Seeking Advice: AirPort Express or AirPort Extreme?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by djr7572, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. djr7572, Jul 18, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2011

    djr7572 macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2011
    Hello, new guy here. I have some questions about AirPort Express vs. AirPort Extreme. Hopefully this is in the correct forum.

    I currently have an AirPort Express. I live in a fairly large home (2,200 square feet, upstairs/downstairs). My computer is upstairs with the AirPort Express plugged into a strip right by my desk. The wire "clutter" back there isn't too bad .. I have it neatly organized.

    Unless I'm in my office where the AirPort Express is, my WiFi signal strength is always teetering between one and two bars (Besides my iMac desktop, I'm only using one device for WiFi - my iPhone). I was really hoping I would have a nice, strong, full signal throughout the house but maybe my expectations were a little unrealistic. I'm never without a WiFi signal, but I'm only getting full signal strength when I'm next to the router.

    My idea is, upgrade to an AirPort Extreme where maybe I'll have a better chance at full signal strength throughout the house .... ? I spoke to several people at my local Apple store and was told that the AirPort Express is more ideal for a smaller living space (a small, one-level apartment) and the AirPort Extreme would work better for a large home. Another Apple person claimed that the signal strength won't be any different with the AirPort Extreme - it just lets you do more (more ports in the back, etc).

    Just looking for some advice on this. Would it be worth it to spend the extra $80 for the AirPort Extreme in hopes of consistent, full signal strength? Or am I better off just sticking with my AirPort Express?

  2. ahdickter macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2011
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    An Airport Extreme naturally has better range and reliability, as it requires more power and has more antennas. If your current router isn't doing it for you, then an Airport Extreme might be right for you.
  3. djr7572 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2011

    It does seem logical, doesn't it.

    Yeah, I'm a little disappopinted with the Express only in the sense that I was expecting better signal strength/range. Maybe the Express really is meant for a smaller living space.

    Thanks for your reply.
  4. macman312 macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia --> Cincinnati,OH

    Get another one of either and join the 2 for one big network
  5. djr7572 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2011
  6. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Instead of buying an overpriced, underperforming product like the Apple networking equipment, why not buy a $50 Netgear router, flash it with DD-WRT, and either increase the transmission power to boost your signal?
  7. SuperBrown macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2008
    I heart trolls.
  8. djr7572 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2011

    Are you saying that Apple isn't exactly known for their networking equipment? Honestly, I'm not experienced with networking equipment at all - this is the first time I've purchased a router. So I just assumed, since all my computer stuff is Apple, that it would be hard to go wrong with an Apple router.
  9. knicksns28 macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2011
    I bought a linksys wireless N router for $120 and an Apple Airport Extreme so I could test them across my house (I have a pretty long house with thick walls so wireless has always been an issue in my house), and the Airport Extreme gave higher download/upload speeds at 4 different locations (ran the speed test 3 times at each location) as well as lower pings at all 4 locations.

    I also had an Airport Express I bought for college so I'm using it to extend my Extreme Network and it works perfectly...I would definitely recommend the Airport Extreme as it worked for me.
  10. djr7572 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2011

    I appreciate the feedback - thanks.
  11. DaveTheRave macrumors 6502a

    May 22, 2003
    Sorry to dig up an old post...

    This quote makes sense given the size and weight of the Airports, but I was wondering if Apple has ever stated anywhere what the range is for both routers? The Apple site just says that the Express is for smaller homes and apartments. I assume it has fewer antennas, but can anyone confirm? Has anyone done a comparison of the two (assuming you own both?). Thanks.

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