Why doesn't Airport Extreme feature in "best wireless router" lists?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by ozaz, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. ozaz, Dec 29, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013

    ozaz macrumors 65816

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    #1
    Airport Extreme seems to be fairly popular wireless router and I don't really hear bad things said about it. But I notice it does not really feature much on "best wireless router" lists I find on the web.

    A few examples of such lists:
    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2398080,00.asp
    http://reviews.cnet.com/best-wireless-routers/
    http://www.reghardware.com/2012/06/19/review_ten_dual_band_wifi_routers/
    http://www.bestcovery.com/best-wireless-router-overall
    http://www.broadbandbuyer.co.uk/Features/Article.asp?TextID=1424

    I don't think these sites are simply being anti-Apple: they all put Apple products at or near the top of best desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone lists.

    So, why so little love for Airport Extreme?

    EDIT: My original post did not refer to wireless routers. I have amended this post slightly to refer to wireless routers. Also, note that these "best wireless router" lists seem to be lists of consumer grade routers targeted for home use, not enterprise class routers.
     
  2. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    #2
    Probably because most of those sites are Windows PC targeted and if you have a Windows machine there is little reason to pay the extra money for an Apple router.
     
  3. aristobrat macrumors G5

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    #3
    I wonder if Apple not coming out with a differently named model every three months (like virtually all of the other vendors) has anything to do with it.

    I wonder how many of those routers on those Top 10 list existed last year?
     
  4. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #4
    Because it's actually not a very good ROUTER.


    edit:
    I have one, have used it as a router. Some of the reasons I don't any more:

    IPv6 support is lacking - it won't work with Native IPv6 over PPPoE. Given that my ISP provides native IPv6 over PPPoE, that was a deal breaker for me.
    No QOS
    No VLANs
    Limited diagnostic ability
    Reboot required after nearly any configuration change

    Don't get me wrong, I love the Airport Extreme as a wifi access point, but as a router, there are plenty of better options out there.

    (I currently use a Cisco 877 as a router, and Airport Extreme for Wifi network)
     
  5. ozaz thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #5
    The 4 general tech review sites cited in my original post (CNET, PCMag, RegHardware, Bestcovery) all tend to put (yearly refreshed) Apple products in the top 3 of their best desktop, notebook, tablet, smartphone lists.
     
  6. Shadow2k macrumors member

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    #6
    It lacks a web interface and well, throAU pretty much summed it up.
     
  7. ozaz thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #7
    I wasn't explicit in my original post, but I meant consumer grade wireless routers. I think the lists I link to come under this category. I think the Cisco you refer to is probably enterprise class.

    Will amend my original post slightly to make it clearer.
     
  8. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

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    #8
    Correct, it appears to be an SMB unit (quick Google search revealed this).

    Is there an application you need to install on a PC in order to manage an AEBS? I know a Mac will have the ability to manage it from an app already installed. Most consumer-grade units have an easy-to-access web-based interface.

    I use a Netgear WNDR-4700 and LOVE it, it made those "best of the best" lists at one point. As was noted before, for those that are more PC-oriented, an AEBS is most likely not on the radar, primarily due to the need for an application to configure it. In reality, unless you plan to use a drive connected to the AEBS as a TM drive, what benefit does an AEBS really provide a Mac user?
     
  9. palmharbor macrumors 6502

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    Jul 31, 2007
    #9
    Airport Extremely troublesome

    After I program it..unplug it..then plug it in the living room.
    It forgets all its settings and just blinks.
    This thing is problematic.:confused:
     
  10. ozaz thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Yes, see below.

    Got round to actually having a look at the Airport Extreme reviews at some of the sites cited in the OP, which I had not done earlier. Some excerpts below. They hint at why they have would not get included in their "best" lists, including some reasons already mentioned in this thread.

    pcmag.com, http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2345615,00.asp
    cnet.com, http://reviews.cnet.com/wireless-access-points/apple-airport-extreme-base/4505-3265_7-34837270.html
    Bestcovery.com, http://www.bestcovery.com/apple-airport-extreme-wireless-gateway
     
  11. Menge macrumors 6502a

    Menge

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    #11
    I have to mention, though, that the Airport Extreme is one of the most stable consumer-grade routers I've ever laid my hands upon. I never had to restart it because it froze up. This alone makes this monster worth every penny for me.

    But yes... Configuration options are lacking and it's expensive.
     
  12. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

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    #12
    My WNDR-4700 has been rebooted because of power outages more than it has been rebooted because it had to be.
     
  13. ctyrider macrumors 6502a

    ctyrider

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    #13
    Airport Extreme is a rock solid WiFi router, very stable, good antenna design, good coverage. However, the networking feature set is very limited, as others have pointed out. Also, Apple's most recent version 6 of Airport Utility is pure garbage.

