New Airport Express & Extreme Imminent?

lysingur

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Dec 30, 2013
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Will the 7th gen Airport be announced at WWDC this year?

I've been holding off upgrading for more than a year now.
 

maflynn

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802.11ad isn't really established yet, so I what would Apple do, release an update to their 802.11ac?
 

LiveM

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You've been missing out for almost a year? Cut your losses and get one. If you're worried just get it within 14 days of WWDC, but there is no chance of any new Airport this year.
 

MRxROBOT

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Well the Express is still using 802.11n, which is dated technology considering virtually all Apple products are shipping with 802.11ac. So there's the possibility of that being updated but I very much doubt it as it would presumably cannibalize sales of the more expensive Extreme. In the unlikely event the new MacBook Pros are introduced with 802.11ad at WWDC we would definitely see updated Airport routers but I wouldn't hold your breath.
 
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LiveM

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The thing is, the Express is primarily for client mode - using its USB, audio and ethernet ports for connected printers, amplifiers and network drives so n speed is plenty, just like USB 2 is plenty for the Extreme.
 

MRxROBOT

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The thing is, the Express is primarily for client mode - using its USB, audio and ethernet ports for connected printers, amplifiers and network drives so n speed is plenty, just like USB 2 is plenty for the Extreme.
Although it has client capabilities, Apple still markets the Express primarily as a router. Is 802.11n plenty for the uses you marketed? Sure but many if not most still use it as a router. 802.11ac is now standard across new Apple Products, customers shouldn't have to pay an additional $100 premium to have it in their router. Also the Express is not capable of hosting network drives.

Switching gears now, USB 2 on the Extreme is definitely not plenty. Sure over WiFi throughput rarely saturates USB 2 but for those that have a desktop solution connected via Gigabit in addition to their wireless, USB 2 will certainly be a bottleneck for a shared a drive.

USB 2 is definitely not 'Extreme' ;)
 
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lysingur

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Dec 30, 2013
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Well the Express is still using 802.11n, which is dated technology considering virtually all Apple products are shipping with 802.11ac.
Exactly. My setup is such that I need the audio output so I'm reluctant to get the Extreme but I also want to the speed that comes with 802.11ac since most of my devices can take advantage of it.
 

LiveM

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Although it has client capabilities, Apple still markets the Express primarily as a router. Is 802.11n plenty for the uses you marketed? Sure but many if not most still use it as a router. 802.11ac is now standard across new Apple Products, customers shouldn't have to pay an additional $100 premium to have it in their router.
N Wi-Fi can be faster than the Express's 10/100 ethernet. I really believe Apple will continue to differentiate the Express and therefore will only upgrade it when the time comes to do the Extreme. For now it is an entry Airport which is very useful even after upgrading to the Extreme and whose real place is as such, where it is faster than needed for its connected devices and whose price point matches its specs.

Also the Express is not capable of hosting network drives.
It is. I do it.

Switching gears now, USB 2 on the Extreme is definitely not plenty. Sure over WiFi throughput rarely saturates USB 2 but for those that have a desktop solution connected via Gigabit in addition to their wireless, USB 2 will certainly be a bottleneck for a shared a drive.

USB 2 is definitely not 'Extreme' ;)
The issue is the processing power required. USB 3 on a router is usually a gimmick as the router processor cannot handle even USB 2's potential.

As I mentioned, the Express also does not have a gigabit port, which is another reason n Wi-Fi is plenty.
 
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MRxROBOT

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N Wi-Fi can be faster than the Express's 10/100 ethernet. I really believe Apple will continue to differentiate the Express and therefore will only upgrade it when the time comes to do the Extreme. For now it is an entry Airport which is very useful even after upgrading to the Extreme and whose real place is as such, where it is faster than needed for its connected devices and whose price point matches its specs.
Sure 802.11n can be faster than the 10/100BASE-T port but that’s neither here nor there as neither of those are capable of keeping up with the throughput of any of Apple’s 802.11ac devices. Yes, it's an entry Airport router but it's an entry Airport router that cannot support the throughput of virtually all Apple's entry level devices being sold.

It is. I do it.
The only way to connect a networked drive to the Express is via NAS, which is additional hardware between the drive and the Express. You cannot directly connect a USB drive to the Express and network it.

The issue is the processing power required. USB 3 on a router is usually a gimmick as the router processor cannot handle even USB 2's potential.
USB 3.0 is far from a gimmick. Even affordable routers such as the Linksys WRT1200AC (which is going for just shy of $100 these days) has documented throughput of 99.5 MB/s write speeds via it’s USB 3.0 port, practically saturating Gigabit's real world throughput. Last I checked that was little bit more than USB 2's potential ;).
 
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LiveM

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Again, the Extreme is the premium and I don't see Apple closing the gap.

USB drives won't work with the Express's USB port - another case of deliberately lower specs just like the ethernet speed and commensurate with the size, range and price point.

USB 3 is a gimmick on any router that can't do better than USB 2 performance.
 

MRxROBOT

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Again, the Extreme is the premium and I don't see Apple closing the gap.

USB drives won't work with the Express's USB port - another case of deliberately lower specs just like the ethernet speed and commensurate with the size, range and price point.
Not sure I see you point here. If you see my first post I stated that I very much doubted the Express would be upgraded because it would cannibalize sales of the more expensive Extreme. Everything else followed because you said,

The thing is, the Express is primarily for client mode - using its USB, audio and ethernet ports for connected printers, amplifiers and network drives so n speed is plenty, just like USB 2 is plenty for the Extreme.
USB 3 is a gimmick on any router that can't do better than USB 2 performance.
Isn't that a given? o_O
 

LiveM

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I still think that's its primary useage. Think of the name - Express - and the copy - "lets you set up quickly and effortlessly". It's all about removing obstacles and temporary situations; it's a tempting first taste which also has important permament usefulness as a secondary connection.
 

