AirPort Extreme 802.11n vs. Any AC wireless router

Bill Killer

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 29, 2011
491
98
I currently have the 802.11n AE router. I get decent performance most of the time, but it stalls every now and then on certain sites.

Come Friday, I will have 2 devices that are AC compatible. For an 850 square foot apartment, is the upgrade to a AC router worth it?
 

Bill Killer

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 29, 2011
491
98
Worth noting that currently my Xbox One has a hard time maintaining a connection via apps as well.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
I currently have the 802.11n AE router. I get decent performance most of the time, but it stalls every now and then on certain sites.

Come Friday, I will have 2 devices that are AC compatible. For an 850 square foot apartment, is the upgrade to a AC router worth it?
What generation is your current AE? The thing to note is that an AC means faster network speed and not internet speed. The new AirPort is a fantastic and capable piece of equipment. I use one at home and as the central router of a network for a school and it works great for the 105 daily clients across the whole network.

The AirPort Extreme is very easy, simple, and reliable. It's downfalls are slightly less range than a comparable ASUS AC router and less configuration of advanced options. As shown in some studies, the AirPort Extreme sustains great speeds across the range.
 

Bill Killer

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 29, 2011
491
98
What generation is your current AE? The thing to note is that an AC means faster network speed and not internet speed. The new AirPort is a fantastic and capable piece of equipment. I use one at home and as the central router of a network for a school and it works great for the 105 daily clients across the whole network.

The AirPort Extreme is very easy, simple, and reliable. It's downfalls are slightly less range than a comparable ASUS AC router and less configuration of advanced options. As shown in some studies, the AirPort Extreme sustains great speeds across the range.
5th Generation. Maybe 4th. I'm at work currently so I can't validate it entirely.

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What generation is your current AE? The thing to note is that an AC means faster network speed and not internet speed. The new AirPort is a fantastic and capable piece of equipment. I use one at home and as the central router of a network for a school and it works great for the 105 daily clients across the whole network.

The AirPort Extreme is very easy, simple, and reliable. It's downfalls are slightly less range than a comparable ASUS AC router and less configuration of advanced options. As shown in some studies, the AirPort Extreme sustains great speeds across the range.
Also, I know I'm limited by the speed agreed upon with my ISP. For some reason, it take multiple reloads and unacceptably long (3-4 minute waits) to access some websites (Facebook, Wikipedia being the main 2), and the pins/apps on my Xbox One don't like loading for me on the first try.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
5th Generation. Maybe 4th. I'm at work currently so I can't validate it entirely.

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Also, I know I'm limited by the speed agreed upon with my ISP. For some reason, it take multiple reloads and unacceptably long (3-4 minute waits) to access some websites (Facebook, Wikipedia being the main 2), and the pins/apps on my Xbox One don't like loading for me on the first try.
Websites sometimes not loading could be a DNS server issue. You can give Google DNS or Open DNS a shot if you are in the US. I think you will be more than satisfied with the AirPort Extreme 6th generation.
 

Bill Killer

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 29, 2011
491
98
Websites sometimes not loading could be a DNS server issue. You can give Google DNS or Open DNS a shot if you are in the US. I think you will be more than satisfied with the AirPort Extreme 6th generation.
So when I use AT&T's modem/router as my primary, I'm able connect to the websites quickly and easily.

When I switch back to the Airport Extreme's wireless network (2.4GHz and 5GHz), it has issues loading again.

EDIT: OpenDNS and Google DNS did not speed anything up at all.

I'm thinking F it, getting the 6th Gen AE. I have $155 in Best Buy coupons, and I could always return it if no improvement in internet speed.
 
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Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
So when I use AT&T's modem/router as my primary, I'm able connect to the websites quickly and easily.

When I switch back to the Airport Extreme's wireless network (2.4GHz and 5GHz), it has issues loading again.

EDIT: OpenDNS and Google DNS did not speed anything up at all.

I'm thinking F it, getting the 6th Gen AE. I have $155 in Best Buy coupons, and I could always return it if no improvement in internet speed.
I am definitely more than happy with the 6th generation!
 

Bill Killer

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 29, 2011
491
98
I am definitely more than happy with the 6th generation!
Thanks for your help with everything, but I have one more question.

I actually changed my 5th generation (yes, I checked, 5th) from creating a new wireless network to operating in bridge mode. Xbox, which is wired, issues are resolved. Some less than desirable latency on the ping time over wireless, but the sites that previously gave me issues are now loading appropriately.

