Best Wireless Router for the new Apple TV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by amitdoc2b, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. amitdoc2b macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2008

    I live in the US and am not too tech-savy, but have pre-ordered the new Apple TV that I am excited to use. In addition to my Apple TV, our family has a 17-inch MBP, 27-inch iMac, another Toshiba laptop, and 3 iPhones. For our household, what would be the best (and affordable) wireless router? We currently use 'Linksys (by Cisco) WRT54G' but it is now 5 years and old outdated. We also have a phone powered into the router, and when we get phone calls it causes the internet to disconnect if we are surfing on the computer. I want all this to be avoided and have a great streaming experience when I use Apple TV. Please provide me recommendations for routers. Thanks so much!
  2. Creative One macrumors 6502

    Creative One

    Apr 25, 2009
  3. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    What revision is your WRT54G? If it's 5.0 or above, it's a very clumsy unit.

    The newer WRT54GL is a great unit and can usually be found for (rather) cheap on the Internet. I had two for 8 years without issue. I switched to AEBS, as backing up my laptop over 802.11g was terribly slow.

    *sigh* It depends if $180 is affordable to the OP. For just basic use, I doubt that it is. Why would you recommend an AEBS in this scenario?
  4. DJinTX macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2010
    I know this was aimed at Webers, but I would like to chime in. I think the AEBS makes alot of sense in this scenario. It is extremely easy to setup and maintain, and since OP has many Macs, he or she likely already knows the upsides here. It would fit in well with their Mac ecosystem. It certainly isn't the least expensive option, but I have gone the route of least expensive and definitely regretted it.

    I had a linksys wrt54g. It worked fine for approximately 14 months, and then died. The worst part was Linksys would not support me via telephone because I had no PC at home. They ran through some basic resets, and then beyond this said they were not able to support in-depth troubleshooting on a Mac. They suggested I borrow a friend's PC. Yeah, that's not a good solution. I don't know if their support training has changed, but if not, I would avoid them like the plague.

    If my AEBS goes down, then I know Apple will definitely support me. Of course in the three years I have had my AEBS, I have never had an issue.

    Ultimately, the AEBS is a very strong product, and since the OP likes Macs, then it really should only come down to cost. If the AEBS is in the price range, then grab it. If not, then grab something else (not linksys). I think Op will go for the AEBS. Just a hunch ;)

    Good Luck~
  5. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    The AEBS works fine, but so does most other routers. Apple just gives you another utility to use in order to manage it. It's not hard to manage another router via a web browser.

    As for Linksys, the WRT54GL is a very strong product. The WRT54G 5.0+ model is terrible and Linksys realized that quickly after it was introduced. Additionally, they are now owned by Cisco, which is a very good company. I have never used tech support for any router, so I cannot comment there.
  6. BoulderBum macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2008
    The big advantage of the Airport Extreme is that if you're streaming iTunes content from a Mac to your Apple TV, the Mac can be in standby mode and the router will wake it up when Apple TV demands via something called "Wake On Demand". This saves on electricity, which I'm a fan of.

    In that way, Apple-branded routers are the only ones to provide any sort of special integration with the Apple TV.

    The drawback is that the Airport Extreme doesn't have quality of service (QoS) features so while other (less expensive) routers prioritize network traffic such as VOIP phone calls, the Airport is fairly dumb in that regard. You may experience a drop in call quality if you are downloading a large file at the same time as talking on the phone. If you're worried about such things, you may want to consider another brand.
  7. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    Keep in mind that not all Macintosh computers support this. See

    Also, there's some really dumb instructions in that link if you use a Mac in clamshell mode.
  8. amitdoc2b thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2008
    Thank you everyone for all your comments, and your points have been noted. While Airport Extreme is a great option, its also very expensive. I also need something that won't drop the internet when i receive calls using the internet phone. Also, what is the difference between an N and G router? I guess my current Linksy one is G. Apple TV specs show: "AirPort Extreme, Wi-Fi 802.11b, g, or n wireless network (wireless video streaming requires 802.11g or 802.11n)". Which would be the best for streaming experience of the two? And what are the best non-Airport Extreme routers that won't drop the internet during internet voice calls and give a good Apple TV streaming experience?

  9. pirateRACE macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2010
    I've been looking at the same situation as the OP. I have a WRT54G and all macs/iPhones and looking to get an AppleTV. I'd recommend trying to flash the router with the open source firmware DD-WRT. If you google it there are many resources on the process. I'm no network guru but was able to do it last night in about 15 minutes. The advantage of this is the expanded capabilities of the firmware. You could then try tweaking different settings to see if it helps your problems. If not, you haven't wasted any money and can look for a decent simultanous dual band router like the Airport Extreme for less money.
  10. DJinTX macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2010
    I would say that someone with experience managing a non-apple router via broswer would find it pretty easy. However, it can be very challenging for those who haven't done it before, or for the less tech savvy. I am quite technically proficient but I find it to be a huge pain at times. I enjoy having Apple's utility as it makes it a breeze. I have used browsers to set up my own non-apple routers as well as routers for family members, and I just see no reason to go through that if I can help it.

    The AEBS is backward compatible with all of those networking protocols, a/b/g/n. N is the most recent and fastest, and would be the way to go. I doubt you can even find a or b anymore, although if you go with a non-apple router make sure it is compatible with as many networking standards as you can in case you or someone you know has an older wireless card.

    Oh, and in case it is helpful to the OP or anyone else, you can find a refurbished current gen AEBS on the Apple site for $129. Apple gives the full warranty on refurbished items.
  11. BoulderBum macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2008
    The difference between N and G is that N is much faster and has better range. Either protocol (N or G) will be sufficient for streaming content to the Apple TV, however.

    Chances are your internet connection is going to be the bottleneck in your network.