MRxROBOT

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I still think that's its primary useage. Think of the name - Express - and the copy - "lets you set up quickly and effortlessly". It's all about removing obstacles and temporary situations; it's a tempting first taste which also has important permament usefulness as a secondary connection.
With this logic the MacBook should ship with 802.11n while reserving 802.11ac for the MacBook Pro.
 
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LiveM

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I don't see that making sense. It has other limitations compared to the Pros and now all the iPads offer ac so it can't be behind those, plus web use is its primary focus.

I always see the 12" Macbook as the real iPad Pro.
 

MRxROBOT

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I don't see that making sense. It has other limitations compared to the Pros
There is fallacy in your logic. To say the MacBook has been designed with limitations is like saying a roadster is the compromised version of it’s four door saloon counterpart. Please expand on the MacBook’s perceived limitations and how it compares to the limitations of 802.11n imposed on the Express.

now all the iPads offer ac so it can't be behind those
Exactly. The entry router does not utilize the throughput of it's entry level devices.
 
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LiveM

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Again, it's only used sparingly as a main base station. Most of the time it serves directly attached devices or it extends Wi-Fi coverage, performing better than the ac router that is further away.
 

MRxROBOT

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Again, it's only used sparingly as a main base station. Most of the time it serves directly attached devices or it extends Wi-Fi coverage, performing better than the ac router that is further away.
You perhaps use it sparingly and only in range of 802.11n, others certainly use it as their only router and many within range to utilize the added throughput. Not everybody has NAS, multiple access points etc. Can you not agree that Apple's entry level routers should be capable of communicating with their entry level devices with full throughput? Seems ludicrous to have to spend an extra $100 for 802.11ac technology when all of their new products come standard with it. There is zero reason for them not to have it included other than pushing customers to the more expensive Extreme.

Well I think we agree on the last point, so I'll leave this here.
 

LiveM

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The Extreme used a much bigger enclosure when it went to ac. An Express with ac might be possible but in its current form factor heat might be a deal breaker and it would not have the same range due to lower & smaller antennae, plus it probably wouldn't have beamforming. So for all that, would even be possible and if so, would it be much, if any, better? If it raised the price, that would be another problem and if it got bigger, that would be a major concern. Better to introduce an in-between model.
 

MRxROBOT

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Interesting, so you are now moving from the it is designed perfectly for it’s use argument to hardware and design are limiting 802.11ac in the Express. Do you in fact understand the hardware in the Express and the Extreme or are you just repeating what you have found on the internet to bolster your argument?
The Extreme used a much bigger enclosure when it went to ac.
The Extreme ‘s enclosure grew not because of the inclusion of 802.11ac or because of heat but to maximize multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) and better disperse the signal. This was a conscious decision to strengthen the range of all 802.11 bands not in and of itself a requirement of 802.11ac.
An Express with ac might be possible but in its current form factor heat might be a deal breaker
What do you think would cause “excessive heat” because I can assure you moving from the Atheros AR9582 to the QCA9880 IC would not be a cause for concern.
it would not have the same range due to lower & smaller antennae
802.11ac’s benefit is not from added range but the additional throughput when in range. Furthermore the Extreme will always have better range because it runs an amplifier on 2.4 GHz (Skyworks 2623L) and 5GHz (Skyworks 5003L1). So saying it won’t have the same range as the Extreme is neither here nor there as the Extreme is designed specifically for longer range in regards to every band not just 802.11ac.
plus it probably wouldn't have beam forming.
There is nothing keeping Beamforming being implemented in the Express, it just theoretically wouldn’t be as efficient as it is in the Extreme due to antenna positioning. On the topic of Beamforming, it isn’t some magic voodoo that is able to give you 2x the throughput. In the real world it will give you a slight bump in throughput, if any. Here’s some figures from Tim Higgins Beamforming Test Summary using IxChariot's throughput script. Needless to say 802.11ac would be a welcome addition to the Express even without Beamforming.

+ 14% (-32dBm) AP and wireless client in same room, approximately 6 feet apart.

- 4.2% (-53 dBm) Client in upper level, approximately 25 feet away (direct path) from AP. One wood floor, sheetrock ceiling, no walls between AP and Client.

+ 11.8% (-65 dBm) Client in upper level, approximately 35 feet away (direct path) from AP. One wood floor, one lower level sheetrock wall, sheetrock ceiling between AP and Client.
 
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MRxROBOT

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So for all that, would even be possible and if so, would it be much, if any, better? If it raised the price, that would be another problem and if it got bigger, that would be a major concern. Better to introduce an in-between model.
Yes it's possible. Yes it would be much better. No they don't need to raise the price. It does't need to be any bigger. No need for another model.
 

LiveM

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Once again, I don't see it happening until the Extreme is upgraded so as to keep it clear that these are different devices primarily intended for different uses. The Express isn't going to match the extreme no matter what. I thnk you're too hopeful about the performance gain from swapping parts and forgetting about the big picture.
 

MRxROBOT

macrumors 6502
Apr 14, 2016
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Once again, I don't see it happening until the Extreme is upgraded so as to keep it clear that these are different devices primarily intended for different uses. The Express isn't going to match the extreme no matter what. I thnk you're too hopeful about the performance gain from swapping parts and forgetting about the big picture.
I am truly amazed at how far all of this went over your head.
 
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