Is The Airport Extreme/Express Worth it

Bengalhawks

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 20, 2014
24
0
Hello everyone ive been using multiple routers over the years from Lynksys & Netgear and always end up with issues. Poor download speed or they just crap out mainly. So I'm looking to get a good quality router and I've been thinking of going with an apple one. My family constantly is online with xbox, playstation, youtube, Netflix, etc and I want something quality where we won't experience lag or issues with multiple of these services running at once. For those who have used the apple router products, would they do that for me and would you go extreme or express? Thank you in advance.
 
Last edited:

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,171
9,840
California
Apple's routers you mentioned are okay routers with their main benefit being easy configuration using the Airport Utility app on either a desktop or iOS device.

But if you really want a top performance router, there are better options out there. Look at reviews on Small Net Builder for good suggestions. The new Asus AC routers seem to do consistently well in tests there and cost less than the Airport Extreme.
 
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brentsg

macrumors 68040
Oct 15, 2008
3,484
852
If you've always experienced issues with routers over the years then you would do well with an Apple model. You may see performance advantages, or greater customization as benefits with Asus or the like but it's unlikely to be anything you'd use or notice.
 
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canuckle

macrumors regular
Dec 18, 2011
137
0
This. I've had both the new Extreme and other brands, and I took the Extreme back and got a refund. Full marks for setup being crazy easy, but if you can follow simple instructions many other routers will out perform. I currently run an ASUS RT-AC68U, and it blows by the extreme in both range and throughput. Setup is not hard, and for connecting things like ATV it's far better when it comes to streaming.

Netgear also gets good reviews, but as I use ASUS I can vouch for it.

Also the stock firmware is fine, but if you like to tinker at all there is custom firmware available through http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/rankers/router/view in the forums section...look for ASUS Wireless, RMerlin section.

HTH

Apple's routers you mentioned are okay routers with their main benefit being easy configuration using the Airport Utility app on either a desktop or iOS device.

But if you really want a top performance router, there are better options out there. Look at reviews on Small Net Builder for good suggestions. The new Asus AC routers seem to do consistently well in tests there and cost less than the Airport Extreme.
 
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Bengalhawks

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 20, 2014
24
0
Thanks for the responses so far guys. From what im reading the Apple routers are pretty good and super easy to set up but you can get better with more settings and what not for the same price or cheaper..
 
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Donfor39

macrumors 68000
Jul 26, 2012
1,622
241
Lanarkshire Scotland
used 3rd Airport extreme with cable broadband now 'fibre' broadband' with external hdd -the extreme has been a excellent 'addition' to my providers 'hub'

It's time machine thats been the flaw with apple -may consider a time capsule ...or not with my recent experience time machine 'failed' to restore the settings from external hdd to new macbook

does 'time capsule' perform a restore 'if and when required in the rare time you may require it'?

The 3rd gen maybe 'old' tech now it works brilliantly well:)
 
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takeshi74

macrumors 601
Feb 9, 2011
4,974
68
Thanks for the responses so far guys. From what im reading the Apple routers are pretty good and super easy to set up but you can get better with more settings and what not for the same price or cheaper..
I'd also say that sums it up. It would help if you'd provide the prior model numbers of routers you've used. Linksys and Netgear both make ranges of products and it could be that you've been buying the wrong products for what you're expecting. I've had very good results with the newer Asus routers.
 
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Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
476
Elkton, Maryland
Thanks for the responses so far guys. From what im reading the Apple routers are pretty good and super easy to set up but you can get better with more settings and what not for the same price or cheaper..
I have a 5th gen. Extreme running as the central router/client controller for a network with eight APs (AirPort Express 2nd gen.). The network has regularly 80 - 100 clients but has been pushed to 125 without an issue. Under special events at the school, an Express has been pushed to 65 clients without an issue.

So in summary, yes, they are great. I replaced the Extreme with the ASUS RT-AC68U to see how it would do and it didn't take long for it to totally crash. The network never misses a beat with the Extreme.
 
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neutrino23

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2003
1,740
231
SF Bay area
The Airport Extreme is great. We just got one a few months ago. We extended it with an Airport Express. We run an ATV and a bunch of iPads, iPhones and MBPs.

I compared using the Airport Express to connecting the incoming cable directly to a laptop and the speed was virtually the same.

My experience with routers has been that they need to be replaced about every three years or so. It is not that they stop working, they just seem to develop dropouts and stalls and such. Resets don't help. I'm guessing that as speeds increase and maybe formatting changes or something then the older routers can't keep up. New routers know all the modern protocols, have more memory, faster processors, etc. and so work better.
 
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Alx9876

macrumors 6502a
Jan 26, 2008
519
37
NorCal
The Apple routers have much better range than Asus and very speedy wifi. You will not experience down time or range issues. The performance will be the same as ASUS if not better because of the range i.e. backyard wifi.
 
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Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,171
9,840
California
The Apple routers have much better range than Asus and very speedy wifi. You will not experience down time or range issues. The performance will be the same as ASUS if not better because of the range i.e. backyard wifi.
Actually, the test results do not show that at all. The AE tests at the low end of comparable AC routers in almost every measure.
 
