Replacing Airport Extreme

PaulMoore

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 3, 2007
217
5
Hi

I have an Airport Extreme from 2007 which I think is dying (excuse my technical ignorance but my internet speed has dropped to nearly nothing via wifi- approx. 1MB download speed- yet when I hook the ethernet cable direct from our cable modem to my iMac it's faster than ever- 20MB+... so I think the router is the weak link...)

Two questions- have I had a bad Airport for it to last 7 yrs or is that a fair lifespan? It has been in constant 24/7 use...

For someone who just wants simple easy to set-up and maintain wi-fi with the heaviest use being Netflix on a TV in another room of a 1400 sq ft home, would the newer Airport Extreme be a good choice or could I get something about as good/reliable from a cheaper brand?

Any opinions welcome- thanks!
 

ToomeyND

macrumors 6502
Sep 14, 2011
423
184
Does your wifi work quickly when using a different wifi network? I'm not saying the extreme is fine, but you have only narrowed it down to the wifi connection, not the wifi router.
 

PaulMoore

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 3, 2007
217
5
Fair point- not sure if I understand how I would compare- I don't have other wifi networks I can test my TV/Apple TV/iMac on though- but I know my phone has faster internet when using my work wifi than at home (also is faster on LTE when I disable wifi)

Basically all my connected devices have suddenly slowed down over wifi- my iMac is the only one I can hardwire due to the modem location
 

ToomeyND

macrumors 6502
Sep 14, 2011
423
184
Then it does sound like the router. I didn't know if you were only testing a laptop on the router or something like that.

1. 7 years for any tech device (even most tvs) is pretty darn good.
2. I don't think anything beats the AE for the combo of simplicity and reliability.
 

PaulMoore

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 3, 2007
217
5
Thanks

Any thoughts as to whether I should spring for an extra $100 for the Time Capsule? I have a 2TB Western Digital external drive currently being used as a Time Machine backup...
 

r0k

macrumors 68040
Mar 3, 2008
3,612
73
Detroit
Thanks

Any thoughts as to whether I should spring for an extra $100 for the Time Capsule? I have a 2TB Western Digital external drive currently being used as a Time Machine backup...
I'm not a fan of Time Capsule. I had a first gen Time Capsule and while Apple replaced it when it died, I was still out all the data that was on the thing.

An Apple AEBS is an excellent router. I suggest you get the latest model. Another alternative is to head over to smallnetbuilder and take a look at their router rankings. I opted for an Asus which cost more than the AEBS but it has features I wanted like the ability to do setup in a web browser rather than the ever-more-limited (for my purposes) Airport Utility. I'm not suggesting a non-Apple router to you. I can still recommend it even though I don't own one. I had my AEBS for several years without incident. The reason I went non-Apple relates to my business uses not quality of the Apple product.

You can always add a USB HDD and if the AEBS gets replaced you keep your data. If the USB drive ever dies, you simply replace it and you still have your router.
 

ToomeyND

macrumors 6502
Sep 14, 2011
423
184
I just this week went the same path as r0k. I bought the Asus RT-AC68U listed at smallnetbuilder as the best router they test. It's $200 on Amazon, so a wash wrt the AEBS (unless you go refurbished, which I would have done). It has usb 3.0 on top of all of the things r0k mentioned.

However, you asked for simplicity. I haven't set up my router yet, but there is no doubt it will be harder to do than the Airport Utility. That doesn't scare me, but it is understandable if it scares others.
 

noodle654

macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2005
2,065
19
Never Ender
I recommend the AEBS to clients for simplicity, since the Airport Utility is so easy to use and the iPhone /iPad App is great for making quick changes. I have 4 AEBS in my house (4th/5th generations) that perform great. I have yet to try the new models for my own personal use, but the lack of USB 3 is somewhat of a deal breaker. As others have mentioned the new ASUS routers are really nice. Not a big fan of web interfaces, after years and years of dealing with crappy Linksys routers I will never consider a Cisco Linksys router ever again unless DD-WRT is loaded on it.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
Hi

I have an Airport Extreme from 2007 which I think is dying (excuse my technical ignorance but my internet speed has dropped to nearly nothing via wifi- approx. 1MB download speed- yet when I hook the ethernet cable direct from our cable modem to my iMac it's faster than ever- 20MB+... so I think the router is the weak link...)

Two questions- have I had a bad Airport for it to last 7 yrs or is that a fair lifespan? It has been in constant 24/7 use...

