Regarding Airport and Airport Extreme

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Spike Spiegel, Jun 3, 2005.

  1. Spike Spiegel macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2002
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #1
    I've been wanting to transfer all of the computers in my house to wireless recently, and I was wondering about the benefits of Airport Extreme as opposed to Airport. The computers in the house are a flat panel iMac G4(only compatible with Airport), a mirror door G4 Tower(compatible with Airport Extreme), and a Qucksilver G4 Tower(I'm not sure if this can use Extreme or not yet). Since Airport Extreme offers speeds of up to 54 Mbps and typical broadband internet generally runs around 1.5 Mbps, will I get any decrease in internet speed by only equipping the computers with Airport cards, or will I actually benefit from putting Extreme cards in those computers that can take one? The reason I ask is that I'm not going to be doing much transferring of files beween the computers, so the internet connection is really all I'm concerned with. Also, if I decide to go regular Airport, would I be better off buying an Airport Extreme base station, or should I just find a regular Airport base station? I would appreciate any feedback.
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #2
    Airport is the slower 802.11b standard that runs at 11Mbps whereas Extreme is the faster 802.11g standard that runs at 54Mbps. Having a regular Airport computer on your network will slow the faster Extreme computers down to regular speed so there's really no point in getting Extreme in the short term. However, in the long term, it's probably worthwhile because those computers with only regular Airport are likely to be updated first which will bring the network bottleneck back to the Extreme computers.

    Plus, I'm pretty sure the two Airport cards (regular and Extreme) are not interchangeable so you'll have to get Extreme anyway. I'm also pretty sure the newer Extreme base stations (or the Express) will have a better range than the old ones so you may as well get one of them.
     
  3. beige matchbox macrumors 6502a

    beige matchbox

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    Oxfordshire, UK
    #3
    a 1.5Mbps net connection wont be slowed by an 11Mbps (airport/802.11b) network

    If you plan on moving fairly big files across your wireless setup (300Mb+) i'd go for 802.11g (extreme), otherwise you'll be waiting ages for it to copy, lol

    Now, the thing is, the macs that can use extreme, can only use the extreme cards, so theres no cost saving there, the only place you have the option of B or G is in the base station, and considering the current difference in the cost there really is little point in limiting your self to 11Mbps :)

    If you get an 802.11g (extreme) base station, the communications between the machines equipped with the extreme cards will be at 54Mbps, while the non extreme macs will quite happily plod along at 11Mbps, also communication between an extreme and a non extreme will be at 11Mbps


    Hope that helps, if it's a little unclear, blame it on me having a long day, it being 1am and me needing sleep, lol :D
     
  4. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #4

    True, but I think the newer Extreme base stations have a bigger range IIRC.
     
  5. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #5
    I own four Macs and two AirPort Express routers, so I say this as a friend of Apple:

    Buy a LinkSys WRT54G router for US$60 or so. It has better range than the AirPort Extreme, and it's a third the cost. It'll connect happily with any AirPort (or Extreme) cards as well as AirPort Express routers. You can get a free and easily available hack to up the power output for even more range.
     
  6. Spike Spiegel thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2002
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #6
    Thank you guys for the advice. I'm definitely going to look into that LinkSys router to soften the financial blow of having to buy airport cards in addition to a base station/router.
     

Share This Page