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QWERTYMac7

macrumors regular
Nov 20, 2012
157
14
FWIW

I have been on the router merry-go-round multiple times - using expensive routers from Costco.

The various routers worked for a year or so then started having connectivity issues. Got 'em at Costco and returned 'em.

Every one of them.

Now I have an Airport Extreme and it DOES NOT loose connectivity. It's solid.

We have Mac and PC's at the home - it works very well.

I do not care about 'technical specs' - in my very real world the Apple router, so far, is the best.
 
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atticus27

macrumors regular
Feb 2, 2009
200
0
Pittsburgh, PA
I use a airport express that works great. I put the crappy comcast modem in bridge mode and run everything through it. Setup is easy and it manages the 2.4 and 5ghz bands automatically, which is nice.
Its worth the $100 to not have to troubleshoot it every other day like the multiple ones I had from comcast
If you want a future proof device go with the extreme, since it supports 802.11AC (if we every get internet speeds fast enough to take advantage of it)
 
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Otago Lad

macrumors member
Mar 22, 2011
96
8
New Zealand
I have an ASUS RT-AC66U and it is awesome - blows the Apple devices out of the water especially when streaming to my aTV's.
 
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brentsg

macrumors 68040
Oct 15, 2008
3,484
852
I have an ASUS RT-AC66U and it is awesome - blows the Apple devices out of the water especially when streaming to my aTV's.
We've seen this comment twice now.

I have streamed for years to ATVs, first generation, second generation, third... I actually still have all 3 models in use at my home. I'm using Airport Extreme N models, and I now have the new AC model.

Never once have we had a hiccup, glitch, or any other misbehavior when streaming to an ATV of any generation. They have been flawless not only for me, but for the wife and kids, and they get daily use. How exactly would the ASUS improve on this?
 
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Otago Lad

macrumors member
Mar 22, 2011
96
8
New Zealand
We've seen this comment twice now.

I have streamed for years to ATVs, first generation, second generation, third... I actually still have all 3 models in use at my home. I'm using Airport Extreme N models, and I now have the new AC model.

Never once have we had a hiccup, glitch, or any other misbehavior when streaming to an ATV of any generation. They have been flawless not only for me, but for the wife and kids, and they get daily use. How exactly would the ASUS improve on this?
They work well, however for me lack of distance and speed of streaming have been the major issues. I have a two story 5,500 sq ft house and the ASUS allows me to stream blu-ray rips of 20+GB to my aTV3 and Roku3 on a different level on the other side of the house with no buffering while also streaming to multiple other aTV's around the house at the same time - my trials of the Apple devices (i.e. AirPort Extreme etc.) just can't handle this.

I'm not against Apple - in our house we have 4 iPads, 2 iPhone 5s', 3 aTV's and an airport express (which an old stereo is plugged into making it an airplay device). I love the apple ecosystem, although I run a WHS 2011 server for running iTunes and serving up media, however the Airport Extreme just isn't as grunty as the ASUS - the Airport Extreme is great for easy setup, however for pure grunt or for a power user who wants to get the best out of their local network then the ASUS wins hands down.
 
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9512tacoma

macrumors regular
Aug 28, 2013
104
16
I have had netgear routers for years. They worked ok with standard internet browsing and steaming sd Netflix but I got an Apple TV and iPad 2 I could not get AirPlay to work properly with mirroring the screen in my tv. I purchased airport express 2nd generation to replace netgear and I have had no issues with airplay mirroring. $100 was worth it.
 
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Alx9876

macrumors 6502a
Jan 26, 2008
519
37
NorCal
Actually, the test results do not show that at all. The AE tests at the low end of comparable AC routers in almost every measure.
Except for comments like this proves I'm not the only one noticing how awful Asus is.

Comment here taken from your link.



IMO: Airport Extreme is much better than Asus AC660

Overall rating:

4.7
Features:

4.0
Performance:

5.0
Reliability:

5.0
Reviewed by Mark
June 06, 2014
Report this review

I purchased two Asus AC660Us as soon as they came out (one was used as a bridge). Their performance was fine, but plagued by intermittent problems and drops.

One of the two Asus died and was replaced, twice. After it died the second time, I went with the AC version of Airport Extreme.

What a difference, at least in my case! In most cases, with the Airport Extreme I get much better coverage than I used to, even without using the remaining Asus as a bridge.

Using the Asus as a bridge, I get no more drops and the network is now rock-solid.

So, in my experience, the Airport Extreme is MUCH better than the Asus AC660. It looks much better as well (the Asus is pretty tacky).
 
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tbobmccoy

macrumors 6502a
Jul 24, 2007
930
161
Austin, TX
FWIW

I have been on the router merry-go-round multiple times - using expensive routers from Costco.

The various routers worked for a year or so then started having connectivity issues. Got 'em at Costco and returned 'em.

Every one of them.

Now I have an Airport Extreme and it DOES NOT loose connectivity. It's solid.

We have Mac and PC's at the home - it works very well.

