What Airport device should I get?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by SteelBlueTJ, May 12, 2014.

  1. SteelBlueTJ, May 12, 2014
    Last edited: May 12, 2014

    SteelBlueTJ macrumors 6502

    Apr 2, 2012
    I have 2 Apple TV's, 2013 MBA, iPad Air and 2 iPhones running off wifi. I currently have the previous model Airport extreme flat square. It works great however when I go outside on my deck at the opposite end of the house from my base station, I only have about 1 or 2 bars on my wifi indicator. I was thinking of adding an airport express and putting it on the other end of the house to extend the signal. Will it work wirelessly without ethernet connection?

    Another option I thought about was upgrading my extreme to the new model since the MBA is A/C capable. Then use my older base station as an extender.

    What do you think would be the better way to go? will I benefit at all from Wireless A/C over Wireless N? IS it noticeable?
  2. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I guess it depends on what you use your network for. But I have a 2013 MBA and just got a new Time Capsule. The AC wifi is impressive, I can access the Time Capsule disk using AFP at speeds comparable to my cheap USB 2.0 hard drives (getting about ~30 MB/s on wifi vs 35 MB/s with USB 2 disks). I never benchmarked this on the MBA with my old wireless N router, but I currently get something like 8 MB/s transferring files to the Time Capsule from my old MBP.

    I have moved my iTunes library to the Time Capsule and can now grow it to 2TB but still access it all over the house just like it was on the MBA SSD. :)
  3. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    You really won't benefit as far as Internet speeds. I'm using the 802.11ac Time Capsule so it makes my MacBook Air backups run faster.
  4. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    The tower seems to have a bit more range than the pancake style. You may not need an extender if you just upgrade.
  5. Ledgem macrumors 65816


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    Yes, through wireless repeating. I haven't set this up myself, but Apple seems to have made this fairly easy to configure through the Airport Utility.

    It probably won't make a difference for internet browsing, but with wireless repeating you'll have lower speeds (cut by about half for each jump away from the main router) due to the router's need to communicate with the other wireless router. If this becomes an issue, a possible solution would be to set up a Powerline network ("ethernet over home electric wiring") and then set up a second wireless router in bridge mode, with the physical connector ultimately linking to one of the ethernet ports on your primary wireless router. That would give you full wireless speed performance.

    Actually, if you like the Powerline idea, you could save some money and decrease complexity by skipping the second Apple wireless router entirely. There are Powerline modules available that generate a wireless network. They're not as nice to use and configure as Apple's devices, but I've set some up before and found them to be pretty simple.
  6. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    Getting the new AC grade Time Capsule or Extreme would definitely increase range. It is a solid piece of kit, and does the job very well.

    You can use the Extreme as a wireless repeater. However, with the new AirPort it may not even be necessary! If you do need it, do not place it where it is already gasping to get a good signal, but rather place it where the S/N ratio starts to hit about 30. This is possible by walking with your MBA with iStumbler open.

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