For someone who just wants simple easy to set-up and maintain wi-fi with the heaviest use being Netflix on a TV in another room of a 1400 sq ft home, would the newer Airport Extreme be a good choice or could I get something about as good/reliable from a cheaper brand?

Any opinions welcome- thanks!
Paul, I think you need to try a quick troubleshooting step before replacing it. Even if it is going, that is FANTASTIC for a router. Most routers from other manufacturers don't last more than 2 years. With the exception of the old blue Linksys models :D.

Try getting a paper clip or ball point and holding the reset button on the back. Then plug in power and continue holding until it blinks rapidly. Then release the button and proceed to set it up using AirPort Utility. Also ensure the latest firmware is on it. If it is better now then I just saved you some dough, if not then it is time to dig a grave for the Extreme...

The new Extreme natively supports Time Machine to the USB drive so that is a big plus!
 

PaulMoore

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 3, 2007
217
5
Paul, I think you need to try a quick troubleshooting step before replacing it. Even if it is going, that is FANTASTIC for a router. Most routers from other manufacturers don't last more than 2 years. With the exception of the old blue Linksys models :D.

Try getting a paper clip or ball point and holding the reset button on the back. Then plug in power and continue holding until it blinks rapidly. Then release the button and proceed to set it up using AirPort Utility. Also ensure the latest firmware is on it. If it is better now then I just saved you some dough, if not then it is time to dig a grave for the Extreme...

The new Extreme natively supports Time Machine to the USB drive so that is a big plus!
Thanks I will try resetting- I actually got the speed back up by simply unplugging it for an hour or so but maybe that's not unusual for a device to be slowly failing rather than dying instantly. I may have to keep an eye out for specials on the Airport Extreme so I can have a replacement waiting
 

r0k

macrumors 68040
Mar 3, 2008
3,612
73
Detroit
Thanks I will try resetting- I actually got the speed back up by simply unplugging it for an hour or so but maybe that's not unusual for a device to be slowly failing rather than dying instantly. I may have to keep an eye out for specials on the Airport Extreme so I can have a replacement waiting
Just for reference, I found the AEBS to be the first router I didn't have to reset monthly. I replaced mine in December when I had to reset the AEBS twice in one month. I now have the Asus RT-AC66U and have not had to reset it yet. I paid extra for the extended warranty so if I find myself resetting it once a month a year from now, I can pack it up and return it to MC for a better model.

I normally avoid those "insurance" add-ons like the plague but if you are offered one that allows you credit for what you paid toward a better device 2 years down the road, a router is the sort of device that might just be worth it to carry the extra insurance cost. It will very likely take longer than the typical 15 to 30 day return period to figure out how well the device is working for you.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
Thanks I will try resetting- I actually got the speed back up by simply unplugging it for an hour or so but maybe that's not unusual for a device to be slowly failing rather than dying instantly. I may have to keep an eye out for specials on the Airport Extreme so I can have a replacement waiting
That is a tell tale sign... I recommend doing the reset even if it comes up again. It can't hurt and may fix it. Otherwise, be watching for AirPort Extremes.

Just for reference, I found the AEBS to be the first router I didn't have to reset monthly. I replaced mine in December when I had to reset the AEBS twice in one month. I now have the Asus RT-AC66U and have not had to reset it yet. I paid extra for the extended warranty so if I find myself resetting it once a month a year from now, I can pack it up and return it to MC for a better model.

I normally avoid those "insurance" add-ons like the plague but if you are offered one that allows you credit for what you paid toward a better device 2 years down the road, a router is the sort of device that might just be worth it to carry the extra insurance cost. It will very likely take longer than the typical 15 to 30 day return period to figure out how well the device is working for you.
Cannot agree more. With the case of an old Belkin I used, we didn't know that it was so problematic until a few months after when everyone had firmware issues... Most of the time warranties are manipulated to avoid paying if at all possible for the seller...
 

rex450se

macrumors regular
Apr 9, 2011
209
43
Independence, MO
As a couple poster above have mentioned, I have the Asus RT-AC68R and love it. It isn't difficult at all. Just because it has more options than the AE doesn't mean it's more difficult. It has improved the internet experience throughout the house. I have numerous devices on the network both wired and through wifi and across the board connection improved after buying this router.

