Need buying advice

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by TyWahn, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. TyWahn macrumors 6502


    Oct 25, 2003
    I am not sure if this is the right place but please hear me out. I have a 2nd gen Airport Extreme, the kind flat kind, and I am in the market for a new router.
    Id rather not go with the latest Apple Extreme because they're getting up there in age and I don't know how long they will support them.
    Can anybody recommend a router that has great range (we have a two story house about 3500 sq ft)
    I dont know the first thing about routers outside of Apple's ecosystem. I dont want to use the one that comes with the ISP.
    Any help will be so appreciated.
  2. Glockworkorange macrumors 65816


    Feb 10, 2015
    Chicago, Illinois
    I'd check out the wirecutter----

    Eero is great too, although a little pricey:
  3. colodane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2012
    Probably wise not to go with Apple now that hey have exited this market. Check out for some good info on routers. Lots of reviews and comparisons.

    Your first main decision in today's market will be deciding between a mesh system and a single router. At 3500 sq ft you might find yourself in mesh territory, depending on what parts of the house you want a strong signal.

    We are moving to a new condo next month and I'm getting an ASUS router to replace my existing Apple AirPort Extreme.
  4. Fishrrman, Apr 4, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018

    Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009

    If you have a house with large square footage, I STRONGLY SUGGEST that you take some time (at least 4-6 weeks) and READ UP on the new "mesh systems" that are out on the market today.

    They provide what is probably the best solution to blanketing a large home with wifi.

    Some of the ones out there are:
    Linksys Velop
    Netgear Orbi
    Ubiquiti "Amplifi"
    google wifi
    ... and others.

    They come in packs with two or three "nodes" that you place around the house.

    Most are configured through "a smart app" that you run on a phone or tablet (iOS or Android).
    The Velop and Orbi can also be set up via a browser interface.

    I'm using Velop and it works fine. Apple is now selling these (rather than market a mesh system of their own).

    I suggest you take the time to thoroughly read as many user reviews as you can find for each one. Then make your buying decision.

    I'll bet just about all of the above will "cover your house" FAR better than ANY single wifi router that you buy...
  5. TallManNY macrumors 601


    Nov 5, 2007
    I have a two eero setup. One in the front of the house and one in the back, both on the first floor. It gives me great coverage up to the third floor. You are right not to go with the Apple Extreme. I had Apple's more recent big extreme setup and while it was very good, the two eero setup is better. The A Extreme is outdated and should no longer be sold by Apple in my opinion.
  6. Moakesy macrumors regular


    Mar 1, 2013
    I’ve just ordered an Amplifi system which is due tomorrow. I’ll post results once set up.

    Not cheap, but fed up with other options I’ve tried which haven’t worked.
  7. Moakesy macrumors regular


    Mar 1, 2013
    Right, promised to reply back with figures so here goes...

    First, I'm UK based and my ISP is Virgin. I'm on their top whack 350Mbs deal, as I work from home 90% of the time (self employed) and I can justify that speed. Reliability is good, but found that in many rooms of my brick house the performance soon dropped off. I have two NetGear plug in extenders than went into plug sockets, then repeated upstairs and one downstairs.

    Having researched, I order an Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD Mesh WiFi System, inc Router, 2x MeshPoints. Not from Amazon but from as it was cheaper. Not cheap at £324, but the system is available without the additional mesh points if all you want is the router.

    I don't live in a massive house at all, but all walls are solid brick so wifi gets hit as soon as you move out of the living room (where the router is located.

    Results (all in Mbps):

    Living Room: Was 266 now 352
    Main Bedroom: Was 162 now 253
    Outside cabin: Was 32.8 now 84.1
    Kids Room: Was 13.1 now 111.0
    Study: Was 5.8 now 115.0
    Garden: Was 17.3 now 40.2 (end of my garden, about 110 feet from the router location)

    Upload speeds also improved, but can't be bother to type them all !!! All tests done using an iPhone X on the 'Speedtest' app.

    As you can see, it's delivered some real improvements for me. I could try the same tests with the mesh points switched off to see what difference it makes if you want to only buy the unit itself.

    Setup is an absolute good as any Apple product. Download and open the app, 10 minutes later you're done.

    Although it's early days, I'm very happy so far. After years of trying to get this sorted out, I now feel like we get proper speeds everywhere in the house (and probably down the street a fair bit too!!).
  8. TyWahn thread starter macrumors 6502


    Oct 25, 2003
    Thank you all for our help. I have my work cut out for me.
  9. albireo13 macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2014

    Thanks. Can you provide feedback just using the Amplifi base unit itself?

    I have a single early Airport Extreme and am looking to replace it and am looking at either Eero or Amplifi.
    I am not sure if I need a mesh system or not. I have a modest house, 1800 sq-ft, but my wife has a workout room in the basement where she streams videos while working out.
    So far we've been getting by with just the AE router but, I would like some improvement.
  10. Moakesy, Apr 18, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018

    Moakesy macrumors regular


    Mar 1, 2013
    No problem....

    First of all, just measured my house and it's roughly 1,000 sq ft downstairs, maybe 800 sq ft of living space upstairs. So it's not big at all, but it's old and with thick brick internal walls which just absorb wifi and that is my problem.

    The table below shows three columns....the first is the original Router (including repeaters), then speeds measured tonight using two repeaters, with the third column being just the base Amplifi unit and the repeaters switched off.


    ou can see where the lack of any type of repeater (even the old ones) still creates dead spots.

    If you house does not have brick walls, then maybe just an Amplifi base unit plus just one repeater? That is still cheaper than the full kit. Or buy the Amplifi base, then only purchase a repeater(s) if you need them. For me, I need signal outside in the cabin, so the two repeaters work just right (one for upstairs, one on the back wall of the house near the garden.

