Router advice please

InfiniteLoopy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 14, 2010
363
5
I currently have a wifi modem/router that's about 5 years old and offers 802.11b/g. It's on the ground floor. There are rooms on the floor above that only receive a poor signal, which I'm trying to improve.
I'm tempted in getting an AirPort Extreme but ...

- It's significantly more expensive than seemingly similar other routers, and doesn't include a modem. Is this justified?
- Is Apple likely to upgrade it soon? What significant features could the upgrade have?
- Maybe I could extend the existing router's signal through a PowerLine wireless-N adapter. Would this work, however, with my current modem/router that's only b/g?

Any recommendations or advice?
 

calderone

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2009
3,723
176
Seattle
It's significantly more expensive than seemingly similar other routers, and doesn't include a modem. Is this justified?
Justified? Probably not. I am personally not a fan of router + modem combos. I also appreciate using AirPort Utility for configuration. Most people like to throw out cheaper routers that can run some hacked firmware, but chances are you aren't going to want to do that.

I appreciate the simplicity of the AirPort devices, they offer enough customizability for my purposes. If I need something more I have a server more advanced stuff.

Is Apple likely to upgrade it soon? What significant features could the upgrade have?
Of course, nobody knows. 802.11ac is on the horizon, it is possible Apple could update before the end of the year given the recent announcements of 802.11ac chipsets, these devices would likely draft as ratification isn't expected until 2013/2014,

In reality, this will provide little benefit if you aren't running 802.11ac devices, which you won't be until you buy new hardware/upgrade the hardware if possible.

Maybe I could extend the existing router's signal through a PowerLine wireless-N adapter. Would this work, however, with my current modem/router that's only b/g?
First, PowerLine stuff is pretty buggy in my experience, especially if you live in an apartment.

You would likely connect the N device via ethernet and create a new network for the distant areas. That is what I would do at least. You could probably get it to extend the b/g network, but it going to depend on the device.
 

lexvo

macrumors 65816
Nov 11, 2009
1,269
414
The Netherlands
The Airport Extreme offers good range and is very easy to install. I also find it to be very reliable.

But you're right that it is more expensive than similar routers from other brands. Many people are successful using there with their iMacs.

I myself chose the Extreme because of the ease of installation, the possibility for wireless wake on lan and I figured because it's Apple it is covered by my AppleCare and I won't have trouble connecting it with my other Apple products.
 

InfiniteLoopy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 14, 2010
363
5
Thanks for the detailed replies.

An Airport Extreme does sound tempting.

I'm pretty sure that I've read that it does, but can you confirm that a USB hard drive connected to the Airport Extreme can be used for Time Machine and do all the backing up over wifi?

Additionally, could I just enter my existing network name and password into the Airport Extreme and have all my devices connect to it, which are currently connected to my existing router? Basically, I don't want to have to enter my login details on all my devices again.

As for Powerline, I'd still like one computer to use it. Could I connect this one directly to the current modem/router (that would only act as a modem) and use the Airport Extreme (which would also be connected to the modem) as well?
 

lexvo

macrumors 65816
Nov 11, 2009
1,269
414
The Netherlands
You can connect an USB HDD to the Extreme to do Time Machine backups. HOWEVER, this is not officially supported by Apple. While it works, some people report problems after successfully using it for some time. For this, You can consider a Time Capsule, which is more or less an Airport Extreme with a build-in HDD.

As for extending your network: I'm pretty sure it is possible, depends also on you current router. I myself have successfully extended my existing network with the Airport Extreme (I also still have a WiFi-bg modem/router).

I shut down the WiFi of my existing modem/router and connected the Airport Extreme with a cable. And I use the Airport Extreme now for my WiFi-n wireless. To do this, you have to set the Airport Extreme in bridge mode.

This all may sound a bit complicated, but the Airport Utility program will guide you through step by step. You will be up and running before you know it :)
 
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