Sick of wireless routers!!!

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Winter Charm, May 21, 2011.

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Would you recommend the airport extreme?

  1. Yes.

    32 vote(s)
    69.6%
  2. No.

    11 vote(s)
    23.9%
  3. Undecided.

    3 vote(s)
    6.5%
  1. Winter Charm macrumors 6502a

    Winter Charm

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    #1
    Hello everyone, I am asking for some serious and pretty honest advice here, so hopefully you can help me out.

    The worst router i ever had was a linksys and it was a terrible product. I trashed it within a month of purchasing, and then went with a d-link after reading some reviews about it's range. To be totally honest, my d-link served reasonably well until we started putting a lot of wireless devices on it. Therer were some annoying blind spot issues, and besides adjusting the antennas a little bit there was nothing that could be done.

    Well, it's been a little over two years and I feel like our d-link has burned out. I'm left wondering if routers always burn out so fast. It seems that static buildup has damaged our unit and now I have to reset it very few hours.

    So, knowing all that, I have a few questions:

    1. I have a large house 6,000 sq ft on two levels. I need something with a lot of range. Will the airport extreme work?

    2. I have 9 wifi devices! Including a full blown home theatre system. How well does the APEx perform under full load? Does it manage network traffic well? I stream HD movies and do lots of heavy file transfers over the network.

    3. Does it play nice with windows machines and vonage adapters?

    4. Will it last longer than two years??

    5. I have heard something about extenders. How do those work?

    6. Does using simultaneous 2.4 and 5 Ghz bands affect the performance of the router in regards to blind spots?

    7.Also, the APEx does not have external antennas. What effect will this have?

    8. Wall mountable? Yes? No? Do you recommend wall mounting?

    I know I just pushed a lot onto your plate, but u trust the people on this site. Thank you in advance for all your help! :)
     
  2. Martyimac macrumors 6502a

    Martyimac

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    Location:
    S. AZ.
    #2
    Can't answer all you questions but will try and give you some input.
    1. Can't say for sure, range can be dependent on construction type, # of walls between router and devices, etc.
    2. Don't push mine nearly as hard as you but with 4 devices, no hiccups here. But none of mine are HT gear.
    3. Windows yes, Vonage I don't know.
    4. Probably.
    5. Simply stated, think of them like pumping stations. They receive the signal then amplify it. I use an Airport Express to feed my wife's PC about 50' away and through 4 inside walls.
    6. I don't know, sorry.
    7. Doesn't seem to matter, lots of highly rated routers today have no external antennas.
    8. AE does not have wall mounting slots built in so no, I would not recommend it.

    I know it's not a lot of info but hope it helps a little.
     
  3. nwroberts macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    #3
    Hello everyone, I am asking for some serious and pretty honest advice here, so hopefully you can help me out.

    The worst router i ever had was a linksys and it was a terrible product. I trashed it within a month of purchasing, and then went with a d-link after reading some reviews about it's range. To be totally honest, my d-link served reasonably well until we started putting a lot of wireless devices on it. Therer were some annoying blind spot issues, and besides adjusting the antennas a little bit there was nothing that could be done.

    Well, it's been a little over two years and I feel like our d-link has burned out. I'm left wondering if routers always burn out so fast. It seems that static buildup has damaged our unit and now I have to reset it very few hours.

    So, knowing all that, I have a few questions:

    1. I have a large house 6,000 sq ft on two levels. I need something with a lot of range. Will the airport extreme work?

    Response: Probably not. I don't use (and have never used) any Apple wireless products. They don't provide granular control over the network the way I feel I need it (such as QoS). I personally live in a 5200 SQ FT home (older with wood studs in the wall) and use the WNDR3700 (Netgear). It is extremely fast and reliable and covers my entire house. But having said that, if you were to get a netgear, I would wait for the WNDR3800 or the DGND3700. Also, I just did a network install at my fiance's parents house. There house is approximately 5100 SQ FT. Their house is only 5 years old with metal studs in the wall. It took 3 wireless units to cover the home and there are still dead spots. For their house I used 2 Linksys E4200 and 1 older AP they already had in the portion of the house less traveled.

    2. I have 9 wifi devices! Including a full blown home theatre system. How well does the APEx perform under full load? Does it manage network traffic well? I stream HD movies and do lots of heavy file transfers over the network.

    Response: As I said, I have never used it, but I can tell you that it does automatic quality of service - this can be good or bad. But it should have no problems managing the traffic. If you are really concerned, but two put one of the first floor and one on the second. If you can swing it, hard-wire your entertainment system (especially if you are doing lots of HD movies streamed).

