Time Capsule vs Airport vs other routers?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by dtalksall, May 15, 2013.

  1. dtalksall, May 15, 2013
    Last edited: May 15, 2013

    dtalksall macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2013
    I'm in the process of moving into a town home and had Optimum over today to set up internet/TV/phone. Little did I know Optimum doesn't provide a router for wireless access, just a modem.
    I've been wanting to purchase a Time Capsule for quite some time for backups for my rMBP. In reading the description, I see it also doubles as a router. We have a lot of devices in the house that would need to be connected to Wi-Fi & am wondering if the Time Capsule can handle it:
    - PC laptop
    - rMBP
    - nest Thermostat
    - Samsung TV
    - Leximark Printer
    - iPad
    - 2 iPhones
    So can the Time Capsule handle all that? Or Should we get a Time Capsule & Airport (which one) or a different router? We previously had Verizon which supplied a router. I honestly have no idea where to begin with figuring out brands/models/speeds...
    Thanks in advanced!

    *Edit... forgot to mention the house has 4 levels (unfinished basement, main floor, second floor, loft) The router would most likely be in the office which is on the second floor. We require enough range to be connected throughout the house. *
  2. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    It would definitely be able to handle all those devices, but I'm not sure about coverage over a 4 story home. What I would do is get the Time Capsule and set it up as you intend, and if your coverage is poor at the loft or basement, pick up an Express or two to act as repeaters.
  3. dtalksall thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2013
    Excellent! I know the Time Capsule is marketed as a backup, not a router, so I just wanted to make sure it would fit our needs without having to purchase 2 different devices.
  4. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    Yeah, I've seen a lot of confusion in here over that topic. It's both a router and a wireless backup drive for Time Machine.

    There's a great comparison of all three on Apple's site here:

    I've used the Time Capsule as a standalone router and as a secondary wireless access point to my (newer) Extreme.
  5. ColdCase, May 15, 2013
    Last edited: May 15, 2013

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    You can start with a TC and perhaps add AE or AEBS later if you need to extend wireless coverage.

    I have used TC and airport routers for years.

    The TC has an internal server class drive. That with airport and routing functions will generate a lot of heat. When the drive starts failing in three years or so, your entire home network will be down until you get it repaired or replaced. If you migrate the wireless and router off the TC, the drive life extends by 30-50%.

    Based on my experience, TCs are better at disk management. AEBS are better at routing and wireless. A TC will handle all those devices and more but an AEBS would be less quirky. An AEBS can be used for TM backups by attaching a USB drive. That configuration is not officially supported by apple but many here use it without issue. I find it a bit quirky, but hanging a usb printer off the AEBS USB port to share is solid.

    At the moment I'm running a recent AEBS as my main router and wireless access. I've migrated all the network duties off my 4 year old TC and use it for TM backups and a shared 3TB USB drive hanging off the USB port. Its been solid, have not had to restart/reset anything for a year.

    I think the next model AEBS, perhaps the TC will have new and improved radios with newer protocols.

    So I would recommend getting a TC now for your immediate need. See how it goes. A few months after the new AEBS are released, pick one up and augment you network with it (use it as your main router).

    Its always nice to have two routers in the house in case one fails while the spouse is streaming her favorite program :).

    There a couple ways to skin the cat, using a TC and/or AEBS is probably the simplest. If you had a spare MAC, you could use it as a TM and media server. Many here pick up a Mac Mini for that purpose. They end up with a AEBS for wireless and routing and the mini for serving. But I think you may end up needing two wireless airports to provide coverage for your home anyway. So TC and a AEBS could cover your home.
  6. dtalksall thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2013
    Thanks for the link. I wonder why there is so much confusion. I actually didn't even realize the Airport was a router at first either. I thought it was similar to the apple TV or something. Like a hub for all your apple devices/files/programs...
    I guess if you're techy or a huge apple fan, then you know. But is seems like the average consumer is a little lost on the subject. They should consider mentioning that it's an ACTUAL router in the first description.
  7. Sparky9292 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2004
    I've owned NetGear, Linksys, and a couple other routers, and the Time Capsule has been the easiest, best range solution of all of them.
  8. dtalksall thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2013
    I picked one up last week & had it all set up within an hour. I read a lot of horror stories of the set up process if you didn't have an existing router. So relieved we didn't run into any major issues & no phone calls to optimum or apple were needed. Right now it's in the office on the second floor & we have hardwood floors thru out; no issues in the loft, basement, garage, porch, balcony...
  9. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    That's great to hear :) Ease of use is definitely a strong point of the Apple routers. Glad to see it all worked out.
  10. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    Thanks for the update, and its nice that it worked out.... not that any of us expected anything different.

    Some ISPs associate the unique mac address with your account/connection. If you can't release the connection at your end before hooking up the new router, sometimes you need to call them and have them reset their end. It would be the same process for any router swap. Most up to date ISPs have a more automated system that is seamless, as was in your case.
  11. mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    It will definitely handle the load, I do have double the devices you listed and personally I do not notice any slow WiFi on any of them.

    Now, at the same time I have to say I did add on 2 extra Airport Extremes to extend the coverage ONLY because of my square footage and all of the walls.

    I picked up some extra AEBS off of ebay for $45-50 for 5th gen models, I have them setup in a triangular layout and hardwired CAT6 from the Time Capsule bridge mode so I have full signal across the entire home and outside.

    At my actual office I had a TC handling all of the WiFi traffic for close to 2 dozen WiFi devices and connected to a 24port gigabit switch with no empty ports left, I recently added an AEBS to the front half of the office to give a stronger signal up front.

    So yes sir, I'd say it can handle anything you throw at it.
  12. thehustleman macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2013
    Airport Extreme can handle all of that and then more.

    I love mine
  13. marzer macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    Apple's claim is misleading. They use standard consumer grade drives, mine had a WD green drive, far cry from what you'd find in a corporate server. Still a reliable drive, just not what would conventionally be considered server class.

    The Barracuda drives used in products like LaCie are server grade. But as there is no hard criteria governing a company from making such a distinction, a manufacturer can claim any drive to be server worthy.

    Since about the 3d gen forward, heat is a non-issue for TC. Probably switching to WD green drives being a contributing factor. That and the power units were improved.

    And the TC can lose the hard drive and continue to operate just fine as a router. In fact, search this board, numerous folks have removed a failed hard drive permanently and continued to use it solely as a router.
  14. CalebLevArn macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2013
    United States #
    How does Tp-link compare with Asus as far as their duel band routers go?

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