Airport Extreme vs. Linksys WRT1900ACS

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by maflynn, Dec 27, 2015.

  1. maflynn, Dec 27, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015

    maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #1
    pursuant to my request for help in this thread: Need to upgrade my home network I received some really nice advice. One of which was to consider the Airport Extreme coupled with the Airport Express. I need ethernet connectivity in different locations.

    Now here's my quandary
    Stick with Apple and get a Airport Extreme base station and Airport Express
    Or
    Buy a linksys WRT1900ACS (rated very highly and is powerful), and couple that with a 4 port RE6500 AC1200 Dual-Band Wireless extender.

    The Apple equipment has going for it, ease of setup, and I'm mostly in an apple environment here at home (other then two PCs). The price of the Apple equipment is surprisingly cheaper then the Linksys

    The Linksys has great reviews, and its a brand I'm comfortable with it.

    The issue with my current router is that it fails to cover my house sufficiently (its a netgear and I'm not really happy with it).

    Any thoughts on the WRT1900ACS vs. The Airport Extreme ?

    Edit:
    From my research, it seem the WRT1900ACS, is an absolute beast and the AEB performance isn't as strong as this. I'm still have a hard time with this because I have some apple gift cards (family, friends and what not give me apple gift cards), so I can use those gift cards
     
  2. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #2
    I switched from a older Airport Extreme (802.11n) to a Netgear (802.11ac) in Jan 2015. I like the stronger signal and the greater configuration control on the Netgear. Apple is great, but sometimes the ease of use dumbs down things too much. I like having more configuration control and information when it come to networks. :)
     
  3. LiveM macrumors 6502a

    LiveM

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2015
    #3
    One thing a love about the Airports is not having to choose the frequency band as it will switch automatically as needed, so I would make sure your alternative does that. I also like the size and design personally. I bring the Express with me on holiday whenever I need it to connect Apple TV to hotel networks etc.
     
  4. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #4
    I'll give you that. I also like the design off the express

    With that said from my research I think the Linksys seems to be a more robust router
     
  5. cynics macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #5
    My last dealings with Linksys was the classic wrt54g. Worked fine, however when it was time to upgrade I bought the AirPort Extreme and I've been incredibly happy with it. I liked it so much I bought my parents one and they have not called me about "Facebook not working" since.

    With the wrt54g a power cycle was a requirement every so often however the only power cycle my and my parents AE sees is when the power literally goes out. Reliability and performance has been exceptional for me. Also with the Linksys, port forwarding and even setting devices in the DMZ was required. Those same devices don't have a problem with the AE. AC devices always stay on 5ghz automatically so I've never had to deal with setting up 2 networks.

    I'm not saying the WRT1900AC would have those same issues my wrt54g had btw.

    I like that the WRT1900AC has a USB 3 port unlike the AE which has USB 2. That said, I keep a USB Hard drive connected to the AE via USB for my time machine back ups and it's worked flawlessly. Again, not saying the Linksys wouldn't, just verifying the AE does.

    A router could be 100x faster then my AE but that is meaningless speed and signal strength I wouldn't sacrifice reliability for. Range has been more the adequate for me, it covers the house and property. I almost wish I could turn it down for security and the annoyance of being connected to it when I was at the end of the driveway when I want to be on LTE.

    Also the styling, while classic the Linksys looks like something that should be setting on a shelf in a 16 year olds room next to the LED lit gaming PC.
     
  6. maflynn, Dec 28, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015

    maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #6
    I've had good luck with Linksys in the past, not so much with my current netgear (my current router). When I had an Apple router, it worked well, and I guess I was thinking that it would be better to have access and manage more of the settings. That is in the day and age, setting the security for what I need seemed like a good idea, but in practice, once I set the basic, default settings, I never went back into the router.

    I understand what you're saying but I think signal strength and speed go hand in hand with reliability. That is, if I don't get a strong signal in the kitchen, then the speed/reliability goes out the window.

    I'm split between Apple and Linksys.
    AEB:
    • Price - basically thanks to gift cards it will be free.
    • Design - sleek and much more apple like.
    • Platform - 90% apple environment.
    • Ease of use

    Linksys
    • Flexibility
    • Fast
    • Granulare control of the security.
    • More features

    I know it all boils down at what's important to me. Ease of use, and low cost (thanks to the gift cards), or fast, superior range.

    I usually opt at what fits my needs the best, and that does seem to be the linksys, but I keep coming back to the AEB for some reason

    Edit:
    I'm sure my posts looks like I'm flip flopping and cannot make a decision, and well, I think that's true :p.
     
  7. LiveM macrumors 6502a

    LiveM

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2015
    #7
    Go with your gut. You can't be happy in your head!
     
  8. Fancuku macrumors 6502a

    Fancuku

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2015
    Location:
    PA, USA
    #8
    I wouldn't trade the options and configurations that a high end router gives you. Purchased an Asus AC68P router a year ago and never looked back. It was well worth the investment.
     