    3. Does it play nice with windows machines and vonage adapters?

    Response: Windows yes. Vonage... I don't know; I am sure it does.

    4. Will it last longer than two years??

    Response: Depends on the conditions. Room temperatures and humidity will play a factor as well as how much it is used. I SHOULD last at least two years, but you can never really tell. I recommend to everyone that they purchase a APC UPS so that the battery backup takes all the surges and keeps a constant flow of conditioned power to the router (or any other electronic device including home entertainment systems) so that "dirty" power doesn't breakdown your electronics.

    5. I have heard something about extenders. How do those work?

    Response: They work, but they are usually garbage. I recommend that you buy two units. If you can hard wire them together, great! If not, put one in repeating mode

    6. Does using simultaneous 2.4 and 5 Ghz bands affect the performance of the router in regards to blind spots?

    Response: Yes and no. Performance is increased if you are able to put some of your clients on one band and the others clients on the other band. The 5 Ghz doesn't travel as far as the 2.4. Think this way. 5=faster=shorter distances and 2.4=slower=longer distances.

    I compare wireless radio waves to sound waves. Or think of a piece of string. Each string is 20 feet long (two strings, one for each frequency) (think of feet as the power of the antenna). In the 2.4 band, the string will only have to go up and down (think back to a radio wave) to the 2.4 frequency (which is NOT as high as the 5.0). The 5.0 has to go up and down to the 5.0 frequency (which is higher than 2.4). Therefore, the 2.4 piece of string can lay farther than the 5.0 because it doesn't have to travel up and down the radio wave as far. Does any of this gibberish make sense?

    7.Also, the APEx does not have external antennas. What effect will this have?

    Response: It limits you only if you plan on adding larger external antennas. Otherwise, it really isn't that bad. 95% of home Access Points are going to the model/standard.

    8. Wall mountable? Yes? No? Do you recommend wall mounting?

    Response: Go for it, it is up to you really. Some access points have a "recommend" mounting structure based on the direction of the antenna. Follow the recommendation and you will be fine.

    I know I just pushed a lot onto your plate, but u trust the people on this site. Thank you in advance for all your help!


    Response: you should check out a site call "small network builder", it will give you a lot of help and incite of this. Or you can ask me. I have a few industry certifications in this field. Regardless of what you choose, there really is no right way or wrong way; but there is a way that works and one that doesn't, as long as you configure it to work, you are golden.
     
  4. reebzor macrumors 6502a

    reebzor

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #4
    1) There would be no way for us to tell how well it would work in your house. There could be walls blocking the signal etc. However, pairing a AEBS (Airport Extreme Base Station) with an APE (Airport Express) is a very easy way to extend your wireless signal, should it not be sufficient.

    2) I've never seen my network slow down as a result of my AEBS. I'm constantly downloading, uploading, streaming, etc and mine has always been fine. Just a word of advice, you probably shouldn't rely so heavily on WiFi, especially for your streaming. If speed and consistency are that important to you, you should look into getting some CAT6 run through your house. This would also make it easier to install some APE's to improve your wireless signal.

    3) Works with windows, I have no experience with Vonage. A router is a router. Just because it's made by Apple doesnt (necessarily) mean it's proprietary. I'm sure it will work just fine.

    4) I've had mine for 5 years now.

    5) The APE will be your best bet for an "extender". It can work as a wired or wireless extender and is super easy to set up (as is the AEBS). It works just as an Access Point, the same way your router does, except it doesnt include a firewall, dhcp, and all the features that make a router a router. (I should mention that the APE does include all of those features and can be used as a router, but you wouldn't want to do that if you are using it as an extender)

    6) n/a

    7) My AEBS has shown better range than any other router I've used, including those with external antennas.

    8) H-Squared makes a wall/ceiling mount for the AEBS. Check it out here.
     
  5. nizmoz macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #5
    Hope this helps you. Typed it up on my iPhone! :)

    1. I have a large house 6,000 sq ft on two levels. I need something with a lot of range. Will the airport extreme work?

    Depends on your house construction. But 6000 feet is probably too big for any router. If you must have one you will need to locate the router in the center of the house somewhere so it's range goes both ways. Our house is 3k square feet and a two story. My airport extreme barely reaches our garage on the opposite side of the house from it.

    2. I have 9 wifi devices! Including a full blown home theatre system. How well does the APEx perform under full load? Does it manage network traffic well? I stream HD movies and do lots of heavy file transfers over the network.

    We have 8 wifi devices including two of those are htpc style ones with 4 devices hard wired. No issues at all.

