Options for replacing Airport Extreme Gen 2

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by karungguni, Dec 27, 2015.

  1. karungguni macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2012
    #1
    Currently using an Airport Extreme Gen 2. Am cutting the cord for cable and looking at all pieces to see if I should replace them. I am currently running one MBP, iPad and iPhone in a small apartment so do not have reception issues. Do not want to overpay but price is not so much an issue. Previous to using the Airport had had connection issues with a D Link router. Switched to Apple on the assumption (correctly or incorrectly) that Apple products play together better. I have noticed that my MBP connects to the wireless much faster at home than another MBP does at my office to a non Apple Router. I have added multiple external hard disks through a splitter with the current USB port and speeds are painful and as well as discovery of the disks spotty. What I am looking to gain from a new router:
    1. Ability to have a guest network.
    2. Faster saving to and retrieving from a hard disk,either external or internal with a time capsule. External is appealing as a 5 tb disk is relatively cheap with USB 3.0 or other types of connections.
    3. Faster wifi unless what is supported with the current router is as good as it gets.
    All comments are welcomed.
     
  2. LiveM macrumors 6502a

    LiveM

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2015
    #2
    I would say get the latest Airport Extreme as the WiFi is as fast as it gets, it offers a guest network and you can attach a bigger drive instead of several which should solve your discovery issues. Otherwise get a Time Capsule.
     
  3. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #3
    The Airport Extreme may be using the same wifi standard as other routers, but it isn't the faster in real world usage in terms of actually getting data through. See smallnetbuilder.com. And it's overpriced IMHO.

    I'd recommend the Netgear R7000; it rocks and is in about the same price range. External antennas, USB 2 and USB 3 ports, and pretty much everything else the Apple has but faster.

    And no, Apple Extremes don't necessarily play better with Macs than other brands. But the reverse is true; Apple stuff doesn't necessarily play nice with the outside world. For example, most every other router can work with just a browser to access it; Apple requires their own proprietary utility. I have older Apple wifi equipment that is now useless cuz they abandoned support for said utility in recent system updates. In general, however, a router should not play nice or mean with anything else; the whole idea is connection with a variety of equipment.

    I agree about a big ol' drive to use with the router. More robust than a Time Capsule where if either the router function goes or the drive goes you're hosed, while it would be easier to replace either when they are two discrete devices. And that may work more reliably than using a "splitter" to mount separate drives.
     
  4. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #4
    My neighbor tried the Netgear R7000 with abysmal real world results. Slow performance, restarting it once a week, and awkward HMI was the norm. He is not a hacker type. He replaced the Netgear with a current gen extreme and is much happier. Set and forget, it just works. They are a mixed PC and Mac household that does some on line gaming and much streaming over a 30G cable drop.

    The gen 2 Extreme firmware was not robust for much more than sharing a single drive, but was dog slow at it. Multiple USB drives were troublesome, mostly due to sleep and too slow to wake issues. That generation time capsule performed much better. I don't think there is much difference between the current gen Extreme and Time capsule, but the time capsule does have a built in disk. If you intend to use the shared drive as a time machine destination, stick with apple products.

    I use a current gen time capsule and it serves several Macs and two ATVs to my FIOS connection just fine (a large house), a bit better than my older gen Extreme.
     
  5. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #5
    @karungguni The cream of the crop offerings from ASUS, Netgear, and even Linksys are all going to perform better in benchmarks than the AirPort Extreme. That being said, the real world difference is going to be very slight. You can get the Extreme for $129 from Apple Refurbished with a full one year warranty. The only difference between a refurbished and a new unit from Apple is the box essentially.

    The AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule are the only routers to have native official Time Machine support. While third party options may support Time Machine, Apple does not officially support this configuration and I personally would not trust my entire backup system to an unsupported configuration. AirPort Utility 6 has matured quite a bit since its initial introduction in 2012 and offers a lot of new features, but still pales compared to AirPort Utility 5 or the controls on other routers. Apple takes a very simplistic approach with the AirPorts, and it works well provided you do not need granular controls. If you are looking for a set it and forget it approach to networking with all you need to configure being right there, then the AirPort is a great match!

    Another pro is that if you put AppleCare on any Apple TV, iPad, or Mac that you buy in the next two years from the purchase date of the AirPort, it will automatically be covered. That in theory would give you up to five years of warranty coverage. I use an AirPort Extreme with a variety of UniFi APs to handle the routing for 150-175 clients daily and it never misses a beat even under significant strain!

    In summary to your points:

    1. AirPorts support having a guest network provided they are the main router on the network.
    2. USB 3.0 on a router is usually a gimmick due to chipset shortcomings, however the AirPort Extreme will get about 23-25 MB/s read and write from a speedy USB 2.0 hard drive in my testing.
    3. The current AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule support Wireless AC, however you need a compatible client to receive the speed gains afforded by that technology. However, it has been noted that even Wireless N clients will receive a sizable speed boost by upgrading to the Extreme or Time Capsule from your second generation model.
     

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