I do not care about 'technical specs' - in my very real world the Apple router, so far, is the best.
This is why I switched to Airport routers in 2007. I used Asus, Netgear, and Linksys, all with lots of dropped connections. I have yet to have a single dropped connection on either my Airport Express or Airport Extreme since. Apple routers for the win. :cool:
 
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Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,171
9,840
California
The Apple routers have much better range than Asus and very speedy wifi. You will not experience down time or range issues. The performance will be the same as ASUS if not better because of the range i.e. backyard wifi.
Actually, the test results do not show that at all. The AE tests at the low end of comparable AC routers in almost every measure.
Except for comments like this proves I'm not the only one noticing how awful Asus is.
You said the Airport Extreme has better range and test results do not show that, that is my point.

Now if you want to cherry pick user complaints, I guess I can post a bunch of quotes from people who don't like their Airport Extremes (like this). If you look through the user comments on that site for the AE and the Asus they look like a pretty even mix of people who like or dislike both. Same if you look at Amazon reviews. Tons of people like both and a handful don't like both. I have never seen any study about what router brand is the most reliable, so I don't think either of us can just guess based on a few user complaints for either brand.

Look if you like your AE, that's great. I own a AC Time Capsule and I like it just fine too. But if one is looking simply for a router and comparing objective measures of performance and features, it is hard to recommend the AE over cheaper competing models. That's just my opinion.
 
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Alx9876

macrumors 6502a
Jan 26, 2008
519
37
NorCal
You said the Airport Extreme has better range and test results do not show that, that is my point.

Now if you want to cherry pick user complaints, I guess I can post a bunch of quotes from people who don't like their Airport Extremes (like this). If you look through the user comments on that site for the AE and the Asus they look like a pretty even mix of people who like or dislike both. Same if you look at Amazon reviews. Tons of people like both and a handful don't like both. I have never seen any study about what router brand is the most reliable, so I don't think either of us can just guess based on a few user complaints for either brand.

Look if you like your AE, that's great. I own a AC Time Capsule and I like it just fine too. But if one is looking simply for a router and comparing objective measures of performance and features, it is hard to recommend the AE over cheaper competing models. That's just my opinion.
Last year at the time that the AE came out it was true what I have said.

I have since ignored this side of the market since I am not in the realm of purchasing a new router or in need of an upgrade. Apple Airport Extremes have a good reputation for having good coverage. Apple is slow to update their routers so who knows when we will see something that is the latest versus using a year old router to compare against Asus who craps out products faster than Samsung craps out a new cell phone.

Asus has a long history of being unreliable. If the wifi is faster what good is it if it doesn't work or goes down most of the time.


Asus does not stand for quality even though the PC gaming world thinks it does.

At the end of the day users will experience hardware failure or wifi that stops working. In exchange for fastest wifi that can't even stay online like the Motorola modems.

I have owned almost every wifi router under the sun and can't say good things unless the wifi stays online for more than 7 days a week straight without a 3 hour downtime for no reason sometimes 12-15 hours a day. No it isn't the provider. It's the hardware.
 
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tthip

macrumors member
Mar 16, 2012
44
1
I love apples router and highly, highly recommend it.
I have an airport and and AE and the only issue I have EVER had was when streaming music to the express I sometimes get stutter.
I have installed 3 airport extremes over the past 2 years at my and familes houses and none of us has had one single issue or problem. There is no limitation we have found yet for anything we do from appletv netflix youtube streaming hbogo rokus wii laptops wireless cards ipads phones no reseting or anything at all. Everything we do just works like it should. I have never performed any kind of maintenace on them at all.
I HIGHLY recommend the airport router
 
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Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
476
Elkton, Maryland
I love apples router and highly, highly recommend it.
I have an airport and and AE and the only issue I have EVER had was when streaming music to the express I sometimes get stutter.
I have installed 3 airport extremes over the past 2 years at my and familes houses and none of us has had one single issue or problem. There is no limitation we have found yet for anything we do from appletv netflix youtube streaming hbogo rokus wii laptops wireless cards ipads phones no reseting or anything at all. Everything we do just works like it should. I have never performed any kind of maintenace on them at all.
I HIGHLY recommend the airport router
And that is the way a router should work. Simply beam wireless through out the area and be stable, what more can I ask for. In the scheme of things, is someone really going to use the extra brute speed of the ASUS over the AirPort? Probably not...

It is like me selling a Pontiac Bonneville which has a sporty body and putting in a regular V8 over a supercharged engine. I will never really have any business using the supercharged engine to its potential that some Bonnevilles were sold with because it is still a full-size sedan and not a sports car.

I make the analogy to home vs. corporate wireless. The ASUS's brute strength could be appreciated in the corporate world where it gets a work out, but it falls short in other regards. It is all a matter of Apples to oranges. What has one thing doesn't have the other. Apple has the reliability, simplicity, and design down better than any other router, but ASUS has the pure speed and strong external antennas. You choose what you want...
 
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Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,171
9,840
California
Asus has a long history of being unreliable. If the wifi is faster what good is it if it doesn't work or goes down most of the time.
I will say it again. Please post up the study that shows Asus routers are less reliable than Apples? Where is the documentation of this long history of being unreliable you speak of?
 
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