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Should Apple reintroduce AirPort routers?

  • Yes

  • No


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Andrew73875

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 1, 2022
225
598
AirPort routers were the best on the market thanks to their great design and easy setup. Currently there are many options from other companies, however there's nothing quite like an AirPort.

Moreover, Apple devices depend on reliable internet connection more than ever. Apple TV, HomePod and Macs would certainly benefit from Apple's network solution. Also Time Capsule is still relevant as a backup option.



It's especially useful for non pro users. They can buy an iMac and Apple TV which are both very user friendly. However, they still have to go through the router set up process. And with most routers it's not that easy.
product_hero_image_2x.jpg

Basically, AirPort is the only product which is currently missing from the Apple's product line.

What are your thoughts?
 
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hobowankenobi

macrumors 68020
Aug 27, 2015
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on the land line mr. smith.
While I generally agree with what it was then...there are some good options now, and there were none then. So margins are probably lower than Apple would be willing to go after, unless they could re-invent home networking (something big like integrated HomeKit, security, or another differentiator).

For anybody looking for an Apple-flavored router today, a few come to mind, but the best I am aware of would be something from Amplifi, either basic or high-end.

I do agree that Time Machine via network should be a good differentiator. A truly fabulous home server (that is also a router, and also TM destination) for Music/Video like Plex but tightly integrated, could be a good seller. But I don't think Apple will do it. Something similar to the Unfi Cloud Key as an example...with more capability to integrate with all Apple devices.
 
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Andrew73875

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 1, 2022
225
598
there are some good options now, and there were none then
True. But many Apple users would buy an AirPort because it's from the same vendor. Non-pro users would buy it (same reasons: ease of use, same company, good support, etc). Apple can also add it into the "recommended" section during the iMac checkout process (like they do with "Pre-Installed Software"), so even more people would buy it.


So margins are probably lower than Apple would be willing to go after, unless they could re-invent home networking (something big like integrated HomeKit, security, or another differentiator).
Yeah, they can come up with some integrated solutions. They have so many network connected devices and there are so many opportunities. Especially, given their expertise in WiFi and network technologies:


 

ahurst

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2021
410
815
I mean Apple’s been finding all kinds of uses for old stock of A-series CPUs (Apple TV, Studio Display, iPod Touch...), a new AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule based around even an A10 would make for an absurdly capable consumer router.

I guess the question is whether it’s a good market to get back into given that most people have Wi-Fi built into their ISP modems: if you’re Apple and you’re making a premium router in 2022, you have to offer average people something compelling above and beyond their current “free” ISP router in order to sell enough to be profitable. In the absence of a major and noticeable breakthrough in range/stability/quality-of-service, I’m not sure that’s possible anymore.
 

Andrew73875

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 1, 2022
225
598
beyond their current “free” ISP router in order to sell enough to be profitable.
Yeah true, but Apple can always say how secure their routers are, always get updates etc. And they also look nice. Moreover, people still buy routers/mesh systems when they need to extend their wifi coverage. AirPorts offer simple, easy and secure option.

These are just a few reasons even without a great new feature for AirPort.

in the absence of a major and noticeable breakthrough in range/stability/quality-of-service, I’m not sure that’s possible anymore
mean Apple’s been finding all kinds of uses for old stock of A-series CPUs (Apple TV, Studio Display, iPod Touch...), a new AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule based around even an A10 would make for an absurdly capable consumer router.

Exactly. They have great hardware and a lot of network connected devices. I'm sure there are some possible features they can come up with for AirPorts.
 
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throAU

macrumors G3
Feb 13, 2012
9,030
7,185
Perth, Western Australia
Disclosure: I am an enterprise network administrator who deals primarily with Cisco enterprise networking gear at work.


Yes.

Why:
  • they were always extremely easy to set up
  • they were extremely easy to extend networks, replace devices, etc.
  • they had sane defaults for security
  • Apple actually do firmware updates post-sale. other consumer network gear vendors? it’s a crapshoot.

I ran airports at home until i upgraded to WIFI AX with an Orbi setup. I much prefer the airports but they just didn‘t give me the range i get with an Orbi mesh setup. The orbi gear‘s recent firmware updates have resulted in me needing to reboot them once every few weeks when the things spaz out and stop working. I had to reboot my airports when the power went out, the firmware got updated, or i moved house. never any other time.

Additionally, they were a no-brainer recommendation for “normal people” who owned any sort of apple device. Due to the above bullet points.
 