    3. Does it play nice with windows machines and vonage adapters?

    We only have two macs and 5 windows machines. Works fine with them. Our Vonage phone works fine also. Just make sure you have plenty of bandwidth. And do not put your vonage device between your Internet modem and your router despite what vonage says. Put it after your router. Vonage devices suck for transfer speed and can't handle speeds more than 5mb. It bottle necked ours down from 20mb. Found that out after reading on the net on other people having the same problems. And vonage will deny it.

    4. Will it last longer than two years??

    I hope so. I went through a expensive netgear 3700 series router in 9 months. Died. Linksys before that. Year old died. Tried a new 4200 linksys and 2 weeks after having it the wireless started to drop. So I got the airport extreme and no problems since. Most reliable router we have owned.

    5. I have heard something about extenders. How do those work?

    Basically it makes a bridge between your one wireless device to the others. I believe you would need a airport express with an extreme to do it?

    6. Does using simultaneous 2.4 and 5 Ghz bands affect the performance of the router in regards to blind spots?

    It can weaken it a little. 2.4 will reach much future than 5ghz either way but per reviewed I have seem on these devices turning off 5ghz will give you better range on 2.4. Haven't tried it myself as I get good range now.

    7.Also, the APEx does not have external antennas. What effect will this have?

    Most routers do not these days. Shouldnt cause any issues.

    8. Wall mountable? Yes? No? Do you recommend wall mounting?

    Apex is not wall mountable. But you can use wall type of zip ties and mount it that say.






    Sent from my AT&T iPhone 4 using Tapatalk
     
  6. nizmoz macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #6
    I had terrible luck with the 3700 just like many others on the net did too after a while. I now have a new one rma replacement that is sitting. Airport extreme is doing well and solid. No reboots since installed after 2 months. But he was asking about the alex not any other brand.


    Sent from my AT&T iPhone 4 using Tapatalk
     
  7. bobr1952, May 22, 2011
    Last edited: May 22, 2011

    bobr1952 macrumors 68020

    bobr1952

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, FL
    #7
    Well I am not sick of my Airport Extreme--actually a Time Capsule. I can get a good wireless connection anywhere in the house, on the pool deck, in the driveway. I use wireless for my iPhone, ATV2 and Roku and can get up to almost 9 mbps in my theater room (usually 9-10 mbps via ethernet on my iMac--the only wired device). Less outside of course but still good enough for web browsing. No complaints at all from me.

    My house is 2000 sq foot under air--one floor--open floor plan--Wi-Fi coverage extends to pool area and driveway.

    This is an original Time Capsule from early 2008.
     
  8. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #8
    There's a nice-looking product for wall-mounting the AEBS or TC, basically a simple clear plastic bracket. I haven't personally used one, though:

    http://h-sq.com/products/airmount/index.html
     
  9. nwroberts macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    #9


    I am sorry you had a bad time with the 3700. My unit has been running for more than a year now. A colleague of mine flashed his dd-wrt and loves his. I hope it wasn't user error. He may have been asking about the APEx, but I just want to let me know there are others out there as well as my personal experiences with others out there. So he has a better understanding of whether or not he should go with it. Real life experiences, not brand choice, will help him to come to a greater conclusion on what he should purchase, but hey, what do I know...
     
  10. BlackViper macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    #10
    4: Applecare will cover Apple routers that were purchased up to 2 years before the Mac with Applecare. This provides up to 5 years warranty/phone support
     
  11. imahawki macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    #11
    I only have 4,000 square feet and I still need an APEx and one express extending the network. Not all of your wi-fi devices will be pulling in content at the same time regardless of what you think your usage patterns might be. If you can stream Netflix to two devices and play Xbox online at the same time, (or do all that plus download a large patch) that's about all I think anyone will ever use. As far as handling that load... wireless N can handle 10-20x most peoples broadband bandwidth so if you have a strong signal, you're usually good to go. You may have a home, as has been suggested already, where you need to add a few repeaters. I went through 4 routers of varying high costs before I finally settled on the APEx. I tell people if it solved my problem it will work for anyone!
     
  12. nizmoz macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #12
    It won't be user error since I am a Network Administrator and deal with CISCO devices every day. I am pretty familiar with any network device and know that the router started to have serious issues and became unreliable. Others on the net had the same problem after researching it.