  9. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #9
    @maflynn Keep in mind that though the Linksys will benchmark higher in nearly all tests, the real world benefits of choosing the Linksys over the AirPort are going to be much more slight. Another unique benefit to the AirPort is that it will be covered under any AppleCare agreement on your iPad, Mac, or Apple TV that you currently have or purchase up to two years from the purchase date of the AirPort. This means you could essentially get up to 5 years of warranty.
     
  10. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #10
    If you are having borderline wifi reception now and your goal is to improve that, I'd say the Linksys all the way. Nothing really wrong with the AE, but wifi performance it not its strong suit. Plus being the tech nerds we are, I think you will find the added configurability of the Linksys a big benefit.

    Compare wifi performance of the Linksys here with the AE here. As an aside, we are comparing the Linksys which is a AC1900 class router to an older Extreme that is still only a AC1750 class router, so it makes the comparison a bit unfair.

    I keep seeing people mention ease of use or ease of configuration with the Extreme, and although I think that may have been true five years ago, I believe other routers have caught up and passed the AE in this area. The web interfaces on these new routers are much nicer than they used to be. I just bought a Asus RT-AC68P a week ago and the browser based setup is far and away easier to use than Airport Utility even for a novice user. Just from looking around at screenshots, the Linksys looks similar.
     
  11. BrianBaughn macrumors 601

    BrianBaughn

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    #11
    I've had a Linksys WRT1900AC (version 1) for over a year now. The coverage is good in my multi-story dwelling but the AC signal, of course, doesn't work that well two floors down. It's been a solid performer for what it does. I don't use the USB port but I did test it to make sure it works.

    I had to fit out a restaurant this year and an Apple Airport Extreme had a stronger signal in hard-to-reach places than my router, which I took there to test.

    Honestly, I wouldn't get the Linksys again. The stock firmware doesn't allow you to have an L2TP or PPTP VPN server behind it, and, I've been unable to do the same using the DD-WRT on it. I'm hoping I can get that figured out.

    The latest Linksys firmware includes an OpenVPN server but it can't be used as a "send all traffic" kind of VPN.
     
  12. cynics macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #12
    I agree in a sense but it depends on the speed and signal strength/range vs what type of reliability.

    For example, 500 mbs = 400 mbs when it comes to my iPhone. I'll take 100mbs less if it means me not having to power cycle the router or set up multiple networks. Same applies to signal strength/range, I don't need my wifi overlapping my neighbors house 300 yards away, more specifically I do NOT want it to extended much past the perimeter of the walls of my house.

    If either of those things are an issue then they should be focused on when purchasing a router. But like the users above me mentioned it looks better on paper and some experience the opposite in real life.

    I feel like I'm bashing the Linksys, that isn't the case I have NO expereiece with it and for all I know could be better in every way, space and form. Wifi issues were just something I've learn to live with and once I got an AE I no longer had those concerns.

    Speed is more then adequate for me.

    image.png

    And very consistent.
     
  13. LiveM macrumors 6502a

    LiveM

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2015
    #13
    One other thing that haooened for me was that all my Apple TV problems accessing videos disappeared with the Airport Express. I had a Belkin N600 before it which was the most reliable router I had ever had and I also suddenly found that my NAS speeds went way up.
     
  14. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #14
    Interesting, regarding signal strength. I've been doing a lot of research and there are number of reports where the 5GHz gives out after a short period, or its not that strong. Sounds like you experienced something similar in the lack of coverage.

    No worries, I'm more interested in getting the right tool.

    In my other thread about help upgrading my network, i.e., what options do I have)
    This member posted his opinion on the Linksys (I hate cross linking quotes but I think its apapros give we're discussing the Linksys
    With the AEB, I have a level of confidence that it will last years, with the Linksys, I'm losing confidence that it will.
     
  15. green_mamba macrumors newbie

    green_mamba

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2016
    Location:
    East Coast, US
    #15

    I have an AirPort Extreme I bought last year. So far it has been the absolute BEST router I've owned. It is also the first Apple routing tool I bought.

    Last week I bought a Linksys AC2200 model ea8300. I bought it straight from their website and it came with a free 16x8 Linksys modem. Before I had the Airport Extreme I had a Linksys AC1200 which was pretty good. I had very high expectations for this router. Planned on maybe using Tomato firmware, using VPN right in the router (when wanted), etc. I got the new modem set up with Comcast made sure it worked with the Extreme then started setting up the new Router.

    I literally get 100Mbs less speeds, the reliability stinks, and quite frankly the thing feels like junk even though it MSRP's for $230. I am sending it back, along with the modem and going back to my little Arris modem and Airport Extreme router. It's ALL JUNK.

    I have bought top tier routers from, TP-Link; ASUS; Netgear; and now Linksys... and even though I get more "options" in reality they mean nothing. The AE stands above them all and I pray Apple doesn't discontinue their routing line. I heard they were and went out and bought an Airport Express just to have in case.

    You get what you pay for. Apple makes the BEST products. My 2 cents.
     

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