Best ISP/Router for Airplay in UK

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by rokko, May 6, 2014.

  1. rokko macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2008
    I've just moved house and am struggling to decide which ISP to go with.

    I'm after an unlimited cable or fiber optic package that functions well with Airplay, as my last wireless connection cut out intermittently when using Airplay.

    A google search for BT Homehub 5, Virgin's Superhub and the Sky Hub all seem to have people experiencing some issues when using Airplay.

    Can anyone offer any advice on this? Or does anyone use anything that seems to work flawlessly with Airplay?

    Thanks in advance :)
  2. rokko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2008
    I should add that I'm probably going to buy an additional Airport Express to extend the range and give me an additional audio output
  3. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Get an ISP router that supports gateway mode, then use that AirPort express as your home router.
  4. rokko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2008
    Thanks. Does this effectively bypass the ISP router then? Or are you still able to get the benefits of both?

    I'd ideally like at least one USB port for plugging a hard drive into, and some of the ISP ones seem to have this. It's a shame that the Airport Express has no USB, and the Extreme has no audio output!

    There doesn't seem to be much info online about Airplay compatibility with the different ISP routers. BT's Home Hub 5 seems like a good option although there are people saying that have had to disable 5ghz to make Airplay not cut out, even though it should be supported by the Apple TV

    The more I read the more confusing it seems!
  5. J@ffa macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2002
    Behind you!
    Before the details, I only have good things to say about Virgin. Everyone's got their horror stories about every ISP, but I've never had any trouble with them, plus their router's modem-only mode is just what you need (most, if not all ISPs should have this though, so don't make it your deciding factor).

    Almost all of the time it means bypassing the ISP router entirely, but in my experience this is only ever a good thing. The easiest way to understand it is to think of routers as traffic cops. Having two of them doing the same thing is one of the main reasons why things like AirPlay act up. What you want is the ISP's router in modem-only mode. With Virgin, what this means is that it essentially turns into a dumb internet middleman. All but one of the ethernet ports on it are disabled, and it doesn't do wireless or any sort of management of what's going on. That job goes to your primary router, which I would advise be an AirPort Extreme rather than an Express. You can always supplement this setup with an Express if necessary though. What were you needing the USB port for?
  6. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    The ISP itself will have ZERO impact on Airplay, that strictly runs on your internal network and will never touch the ISP. As for the router, if you can get JUST the modem from them (possible here in the US, not sure about your location), get whatever router you want. I personally run a Netgear WNDR3700 and everything works fine. At this point it's a bit old as it doesn't have AC capability but for my uses it's solid.
  7. rokko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2008
    Thanks for the replies. The main reasons for asking was because some of the ISP routers that come free in the UK do actually seem to be pretty good, the BT one gets excellent reviews...

    So I figured I may not need to splash out on a router, and could potentially get an additional Airplay Express to extend the signal and give me an airplay audio output (which i would really like)

    The reason I want USB ports is for adding hard drives of movies that I can steam across the network

    It sounds like I should maybe just go for the best deal for the connection speed, and just get the Airport Extreme (and possibly the Express too)

    I guess if anything's going to work well with Airplay and integrate well together it's going to be the Apple devices!

    It's definitely going to cost a few hundred more doing this though. The two Airports together would cost £250, which is $424!
  8. mdenwood macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2006
    Extending wireless network range (as opposed to creating a separate wireless network for your devices to jump between, or adding an airport express to an existing wireless network to add AirTunes support without actually extending the range of the wireless network) is usually not supported between wireless routers with different manufacturers, and particularly not between Apple hardware and non-Apple hardware … so it will be difficult for you to use an ISP's supplied wireless router and extend the range with an Airport extreme/express.

    As others have recommended, the setup I have used (in the UK and Denmark) is a modem-only router (or a multi-functional router with wireless etc deactivated), connected by ethernet to a time capsule providing wireless network with the range extended by an airport express - this works well for backup/file sharing/airtunes and I don't have any issues with the routers fighting each other! Another benefit is that if you change internet access provider the majority of your setup is unaffected - for example I recently changed from wired broadband to mobile broadband over 4G, but all I had to change was the modem part - the Apple hardware and wireless network didn't even notice the change.

    Hope that helps,

  9. YanniDepp macrumors 6502


    Dec 10, 2008
    These days, it's common for UK ISPs to give you a modem/router with your connection settings built-in. They don't give you the ADSL connection username/password, so you can't use your own modem. The biggest example of this is Sky.

    As somebody has already said, Virgin Media's modem/routers have a "modem only mode". You plug an ethernet cable from one of the modem's ethernet ports into the Airport's WAN port, and your Airport becomes your main router.

    I've been doing this for about 4 years with an Airport Extreme, and it works perfectly. I also recommend their fibre optic broadband service. It's always been really fast. I pay for 100Mbps, and I do download from Steam at about 8MB/s.

    Note that this only applies to Virgin's fibre optic (cable) broadband. It doesn't apply to their "national" ADSL service.

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