    That said, given your requirement for maintaining VOIP call quality, I'd definitely consider a router with QoS features.

    I had the D-Link DIR-655 and liked it; it has configuration-free QoS that worked pretty well. There are even cheaper routers that have QoS however, and it would be worth checking out if your current router has such features.
  12. reticulate macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2010
    If you're streaming movies/TV shows in your iTunes library from a Mac to the Apple TV, ideally you want a dual-band wireless-n router for the best performance (dual-band being a router that does both 2.4 and 5GHz wireless). This applies to practically anything you wish to connect wirelessly, but streaming media is always going to be hard on throughput so the best bandwidth you can give is worthwhile.

    If one end of the connection is going to be plugged in via ethernet, you could probably try wireless-g - I've had success doing this with a 360 in the past - but if both your Mac and Apple TV are wireless you really need the extra bandwidth of n, and dual-band is going to give even better performance.

    There's a few decent dual-band routers available, and I imagine we'll see more coming out soon as it becomes a popular method. Apple obviously have the Extreme and the Time Capsule, but Linksys and Dlink offer alternatives amongst others.

    Of course, if you only intend to view media purchased through the Apple TV, a connection wireless-g or above will work since you're going to be limited by your internet connection.
  13. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    My point is that whether it's a web page or Apple's utility, the terminology doesn't seem any simpler on either one. It's just using a different application to manage it.
  14. DJinTX macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2010
    Some of the same terms are used for both, and it is the same technical process, just achieved through differing methods. However, I find Apple's descriptive text and step by step questions giving you suggestions much easier to follow for the less experienced.

    My father-in-law attempted to set up his Linksys, and quickly gave up in frustration only to have me do it for him. I of course was able to, but it was a pain. From then on every time it needed a hard reset, which was too frequent, he always had me do it. Then, when the linksys died on him, I advised him to get an airport extreme since they have macs. I expected a call to help him get it set up, but it never came. He did it without help and said it was pretty easy.

    So I find it to be much more straightforward for lots of users.
  15. BoulderBum macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2008
    I disagree that dual band N, or even plain Jane N is much of an advantage in the OP's case. Again, even wireless G is going to have much faster network throughput than an internet connection can keep up with (or even an internet connection and simultaneous iTunes stream).

    Wireless N is needed more for larger homes (increased range) or if you're doing simultaneous HD streams or want large file transfers to go faster. Since the Apple TV no longer has to sync content, wireless N is nice to have in general, but not a requirement if you're looking to save money.

    That said, why not get an N if you're in the market for routers?
  16. amitdoc2b thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2008
    I think I'll go with the DIR-655 because its only $70 brand new. How much of a speed increase will I see going from the Linksy WRT54G to this? Will my Apple TV streaming be better with this? And how do I know if my computer, Apple TV, and portable devices are using N instead of G since this DIR-655 box and devices are capable of using both N and G types of wireless internet? I don't want to end up still using G when I upgraded to N.

  17. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    I went from a WRT54G to the dual-band AEBS and have been very pleased, but then most of my ecosystem is Apple (iMac, MBP, previous :apple:tv, iPhone).
  18. Grubster macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2010
    Just try using what you have with the apple tv when you get it, it probably will be fine. If it is not, then go buy a better one. I have a great netgear with G speed and it works great,so why change without knowing how atv will work.
  19. FFabian macrumors member


    Aug 26, 2010
    Bochum, Germany
    As far as i know the AEBS does not support DDNS (via DynDNS) which i use quite frequently . I suppose the OP doesn't need this but still ...
  20. tripjammer macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2010
    Apple Airport Extreme...the lastest version.
    It rocks! No issues with it.
  21. WiiDSmoker macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2009
    Hermitage, TN
    I'd like the AAE; but I can't justify the $179 price tag =/
  22. BoulderBum macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2008
    I like mine for the most part (especially the power-saving "wake on demand" integration with Macs), but it's frustrating that you have to disable the dual-band capabilities if you have an iPhone 4 (lest you get an extremely flaky connection with the phone). I paid good money for an Apple router specifically for its dual-band capabilities and now I can't use it because of another Apple product! Sheesh!
  23. JoshBoy macrumors 6502


    Oct 12, 2008
    Sydney, Australia
  24. Seydlitz macrumors member

    Mar 21, 2009
    I wouldn't recommend Linksys as their current line-up is weak (a lot of problems, this is reflected in their forum).

    Personal experience: I bought the dual band WRT320N and am not impressed. It has some useless gimmicks, like a setup button for wireless... why a button for something you will do once and then never touch again (I assume most people don't reconfigure their wlan ever other day). Why not a wireless on/off button, so you can switch off the broadcasting.

    Also at least twice did it lose it's DHCP settings, forcing a factory reset.

    My personal experience gives the nudge to Draytek for advanced users and Sitecom for budget use (very limited interface, but so far very stable).

    But for the best and easiest experience I will join the Airport Extreme chorus.

    A good resource (the best!):
  25. newagemac macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2010
    Why would you disable the dual band capabilities for the iPhone 4? That would make no sense. The iPhone 4 only uses the 2.4GHz N band and any of your 5GHz N capable devices use the other band. The Dual Band function is specifically for situations like that.

    As a matter of fact, I have that setup in my home and it works perfectly. My iPhone 4 uses the 2.4GHz N band, my Wii uses the 2.4GHz band through a G connection, while my Macbook Pro and Mac Mini use the 5GHz N band.

    One great thing about Apple routers that other routers don't do is when you have slower G-only devices along with N devices on the 2.4GHz band like I have, they don't make the N devices slow down. Instead they slow down the G devices and give priority to N. So in my situation, the iPhone 4 gets priority over the Wii and of course my Macbook Pro and Mac Mini get the full speed of 5GHz N since it's dual band.

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