Realityck

macrumors G4
Nov 9, 2015
10,682
16,064
Silicon Valley, CA
I prefer using a single router in house, Netgear RAX70 is far better than previous AirPort Extreme, even just looking at speeds I see associated with 802.11AC devices. It’s a triple band so I can separate N vs AC vs AX devices. The Airport’s Range was lacking comparabley. No love for the store pushed linksys mesh.
 

dontpokebearz

macrumors regular
Feb 16, 2018
155
108
Maine
I would love for them to do so.

Like others have said though, there needs to be a market for it and/or a need to fill. I'd argue that Apple could integrate their 'privacy' services into a router such as Cloud Relay. Like others have mentioned, if Apple was serious about home automation they could make the router a homekit bridge, instead of the current iPad or Apple TV. They would have to make it mesh compatible to stay relevant, but I'd take an updated 2013 AirPort Extreme tbh.

It's probably odd that I'm considering buying a Airport Time Capsule in 2022. But they're cheap (I can get one for $90 locally), and the coverage has been reliable. My ISP only offers 400Mbs down so I'd be fine. My current Airport Extreme has worked near flawlessly apart from a weird over heating issue.

Why am I sucker for old hardware?
 
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turbineseaplane

macrumors P6
Mar 19, 2008
15,867
35,013
Not just "yes"

But... "HELL YES!"

I still use and love the last Airport Extremes at my own home and several family homes.
They are so simple and just work and all the things I've traditionally loved about Apple gear.
 

DJLC

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2005
958
401
North Carolina
Would I buy one? No. But I use enterprise networking gear from eBay.

For my friends and clients though? Yes, yes, and more yes. Google WiFi is nice and all, but it lacks some usability and intuitiveness for less experienced users. I'm still not sure whether it's called Google WiFi, Nest WiFi, or something else. Works fine once you figure out which one you have and which app you need, but that's needlessly frustrating. A new AirPort with automatic proximity setup and baked in privacy features like iCloud Private Relay? That'd be amazing.
 

jz0309

Contributor
Sep 25, 2018
10,526
27,572
SoCal
my AirPort Extreme (the one with the built-in hard drive) was the most unreliable router I ever had, needed re-boot weekly if not more, so for me, I don't care whether nor not they get back into that business.
I am very happy with my Amplify mesh, rock solid for almost 3 years now and I'll likely upgrade to them when the time comes
 
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throAU

macrumors G3
Feb 13, 2012
9,030
7,185
Perth, Western Australia
my AirPort Extreme (the one with the built-in hard drive) was the most unreliable router I ever had, needed re-boot weekly if not more, so for me, I don't care whether nor not they get back into that business.
I am very happy with my Amplify mesh, rock solid for almost 3 years now and I'll likely upgrade to them when the time comes
Must have been something wrong with yours, I've had 3 generations of airports and only ever needed reboots to move house or update firmware.

Rock solid.
 
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Andrew73875

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 1, 2022
225
598
Yes,
Absolutely yes! I still use my AirPort Extreme and dread the day I have to replace it.
Same here. I've searched around and all of the options have some disadvantages.

By the way, we can try to submit a feature request here https://www.apple.com/feedback/ Maybe if Apple sees the demand for AirPorts they will decide to reintroduce them. Would be great.
 
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turbineseaplane

macrumors P6
Mar 19, 2008
15,867
35,013
Yes, my house is full of them. Seems like updating the Airport line would have been a better investment than producing a high-end 'smart' speaker.

Way better!

I have no idea what discussion took place internally to think it wasn't a great idea to have AirPort gear in the lineup. The integration possibilities are myriad. It's just nuts to have totally ceded that market to Google and Amazon and their "tracking regimes"

Don't get me wrong -- I'll take new speaker products also (not 100% driven by Siri though - bleh..)
I'd love an Apple Soundbar w/ ATV built in
 
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Yodabeesh

macrumors newbie
Jul 26, 2013
19
8
I really miss my Airport Extreme and Time Capsule. I had Airport Express units across the house and out to the garage to get max coverage. Also, my outdoor speakers were hooked up to a receiver attached to an AExpress (much to the consternation of my friends with Android phones). A seamless and beautiful experience. Once the AE went kaput, we went to Orbi and it’s proven to be much more powerful with stronger signal coverage and better management. I do miss Time Capsule and am currently shopping for a NAS or Mac Mini that I can repurpose.
 

dannyyankou

macrumors G5
Mar 2, 2012
13,331
28,729
Westchester, NY
We're still using AirPort routers to this day and they've been good. But we're about to move on. Next week, we're getting all the old wiring in our house replaced (some is CAT 4) and our router upgraded, and I'm so glad. Getting all the access points replaced too.

