Airport Extreme alternatives?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by RMo, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    Iowa, USA
    #1
    I am looking for a wireless router to use at my apartment. I like the Airport Extreme, but it is a bit pricey. The things I like include:
    • 802.11n
    • The ability to chose between 2.4 and 5 GHz bands (or both with the latest revision)
    • Gigabit Ethernet ports
    • USB port for printer or storage
    There are, of course, several routers out there that offer many of these features, but I was wondering if anyone is aware of one that is similar but not quite as expensive.

    Actually, I could deal without several of the above features, including 802.11n (as long as I have Gigabit ... one or the other, at least :)) and dual-banded-ness or the ability to switch. I'd prefer at least a USB port for printer or NAS, but I could even deal without that...

    So, basically, I'm asking for recommendations for 802.11g (preferably n as well) routers that play well with Macs and aren't too expensive. NAS would be nice but is not required. Any recommendations or experiences would be welcome. Thanks!

    PS - For what it's worth, there appear to be a lot of wireless networks within range of me, so plays-well-others may be an important consideration as well.
     
  2. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

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  3. Signal-11 macrumors 65816

    Signal-11

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    #3
    TS is looking for an 802.11n device.
     
  4. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

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    #4
    Read the entire post, not just the first line.
     
  5. Signal-11 macrumors 65816

    Signal-11

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    #5
    How many times does the guy have to say he prefers 802.11n? That's what the guy wants. Maybe you ought to read it again.
     
  6. RMo thread starter macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    #6
    802.11n isn't a dealbreaker, but, as I said, I'd prefer to have at least either n or gigabit. Either way would work.

    Alas, the WRT54G and variants seem to support neither. When I said I was looking for an Airport alternative, I meant something that at least had a few of the features that would convince me to get it--the WRT54G is, however, at my top choices in the "cheap-ish routers I might get if I decide I don't care about any other features" list. :D (Which, in fact, I may pursue if no other options are found--that's why I'm asking.)
     
  7. Signal-11 macrumors 65816

    Signal-11

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    #7
    Well, the WRT54G is a great router but its long in the tooth.

    What's your budget?

    And does it have to be new? About two weeks ago, I was about to pull the trigger on a new AEBS for my parent's place but I looked on Craiglist and found a 2007 AEBS for $50. No gigabit, but more than enough for my folks.
     
  8. RMo thread starter macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    #8
    New is definitely not a requirement--to save money, I've actually been looking at used ones on eBay (and Craigslist, although the computer and electronics section is not too active where I live). I don't have a set budget; "less than an Airport" is my only real requirement, but I'd prefer under $100 or even less. (New is OK, too.)

    I'm sure I could find pre-N AEBSes for even less if I'm willing to go with the older form factor, although then non-Apple routers would probably also compete well price- and feature-wise.
     
  9. Signal-11 macrumors 65816

    Signal-11

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    #9
    If not new is not a problem looks to me like you can pick up a gigabit AEBS on eBay for less than $80 shipped.
     
  10. RMo thread starter macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    #10
    I can't seem to find any that cheap (except ones that are currently being bid on, have at least several hours left, and are likely to increase before expiration), but I've made an offer on one and have my eye on another, so we'll see how this plays out.

    Thanks for your help so far, and if anyone has any more ideas, feel free to chip in.
     
  11. Signal-11 macrumors 65816

    Signal-11

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    #11
    That feature set is going to cost you over $100 for a good router from a 'good' manufacturer.

    Besides, you want a AEBS, otherwise, you wouldn't be here. Admit it, anything else would be settling. If you go with another option, you'll be sitting around in six months wishing you bought the AEBS instead. The difference in cost amounts to a Big Mac meal with a couple apple pies.
     
  12. RMo thread starter macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    #12
    Well, I don't want the entire featureset necessarily--I could happily live with either gig or N, or a router without a printer/storage USB port, or...

    But, yeah, the Airport Extreme Base Station would have all of this (although not dual-band, but I think I can live without that and go with the previous generation for slightly less money), and it's probably what I do want...but I just wanted to make sure there wasn't a decently comparable router out there for less.

    And on the bright side, I'm sure it would blend in better with the living room than the competition. :D (I'm still open to ideas, though.)
     
  13. paduck macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    #13
    Why Gig-E? Any real benefit there if you aren't going to add a NAS? Even if you are using a NAS, 100-Fast Ethernet is pretty good. No benefit if your primary use is going to be Internet.

    You might want to look at the WRT150N. I have a WRT54G which is fine. I just got an AEBS which I haven't hooked up yet. I am thinking of running it separately. Apple just killed the ability to use the USB hard drive on the AEBS for Time Machine - as that was one of my primary motivators for the AEBS, I am rethinking my architecture...
     
  14. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

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    #14
    what do you mean "Apple just killed the ability to use the USB hard drive on the AEBS for Time Machine." I just got an AEBS the other day and it works perfectly well with a USB drive hooked up to it as the time machine drive for my macbook.
     
  15. RMo thread starter macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    #15
    I am aware that my Internet speed is significantly slower than Gig E. :D But besides NAS (something I could live without), I often transfer significantly large sets of files between computers and occasionally use VNC, both of which, particularly the former, would benefit from the faster connection.

    (Although ... either Gig or 100 would be significantly better than the 10 Mbps hub I'm using right now only because I accidentally blew up my old router by plugging in my old laptop's AC adapter into it instead of its own [somehow, they both fit, and I wasn't paying enough attention]. :eek: I can't wait to stop using this one.)

    As for Time Machine with AirPort AirDisks, this is unfortunately correct (although it will, suspiciously, work with AirDisk on Time Capsule--not that you'd want to, since you already have a Time Capsule). Some people have had success by connecting it locally and setting it as the Time Machine volume first, then (before letting it back up, unless you want to) connecting it to the AirPort, although it's not officially supported by Apple.
     
  16. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

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    #16
    hmmm. weird. just three days ago i plugged in a WD Mybook into my airport and set it up with airport utility, then went to my macbook and set it up as the time machine volume.
     

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