    I've had it a couple of weeks now and I love regrets despite the big price tag. It looks nice in the room, performs very well and everything just connects first time.

    I've also used the 'temporary guest wifi' feature when my daughter had all her mates around (limits to 'x' people, for 'y' hours) and my son quite likes annoying her by just pausing all her devices using the app!!! :) :rolleyes:
  11. albireo13 macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2014
    Thank you very much. I have the older 802.11n Airport Extreme in the 1st floor TV room, no repeaters.
    I'll measure my speeds tonight and post what I have.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 18, 2018 ---
    BTW, what is a good app to use for speed testing? Do you use an app on your iphone?
  12. albireo13 macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2014
    OK, I used SpeedSmart app on my iphone to measure speed.
    This is what I got: down/up Mbps

    TV room (10' from router) 65.8/6.4
    1st floor living room 63.7/6.5
    basement 60.5/6.4
    Master Brm (2nd flr) 28/5.9
    2nd Brm 31/5.6
    3rd Brm 56/4.5

    Coverage is pretty good in my house. It's only 6 yrs old so the cheapa$$ wall construction actually helps.
    The basement room is directly under the router on the 1st floor so we benefit from that.

    Looks like I don't need a mesh IMO. I think an upgrade to an AE-ac version or, maybe the Amplifi HD base unit by itself!
    Just a guess.
    My Comc@st account is for 150Mbps download and I'd liek to get close to that.
  13. Moakesy macrumors regular


    Mar 1, 2013
    It depends on your budget and what you want to spend of course, but would say you could certainly get better speeds.

    If you look at my living room speeds (where I'm also about 10ft from the router), it went from 266Mb to 386Mb. If you assume 386Mb is the max I could achieve, then previously my old router only allowed me to access 69% of what I was paying for.

    The other way to put it, is I get 45% more speed than before....doesn't really matter which way you measure it, it's a good speed bump regardless.

    If it was me, I'd do the Aplifi base unit, see how it goes, then add in a repeater in the basement should you need it. But it's not me, and (more importantly) it's not my money.....
  14. albireo13 macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2014
    Thanks. Is the base Amplifi router have a cable connection to the modem?
    Also what was your previous router?

    I think I can get an improvement with a new router. Routers I am considering:
    Airport Extreme (latest .ac version)

    I'd like it to be somewhat attractive since it will sit out in the open in our main room.
    This rules out many of the "black alien spaceship" routers out there. : )
  15. Moakesy macrumors regular


    Mar 1, 2013
    This is my old router...

    I've now put this in modem mode, so it doesn't broadcast a wifi signal (hence the red light in the image below). The Amplifi plugs into the back of it via the provided ethernet cable.

    Pic below shows my old router (left), then the Amplifi, and my HomePod....and stuck in the glasses to give you some sense of scale.

  16. PackFan macrumors 6502


    Apr 22, 2009
    Twin Cities, MN
    FWIW - I tried out the 3-node Orbi system when it was on sale at Costco last week. I wasn't really impressed. I didn't feel like my speeds were significantly improved over my old system, and it just seemed "buggy". My current system is an old Apple Time Capsule in the basement by the cable modem, and an ASUS AC1900 router in AP mode connected via ethernet on the main level to cover the other 2 levels of the house. The ethernet backhaul on the Orbi is very buggy, and isn't even supported properly in the latest firmware. I had to load an older version of the firmware to get it to work. This was after swapping out the first Orbi system I bought for another one because the first one kept freezing up when I tried setting it up. I ended up returning the Orbi system.

    The Amplifi system is interesting to me, but if I understand correctly, the satellites are wireless repeaters only. They do not connect via ethernet.

    After some research, I think I am going to wait for a sale on the Eero Pro system. The reviews sound good, and it supports ethernet backhaul. It also sounds more like a true "mesh" system than the Orbi.
  17. Velin macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2008
    Hearst Castle
    Late to this post, but, another recommendation. I don't like wifi "mesh" systems because you can get ping-ponged between the base and the satellites, and you have no control over which one you are communicating with. Also, if you can't centrally locate your mesh router, it's going to be suboptimal.

    The best solution is to run an ethernet cable to a second router/wifi access point at the other end of your space. If you can't run a CAT6 cable, then strongly consider PoE, power-over-ethernet. You get a second access point, very strong wifi, and data sent over your wires to the main router. I find this setup quite superior to mesh or wireless "backhaul." Most devices will switch seamlessly between SSIDs, but it's also great that you can select which one you prefer as well. And I'll take partially wired over wireless every time. We use Netgear Powerline and they've been fantastic.
  18. mikelj macrumors member


    Nov 4, 2011
    Chorley, UK
    As I’m UK based too, I’m wondering if you can tell me whether the AmpliFi supports IPv6 over PPPOE?
  19. Moakesy macrumors regular


    Mar 1, 2013
    That question is too techie for me, suggest you have a look here first and then go to their help function here

    AmpliFi is a product designed for the home market, but the parent company is Ubiquiti, which does some more meaty hardware.

    All I know is that it works perfectly for my needs and the kids haven't complained once (which believe me, is a miracle!!)
  20. mikelj macrumors member


    Nov 4, 2011
    Chorley, UK
    Thanks for the links. I did pose the question to their support a while ago, but the answer wasn’t really clear. I believe PPPoE is the protocol used over Europe (certainly in the UK), but not in the USA. My concern was with the products being from an American company, IPv6 over PPPoE may not be supported when being used as a router (like Apple’s routers!).

    I don’t really need a mesh product, as I’ve set up a roaming network (basically a further Airport router connect to the main one via Ethernet) that provides good WiFi coverage for my home. However I don’t really want a router sprouting multiple ariels on display in my lounge; hence why I’m searching for a router with the design aesthetics of the Airport range.

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