Best (Economic) Wireless Router for Macbook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ohserena, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. ohserena macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2009

    I am moving to a new place that's a basement apartment. I brought over my macbook to see if it could catch any wireless signals and not one network popped up. The new landlords said if I need I could get a modem installed at my own expense, but after talking to optimum people, they mentioned that if I buy a wireless router and hook it up to their modem upstairs I could use their wifi network at no additional charge (the landlords already have the cable internet using a modem).

    I need one that is compatible with my macbook unibody (seems apparently macbooks have issues with wireless connectivity) and is fast with a wide range since I'll be downstairs from it, and for that matter, underground. --Oh and that is at the very most $80 maybe. I've never bought or have any idea about wireless routers. I'm a renter and I've always shared signal from the landlords. This will be the first time I have to set one up myself and make sure it works fine. Any suggestions are very very welcome.

    I was thinking of Linksys and I found a few online at for 80 or less. Apparently they work with macs but I want to make sure it'll reach down where I am. It's not a big house and it's just one level so I'll be below the router.


    NOTE** Is the only way I am going to be able to get a good signal down at the basement for my ONE macbook (upstairs they just have one desktop using ethernet cable) if I spend the money on an Airport Extreme Base Station? Or do I have a chance of being ok with a Linksys?

    Side note, did anyone think it was odd that NOT 1 wireless network was picked up at all? Not even locked up networks. Just nothing.

    Any assistance would be highly appreciated!:) I really don't want to risk buying something that will not work for my specifications.
  2. ohserena thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2009
    Ok, I'm reluctant to do this, only because I'm afraid it won't work anyway, but I'm thinking perhaps the airport extreme base station might be the only way I can assure I'll have a reliable connection while in a basement.

    With the education discount, it's 159, and I guess that's going to pay for itself in a few months.

    What do you guys think? Does anyone have a wireless router in the main floor and used their macbook in the basement? Can anyone comment on this at all?

    I've read some pretty good reviews on the extreme but I would like to hear from people who at least can understand my situation. It'll be hooked up to one desktop pc through ethernet cable and the only other computer using it would be my macbook unibody as I'm the one paying for the router for the simple fact of getting connection downstairs. So it's not going to be used for anything fancy. No printers, or hard drives, etc.

    Any ideas, please!?
  3. Shake 'n' Bake macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Mar 2, 2009
    If you're a non-techie, get the AEBS. Otherwise, I'd get the Belkin N+. I've got that and I can get good reception in my basement and for quite a distance outside the house.
  4. natebookpro macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2008
    WRT54G is great and cheap. I would go with that.
  5. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    The AirPort Extreme will not give you better performance than other "N" routers. Also, it might be worth considering that it could be worse because it has no external antenna, unlike most other routers.
  6. JCastro macrumors 6502a

    Feb 12, 2008
    Is the desktop PC with ethernet cable going to be downstairs too? If it is then you could hook up your router there and you would have a strong signal.

    As far as the signal getting to the basement from upstairs, a lot will depend on the type of ceiling that you have above you. If it is concrete it may not come through too well. If it is wood then you shouldn't have too much problem getting a good signal. I had a regular b/g in a two story house. I could go anywhere in that house and upstairs, downstairs and even outside and had good signal.
  7. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    ...the sim dual band and USB connection on the AEBS make it a great router and I use it in a 3 story house but there is no concrete construction in the house...

    Belkin does have an N router with USB connection but I don't think its dual band and you don't need it if you only have the one machine (no iPod Touch)?
  8. ohserena thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2009

    The desktop will stay upstairs. The whole internet connection will belong to my landlords. I am getting away with hooking up a wireless router out of the goodness of their hearts.

    As for the house foundation. I don't think it's concrete. The house is 30 years old in Long Island. It's all wood.

    My biggest worry is that I didn't pick up any signal at all when I turned on my macbook down there. Even without a router, you get the signal of protected networks around you.

    I can pick up any router and if it's returned intact I can get a refund on it correct? If I buy the AEBS, I can still return it correct? BTW, thank you for the options, I am completely lost here.
  9. ohserena thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2009
    No Ipod Touch and my phone is an Instinct so no wifi just a 3g network. I'm the one buying the router so I'm locking it down for my macbook and that's all. I like the guest user function in the AEBS so if I have guests, I can allow them to use the router. I however, can't be sure I'll even be able to set it up. I'm so overwhelmed by all the stuff I've read about settings in routers that I am basically afraid to make a move.

    I can buy it and set it up in my current apartment to test it out. I have a desktop and the same modem they use. If I can set it up here then I'll know what to do at their house. So I can quickly get in and out without bothering them too much.
  10. Bengt77 macrumors 68000


    Jun 7, 2002
    Any router supports guest mode. They just don't call it that. Every router can be secured with MAC-address filtering and passwords and you can add and delete MAC-addresses as they come and go. It's no biggie, really. Just point your browser to (works for all routers, I think) and you'll get the web interface where you can edit all the settings for your router. I don't think, if you're savvy enough, there's any reason to get an AEBS. Get one that will get you a strong signal, i.e. get one with external antennae.
  11. ohserena thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2009
    WRT54G is an oldie but everyone says it's pretty good. The only reason I'm weary is because it's a g router and everyone says n is the latest and fastest.

    Have you ever had an issue in a basement with this?
  12. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    I've never had an issue with mine. I would recommend the WRT54GL over the WRT54G.

    For the record, unless you're doing a lot of internal network transfers, 802.11n isn't going to give you any real benefit for the average Internet connection.
  13. ohserena thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2009
    Yea I figured I didn't need all the features that everyone talks about here. I won't be plugging in a wireless printer or an external hard drive and I won't need to connect multiple computers. I just need something that will give me good old fashioned wireless internet access for just my macbook.

    I'll look into the WRT54GL, thanks a lot.
  14. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    i have a linsys wrt160N V2. It is a great router. I had a wrt54G that worked great for a while. Needless to say it is in router heaven (all routers go to heaven, right;) )
  15. bentvalve macrumors newbie

    May 30, 2009
    Are there no advantages to using an Airport Express ? One can be had for $85.

    Here are all the wireless routers at listed from lowest price to highest..........LINK
  16. Bengt77 macrumors 68000


    Jun 7, 2002
    The AirPort Express has no antenna and will therefore always have a weaker signal than base stations with antennae. Especially in a basement, where it's always at least a bit humid, you need good reception, as water is an extremely good buffer material for any radio signal. Trust me, you don't want the AirPort Express as a router when you place it upstairs and you want a good signal in the basement.
  17. ohserena thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2009
    Is it very difficult to install and setup using a Macbook? I'd rather use my macbook to install it than use their personal computer. And I've read that Linksys does not provide setup instructions for OS X
  18. ohserena thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2009
    Ok, no Airport Express. Check

    It seems that the easiest to set up with all the features you mention except an external antennae is the AEBS.

    Now I'm between that one and the Linksys 160N (also no external antennae though)

    Is it true that Belkin's aren't always compatible with some game consoles? I don't own any myself but I have friends who have Wii and 360. Sometimes those use wifi as well, correct? Obviously not an urgent question as I don't own any myself, but I was curious as to whether anybody here went through that trouble.

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