My review of the AirPort Extreme router (with Verizon Fios)

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by NJRonbo, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. NJRonbo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    #1
    Sorry for the misspelling in the thread title. Hope a Moderator can fix it.

    Yesterday I bought one of the new Apple Airport Extreme routers that
    are ungodly expensive (like everything else Apple sells).

    Did I need a new router? No, not really. To date I was using a Belkin
    Pre-N wireless router that was quite powerful and actually did a really
    good job of covering my entire home -- even providing adequate signal
    strength to my back deck for those times I wanted to sit in the sun and
    surf the Internet.

    So why did I buy this Apple router? Well, a few co-workers bought one
    and were gushing over the fact that they found it to be a lot faster than
    the routers they had previously owned. They also bragged about the fact
    that a printer or external drive could be plugged into the router's USB
    port and be made available to every single computer on the network.

    I think it was the capability of having an external drive hooked to
    the router that could be accessed from my wired desktop and wireless
    laptop that pushed me over the edge.

    Setting up the router was fairly easy, which surprised me because
    routers generally are the most tedious of computer peripherals to
    try and set up. Instead of using a webpage to set up the router (as
    is the case with most), Apple uses a setup assistant that is software
    installed and embedded in the Utilities folder.

    I had some initial problems setting up the router due to my own
    ignorance. I placed a call to Verizon Fios who told me that
    the Apple router would not work with their service because the IP
    address is meant to communicate with their routers, and when it does
    not, the address is not renewed. Had I listened to that "bull" the
    router would be on its way back to Apple. However, I was determined
    to get this router working and simply set it up the way I did my
    Belkin and it WORKED!

    I was also able to easily add my Airport Express module that operates
    my wireless printer to the network.

    So, I am certain you guys are wondering if $179 buys you a
    better router or not. Well, my initial findings is that the Apple
    router gave me the same coverage as my Belkin Pre-N modem.
    Signal strength was just as strong across my home. What I did
    notice, however, was increased speed. Web page loads were
    noticeably faster with the Apple router. It was if my system
    suddenly got a nice kick in the pants.

    I should stop here and say that I am using the "N" standard
    across the board. I downloaded the software update for my
    mac pro weeks ago to make it fully "N" compliant.

    I then hooked up an external hard drive to the router using the
    USB connection. You need to tell the Apple router whether you
    wish to share this drive across the network. I told it to do so.
    Like a charm, the hard drive appeared as an icon on my wireless
    laptop and wired desktop.

    The only problem I have with accessing that hard drive wirelessly
    is that the connection is not very fast. I tried to access the drive
    from my laptop and play some stored videos. My laptop had a
    hard time playing those videos as the connection was obviously not
    fast enough. So, it seems that while you can probably access and
    transfer small files easily over the network, the connection absolutely
    is too slow to even stream video content off of the hard drive.

    All in all, I'm happy with the Apple Airport Extreme router for its
    improved web browsing speed and ample signal strength within a
    very large home. It's extremely easy to set up. The only minor
    disappointment I have is over the rather sluggish remote access to
    the external hard drive. I suppose this is to be expected, though I
    would think the simple art of "streaming" videos off of it would have
    worked much better.

    Overall, a great router but extremely overpriced. Most people with
    small homes/apartments/townhouses would fare just as well with a
    $90-$100 Belkin or Linksys.
     
  2. Sherman Homan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    #2
    Great review! A couple more points: the wireless coverage would be the same because there are FCC limits on the broadcast power of any 802.11x device. While there may be standards for that, access speed to shared networked drives is complete voodoo. The USB port on the FIOS box hasn't worked for shared printers or hard drives for me.
    Finally, I am amazed that you were able to replace the FIOS box! Good work!
     
  3. NJRonbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    #3
    Can anyone give me an explanation as to why this router
    should or should not work with Verizon FIOS?

    I was told flat out by a Verizon Fios rep yesterday that the
    router will not work unless I piggyback it on their Antech (I think
    that is what it's called) routers.

    I got FIOS a year ago. The first thing I did was to get rid of
    their D-Link wireless router that they provided. I didn't know
    it was essential to FIOS. All I knew is that it provided poor
    wireless coverage across my large home. It sucked!

    I bought a BELKIN Pre-N router. I set it up as a PPoE/DHCP and put
    in the USERNAME and PASSWORD that the Verizon rep put into
    their router. Amazingly, the Belkin has worked for the past
    year with no problems.

    Initially, I could not get the APPLE Airport Extreme router to
    work with FIOS setting it up as a direct LAN connection. It
    wasn't until I set it up as a PPoE/DHCP and again put in the
    username and password that I was able to get a connection.

    It is just rather concerning when a Fios tech tells you that
    they often try to communicate with their routers and if they
    see that the IP address response is not what it was initially
    set for -- they will release the address you are using.

    ....at least in my own primitive mind about these things that
    is how I understood it.
     
  4. free radical macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    #4
    FIOS - new Airport Extreme router - setup instructions

    NJ,

    Could you provide step-by-step instructions as to how you set it to work together?

    Verizon tech support is useless when it comes to macs.

    Thanks
     
  5. NJRonbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    #5
    Free Radical,

    The most important part of getting this to work is having a
    USERNAME and PASSWORD set up with Verizon Fios. When
    they originally installed your router that they provided, they
    should have provided you with the USERNAME and PASSWORD
    they entered into that router.

    If you do not have that password, call Verizon and get it.

    1. Go to Finder -> Airport Utility -> Create New Wireless Network
    2. Fill out all the information pertaining to security.

    The next big thing you need to look out for....

    * Connect using DSL or cable modem using PPPoE

    You want to use that option.

    Put in the USERNAME and PASSWORD as described above.

    That will do it. Now mind you, on my original Airport Extreme
    I got a green light immediately. Just traded it in for the new
    gigabit revised model and all I am getting is a yellow light, but
    it does work!

    Let me know if this works or does not work for you, please.
     
  6. free radical macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    #6
    Thanks for the instructions, NJ

    I still haven't purchased the Base Station. I'm a little hesitant because I read somewhere that I probably wouldn't notice any speed improvement with wired connections, compared to what I now get using the Actiontec router supplied by Verizon. What's your opinion/assessment? (Just in case it will make a difference, I ordered 550m Cat 6 cable.)

    (BTW, I would have replied much sooner, but I didn't get an email alert I set up that you had responded. Thanks again for all your valuable info and assistance.)
     
  7. NJRonbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    #7
    Free Radical,

    I see no difference with the WIRED connection but a big speed boost
    with the wireless. I am going on a limb to say that your wireless speed
    will be faster than what you have now.
     
  8. Zadillo macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2005
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    #8
    I'm thinking of getting this, but have a mixed-platform home. It includes an iMac (an original Core Duo iMac, so that presumably won't have the wireless N hardware), and it would also have a regular PC in it, and soon a MacBook Pro which would have wireless N.

    I'd also like to get a wireless adapter for the PC (either a PCI card or a USB adapter), but I'm wondering if it would matter what brand I used (i.e. would any current linksys, d-link, belkin, etc. Wireless N adapter work with the airport extreme).

    I also use FIOS, so I'd love to get more speed benefit on the wireless side; right now I'm still using the regular 802.11g D-Link router Verizon gave to use.
     

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