Airport Extreme 5th gen or 6th gen ? :/

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by ApoorvPrem, Aug 2, 2015.

  1. ApoorvPrem macrumors regular

    ApoorvPrem

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Location:
    India
    #1
    So I am moving in my college flat this month and needed a router for the home setup. It's a small flat - around 600 soft with one drawing room-one kitchen and one bedroom. That's it. So the range is not much of an issue - 25-35 feet would do. The internet provided is a college one with 16Mbps speed. Now the problem is I can't decide which router to go for (MEGANOOB ALERT!).

    I like the Airport extreme but it's too expensive - 179 dollars. 5th gen on the other hand is at the perfect price point - 60 dollars approx. Being a student, price matters. So which one should I go for? Would i be losing a lot if i go with the 5th gen? I am not gonna use any extra feature other than the internet.

    Systems - iMac 5K
    MacBook Pro 13inch
    iPhone 6

    Thanks :)
     
  2. RMo, Aug 3, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2015

    RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    #2
    You'll loose out on 802.11ac connectivity, but unless you have a lot of ac devices (and actually want to use 802.11ac instead of 802.11n or older standards), you won't be missing out on much. Well, that and the fact that the 6th gen allows you to connect USB storage to the Extreme to use with Time Machine, whereas previously that was supported only with Time Capsule.

    My favorite feature on the 5th gen is that I can still use AirPort Utility 5.x to manage it and don't have to use the dumbed-down, feature-stripped version 6 of the software. If the 5th gen I'm currently using ever dies, I think I'm going to look at other manufacturers for that reason alone. (Reserving DCHP addresses is much more awkward, changing radio power--I always reduced mine for a small apartment--is no longer possible, and tons of other options got removed. If you don't plan on doing much advanced tinkering, you should be fine with either, though.)

    tl;dr I think the 5th gen will be fine, especially at that price.
     
  3. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #3
    This is an important point: Apple sticks you with having to use a proprietary software tool, unlike very other manufacturer on the planet. I had an older Airport Express and can't use it with the new Airport Utility, and the old Airport Utility doesn't run on Yosemite. And sometimes attaching Apple stuff to ISP/broadband is a pain because either your installer hates Apple products, or stuff has non-standard naming conventions on the Apple, or just because you need the special utilty to change anything.

    I'd recommend you buy a non-$Apple$ router. Check www.smallnetbuilder.com, but you can probably get an Archer C7, which is as fast as the current generation Airport Extreme, for less than $100US. And it does 802.11ac, has antennas, USB port, etc.

    Or maybe the Netgear 6300. A tad more, but it has a USB 3 port, and you can attach an external drive to share files, or use with Time Machine. They have a pretty easy to use interface, iOS apps, sharing over the internet, USB printer sharing, and decent UPnP/DLNA support, which can be important when setting up media sharing and gaming consoles. Just in case you aren't using it to study all the time....
     
  4. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #4
    If you want to stick with Apple routers, then consider a refurbished AirPort Extreme for $129.
     
  5. ApoorvPrem thread starter macrumors regular

    ApoorvPrem

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Location:
    India
    #5
    No Apple router then. :/ Fair enough. Thanks for the advice guys. Really helped a lot
     
  6. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    #6
    But it does. :) With a little unofficial tweaking (link: http://coreyjmahler.com/2013/10/24/airport-utility-5-6-1-on-os-x-10-9-mavericks/), at least.* I hope this keeps working--it's kept the v5 Utility working for me the last two or three versions of OS X, and I will change to a non-Apple router the minute this stops working. (Also of note: the current version for Windows is version 5, so no special tweaking is needed if you have a Windows system and an older AirPort. However, they have not updated the Windows version to support the newer routers and possibly never will, so it's only as useful as running the same version on a Mac.)

    Does Apple officially support TimeMachine on third-party NAS solutions? I don't think they have in the past, though they might have changed their position (they didn't even officially support it on AirPort until the sixth generation). If they don't, I'd be wary of trusting something as important as my backup with an unsupported solution, even though there may be ways to get it to work.


    *Ugh, with the new color scheme in the forums I can't even tell that this text is a link when I'm editing the post. I guess it's clearer after it's been posted, but I added some text to make it abundantly clear just in case.
     
  7. barbu macrumors regular

    barbu

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2013
    Location:
    ott.on.ca
    #7
    This is true but i think it also proves the "security by obscurity" rule by being the exception... the fact is the majority of all those other routers out there have shittily-written firmware that have more than a few times been shown to be completely insecure. I like the fact that the Airports don't run web servers and have been shown to be pretty resilient over the years. I considered going non-Apple last time i upgraded, there are some attractive price points and the ability to run alt firmware (i'v done it all before, back in the WRT days). But looking around, the track record of every major manufacturer has been pretty damn terrible...
     

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