Is the Airport Extreme worth the price??

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by galgould, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. galgould macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2010
    So I just bought my first MBP about 2 weeks ago, and I'm definitely starting to enjoy it more and more each day, but my 3-4 year old Netgear wireless router just isn't cutting it anymore. My question now, is if the Airport Extreme is worth the purchase?

    I witnessed the 'Apple Tax' first hand when I switched from PC and bought my first Mac, but can a router really be worth almost $200?? I could probably buy a very good Netgear router for 1/2 that, but is a 'very good' Netgear comparable to an airport?

    Basically I use the computer for basic stuff, e-mail, music, school, etc. I purchased a MobileMe account with my MBP, as well as the wireless Canon PIXMA mp560. I also connect to the router with my 3rd Gen iPod touch (and my gf's 1st Gen Touch), a xbox 360 console (with ethernet cable) for gaming and netflix instant streaming, and an older Dell laptop (ethernet cable). Eventually I'll probably buy a blu-ray to connect to the router too. I'm going to assume I don't need a $300 Time Capsule, but feel free to argue otherwise. Again I'm new to the whole Apple world (aside from several iPods in the past), so any feedback is appreciated! Thanks guys.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    IMO the primary advantage of the AEBS is ease of setup, which caters directly to the typical Apple customer. You basically just plug it in and go through some no-brainer steps to get it working. If you know what you're doing (or want any kind of feature more advanced than WPA-2 encryption), get something else.
  3. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    It's a great device, but not a value proposition.
  4. Dyango macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2010
    I'd say it should suit the purposes of the home networking for most users and specially for those -as me, if I had to buy a router, which thankfully is not the case- who don't wanna go through the suffering of dealing with the 95% of extremely annoying and user-unfriendly routers out there or are tired of the "wireless connecting magic" where nothing works fine until the router/access point wants to bring you the miracle of connectivity.

    So, I'd say, as any other Apple product, you pay the price for the laziness or the calm.

    On the other hand, if you find that any router out there works fine for you and you don't see any disturbance in the configuring process, then I'd say you'll get better/equal stuff for cheaper from non-Apple products. Just a guess though, as I'm not really on the business.
  5. Jerrysalem macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2009
    Airport Extreme Routers

    In my experience, I found it was definitely worth paying more for the AE.

    In the past I had always gone with whatever router I could get for the cheapest price (retail or CraigsList).

    However I always had a problem connecting one of my computers to my home network. It was in the kitchen, and had the refrigerator in direct line with the router.

    I had tried a number of different routers, and clients and configurations. I always had a problem with the signal dropping and pour throughput.

    When I connected the AirPort express, like most apple products. It just worked. Haven't had a single problem with connecting to the kitchen computers. Everything else just worked too.

    Again your milage will vary.

  6. Casadeboma macrumors newbie

    May 26, 2010
    Yes it's worth it...I had huge issues with a 2wire that Att gave us. It could not handle but a few devices at a time. The extreme solved all of those issues. The home modems are not made to handle iPod touches,iPhones,desktops,laptops, and gaming systems all at once. The airport can handle it and you can even pick what frequency the device is on. I have all of our mobile devices on one and the rest on the other.

  7. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    I've had zero issues with all the networked stuff in the house, both wired & wireless, since moving to an AEBS a couple years ago. I was always a LinkSys guy, but found I was always having to muck about with them or replace them altogether. From computers to phones to iPad to consoles, it's been ideal, rock-solid, and trouble-free.

    For me, yeah, worth the extra $$ just to avoid the time-wasting.
  8. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    the added bonus, imo, of an Airport Extreme is that it has the USB port on it for sharing a hard drive, or a printer, but if you're not going to use that feature, and don't mind and have the know-how to set up a cheaper Linksys/NetGear then i would go for the less expensive option. i just never really saw the cost benefit from apple's routers other than the Express.
  9. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Most wireless routers have a USB port these days.
  10. Dyango macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2010
    By the way, thinking about the USB port, would it be possible to connect a HUB to add multiple external HDD or HDD + printer?

    I don't see why it wouldn't be possible but you never know :p
  11. brucem91 macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2009
    You would probably need a self-powered hub to do so, but I don't see why not. Although if you don't already have a HDD, you could get a NAS to plug in via ethernet, then forgo a hub and plug the printer right in via USB.
  12. bananaboi macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2010
    i purchased one myself 2 weeks ago. it is definitely worth the price.. compare it to the price of linksys's alternative for simultaneous dualband. whether or not you need simultaneous dualband though, is up to you. the aebs has been the most reliable and fastest wireless router for me so far.
  13. Sossity macrumors 65816

    May 12, 2010
    I had a horrible experience with it trying to hook it up to my A T & T modem/router, I would get a signal, but I could not get into the airport utility settings to adjust it. I tried putting my modem/router in bridge mode with the airport, but lost my internet access completely, I had to call A T & T to reset it.

    I dont know if the airport extreme can be used as a standalone router gateway, with AT & T DSL internet service, I have asked alot of people, & nobody seems to know. Compounded with that my PC is not wifi enabled, so I needed an a USB adapter.
  14. jbyun04 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 31, 2008
    I love mine. I got it because all the Wireless N routers I was trying sucked and at the time being a PC-only user I still appreciated Apple stuff.. I just couldn't afford it, but I figured.. if Apple made it, it's probably good.