Our setup is a mess now. Our plan is for gigabit wifi, but the router we have from Verizon only supports like 500mbps. I'm one room we have an AirPort Extreme that only maxes out at like 95mbps because it's connected to an old CAT4 cable, another room has an AirPort Extreme that maxes out at 500mbps, and another room only maxes out at like 250mbps because it's an old AirPort Extreme from like 2007. So we're just going to basically start from scratch.
 

TonyC28

macrumors 68030
Aug 15, 2009
2,779
7,010
USA
I’m having some troubles with Nest cameras and one through HomeKit. The problem seems to be getting narrowed down to my Eero network. If it meant a more reliable HomeKit experience I’d buy Apple routers again in a second.
 
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hobowankenobi

macrumors 68020
Aug 27, 2015
2,081
886
on the land line mr. smith.
We're still using AirPort routers to this day and they've been good. But we're about to move on. Next week, we're getting all the old wiring in our house replaced (some is CAT 4) and our router upgraded, and I'm so glad. Getting all the access points replaced too.

Our setup is a mess now. Our plan is for gigabit wifi, but the router we have from Verizon only supports like 500mbps. I'm one room we have an AirPort Extreme that only maxes out at like 95mbps because it's connected to an old CAT4 cable, another room has an AirPort Extreme that maxes out at 500mbps, and another room only maxes out at like 250mbps because it's an old AirPort Extreme from like 2007. So we're just going to basically start from scratch.
If it is not too late...be sure to confirm the cable spec. for the replacement. If it were me, I would not use anything less than CAT 6A. Costs a bit more, but should make things future-resistant for quite a while.

Good to keep in mind that any cable spec is only as good as the quality of the termination. Bad termination is a common performance bottleneck.

I run 3 Ubiquiti APs on CAT 6A, and they are rock solid. Have been for years. My wife has worked from home for years, so I know when there is a wifi problem. Actually...I did replace nearly 10-year-old Ubiquity APs with the latest WiFi 6 model AP 6 Lite about 2 years ago...but I don't count that as it was by choice to upgrade.
 
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Arctic Moose

macrumors 68000
Jun 22, 2017
1,576
2,076
Gothenburg, Sweden
Absolutely, yes!

The simple solution would have been to outbid Amazon for Eero, which would have been a perfect fit, and an easy rebrand.

I use Netgear Orbi now, and I am not happy about it.
 
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dannyyankou

macrumors G5
Mar 2, 2012
13,331
28,729
Westchester, NY
If it in not too late...be sure to confirm the cable spec. for the replacement. If it were me, I would not use anything less than CAT 6A. Costs a bit more, but should make things future-resistant for quite a while.

Good to keep in mind that any cable spec is only as good as the quality of the termination. Bad termination is a common performance bottleneck.

I run 3 Ubiquiti APs on CAT 6A, and they are rock solid. Have been for years. My wife has worked from home for years, so I know when there is a wifi problem. Actually...I did replace nearly 10-year-old Ubiquity APs with the latest WiFi 6 model AP 6 Lite about 2 years ago...but I don't count that as it was by choice to upgrade.
Funny you say that, the guy that we made an appointment with ended up installing Ubiquiti routers here too. We still have some tinkering to do and we might have to add another access point, but it's better than it was before. I'm not sure what kind of cables he used, but I think he installed new wires for everything because our old wiring was a convoluted mess.
 
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hobowankenobi

macrumors 68020
Aug 27, 2015
2,081
886
on the land line mr. smith.
Funny you say that, the guy that we made an appointment with ended up installing Ubiquiti routers here too. We still have some tinkering to do and we might have to add another access point, but it's better than it was before. I'm not sure what kind of cables he used, but I think he installed new wires for everything because our old wiring was a convoluted mess.
CAT 5e is still common as it is cheap, easy to get, and easy to terminate. Adequate for most installs. Higher spec cable might be overkill...but is cheap insurance against higher/future specs.

Ubiquity hardware is generally very good for the price. They have had a few stinkers over the years (as has every brand), but great performance for the cost generally. Get used to calling them access points (AP), not routers. If you have APs, you still have a separate router somewhere. I really prefer the router separate from the wifi APs, but most consumers tend to expect an all-in-one unit (router/switch/wifi AP)

The biggest variable has been choosing how to manage them: Java-based app on a computer, or mobile device. I have been using the desktop app on both Mac and PC for well over a decade. The mobile app looks handy, but it was less full-featured years ago (have not tried a recent version).
 
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