My question is, is bridge mode in AC (for my iPad/iPhone, which is what I use for the bulk of my internet browsing) still an advantage over wireless-n?
 

campyguy

macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
3,415
932
My 2¢ worth. Use the internet to search for conflicts between your router and an AE. I've got 4 AEs running in 3 different locations - 3 4th Gen and one new unit, albeit one 4th Gen is extending my new 6th Gen (AC) to connect a couple of peripherals via ethernet. The AC and 4th Gen were both behind a Motorola SB6141 modem on Comcast Business Class - my AEs and SB6141 seem to hate each other, and there's lots of nasty comments that echo my sentiment. The other two 4th Gen units are in field offices behind SMC routers (also Comcast BC accounts) and there's been no problems whatsoever - I had an SMC router at my current location but can't get them any more, and it worked fine with my SMC.

I get around speed fluctuations and hiccups by restarting the SB6141, and I've read that there's a new firmware for my modem in testing. But, the bigger issue seems to be that some modems don't get along with certain routers - you might want to check that out first. I see no difference in DL/UL/network performance between the 4th Gen and current-generation AEs, and I have mostly AC-compatible hardware.

My point is that you ought to check to see if there's inherit issues between your provided modem and an AE. For my home office, I'm getting my modem fee written off and Comcast bought my modem - but it's far less money than an hour of therapy. I also received the new AC AE at no cost. DSLReports.com's may offer more for input or feedback regarding your AE when connected to modems your ISP offers - look specifically for the forums centered around your ISP.

My AEs are tanks - they just work. I'd rather buy a compatible modem than find a different router that works with a modem.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
Thanks for your help with everything, but I have one more question.

I actually changed my 5th generation (yes, I checked, 5th) from creating a new wireless network to operating in bridge mode. Xbox, which is wired, issues are resolved. Some less than desirable latency on the ping time over wireless, but the sites that previously gave me issues are now loading appropriately.

My question is, is bridge mode in AC (for my iPad/iPhone, which is what I use for the bulk of my internet browsing) still an advantage over wireless-n?
That would explain some of your issues. You were running a Double NAT configuration and that causes issues with some programs. You should look about setting the modem to Bridge Mode and the Extreme back to DHCP and NAT mode. Sometimes it will require a call to your ISP to get it resolved.

My 2¢ worth. Use the internet to search for conflicts between your router and an AE. I've got 4 AEs running in 3 different locations - 3 4th Gen and one new unit, albeit one 4th Gen is extending my new 6th Gen (AC) to connect a couple of peripherals via ethernet. The AC and 4th Gen were both behind a Motorola SB6141 modem on Comcast Business Class - my AEs and SB6141 seem to hate each other, and there's lots of nasty comments that echo my sentiment. The other two 4th Gen units are in field offices behind SMC routers (also Comcast BC accounts) and there's been no problems whatsoever - I had an SMC router at my current location but can't get them any more, and it worked fine with my SMC.

I get around speed fluctuations and hiccups by restarting the SB6141, and I've read that there's a new firmware for my modem in testing. But, the bigger issue seems to be that some modems don't get along with certain routers - you might want to check that out first. I see no difference in DL/UL/network performance between the 4th Gen and current-generation AEs, and I have mostly AC-compatible hardware.

My point is that you ought to check to see if there's inherit issues between your provided modem and an AE. For my home office, I'm getting my modem fee written off and Comcast bought my modem - but it's far less money than an hour of therapy. I also received the new AC AE at no cost. DSLReports.com's may offer more for input or feedback regarding your AE when connected to modems your ISP offers - look specifically for the forums centered around your ISP.

My AEs are tanks - they just work. I'd rather buy a compatible modem than find a different router that works with a modem.
Ironically, the Netgear Comcast gateway we have at school has given us no problems whereas, the previous SMC was a nightmare! We have an SB6121 at home and it is great but we tried a SB6141 at a friends and it was dropping every minute!
 

mitstoshi

macrumors regular
Nov 16, 2013
134
4
my AEs and SB6141 seem to hate each other, and there's lots of nasty comments that echo my sentiment.

My point is that you ought to check to see if there's inherit issues between your provided modem and an AE. .
I got a Motorola SB6141 last month and plan on getting a Airport Extreme to replace my old Belkin G router. Does Airport Extreme has issues with SB6141?
 

campyguy

macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
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I got a Motorola SB6141 last month and plan on getting a Airport Extreme to replace my old Belkin G router. Does Airport Extreme has issues with SB6141?
The problems are ISP-related. Comcast, for instance, is using the same firmware as the SB6121 despite the differing features. The SB6141 has been reported to be sensitive to power levels, moreso than the SB6120 or 6121.

