Airport Extreme/TC a CNet Best Router of 2016

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by RumorConsumer, Dec 20, 2016.

  1. RumorConsumer macrumors regular

    RumorConsumer

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2016
    #1
    https://www.cnet.com/topics/networking/best-networking-devices/802-11ac/

    That is both surprising and impressive to me. My guess is the gap will widen over the next 12 months and still. I fully expected to see it get its butt kicked by everything else highlighting the convenience over performance race theyve become the poster children for, or so I thought.
     
  2. Mikael H macrumors 6502

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    Sep 3, 2014
    #2
    I don't know if any other aimed-at-consumers wireless access points have yet reached the support for roaming between access points that Apple's Airport gear introduced. I know for a fact that very few access points of the ones I tried were as stable as the Airport ones when it comes to lack of hiccups when serving multiple devices. From that perspective I'm actually truly sad to see this product line get killed off, even though they were getting expensive for what you get performance-wise (at least on paper).

    The next time I'll deploy new access points at home I will have to get business-level APs, which may or may not be more expensive, but which definitely will require a lot more work to get running. I hope to get a few more years out of the ones I have, though.
     
  3. belvdr macrumors 603

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    Aug 15, 2005
    #3
    Roaming is a client-side decision, not AP-side. I haven't had a roaming issue with any APs that I've used since the WRT54G (Linux-based version).
     
  4. AllieNeko macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 25, 2003
    #4
    APs can do some trickery to improve roaming performance, especially for encrypted WiFi... but I don't think Apple is doing this.
     
  5. RumorConsumer thread starter macrumors regular

    RumorConsumer

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    Jun 16, 2016
    #5
    Yeah I dont know about that claim either. My experience has always been moving coverage areas requires a quick off/on of Airport software on the Mac no matter how the Ads are configured.
     
  6. belvdr macrumors 603

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    Aug 15, 2005
    #6
    Strange, I've never had to do that on any OS. I simply create the APs with the same SSID and password.
     
  7. AllieNeko macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    #7
    You should never have to do that with any AP as long as the SSID and security settings are identical. What fast roaming does is reduce the reassociation time to make it more seamless and also kick off users who have a weak signal and are near a stronger AP to nudge them into changing.
     
  8. an-other macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    #8
    It's really weird: there was a news story/rumour that employees working on the Airport line were reassigned to other groups. Virtually every conclusion reached is Apples is shuttering their router business.

    I'm not sure that's the conclusion I would reach. The Airport Hardware has not been updated for a couple of years. There's no pending standards change in the very near future (I know about), so why wouldn't you reassign employees to other projects until there's something meaty for them to work on? We've certainly seen stories over the years of Apple moving people around based on business needs.

    I emphasize I haven't a clue what happens at Cupertino. Perhaps the reports of the "Airport death are greatly exaggerated."
     
  9. Beerstalker macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Location:
    Peoria, IL
    #9
    I'm hoping the rumors of Apple dropping these devices are untrue as well. I would think if they were they would just come out and say it like they recently did with their monitor business/LG display announcement.

    Maybe they will drop the Airport Express and add that functionality to the AppleTV 5, but release updated Airport Extremes and Time Capsules with AC/MIMO support and larger hard drives? So you have one Airport Extreme/Time Capsule and then multiple AppleTV 5 around the house extending the network coverage. I would think that would help out a lot for Homekit devices too.
     
  10. Mikael H macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #10
    You could do that, provided you avoided WPA2-securing your network (during that era I experimented with a number of firmware distributions for the '54G(L), along with trying out other routers to get around this problem.

    The layout of my house makes it decidedly impractical to use a single AP. Since I switched to Airports I simply haven't had any problems moving between coverage areas without any noticeable service interruption. Before I switched to Airports, I had.

    It has been a few years since I did, and I haven't seen any reason to look at other solutions in the mean time, so things may have changed with other solutions, but in the mean time I've also learned enough not to trust Linksys, Netgear and their ilk with anything that has to do with network security.
     
  11. belvdr, Dec 22, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016

    belvdr macrumors 603

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    Aug 15, 2005
    #11
    I have used WPA2 since it's inception. No issues roaming. I may have just been lucky, but it always worked. I recently switched from Apple to Linksys and also use an extended wireless network with no issues either. In fact, the Linksys works much better than Apple as the antennas are adjustable.

    Honestly, dismissing all non-Apple devices is simply being closed-minded (assuming that's what you meant by "Linksys, Netgear and their ilk"). Yes there are bad Linksys and Netgear devices. One needs to do their research.
     
