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


macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 10, 2007
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.

Sherman Homan

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2006
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!


macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 10, 2007
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. least in my own primitive mind about these things that
is how I understood it.

free radical

macrumors newbie
Aug 30, 2006
FIOS - new Airport Extreme router - setup instructions


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.



macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 10, 2007
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.

free radical

macrumors newbie
Aug 30, 2006
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.)


macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 10, 2007
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.


macrumors 65832
Jan 29, 2005
Baltimore, MD
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.