    If you're willing to overlook the negatives, it's a great home router.
     
  14. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #14
    Yeah, it's an enterprise router.

    However there are plenty of consumer grade routers that do a better job than the AEBS as a router, too.

    Again, don't get me wrong - it's a real nice bit of kit. But as far as "best router lists" go, there's a lot of reasons it isn't on them.
     
  15. lexvo macrumors 65816

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    #15
    This.
    The Airport Extreme is very very reliable and stable. In the past 3 years I only had to restart it twice because of smaller problems.
     
  16. ctyrider macrumors 6502a

    ctyrider

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    #16
    True, but on the downside it does need to be restarted every time you make a configuration change. I find that one of the most annoying qualities of Apple Airport products.
     
  17. 53x12 macrumors 68000

    53x12

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    #17
    Airport Extreme is ok, but ever since I started using the Linksys EA4500 I don't think I will ever go back. Cheaper and I feel better than the Extreme.
     
  18. Menge macrumors 6502a

    Menge

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    #18
    How often do you change configs on your router? I know I do it once and then never again...
     
  19. ctyrider macrumors 6502a

    ctyrider

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    #19
    Less frequent than daily, more frequent than never.. I change the NAT port-forwarding entries from time to time, as well as IPv6 firewall rules. No fun to deal with kids screaming "my Netflix movie broke!" after making a small change to your AEX.
     
  20. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #20
    Yeah, just on reliability - i've had my Extreme for 2+ years now and it has only ever been rebooted:

    - to move house
    - when the power goes out
    - to upgrade firmware occasionally when it asks for it

    Don't get me wrong - maybe it sounds like i dislike the box from my above posts; I don't. It's an excellent wireless AP.

    I just think there are better devices out there for routing with :)
     
  21. iamsen47 macrumors regular

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    Kobe, Japan
    #21
    I think either lifehacker.com or gizmodo.com rated the Express as one of their top 5 routers sometime in the last 6 months.

    The Linksys at our office kept losing its connection every few hours. ISP's customer support was useless and I got sick of fiddling with network settings so I got the Express purely off their review. Small office with less than 20 devices, all wireless. Works like a charm.
     
  22. apunkrockmonk macrumors 6502a

    apunkrockmonk

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    #22
    I have to go along with everyone else and say it is the most stable router I've ever owned.

    My only gripe so far is the lack of QoS for applications like VoIP.

    Maybe they'll add it some day with a firmware update, but I'm not holding my breath.
     
  23. SDAVE macrumors 68040

    SDAVE

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    #23
    I think AirPort Express is a fantastic "router", but probably because of the AirPlay feature. I like the old one that plugs into the wall and not the new one that looks like an Apple TV.

    AirPort Extreme is not so good. There are plenty of other great routers at that price (even cheaper)...check out Asus RT-N56U. You don't have to use tomato or other 3rd party firmware, it's already very feature rich out of the box. It doesn't look half bad either.
     
  24. ozaz thread starter macrumors 65816

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    UK
    #24
    802.11ac

    Some of the routers in the "best" lists in the original post are first gen of routers supporting 802.11ac (e.g. Asus RT-AC66U), which AE does not support. So I guess future-proofing may be an advantage a number of them hold over AE.

    But I wonder, are these routers too bleeding edge at the moment (I read that 802.11ac standard is not yet finalised)? Is it better to wait for 2nd or 3rd gen of these routers (especially considering I don't think I will have any 802.11ac devices until late 2012 at the earliest)?
     
  25. Lennyvalentin macrumors 6502a

    Lennyvalentin

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    Apr 25, 2011
    #25
    Try roaring "Shuddap!" back at them. They should consider themselves lucky there's even something called netflix these days. Back in my day when I was a kid, we walked uphill in the snow both ways to lug a heavy "moviebox" back home from a VHS rental shop. That's if the parents would even allow us to watch a movie... :p

    My previous router before my time capsule was a netgear wnr3500, and it would only route for like 3-4 months at a time before it'd hang. Trying to run a firmware update would cause it to hang also (and there never were any available anyway after the first couple months of me buying it). Each time it hung you had to reach behind it and fiddle out the power plug and stick it back in again, which quickly became a real annoyance.

    Also, changing ANYthing in its config required a lengthy reboot, like with every other router I've ever used.

    The time capsule isn't ideal by any means - lacking UPnP support is irritating when you need to run something that uses bittorrent data sharing for example (like the world of warcraft updater), but at least it has NEVER hung on me in the 1.5ish years I've owned it. That's worth quite a bit too.
     

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