  12. Mikael H macrumors 6502

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    Sep 3, 2014
    #12
    Now that I re-read my post, I saw that it wasn't very nuanced at all. I meant it in the same context as my previous post, where I mentioned that I will be moving on to corporate level network gear rather than choosing consumer grade products the next time I invest in my home network. My motivation is twofold: 1) There's simply been too many security issues with security products aimed at home users, and 2) although more expensive, I no longer have the patience to deal with having to find the sweet spot between lacking functionality and under-specced hardware. The latter is, of course, a completely personal opinion and others may (and will) see things differently.
     
  13. belvdr macrumors 603

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    Aug 15, 2005
    #13
    I see what you mean now. I'm sorry I didn't get that before. :/

    It's a challenge in finding the correct gear, but some of the corporate grade gear is too expensive for my taste. No matter what gear you choose, there will be exploits.
     
  14. jakebrosy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    #14
    I was sorely disappointed when Apple announced they were killing off yet another aspect of the ecosystem. Having recently moved into a 4 floor brownstone I was covering the ground and top floor with old Airport Extremes (802.11n) and figured I'd 'get around' to picking up more of the 802.11ac towers to replace them at some point. (Because of the 12-16" brick walls I need a router on each floor.) Maybe even pick up one of the disk-based versions so I could move a portable drive off the MacMini server for the Time Machine backups.

    I played with dozens of 802.11ac router pairs earlier this year (god bless Amazon Prime and hassle-free returns) and the ease of configuration for extending a network just doesn't exist on any of the products. But, a few clicks on the Airport software and the 'new' router is just part of the network. (Though I had to restart all of them for some reason.)

    And the majority of other manufacturer 802.11ac routers look like crap. Sure, they might look fine on a filing cabinet in an office or on some 15-year-olds desk (where a plethora of antennae are cool), but they look like an alien spider perched in the corner of the average room. The Apple routers are sleek enough that I removed the outer shells and had them painted to blend with the wall color making them virtually unnoticeable.

    In the end, I bought 3 new Airport Extreme towers (one with a 2TB drive that I upgraded while the cover was being painted) and finished kitting out the house with fast WiFi. I'll keep the spare in a desk drawer 'just in case'.

    And when one of the other manufacturers comes up with something that doesn't look like an angry tarantula WITH decent configuration software I'll consider switching. Otherwise I hope these plastic towers last forever.
     
  15. Since1987 macrumors regular

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    Feb 23, 2016
    #15
    Dear Airport,
    Congratulations on being named "2016 Router of the Year" !! As a reward for your fine performance... you are discontinued. Function over form doesn't fly here at Apple. You are nowhere near thin enough. You are a fatty, and your cousin TimeCapsule insists on using large spinning Hard Drives instead of 256GB soldered on Flash RAM. Clearly you are both a problem child and are outa here!!

    Sincerely ,
    Tim Cook
     
  16. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #16
    I have had excellent experiences with the Ubiquiti UniFi line of APs for both cost and performance. I have put them in an apartment, large homes, as well as a K-12 school with no issues whatsoever.

    This post cracked me up with the angry tarantula...
     
  17. Cassady macrumors 6502a

    Cassady

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    Sqornshellous
    #17
    I'm sitting on the fence.

    Looking at Ubiquiti - but simply doubt my ability to set them up in a way that would get them to perform as expected. I just don't have the time to tinker.

    Our old (2011) Asus N55U does the job, but there are dead spots. With an Apple Only family, and the kids and SO all increasingly jumping on the web - it's being pushed to the limits. Down these parts, 2nd hand 5th gen Airport Extremes are cropping up (+/- $160) - with new Airport Express's available at just over $100...

    So $260 sees me being able to get a main station and a repeater, that will surely work well with all the iPad, iPhone, Mac Mini, MBA and MBPs in the house...

    But then I think of putting that down, only to find all support discontinued in 2/3 years(?), if the reports are to be believed.

    Honestly don't know what to do... Anyone here is welcome to talk some sense in to me, either ways...
     
  18. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    Feb 19, 2008
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    The Finger Lakes Region
    #18
    Sounds like you need Netgear Orbi since it use a dedicated link between the main and the satellite so no mesh slowdown!
     
  19. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #19
    UniFi is far from complicated to set up, but it is definitely scalable. You can make your setup as simple and easy as a home router or as complex as something you would see from Cisco with them, and it is all in the capabilities of the platform. Apple gives you what you get, and that is all...

    I have a few AirPort Expresses I would let go of cheaply if you are in the United States...
     
  20. monty77 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    UK, South Coast
    #20
    +1 for Ubiquiti kit. Just swapped out a bunch of AE, an older AEBS and a later version AEBS for a handful of UniFi AC Lite APs and their USG. Unified interface, cinch to setup and highly customizable for those little niggles (like my Samsung TV that wants to connect to the AP in the attic despite it sitting next to one).
     

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