Is the AirPort Extreme Worth It?

BeK

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 2, 2012
183
14
My $180 ASUS router died a couple of weeks ago and I'm shopping for a new router. I have been looking at this AirPort Extreme router and was wondering if it would be worth it.
How is it in terms of stability and reliability. Does it have to be reset once a week for optimum performance or is it consistent regarding stable operation. I'd like to know your thoughts if you have experience with the AirPort Extreme.
Thanks.

We have the following in our household.

1 PC
2 Apple TV's
1 iPad 3
2 iPad Mini's
1 iPhone 6+
1 iPhone 6-
1 BlueRay Player (with Wifi)
1 Printer (with Wifi)
1 Nintendo Wii U
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
My $180 ASUS router died a couple of weeks ago and I'm shopping for a new router. I have been looking at this AirPort Extreme router and was wondering if it would be worth it.
How is it in terms of stability and reliability. Does it have to be reset once a week for optimum performance or is it consistent regarding stable operation. I'd like to know your thoughts if you have experience with the AirPort Extreme.
Thanks.

We have the following in our household.

1 PC
2 Apple TV's
1 iPad 3
2 iPad Mini's
1 iPhone 6+
1 iPhone 6-
1 BlueRay Player (with Wifi)
1 Printer (with Wifi)
1 Nintendo Wii U

I use one at school as the router of a 140 client network and at home where it gets 200 GB of usage a month. I never have slowdowns or reboots necessary.
 

Romf

macrumors 6502
Jun 11, 2011
258
69
Paris, France
I had previous gen and never had to reboot it except for firmware updated etc...
I just bought the new one and on my iphone6 I get 250/225Mbps speedtest so I guess that's not bad :)
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,313
10,051
California
My $180 ASUS router died a couple of weeks ago and I'm shopping for a new router. I have been looking at this AirPort Extreme router and was wondering if it would be worth it.
How is it in terms of stability and reliability. Does it have to be reset once a week for optimum performance or is it consistent regarding stable operation. I'd like to know your thoughts if you have experience with the AirPort Extreme.
I have the newest Time Capsule, which is essentially the Extreme with a hard drive inside, and never have any stability or reliability issues with it.

My only issue with Apple's routers is they are not very feature rich compared to comparably priced routers from other manufacturers. Some pretty basic things like QOS and SNMP are missing. If features like that are not important to you, nothing wrong at all with the Extreme.
 

Ccrew

macrumors 68020
Feb 28, 2011
2,035
3
My only issue with Apple's routers is they are not very feature rich compared to comparably priced routers from other manufacturers.
Translation: Routers for people that know nothing about routers. They are basic "push button get banana" routing devices that as long as all you want to do is set up a simple network they'll do just fine. Any kind of feature beyond that forget about it.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,313
10,051
California
Translation: Routers for people that know nothing about routers. They are basic "push button get banana" routing devices that as long as all you want to do is set up a simple network they'll do just fine. Any kind of feature beyond that forget about it.
Yeah... pretty much. They even removed SNMP support that was there in the last version. :mad:
 

BeK

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 2, 2012
183
14
Thank you for all the feedback guys. The AirPort Extreme may not be very "feature packed" but I'm ok with that because being feature packed means very little to me if the router is constantly running sluggish or disconnecting at random. I'm more concerned about stability over features.
My Asus N66U had features but the range sucked and the wifi speeds were slow, not to mention the fact that it died after only about a year of use.
Thanks again for all the feedback.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
Thank you for all the feedback guys. The AirPort Extreme may not be very "feature packed" but I'm ok with that because being feature packed means very little to me if the router is constantly running sluggish or disconnecting at random. I'm more concerned about stability over features.
My Asus N66U had features but the range sucked and the wifi speeds were slow, not to mention the fact that it died after only about a year of use.
Thanks again for all the feedback.
I think you will be well served by the Extreme then.
 

maghemi

macrumors 6502
Aug 7, 2009
317
0
Melbourne Australia
The Wifi range is really quite good. I replaced an Asus AC-68U with the extreme. (to improve Wifi)

It does irritate me the lack of features with it, and can be a bit difficult to work with on occasions but I'm really quite happy with mine in this setup.

The best thing personally with the Apple networking stuff is the seemless hand-off when using an extended network. I have the extreme along with two express devices to get full wifi through-out our two story heavily insulated house. (this seemless handoff is why I ditched the Asus)

As far as being capable to handle many devices, when I had the Asus it would tell me how many devices were connected (both DHCP and static assigned) we had up to 35 devices connected at any one time and no slowdown at all.

The last time it was reset was about 4-5 months ago when we had a half day power outage and the UPS ran out of power.
 

orestes1984

macrumors 65816
Jun 10, 2005
1,000
2
Australia
Translation: Routers for people that know nothing about routers. They are basic "push button get banana" routing devices.
GIVE ME BANANA, BANANA!

Which is fine.... My 4th gen AirPort Extreme sits on the end of my ADSL router and bridges its capabilities onto a real router I can do whatever I like with. Pretty much it just acts as a time capsule at the moment which is good.

If you just want something that sits there and is quiet and capable and you never have to worry about rebooting because your routers decide to corrupt itself again then get an Airport Extreme.

It will do your basics extremely well and Apple has released a proven stable workhouse. On the other hand if you want it to do things like wirelessly extending your existing non-apple network, then it's not going to do the job.

It depends what your needs are, like I said I've got one bridged onto my existing network for time capsule backups, but as an addendum it also acts as my iTunes NAS.

Your mileage may vary, just don't expect a whole bunch of things you can configure, an SSH console, or any sort of HTML configuration.
 

robgendreau

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
3,349
260
I use one. I think they're overpriced and not a particularly good deal.

