Airport Extreme pancake vs tower

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by halfmonkey, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. halfmonkey macrumors regular

    May 17, 2011
    So I'm in the market to replace my current router and have been waiting for the latest and greatest from Apple. Seeing that they just released the "tower" airport extreme, I was interested in getting it. One thing to note is I have Snow Leopard on my iMac so I can't set it up with the iMac apparently. I can use my iphone 5 though from what I understand. I just need to download the airport utility to my iphone 5.

    So onto the question. I can't really find any factual comparison between the two models. I know the new one works in the AC range but I don't have any computers that would work with AC anyways so no big deal.

    So really for me, the difference between the new model and the old one are about $20 difference. I can't set it up on my iMac. And the new model has beam forming or whatever it's called.

    So is beam forming supposed to only benefit people using the AC wireless network or is it supposed to benefit all of the other wireless formats as well (A/B/G/N)?

    Can someone point me to some factual information on beam forming as I'm not really seeing anything on these forums?
  2. darster Suspended

    Aug 25, 2011
    I don't have any a/c devices but the new AEBS/TC vastly improves the range. Below are my examples. The first is the new TC on the 5 Ghz band. The second is my 4th gen AEBS on the 5Ghz band. Notice the big improvement in the RSSI and also transmit rate.


  3. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    The question becomes when would you have computers and/or devices that have 802.11ac? Would you still be using the same AirPort Extreme when that happens? I should note that my AirPort Extreme is over 9 years old andd still works fine - well except that it's 802.11G.

    The AirPort Utility for iOS works well for setup and most people don't need to use the AirPort Utility except for initial setup. So not being able use AirPort Utility on Snow Leopard shouldn't be a real issue.
  4. mentaluproar macrumors 68000


    May 25, 2010
    Ohio, USA
    I have a wireless N pancake and it gets from the attic to the basement in an old plaster-walled house while being stable enough to never require a reset (I can't say the same for my Time Warner cable modem, though.)

    There are no gains in AC that I would care about, so I plan on using this router until it dies.
  5. trickness macrumors member

    May 13, 2012
    Pardon me, but how do you display the info above? I just get the network names, would love to be able to see the detail - thanks!
  6. darster Suspended

    Aug 25, 2011
    On my mac I hold the option button down while clicking on the wifi icon at top of screen
  7. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    For that price difference I'd go with the new one and forget about it. Not a big deal to do the setup from your phone.

    However you can get the old model a lot cheaper. Look in the Mac Refurb store, the previous edition extreme is $125:

    If you're comparing $125 for the old to $199 for the new, I really don't think you'll get your money's worth spending the extra $$$.
  8. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012

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