See the DSLReports.com threads:
http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r29522453-Equip-SB6141-Download-Speed-Issue
http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r29541005-Speed-Speeds-are-WAY-off.SB6141
http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r29530707-Speed-Slow-upload-with-SB6141-in-San-Jose

On Business Class, I have only 3 retail options the SB6120/6121/6141 - if I was on residential class, I'd choose another modem manufacturer. I've read that the Time Warner/SB6141/AE aren't a great combo either, but that's only from the DSLReports.com forums.
 

fhall1

macrumors 68040
Dec 18, 2007
3,438
574
(Central) NY State of mind
I got a Motorola SB6141 last month and plan on getting a Airport Extreme to replace my old Belkin G router. Does Airport Extreme has issues with SB6141?
I have a self-purchased (so as not to give TWC a monthly modem rental fee) Moto SB6141 paired with a latest-gen AEBS....the combo has been running like a champ.
 

mitstoshi

macrumors regular
Nov 16, 2013
134
4
The problems are ISP-related. Comcast, for instance, is using the same firmware as the SB6121 despite the differing features. The SB6141 has been reported to be sensitive to power levels, moreso than the SB6120 or 6121.


On Business Class, I have only 3 retail options the SB6120/6121/6141 - if I was on residential class, I'd choose another modem manufacturer. I've read that the Time Warner/SB6141/AE aren't a great combo either, but that's only from the DSLReports.com forums.
My ISP is Cox. Currently, with SB6141/Belkin 54G combo, I have to soft restart the router about 3 or 4 times a day. I hope w/Airport Extreme, the problem could be minimized or eliminated. Also I am a residential user. Any advice on what should I get? My devices are all Apple that I would prefer Airport Extreme.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
My ISP is Cox. Currently, with SB6141/Belkin 54G combo, I have to soft restart the router about 3 or 4 times a day. I hope w/Airport Extreme, the problem could be minimized or eliminated. Also I am a residential user. Any advice on what should I get? My devices are all Apple that I would prefer Airport Extreme.

I would go Extreme or Time Capsule. Should be quite an improvement over your Belkin.
 

Bill Killer

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 29, 2011
491
98
That would explain some of your issues. You were running a Double NAT configuration and that causes issues with some programs. You should look about setting the modem to Bridge Mode and the Extreme back to DHCP and NAT mode. Sometimes it will require a call to your ISP to get it resolved.
My modem, the NVG589, does not actually have a bridge mode. I have the wireless features completely turned off, but there is no bridge mode.

I've followed numerous methods and instructions to replicate bridge mode as close as possible, but I've had no luck whatsoever maintaining a connection this way.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
My modem, the NVG589, does not actually have a bridge mode. I have the wireless features completely turned off, but there is no bridge mode.

I've followed numerous methods and instructions to replicate bridge mode as close as possible, but I've had no luck whatsoever maintaining a connection this way.
Sometimes the ISP is responsible for that. I know Comcast requires customers to call in and speak with some character in their support system to get it set to Bridge Mode. Maybe your ISP will do that for you?
 

eduardrw

macrumors 6502
May 20, 2013
252
3
My modem, the NVG589, does not actually have a bridge mode. I have the wireless features completely turned off, but there is no bridge mode.

I've followed numerous methods and instructions to replicate bridge mode as close as possible, but I've had no luck whatsoever maintaining a connection this way.
I have a U-verse gateway (modem/router). Putting the Time Capsule in the DMZ+ works for me for the last years without problems. (3 Xboxes, 2 iMac's, 2 Laptops, 2 iPhones, 2 iPads)

I keep the TV set top boxes connected to the U-Verse gateway. All my commuter devices are run off the TC.

Here is a link explaining the DMZ+ setup for your modem.
http://www.dslreports.com/faq/17734
 

campyguy

macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
3,415
932
My ISP is Cox. Currently, with SB6141/Belkin 54G combo, I have to soft restart the router about 3 or 4 times a day. I hope w/Airport Extreme, the problem could be minimized or eliminated. Also I am a residential user. Any advice on what should I get? My devices are all Apple that I would prefer Airport Extreme.
I agree with Altemose - I'm actually quite happy with my AEs, especially the AC version. I own enough DAS that I felt I didn't need a Time Capsule. My qualms are with my SB6141, not with my AE that's attached to it (used to be a 4th Gen, now an AC unit.

Just a note, the SB6141 seems to be sensitive to power levels and noise, and with Comcast some markets have been reporting more problems than others. I've been working via IM on the DSL Reports forums and only just yesterday ironed out some kinks in my service connection - so much easier than dealing with CS over the phone.

If you do opt for an AE or TC, follow the set up instructions. I imported a configuration setting file from the 4th Gen into the new AC, and it didn't go so well - a first for me, but the AE is a new animal, and a non-issue for you. After restoring the AE and turning off the modem, I plugged in the modem and waited until it was up and running, then connected and plugged in the AE - the AE configured itself automatically. Nice. My first SB6141 died, the second one has been a PITA - until yesterday. Now that I've jinxed it...

