Alternatives to AirPort base stations

jezbd1997

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 8, 2015
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608
Melbourne Australia
I've always found these details so useful within Apple's AirPorts and was wondering if anyone could let me know of other routers that have a similar *live* feature. And all of this info is available within both the iOS and Mac apps.
What I want is to see is; current data rate/link speed, current RSSI and PHY mode.
It's really helpful to check a device that might be distant or to make sure it's connected at the speed you should be getting. I do know I can check the current connected speed on a Mac by holding option or within Wireless Diagnostics.

I've had the chance to play around with a newer Netgear nighthawk using the nighthawk app as I found out you can only check data rate (but not much else) using the app and not the web interface which is odd. Within the web interface you can only see if a device is connected to a 2.4GHz or 5GHz band.
I think some Asus routers have live details but I've only seen a few quick setup videos on YouTube so I'm not certain on it.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I've got 2 AirPort Extreme AC models as the main home network and will quite possibly keep them going until they die



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techwarrior

macrumors 65816
Jul 30, 2009
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Colorado
I think your final statement is the key. Apple will "support" Airport devices for several years. While no new features are likely, at least they should keep up with bug and security fixes.

New WiFi-6 (802.11ax) is just hitting the markets. The standard is due to be approved soon, if not already. So a whole new round of routers and access points will be coming to market this year, and next. It promises faster speeds, less prone to collisions from surrounding networks, and longer range.

With Amazon buying Eero, promising to build Eero networking into their Smart Home devices, who knows what Apple might do next. Clearly, network gear is not in Apple's wheelhouse, the products move too slow for the kinds of volumes Apple needs to make it profitable.

Hopefully, Apple will form an alliance with someone like Synology to make a line of network gear that can compliment Apple's product line.
 

jezbd1997

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 8, 2015
490
608
Melbourne Australia
Yeah I reckon they will and hopefully some more security fixes at least.
I am keen for WiFi AX. Hoping there will be a large range of new options.

However I was looking for options with these specific statistics. I've since heard from someone else on another thread that AmpliFi routers including the mesh devices have this ability even through their iOS app.
I'd be interested to know what other routers have anything close to this!

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techwarrior

macrumors 65816
Jul 30, 2009
1,113
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Colorado
AppleInsider just posted an editorial saying that Apple needs to get back to making WiFi products:

https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/02/13/amazons-eero-buy-is-the-clearest-sign-yet-that-apple-should-revive-the-airport
I don't think Apple needs to be in the network gear business if they find a strong partner. They partner with Linksys right now, but I suspect there is room for another network gear partnership.

Synology would be a great partner, they offer excellent routers, mesh access points, and NAS. The Synology routers run the same basic OS as their NAS meaning applications can be installed. Many pros use Synology NAS for large storage solutions, and their routers are excellent if not a bit of an overkill for home use. One would not be far off by describing Synology routers as excellent small business\branch office equipment at consumer price levels.

While Synology has yet to release ax gear, I am certain it will arrive this year. Their router (and NAS) business would certainly benefit from a tie-up with Apple, and I can imagine several ways an app on the router could bolster the Apple cloud services.
 

hobowankenobi

macrumors 6502a
Aug 27, 2015
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on the land line mr. smith.
Apple should partner with a company that has outstanding design and ease of use. Linksys....has never been that company historically.

Future products and standards aside, if I were buying today looking for Apple level of hardware and software, I would probably have Amplifi at the top of my list.

Have not used them though, so can't speak to the actual experience.

UBNT has great stuff, but not nearly as consumer friendly. I run these and have installed these for others including SMB installs with 3-6 units. Rock solid, and worth the setup work.

Really like the Synology feature set of the router OS, but not exactly Apple level of user friendly, clean interface.
 
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techwarrior

macrumors 65816
Jul 30, 2009
1,113
398
Colorado
Apple should partner with a company that has outstanding design and ease of use. Linksys....has never been that company historically.

Really like the Synology feature set of the router OS, but not exactly Apple level of user friendly, clean interface.
Agree RE: Linksys, Cisco dumped them after just a few years.

Synology is actually pretty decent WRT simple setup. It is actually simpler than Airport (I use both). But they do have a lot of features that could be buried behind an "Advanced" tab. The app store is what I find interesting, like with their NAS, their routers can run apps.

Synology also just came out with Mesh Access Points. But Apple could argue extra gear just makes things more complicated than necessary. If Apple put the Synology Mesh stack on Home Pod and ATV, they could serve dual purpose and Apple could demand some UI simplification to make it appeal to Apple customers. Heck, they could even modify Airport Utility to manage the networking aspects, and keep the SRM interface for the advanced stuff with links in Airport Utility.

Plus, having a relationship with Synology would be a plus for the professional market where storage is a key need.
 

hobowankenobi

macrumors 6502a
Aug 27, 2015
984
266
on the land line mr. smith.
Agree RE: Linksys, Cisco dumped them after just a few years.

Synology is actually pretty decent WRT simple setup. It is actually simpler than Airport (I use both). But they do have a lot of features that could be buried behind an "Advanced" tab. The app store is what I find interesting, like with their NAS, their routers can run apps.

Synology also just came out with Mesh Access Points. But Apple could argue extra gear just makes things more complicated than necessary. If Apple put the Synology Mesh stack on Home Pod and ATV, they could serve dual purpose and Apple could demand some UI simplification to make it appeal to Apple customers. Heck, they could even modify Airport Utility to manage the networking aspects, and keep the SRM interface for the advanced stuff with links in Airport Utility.

Plus, having a relationship with Synology would be a plus for the professional market where storage is a key need.
Good stuff. I am a big Synology fan, and have been really happy with the RT2600. But, at least at this point, pretty intimidating for an average consumer, plus the hardware is not pretty/sexy. I could not see Apple getting the gear as it is today. The idea of incorporating the AP functionality into other devices would be fabulous from the consumer point of view.

On the software side, yes, a good idea that Apple could handle that, either with an iOS app or on desktops.

How do you like the mesh functionality of the 2200s? I have been really happy with the UBNT hand off moving between APs, and would suspect new players/products may not nail this on early products.
 
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