
Nov 9, 2003, 08:36 AM
Originally posted by red rover
Instead of purchasing the Airport Base Station, I bought the SMC Barricade 7004 Wireless Cable/DSL Broadband router for less than $100.00. Very easy to install and configure. I have it running two Macs and two PC's. Both of my mac's are using the Airport card (regular and extreme). I'm able to stand in my yard with my powerbook and get full signal strength. I hope this helps.


I have the same SMC router and it works beautifully! I get good reception around the house (all three floors) and the speed is as fast as 802.11 can be. After the airport extreme software update about a week ago, my reception has improved even more, meaning that the couple places I was losing my signal no longer make my 17-incher crap out. plus I got the SMC for fifty bucks canadian brand new!

oldschool
Nov 9, 2003, 06:33 PM
set the multicast rate to ONE in the admin utility...this will drastically increase your range.

Rower_CPU
Nov 9, 2003, 09:20 PM
Originally posted by oldschool
set the multicast rate to ONE in the admin utility...this will drastically increase your range.

Have you tried it or do you know for certain?

The only reason I can see why that would work is that it decreases the total throughput to 1Mbps and you'd get better range due to the lower bandwidth.

oldschool
Nov 11, 2003, 01:59 AM
Originally posted by Rower_CPU
Have you tried it or do you know for certain?

The only reason I can see why that would work is that it decreases the total throughput to 1Mbps and you'd get better range due to the lower bandwidth.

It doesn't affect my speed at all. And it increases my reception to rooms that previously had no signal at all.

Besides, the default setting is only two...

mactastic
Nov 11, 2003, 12:52 PM
I love my AEBS, particularly for the usb print server feature since I don't have a desktop to use for print sharing. The range has gone to crap in my new house though, because we have old school plaster-and-lath walls. I can be 10 feet from the AE, but if there is a wall between it and me the reception is spotty at best. I'm torn between buying the Dr. Bott antennae and buying another cheap wireless BS. I would rather go with the Dr. Bott antennae, but I don't know if that would be able to penetrate the mass walls any better than the AE does. Failing that, I will have to put a BS in each of the rooms I want to go wireless in. Harrumph.

Otherwise I am extremly pleased with the functionality of it. The fact that my walls are so massive isn't Apples fault. And as a nice side benefit, the AE is stylish enough to mount to the wall and let people see it, something I wouldn't want to do with one of those Lynksis boxes. Apples aesthetics are always superb.

big
Nov 11, 2003, 01:24 PM
odd about your house... mine is Plaster & lathe as well. Originally, I was very conserned about the metal roof on it. I receive zero cell service in my house.

Though the Airport signal is very good (the roof is also a pyramid, which I think helps out my ABS, and keeps out all the bad radio waves, like Radio Disney, midnite phone calls from employeers...

in any instance, I wonder if there's not something else going on, because my ABS signal is better in my old house, than in my newer one....

oldschool
Nov 11, 2003, 01:55 PM
I have concrete floors in my house, and the airport base station has no problem going through those...

JulesK
Nov 11, 2003, 02:11 PM
Our house is about 2,400 square feet (3 floors; no concrete floors), and we have the base station on the middle floor (unfortunately, between a TV and our wine fridge!). No problem getting a signal anywhere in the house on my 12"PB. In the furthest places from the antenna, the signal may go down to 2 bars, but that's it. Given all the problems with people hacking into wireless networks, I'm just as glad that I didn't need to go the Dr. Bott antenna route. Set-up was a snap, which is good, because the documentation was a little sparse. Apple has a nice document on its support page dealing with wireless networks, so it's probably worth getting that if you want to do more than simply use AP as a way of getting broadband. I really can't believe how nice the product it.

mactastic
Nov 11, 2003, 02:11 PM
Interesting. At my old house I got good reception all around the house and out into the yard, although the max range was about 80-100 feet (I do have a TiBook after all). But when I moved in here the reception dropped to zilch in rooms other than the one the Base Station is in. All hardware and settings are the same as before, so I can't figure out how something other than the house could be causing the problem. Hmmmm...

big
Nov 11, 2003, 03:22 PM
well, without moving my tiBook for several hours, I have seen the bars go from full down to 2, for several hours each.....

mactastic
Nov 12, 2003, 09:27 AM
Actually I have noticed that here too. Never happened at my old house, but here the signal strength goes up and down without any movement of the computer. Occasionally I will go from full to lost signal, and the only way to get it back is to walk towards the BS with the laptop in hand until the signal returns. Very odd...

big
Nov 12, 2003, 09:48 AM
If I ever have any problems, I've noticed just turning the computers Airport connection off then back on, usually bumbs it back to 4 bars...

tveric
Nov 12, 2003, 10:46 AM
I bought an airport base station (not extreme) to steal cable internet, I mean, uh, hook up a local wireless network, with my landlord downstairs - hooked up her mac hard-wired to the base station, and upstairs I have an iMac and Powerbook G4 that I've never had problems receiving a signal with.

Even when I walk into different rooms with the Powerbook, the signal is always maxed.