Get the AE or TC - you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner. My IT guy likes to tinker with electronics - and he has two AC AEs at home...
 

mitstoshi

macrumors regular
Nov 16, 2013
134
4
I agree with Altemose - I'm actually quite happy with my AEs, especially the AC version. I own enough DAS that I felt I didn't need a Time Capsule. My qualms are with my SB6141, not with my AE that's attached to it (used to be a 4th Gen, now an AC unit.

Just a note, the SB6141 seems to be sensitive to power levels and noise, and with Comcast some markets have been reporting more problems than others. I've been working via IM on the DSL Reports forums and only just yesterday ironed out some kinks in my service connection - so much easier than dealing with CS over the phone.

If you do opt for an AE or TC, follow the set up instructions. I imported a configuration setting file from the 4th Gen into the new AC, and it didn't go so well - a first for me, but the AE is a new animal, and a non-issue for you. After restoring the AE and turning off the modem, I plugged in the modem and waited until it was up and running, then connected and plugged in the AE - the AE configured itself automatically. Nice. My first SB6141 died, the second one has been a PITA - until yesterday. Now that I've jinxed it...

Get the AE or TC - you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner. My IT guy likes to tinker with electronics - and he has two AC AEs at home...
I just got the AE Extreme yesterday and plan on set it up to replace Belkin G router. After reading the setup instructions, I have the following setup questions:

(1) the instructions stated that as a first step, connect all my devices to the AE before setup. Is that right? As of now, I have yet to get a WiFi printer.
(2) use wired or wireless to setup?
(3) use iMac or iPad Air?
(4) if iMac, use wired or wireless? and
(5) what info to ask for from my ISP or need to call ISP? my ISP is Cox.

Thanks in advance.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
29,157
8,817
California
I just got the AE Extreme yesterday and plan on set it up to replace Belkin G router. After reading the setup instructions, I have the following setup questions:

(1) the instructions stated that as a first step, connect all my devices to the AE before setup. Is that right? As of now, I have yet to get a WiFi printer.
(2) use wired or wireless to setup?
(3) use iMac or iPad Air?
(4) if iMac, use wired or wireless? and
(5) what info to ask for from my ISP or need to call ISP? my ISP is Cox.

Thanks in advance.
1. That's fine. You can add the printer later no problem.
2. Either one... does not matter.
3. Either one... does not matter.
4. Wired is generally more reliable if it is convenient for you to setup. Otherwise, wifi is fine.
5. Nothing. Hook everything up and turn on the AE... then unplug the cable modem and plug it back in to reboot it so it will recognize the AE.
 

mitstoshi

macrumors regular
Nov 16, 2013
134
4
1. That's fine. You can add the printer later no problem.
2. Either one... does not matter.
3. Either one... does not matter.
4. Wired is generally more reliable if it is convenient for you to setup. Otherwise, wifi is fine.
5. Nothing. Hook everything up and turn on the AE... then unplug the cable modem and plug it back in to reboot it so it will recognize the AE.
So, if I use wireless w/iPad Air to setup, do I need to connect iMac or any other devices to the AE? Is it better to do it as close as possible to the AE?
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
29,157
8,817
California
So, if I use wireless w/iPad Air to setup, do I need to connect iMac or any other devices to the AE? Is it better to do it as close as possible to the AE?
If you want, you can do the whole setup over wifi on the iPad, then just connect the iMac after using wired or wireless.

As long as you can get the wifi signal over the iPad to do the setup, you don't need to be close.
 

ColdCase

macrumors 68030
Feb 10, 2008
2,957
140
NH
5. Nothing. Hook everything up and turn on the AE... then unplug the cable modem and plug it back in to reboot it so it will recognize the AE.
My ISP told me to not connect anything to the cable modem, reboot it, wait until things settle, maybe 5 minutes, connect the external router (AE) and turn on the router. But I dunno if it makes a difference.

Your Cox support page should have a FAQ with recommendations.

Like this one:

http://www.cox.com/residential/support/internet/article.cox?articleId={fec84550-b2a5-11df-76c0-000000000000}

You may have to wait until after you reboot the modem and connect/power on the AEBS to configure the AEBS. It may want to have an internet connection, download updates, etc before letting you configure..

So basically power off everything and disconnect your existing router, power up the cable modem and let it settle, connect and power up the AEBS and use any device with the airport utility (ipad, iphone, Mac, Windose) and it should find the new AEBS and guide you through the steps. You can easily add devices to the AEBS network later. You don't need to do anything at the AEBS to install a wireless network printer. A USB connected to the AEBS needs to be added via the Airport Utility app.
 
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