Best router for iMac?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by icemantx, May 23, 2011.

  1. icemantx macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    #1
    I have an aging Linksys WRT110 which is a "wireless N compatible" router that is really just a slightly faster Wireless G purchased in 2008. I am considering my options for a new router and was hoping to get some recommendations from those on this board.

    My current setup at home is: iMac (early 2009), MacBook (late 2007), 2 iPhone 3G, 2 iPhone 4, Nintendo Wii, Apple TV and occasionally my HP work laptop.

    I have read mostly positive reviews about the Airport Extreme on Amazon, but not as consistent reviews by cnet, pcworld and others.

    I am going to buy a new one soon as my Linksys is flaky at times and I would like a real wireless N router with simultaneous dual bands.

    What do you think? Which router is best in the $100-175 price range with a primarily Mac environment? I would think the Apple Airport Extreme since it is made by Apple, but do not want to buy that just because it is Apple if there are better choices.

    The other router that seems to be a decent choice is the Linksys e3200. There is a new Netgear coming out that is Time Machine compatible, but that is not out yet.

    Thanks!
     
  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #2
    The advantage of the AEBS is that it's easy to setup and just works. Buy it on refurb if the cost is an issue.
     
  3. dfine1966 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2011
    #3
    I just switched over from a Netgear WNDR 3700 to the Airport Extreme, mainly because of the USB printing option the Airport Extreme offers. The Netgear was really good, but it did have it shortcomings, no usb printing. I have the new Airport Extreme and it works really well with a mixture of Macs and Windows machines. I also have a PSP, a Wii, XBOx 360 and PS3 hooked up and it works great, and good range. It is made so a beginning could hook it up. With an iMac, go with the Airport Extreme.
     
  4. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    Oregon
    #4
    I've had an AEBS for slightly over 2 years now. I had some network problems previously, but none since. I haven't needed to touch the settings since I installed it.

    Note that I use it as a 802.11N and G WiFi base station only. I've never used it as a router. Bought mine as a refurb.
     
  5. DeputyRob macrumors newbie

    DeputyRob

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    Nov 2, 2009
    Location:
    Upper Midwest
    #5
    Another option for those inclined is to build your own. I had an old PC sitting around so I set it up, and then installed the FreeBSD-based pfSense software. I've added several packages to the base configuration and it's infinitely more powerful and configurable than your off-the-shelf router. Best of all, if you have an old PC--even an old Pentium II is more than enough--that's gathering dust in a closet, building a router is 100% free.

    Link to software: http://www.pfsense.org/

    According to the pfSense web site:

    pfSense is a free, open source customized distribution of FreeBSD tailored for use as a firewall and router. In addition to being a powerful, flexible firewalling and routing platform, it includes a long list of related features and a package system allowing further expandability without adding bloat and potential security vulnerabilities to the base distribution. pfSense is a popular project with more than 1 million downloads since its inception, and proven in countless installations ranging from small home networks protecting a PC and an Xbox to large corporations, universities and other organizations protecting thousands of network devices.
     
  6. lexvo macrumors 65816

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    The Netherlands
    #6
    Feature/price wise, the Extreme is more expensive than comparable routers from other brands. However, the extreme is very reliable and easy to set up.

    I have my Extreme for 6 months now and it works like a charm.
     
  7. johnfkitchen macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    #7
    I'm another happy Airport Extreme user.

    • It's so easy to manage
    • It supports dual band (2.4 and 5GHz)
    • You can set up a separate "guest" network, with a different name and password, and which can't see anything on the main network
    • It supports the attachment of shared hard disks and a printer via USB

    Just don't try using TimeMachine to the attached disks
     
  8. nyukfui macrumors member

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  9. djc6 macrumors 6502

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    Cleveland, OH
    #9
    I used to do that, until I used my Kill-a-Watt to see just how much electricity my old PC turned router was using. It was easy to justify the cost of buying a dedicated router, plus the added benefit of simplicity.

    I'd go AEBS or Time Capsule. If you also have any mac laptops, go for the time capsule. Wireless time machine backups are the best - no need to remember to hookup your time machine HD to your laptop.
     
  10. peanuthead macrumors member

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    Aug 26, 2010
    #10
    Really? I was going to try this soon...
     
  11. icemantx thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 16, 2009
    #11
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Is the AEBS not compatible with Time Machine?
     
  12. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #12
    It used to be the case but not anymore. See this thread: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=881757

    Be aware that Airdisks (as hd hanging off of AEBSs are called) are very slow, like 10 or 20 times slower than USB slow.
     