    $200 later, it was pretty easy to setup and it's rock solid. I've never had to reset it and I got it 2 years ago. I think $200 is a bit pricey though.. I'd say it's more around the $140-150
  15. Juno364 macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2010
    I have had an AEBS for a while now and have been impressed with the ease of the device. I have multiple devices using the router: iMac, iPad, 2 iPhones, PS3 and a MacBook and have never had any issues with it slowing down. I also have a printer and NAS running off the AEBS (self powered USB hub). Like the others who have replied to the OP, it is up to the individual to decide the worth of something that is easy to use is worth.
  16. 2ms macrumors 6502

    Nov 22, 2002
    Why not get the Airport Express? It's small, does Airtunes, and has tremendous performance. I would only get the Extreme if I had an NAS and/or lots of guest users that don't have 802.11N.
  17. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    The AEBS is worth the $200. It's got almost every feature that can be on a router. USB ports, dual band, etc. Not every router has a USB port or is dual band. I would get it but my $50 refurbished dual band N Netgear router does the job and I'm not that rich. The AEBS definitely does not have any "apple tax".
  18. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Haha. That's funny. As I stated above, the AEBS has all the features one would expect from a product designed for the lowest common denominator. Some things off the top of my head that mid to advanced-level users might take advantage of with another router that the AEBS doesn't offer would include...

    -A fourth ethernet port (if anyone can tell me why the AEBS only has 3, I'd be fascinated).
    -Application-based QoS
    -Power up/down scheduling
  19. kirsch92 macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2009
    AEBS is the only router that can wake your mac on LAN, according to the documentation.

    If you don't want to tap your keyboard everytime you need your mac to wake up to serve media to your xbox, AEBS or AExp is the only choice you have.

    Anyone know a work around? I haven't found one.
  20. galgould thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2010
    Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought I read that the Airport Express was not wireless, and you could only connect to the router via ethernet cables. Is this not correct? If that's not the case, then what's the difference between Express and Extreme?
  21. Vylen macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2010
    Sydney, Australia

    The wikipedia page should answer all your questions regarding tech and differences between Extreme and Express - including what they look like ;)

    P.S The AirPort range from Apple has always meant it's related to wireless LAN
  22. outl4nd3r macrumors member

    Apr 6, 2008
    The express only has one Ethernet port, and the USB port can only be used for a printer. The extreme has three Ethernet ports and a USB port that cen be used for both HDDs and printers (with a self powered USB hub you can have multiple HDDs and printers hooked up)

    Both are wireless, I read somewhere that the express can only handle 10 wireless clients. But I could be wrong
  23. BanjoBanker macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2006
    Mt Brook, AL
    I have an AEBS and use it in conjunction with my AT&T U-Verse service and I have had no troubles. I use ethernet to feed the internet signal into my wired home network ( I know, I know, but I ran the wire 10 years ago.) and then run the AEBS from a network jack. Works great. I have a powered USB hub attached which in turn has a printer and a HDD attached.
    I had a Airport Express for several years and it was great too. The only problem I had with it was it required a restart about every three days if I left it powered up 24/7. Also, the life span was not as long as I would have hoped, but I do not think it was ever intended to be a primary wireless access point so I may have just used it up.
    I recommend either with no reservations.
  24. onehoop macrumors member


    Jul 28, 2008
    I feel that my AEBSn was absolutely a waste if money. I use it with airport expresses that I use to seve AirTunes. I thought it would be nice to have because then I could use them to extend the wifi range bit this caused connectivity issues with the devices switching between signals. The default installation also caused my upload speeds to be throttled (comcast) and my older MacBook pro tries to connect to the n-radio even though it is not capable.

    Additionally, the air disks do not work with time machine and I have to manually reconnect to one of them (startup items works for 1) upon reboot.

    Not only do I feel this was a waste of money but it has negatively effected my apple fanboi status.

  25. dXTC macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2006
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    I switched from a D-Link DI-524 (WiFi-G) to the latest AEBS. The AEBS increased the signal on my older WiFi G-enabled desktop one floor down and 40 feet away, from ~55% to 85-90%. My iMac, also one floor down from the AEBS, had all kinds of problems staying connected to the D-Link, and now has a rock-solid, speedy connection.

    IMHO, the AEBS is worth it, especially in mixed WiFi spec situations. If you have a homogenous WiFi-N situation, you might want to compare with some of the better NetGear or Cisco/Linksys routers. However, you'll need to be fair when comparing specific models; some of the Simultaneous Dual-Band routers from Netgear cost just as much as an AEBS.

    My only disappointment with the AEBS is that, in its current software state, the Guest Network cannot have a bandwidth limit. I'd like to have an unsecured Guest Network for convenience for occasional guests, but then again, I don't want to have someone leeching all my bandwidth with torrenting or the like. I'd like to limit it to 128K down, 8K up-- fast enough for checking e-mail on an iPod touch or smartphone, but slow enough to frustrate anyone trying to watch video or torrent.

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