Airport Extreme - worth the upgrade?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Dcschwartz, Sep 11, 2013.

  1. Dcschwartz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2013
    #1
    Hello,

    I am confused as to whether my internet speed is fast enough to warrant upgrading to the new airport extreme. I've read online that if you don't have a very fast internet connection, then you won't notice any difference with the new wifi standard. I have the standard Time Warner internet plan with download speeds of 10Mbps (although I just looked online and standard now has 15Mbps - not sure if I get this or not).

    Any truth to this?

    As an FYI, I have a 2 bedroom apartment with an upstairs loft. I currently have a 2-4 year old airport extreme located in the loft and I get decent speeds in the main room downstairs but a terrible connection in the bedroom located away from the main room unless I keep the door open - even then it is slow. I just got a macbook air and I get great connections everywhere in the apartment - even in the bedroom.

    Thanks!
     
  2. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #2
    There is no benefit for Internet access speed with a 15Mb/s ISP connection, assuming your wireless coverage is OK now. There could be other benefits though, for example if you have a NAS or computers with shared directories, your performance copying files locally on your own network could be improved.
     
  3. opinio macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    #3
    If you put value on conspicuous consumption and bragging rights with your tech friends then its worth the upgrade. Otherwise there is unlikley to be any major change unless you do a lot of local network work and/or get an ac equipped mac or PC.
     
  4. Dcschwartz, Sep 11, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2013

    Dcschwartz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2013
    #4
    Thanks for the responses. I have 4 short follow-ups:

    1) Would I not even get a discernible speed increase with my "ac" capable macbook air?

    2) What about coverage to that bedroom that gets bad coverage now - wouldn't that improve? I had read that this ac signal goes through walls better.

    3) Supposing I upgraded my internet speed, at what speed would it make a difference?

    4) I actually do have a networked HDD that I use to store and transfer a bunch of pictures and movies. Would this be impacted at all?

    Thanks!
     
  5. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #5
    1. Not likely with Internet speeds... but you will see a big improvement in internal network wireless speeds to say a NAS.

    2. Maybe... even without AC, the new device has better antennas. When these first came out there was a main discussion thread and many users even with older N gear reported better reception.

    3. You would need to have an Internet connection will over 100Mbps to even begin to hit the limits of your current 802.11N gear.

    4. Yes.... transfers within the network over wifi using the AC Macbook Air would be much faster.
     
  6. Dcschwartz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2013
    #6
    So what you are saying is that my ability to get great connections on my macbook air in the bedroom with the bad reception has to do with the antenna, and not the ac tech, in the macbook air itself?

    I was trying to improve my iphone/apple tv connectivity in this bedroom by upgrading. I guess I can hope that the antennas in the iphone 5s and whatever new apple tv there is will be upgraded as well, since it doesn't look like I need the new airport extreme (also the iphone 5s doesn't even support "ac").

    Would you just recommend a repeater of some sort for this bedroom?

    Thanks again.
     
  7. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #7
    Correct. Since your existing router does not have AC, it can't be AC helping at all.

    You could get a refurb. last gen. Airport Express from Apple here and use that to extend the wifi. You would want to plug it in to a wall socket halfway between the Airport Extreme and the bedroom.
     
  8. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    #8
    I was thinking about doing that for my basement. Do you just plug it in and it works its magic or do you have to set it up? Can I use two, on halfway between my airport and the basement and another halfway between the airport and the upstairs? Could it work like skipping stones on long distances: put one close to the airport, then one further away to extend the first ones range, then another...? Thanks
     
  9. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    California
    #9
    There is a bit of configuration, but it is pretty easy in Airport Utility. You just click the setup option to extend an existing network rather than create a new network.

    You know... I honestly don't know if you can extend a third device off device number two. I know you can extend multiple devices off the main one though. It sounds like that would be what you want. Airport Extreme in the middle and an Airport Express halfway up and halfway down... both extending from the Airport Extreme.
     
  10. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    #10
    Thank you. Yes, my wifi isn't that great in the basement or the upstairs. So I'm thinking about getting at least one express. Do you know if the new extremes are much better, range wise (I honestly don't know if my problem is range/distance or interference like too many walls and stuff.)
     
  11. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    California
    #11
    I got the new Time Capsule (same as Extreme but with a hard drive inside) and even with my iPhone 5 which does not have AC wireless, I get better distance on wifi.... so yes... I think the new Extreme would help some.

    I did a completely unscientific test by walking down the street from my house with my iPhone 5 on wifi and could get about 30% or so further from my house and maintain a good connection compared to the previous gen. Time Capsule.
     
  12. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    Feb 9, 2010
    #12
    That's cool. Maybe I'll just save up and get that someday....Thanks again.
     
  13. Dcschwartz thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 4, 2013

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