  13. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    Oregon
    #13
    Do you know if this is caused by the wireless access or it the AEBS hard drive is just slow? I plug in my MacBook into my wired LAN at home to transfer large files for that reason.

    In general, slow isn't a problem for TimeMachine, which runs in the background.
     
  14. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #14
    It's the CPU inside the router. Most routers suffer from the same issue and can be traced back to a combination of a weak CPU and USB's CPU-intensive protocol.
     
  15. drugrep macrumors newbie

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    May 28, 2011
    #15
    I'm holding out for the 3800. I heard June.
     
  16. 6Stringer macrumors newbie

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    Jun 26, 2008
    #16
    Why is Time Machine bad news with attached disks? That's alarming because based on my research, there are some reliability issue surrounding Time Capsule.
     
  17. johnfkitchen macrumors regular

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    Sep 7, 2010
    #17
    Apple doesn't support Time Machine on disks attached to Airport Extreme. The reality is that it works "most of the time". For me, it took a few months, and then corruption occurred.
     
  18. blevins321 macrumors 68030

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    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    #18
    Alternative

    Give Synology a shot. Their 1-bay enclosure is HERE. And you can put any SATA drive in it. http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Caviar-Intellipower-Desktop/dp/B002ZCXK0I/ref=pd_bxgy_e_text_b is a WD green. They're pretty speedy and support Time Machine using an Airdisk emulator. I have two computers hooked up to the 4-bay and have been using it for a few months now. No issues :)

    If you upgrade to their 2-bay, you can do data redundancy and have your data be protected if one of the drives dies.
     
  19. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #19
    One more for the Synology 1 bay NAS & decent router like the WNDR3700 (awesome combo and very Mac friendly)

    I use a DS110j and a WNDR3700 with 2TB.
     
  20. jonnysods macrumors 603

    jonnysods

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    #20
    AEBS is the way to go. It works great with all the apple hardware. And it's very, very simple to setup.
     
  21. wmf, Jun 13, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011

    wmf macrumors newbie

    wmf

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    May 26, 2009
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    #21
    Helpful thread, thanks. Saves me from cluttering things with a separate thread.

    It sounds like AEBS is a good choice for me to make, however it is not listed in the buyers guide. Would you say this is a buy now or wait item? (I need now so why am I asking?)

    What justifies the added cost of the AEBS? Is it brand name, usb printing, and hard drive hook up? (none of which are deal breakers for me.)

    My situation is, I just got broadband via cable instead of DSL. Wonderful as I have had 1.5 Mbs (which was actually often below 1.0 Mbs and now have 12 Mbs via cable.) But I was a ding dong and bought a cable modem from the list of approved devices and it is just a cable modem, not a router. So using it via ethernet at the moment and very happy with the faster speed!

    My priorities are that this high speed be kept as high as possible through the wireless router, My house is low square footage but reception in the yard would be a plus. The whole property is only 50' x 100'. Price is an issue for me, though if there was enough reason to I might get the AEBS. (I already spent almost $100 for the cable modem.)

    I'm seeing routers for $29.99... big difference from the AEBS!!!

    But if I get one of the other routers like a DLink etc, are they all platform independent? Or do I need to be sure to get a Mac compatible one? (Any suggestions?)

    I'd be grateful for any feedback.
     
  22. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #22
    Wireless protocols are platform-independent, period. Routers are platform-independent, but.... The "but" is activation and administration. If the router uses a built-in web server for administration, then any browser on any platform will do. That leaves activation. Not all, but some routers require activation. It is my understanding that Apple Airport routers are activated and administered using an MacOS X (or a Windows-based, I presume) utility. Non-Apple routers vary. Some require a Windows computer for activation. Others may be activated using either a Mac or Windows. The only router that I ever owned that required activation, a Cisco Linksys E3000, included Mac and Windows activation utilities on the CD. My preference is no activation.
     
  23. wmf, Jun 13, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011

    wmf macrumors newbie

    wmf

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    #23
    Thank you MisterMe, that makes sense. I will make sure it is (preferably) no activation and if it requires activation that it is Mac/PC compatible.
     
  24. johnfkitchen macrumors regular

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    Sep 7, 2010
    #24
  25. quik macrumors regular

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    Apr 8, 2005
    Location:
    Montreal (Canada)
    #25
    I bought an Airport Extreme one month ago and love it.

    I had before a D-Link DIR625 that had some troubles connecting to my GF's Dell laptop. No more problem since then. It works great with our 2 iPhone, XBOX 360, Blu-Ray, iMac and the laptop. It's not the cheapest one, but I figured it would be worth it considering it also falls into my new iMac's AppleCare.
     

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