I hate that I have to use a proprietary program to access the AEBS. And BTW, I have an Express that Apple sort of abandoned, since the new Airport Utility won't work with it, and the old Airport Utility won't work on Mavericks. I expect the same fate eventually for my current Airport Extreme. Meanwhile, virtually every other router works with any web browser. So if you want to use your router for a very long time, don't go Apple.

In addition, you can't add external antennas. Radio reception might be perfect in your intended location, but for many of us an antenna can improve reception tremendously.

Mine is about as reliable as other routers I've used from Linksys and Netgear. Nothing special. Check out the reviews at smallnetbuilder.com. It's a decent router, to be sure, but has nothing special about to justify the price, and the requirement of specialized, rather dumbed down, software to operate the settings is lame.
 

cmckelvmi

macrumors newbie
Sep 18, 2014
7
0
I love the analysis and I just might be in the crowd that needs a 'push button get banana'. I hope this is not hijacking; but I'm in a similar boat. I have a small 'mom and pop' cable company. I only use them for the cable modem/internet. I had a AT&T microcell tower, the cable modem, a wireless router, and an additional router to add ethernet ports. Things were going well, always had five bars on all of our iphones. However, the internet connection became glitchy. I could not seem to be able to make it through a netflix episode. I would frequently need to reboot my routers and modem. The first thing I tried was eliminating the MicroCell. That did not seem to fix anything, I still lose connection. Although it might not be as frequently as before. Of course with the new Fall TV lineups and being football season. I don't need to watch Netflix as often. Could getting an AirPort Extreme solve my problems? Thank you for any help or suggestions.
 

bubsdaddy

macrumors regular
Mar 5, 2008
164
61
The Woodlands, TX
http://coreyjmahler.com/2013/10/24/airport-utility-5-6-1-on-os-x-10-9-mavericks/

Follow this guide to be able to configure your 1st gen express using an older version of the airport utility. Otherwise, a Windows version can still configure the 1st gen. I have about 5 of them around as whole house audio players.


I use one. I think they're overpriced and not a particularly good deal.

I hate that I have to use a proprietary program to access the AEBS. And BTW, I have an Express that Apple sort of abandoned, since the new Airport Utility won't work with it, and the old Airport Utility won't work on Mavericks. I expect the same fate eventually for my current Airport Extreme. Meanwhile, virtually every other router works with any web browser. So if you want to use your router for a very long time, don't go Apple.

In addition, you can't add external antennas. Radio reception might be perfect in your intended location, but for many of us an antenna can improve reception tremendously.

Mine is about as reliable as other routers I've used from Linksys and Netgear. Nothing special. Check out the reviews at smallnetbuilder.com. It's a decent router, to be sure, but has nothing special about to justify the price, and the requirement of specialized, rather dumbed down, software to operate the settings is lame.
 

Ray2

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
689
148
After about 5 non-Apple routers and messing with their arcane setup and replacing them every year or so, I switched to an Extreme. It's been in place for about 5 years now. Simple to set up, integrates easily with all Apple products, totally reliable and decent looking. The inky way to go from my point if view and worth the extra bucks.
 

orestes1984

macrumors 65816
Jun 10, 2005
1,000
2
Australia
Could getting an AirPort Extreme solve my problems? Thank you for any help or suggestions.
The short answer is you don't really tend to see a lot of threads about people constantly rebooting their Airport Extreme. My Billion Bipac 7800NL seems to corrupt itself about once a week meaning I have to reboot it.

I've thought about just swapping them over and bridging the Billion router to my Airport Extreme, but the Billion router has high gain antennas.

That's one thing with the Airport Extreme, you can't add high gain antennas to it. You're stuck if you get into an issue with reception of just buying another base station, or an Airport Express which may not always solve the problem anyway, particularly if you're trying to extend off a weak signal.

BUT you don't have to fiddle around with an Airport Extreme, it just sits there and does what it does which might be good if you just want to be treated like Pavlovs dog.
 

JuryDuty

macrumors 6502
Sep 22, 2014
320
31
Texas
I've been a PC user for years and have used MANY top model routers. On a whim when my last one died, I decided to give an Airport Extreme a try. Wow! I get better, stronger, more reliable signal from it than any other router I've used. In fact, it won me over so much, I made my next computer purchase a Mac. Seriously!
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
I've been a PC user for years and have used MANY top model routers. On a whim when my last one died, I decided to give an Airport Extreme a try. Wow! I get better, stronger, more reliable signal from it than any other router I've used. In fact, it won me over so much, I made my next computer purchase a Mac. Seriously!
Glad to hear you are making the switch. :apple: really makes some great equipment.
 

BeK

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 2, 2012
183
14
Thanks for the advice guys!
Well I got my AirPort Extreme 2 days ago and a far I like it better than my old Asus RT-N66U. I do have a question though. How do I go about manually choosing which band to run my devices on? The 2.4GHz band is better for range and passing through walls oppose to the 5GHz band. I want most of my devices on the 2.4GHz band but I don't know how to manually choose to do so.
 

Bruno09

macrumors 68020
Aug 24, 2013
2,202
151
Far from here
Hi,

using Airport Utility, go to Wireless / Options, and give the 5GHz band a different SSID (name of the wireless network).

Then, you can choose to connect to the 2.4 GHz or the 5 GHz band.
 

BeK

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 2, 2012
183
14
Hi,

using Airport Utility, go to Wireless / Options, and give the 5GHz band a different SSID (name of the wireless network).

Then, you can choose to connect to the 2.4 GHz or the 5 GHz band.

Thank you! That was very helpful.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.