Which WiFi router? Airport Extreme versus ...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by rpseguin, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. rpseguin macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2013
    Our Comcast/Xfinity Arris TG862G POS modem/router has been getting worse and worse over time. It will shed connections for no apparent reason and then devices won't be able to connect for a while and will then it will spontaneously work again for a while. Unfortunately, we have triple play with phone, so we probably need to keep the modem as it is, but I understand that Comcast can put it into bridge mode.

    We have a couple of MacPro computers and a couple of MacBook Pros and some tablets, ...

    Arris TG862G
    New Router Wifi <--> Laptops, tablets, wireless printer, phones, ...
    gigabit switch <--> MacPro computers, ...

    I would like advice on which wireless/wifi router to get. It has been forever since I've shopped for a router. I'd love to spend less than $50, but open to spending up to $80. The Airport Extreme routers look nice, but are pricey. I want something that does wireless N with decent range (40+ feet), but I don't see a need for AC, but I could be convinced otherwise. Our Internet connection peaks at about 40Mbit/sec.

    Also interested in doing backup and "cloud" services for the various devices and curious what is recommended there. Use the MacPro computer(s) as "cloud" servers via Sharing? Western Digital MyCloud?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. dannyp1996 macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2011
    United Kingdom
    I can't real help with comparisons, however I will say that my Airport Extreme is outstanding in every way.

    I will add though that Netgear and Linksys are brands that I have had good experience with in the past.
  3. mpantone macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2009
    The AirPort Extreme is shockingly easy to set up. Like you, I have an ISP's modem and I do not care to use the wireless routing function of said device. The AirPort Extreme connected painlessly in bridge mode.

    About 802.11ac: might not be a factor today, but it will be down the road. I tend to keep WiFi routers in service for a long time (5+ years), so I decided to pony up the dough for the AirPort Extreme even though I currently only have one device (a 2013 MacBook Air) that has 802.11ac capabilities. Three years from now, I expect that pretty much most connected things in my house will have 802.11ac.

    There was no way in hell that I would have purchased another 802.11g/n router at this time, not with how long I keep these things around.

    My AirPort Extreme is a hedge against the future. For sure, I will buy the next Apple TV when it is updated with 802.11ac.

    Previously, I used wifi routers from Buffalo. The AirPort Extreme has few settings, it's not suited for tweaking, but I'm okay with that.

    Anyhow, here is a website that ranks AC wifi routers, posted by another MacRumors commentor. I can't vouch for the accuracy of the website, nor the models described.

    Good luck with your purchase decision.
  4. psharp macrumors member

    Feb 18, 2011
    I have a airport extreme, while it's a great and reliable router there are something I really find lacking, especially with the most recent software updates they've taken out some basic and (In my opinion) necessary functionality.

    For instance it's now impossible to see all the DHCP clients, or all the IP's on the network. QoS is also nonexistent.

    Personally I'm waiting for DDWRT to start supporting some of the 802.11ac router before I upgrade. While I've been happy with my airport it will be the last one I own.
  5. rpseguin thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2013
    Thanks for your input!
    I figured I could find a used N300/N600 a lot cheaper than finding an AC router and wait a year or two.
    Maybe I'll try to get an older/used Airport Extreme.


    Thanks for your input!
    Yeah. Having a list of connected devices seems pretty useful.
    I am willing to wait a year or two for an AC router.

  6. canuckle macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2011
    Just so you have another opinion, I had a new AC Extreme, and took it back. I was coming from an ASUS RT-N66U, and the wireless coverage was not even close. While I loved how easy it was to set up and use, the coverage was a deal-breaker for me. Returned it and went with an ASUS RT-AC68U, got my coverage back and then some.

  7. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    I always connect AirPort Extreme behind whatever ISP modem / router I use.

    Stable and no need to change network settings when moving.

    AirPort Extreme covered from third floor apt down to ground floor on the last apartment.
  8. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    How about an Apple Refurbished 802.11N Airport Extreme - that way you get a full warranty with it and it's in your price range $85.
  9. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I highly suggest you go to smallnetbuilder web site and check out their tests on various WiFi routers and also their "rankers." Of the latter, out of 10 routers the Mac Airport Extreme placed 6th and was the second most expensive.

    For my needs, I would rather spend the money on an Asus or Netgear or similar top performer. I find that the Mac software for the AE is usable but the features are weak. In fact, a couple of iterations ago the AE software was better than it is now as it was far more versatile which means you can do more with it and also that translates into better security.
  10. canuckle macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2011
    Could not have said it better. Also, the community over there is VERY helpful regardless of your abilities, or lack thereof :)
  11. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    I have an older AEBS, and Expresses. I would not buy another Apple router.

    First, unlike virtually everyone Apple uses proprietary software rather than a web browser to configure the things. Sure enough, they dropped lots of common features from that software. I even had to go to all kinds of trouble getting old versions of Airport Utility 5.6, because my Express requires it and can't use the new version. Then Mavericks broke ALL 5.6 versions. Contrast that with old Linksys routers I could install Tomato or WRT_DD on and have a great access point or other useful device for years and years longer.

    Second, no external antenna connections. Huh? Antennas are critical in using radios and this seems to elevate style WAY over function.

    Third, you're gonna have to deal with internet providers. And they choke when you start asking about configuring Apple stuff with their products unless it's real simple, or you are very experienced and can translate Apple terms into stuff they can understand and vice versa.
  12. Garsun macrumors regular


    Oct 20, 2009
    I found the new AirPort Extreme AC to be much better than the previous airports when it comes to range. I used to use two of the old extremes to cover my 4000 square-foot two-story house. A single extreme AC unit covers the house now.
    As for getting a list of connected devices, Apple software does provide this by holding the mouse over the appropriate spot on the window. A subwindow pops up with a list of all connected devices.
  13. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I have an older AEBS (2009) and an even older Time Capsule and a now dead Airport Express.

    Today I replaced my AEBS with an Asus AC1750 router, the 66u version. It's rated #1 at a number of sites including smallnetworkbuilder.

    I really like the AEBS but it needed resetting on Christmas morning. That was the second time in one month and I had had it. I considered the current generation AEBS, the TPlink Archer C7 and my Asus. In fact, to save money, I first picked up the TPlink but later returned it when I found it couldn't run custom firmware.

    My upgrade process was very painless. I left my AEBS running and unplugged it from the internet. I left my MBP wifi on but plugged my ethernet into the Asus. The Asus setup only took about 30 seconds. Not as fast as Airport Utility but very easy to set up. It only took about another 5 minutes to get the wireless and DHCP ranges set the way I like them.

    My AEBS is now collecting dust. I think my son wants it. I recommend AEBS for absolute painless setup and great stability. I recommend third party (non-Apple) routers for those who want things like: ability to set up in a web browser rather than airport utility, advanced config options like capturing current Mac addresses and whitelisting them all with one click, advanced config options like separate guest networks for 2.4 and 5 Ghz, ability to run Tomato or DD-wrt firmware, and so on...
  14. beautifulcoder macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2013
    The Republic of Texas
    Airport Extreme has superior wifi radio signals because of the built-in antenna. I have a white Netgear Surfboard that matches my Airport Extreme for aesthetics. I use Comcast as well so you should have no issues.

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