Victor
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
As a couple poster above have mentioned, I have the Asus RT-AC68R and love it. It isn't difficult at all. Just because it has more options than the AE doesn't mean it's more difficult. It has improved the internet experience throughout the house. I have numerous devices on the network both wired and through wifi and across the board connection improved after buying this router.

Victor
The ASUS line is a great series of routers. I cannot comment on the reliability as I do not own them. Some say they are great and others complain about short life spans. I manage a network for a school and we use Apple AirPort (in a PC environment) and I can help pinpoint issues if any arise. Not saying there aren't people on this forum with experience with those ASUS routers, but I am not sure I would be able to help best if I never really used one.

I set up a couple but that isn't day in and day out usage. I only ever recommend hardware if I know it works well and reliably, or at least it does for me.

Whatever the OP chooses, they are getting a fantastic router. ASUS outdoes the AirPort on speed, where as the AirPort beats ASUS in simplicity and design.
 

RedCroissant

Suspended
Aug 13, 2011
2,262
94
Hi

I have an Airport Extreme from 2007 which I think is dying (excuse my technical ignorance but my internet speed has dropped to nearly nothing via wifi- approx. 1MB download speed- yet when I hook the ethernet cable direct from our cable modem to my iMac it's faster than ever- 20MB+... so I think the router is the weak link...)

Two questions- have I had a bad Airport for it to last 7 yrs or is that a fair lifespan? It has been in constant 24/7 use...

For someone who just wants simple easy to set-up and maintain wi-fi with the heaviest use being Netflix on a TV in another room of a 1400 sq ft home, would the newer Airport Extreme be a good choice or could I get something about as good/reliable from a cheaper brand?

Any opinions welcome- thanks!
Question #1: That is an awesome lie-span for a router. Mine is from 2009 and still hasn't failed me so I am very happy with the AEBS.

And I know other people here are mentioning another AEBS or even ASUS, but how many devices do you have? What are there capabilities? And who often do you use all of those devices/have them connected to your network?

The reason I ask this is because if you don't have a HDD or printer connected to it, and are relying solely on WiFi...why not go for the Airport Express Base Station? It has comparable range, comparable capabilities (except for being able to connect a HDD) and is smaller and uses less energy while providing the same power.
 

UKgaryb

macrumors regular
Dec 13, 2013
146
56
Manchester, UK
I have an original 2008 TC (500gb) still going strong, it's serving a 120mbps connection from Virgin (going up to 152gb soon). It gets full speed and no reboots necessary. It replaced a old D-Link DIR655 router which, towards the end of it's life... was awful.

That being said; I do have the wifi disabled and use newer Exterme's for wifi usage.

I will probably replace it soon, but it's going strong for 5/6 years which isn't bad at all.

I'd try resetting; and also seeing if any channels near by are conflicting; a neighbour may have installed a new WIFI point that's causing yours to slow down. Also have you installed any 2.4ghz DECT phone's recently? or placed it near a set-top box?
 

Flynnstone

macrumors 65816
Feb 25, 2003
1,421
73
Cold beer land
The problem at not be hardware at all.
It may be network congestion. Too many other wifi networks around near or same channels.
Try "Wifi Explorer" to see what wifi networks are around. Perhaps a better channel will solve the problem.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
Question #1: That is an awesome lie-span for a router. Mine is from 2009 and still hasn't failed me so I am very happy with the AEBS.

And I know other people here are mentioning another AEBS or even ASUS, but how many devices do you have? What are there capabilities? And who often do you use all of those devices/have them connected to your network?

The reason I ask this is because if you don't have a HDD or printer connected to it, and are relying solely on WiFi...why not go for the Airport Express Base Station? It has comparable range, comparable capabilities (except for being able to connect a HDD) and is smaller and uses less energy while providing the same power.
The Express only has one Ethernet LAN port at 10/100 speed and one WAN port at 10/100. The Extreme is all Gigabit for both the LAN and the WAN.
 

RedCroissant

Suspended
Aug 13, 2011
2,262
94
The Express only has one Ethernet LAN port at 10/100 speed and one WAN port at 10/100. The Extreme is all Gigabit for both the LAN and the WAN.
Ok, good point! I forgot about the speed differences between the extreme and the express.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
Ok, good point! I forgot about the speed differences between the extreme and the express.
Don't get me wrong, the Express is a great AP for a roaming network, but if you do some serious stuff with bandwidth pig applications then you are going to saturate that 10/100 link easily.