    Either way, it wasn't as reliable as I hoped. Some websites would stop working and the MAC had to be reset on the router itself to fix that issue, then the WIFIs would start to drop. It was 9 months old when that all started. It was solid till then and never touched in a 72 degree room of the house which has it's own dedicated BTU AC unit (due to multiple computers, etc). I was hoping it would have been a better device than some of the cheaper ones. The reason why I tried the new 4200 from Linksys.....that was a 2 week failure.
     
  13. bruinsrme macrumors 603

    bruinsrme

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #13
    Having Installed a number of routers I have had mixed results of all brands.
    Some units seem to be just bad right out of the box or bad firmware.

    With a 6k sqft home, you will definitely need to extend the network, unless your don't have any walls, I am sure that's not the case.

    As of late I recommend to friends and family the linksys 600 series and apples aebs.

    Check out best buy.com they frequently have airport express units for $50 but also have a limit of 9 or 10 simultaneous connections. But band width starts taking a hit with 3 users and if you connect a gaming device forget other connections.

    I moved the 4 xboxes, 2 ps3 and 2 wiis to the wired side. Huge performance gain.

    With a larger home you may consider moving out of the consumer products and into the professional cisco wireless routers. Just a thought.

    You will have to play with the location of your router and other units that are extending the network.
     
  14. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #14
    Netgear WNDR3700 works like a charm with my Mac
     
  15. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
  16. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    #16
    Lots of variables as pointed out. 6000 sqft is big so either an AEBS+Express or two AEBSs. They often pop up on the refurb store for $50 less IIRC. If you have lots of media streaming and gaming and many people accessing at the same time, then QoS is important and you will then have to use another brand. I have a Linksys WNR3500L which deals with the QoS and an AEBS to provide access on another floor.

    If you are not doing many things simultaneously than a couple of AEBSs or one hardwired to an express at the other end of the house will provide an easy setup that should have few issues. I would hardwire as many devices as possible, particularly those consuming or serving media.


    I'd consider that a benefit.
     
  17. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #17
    You will need some kind of repeater.

    The AEBS does not have QoS. If you want to prioritize traffic, the AEBS is not for you.
    Yes.
    Any router will last longer than two years, depending on how nice the power it gets is and the standard luck-of-the-draw (if the router you get out of the box is good or not). I've had pretty much every flagship consumer router die in less than a year with others (same model) last for 4+.

    It affects the performance in that you get coverage in some areas with 2.4 that you don't get with 5, and VV. However, if your iPhone is in a 2.4 GHz blind spot you won't be able to connect to your network.

    Lots of routers don't have external antennas. It doesn't matter anyways; the plastic casing is microwave transparent.
    No and typically no; but it depends on where the antennas are placed.

    Personally I think the AEBS is a waste of money unless you plan to plug it in, forget about it, and have no ability/desire to do anything past that. Since your situation is more complex than the standard dummy install, look elsewhere.
     
  18. imahawki macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    #18
    I've heard consumer grade QoS is kind of a joke though. Testing indicated it's not that effective?
     
  19. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #19
    Effective compared to what? Compared to "no QoS" it's quite effective.
     
  20. imahawki macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    #20
    Actually yes. I've heard of people getting better performance just turning it off because it's a half assed implementation on consumer gear.
     
  21. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    #21
    I find it effective on my WNR3500 running Tomato. It does require some tweaking, however.
     
  22. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #22
    That's great. I haven't heard or experienced that in practice, but YMMV.
     
  23. Winter Charm thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Winter Charm

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    #23
    Well... Guess who just ordered their Airport Extreme base station?! :D

    I think you guys, and the 500+ amazing reviews on the APEx have convinced me. All the routers I bought until this point had cost me less than $100... My dlink was only $68...

    Anyways, I hope that I get the quality and Performance I'm about to pay for...
    :apple:
     
  24. nizmoz macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #24
    You should as I am happy. But since you only got one, you might have a issue with it reaching all the parts of your house. Just try to place it in the middle of the house, upper floor so it can reach the farthest each way.
     
  25. JasonR macrumors 6502a

    JasonR

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    #25
    I went through several routers (Linksys, DLink) before I settled on an Airport Express. I love it! Great range, speed, and reliability.

    My parents live in a LARGE house (17,000 sq ft) and they need 3 Routers for the house. Luckily, they have Cat5 drops everywhere. I've got the Extreme in the server closet, another extreme in the middle of the house, and a Linksys router in the other end of the house with its own internet connection (long story). The house is covered great. The can browse the internet by the pool and front yard. The coverage in the front yard isn't GREAT, but that's why I have an airport express waiting to be plugged.

    So you should be able to get by with one Airport Extreme and one Airport express. It helps to be wired in the house for Cat5. :D
     

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