922 of 947 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2013
I am a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE). I am going to describe this router in non technical terms.
This is a replacement router for a Cisco E4200.
there is a lot to like about the new Extreme, I am going to briefly say, it is very easy to setup, you are not overwhelmed by multitudes of blinking lights and the ports are intuitively marked. The Airport Extreme Software is a pleasure to work with. Even if you are challenged by setting up a wireless network, you should know that setting this one up can be as easy as setting up a wireless password. Most features you want upfront are enabled by default. You really don't need to know much to start your journey.
For you, what will inevitably be an indication of good performance is the range, quality of signal and reliability of each feature so let's get to it.
The set Up
Connected a 2400x1200 Laser Printer via the Ethernetport.
Connected a 2 Terabyte external Hard Drive, in effect turned this in to a Time Capsule
Location, Basement, two floors beneath me, Far North East corner of the house.
Simultaneous connections from a TV to Netflix, a Gaming laptop to Steam, an iPad, A Desktop and everyone's cell phones at home (hodgepodge of Android and iOS devices)
the goal was to tax the CPU, not Monitor Verizon's network; So the focus was on the router during heavy loads while printing, accessing the hard drive and connecting to the internet.
The processor in this device is very capable, We all decided to hit everything at the same time, I am pleased to report the printer took the same amount of time to print a 250 MB Illustrator File as if it were the only device on the Network, Netflix didn't miss a beat, transferring 500 GB worth of Data over the air was as fast as if it was the only activity in progress. We monitored the lag progress during an online gaming session. the lag was consistent with past performances. In short, this device will keep up at the high-end of demand for a residential dwelling (and I dare say small to medium sized businesses).
This is probably where you will get in to a subjective discussion with other people over what this device can do. Please note, the range is very dependent on your set of restrictions. For this reason we placed the router in the northeast corner of the basement and 2 floor from the indoor range testing site. From a bedroom located 2 floors up and in the Southwest corner of the house, we had a flawless connection to the router with acceptable degradation of signal. A desktop with ac WiFi capability did experience a superior connection. Also the range outside of the house improved greatly, a 50 feet connection from the southwest corner of the yard proved to be reliable for both n, ac and g devices. Oddly enough a Nintendo console with b protocol was experiencing a stronger connection to the router. I don't know how this could be possible unless the antenna scheme on the router is in fact as good as Apple says it is.
Pleased to report this device keeps a steady connection. the drop rate is very low and infrequent.
Apple did a fantastic job here. I could get in to details on why this router is just as good as some Enterprise routers but I think that will put you to sleep.
What should you do?
I am very impressed with this device. The setup is fool-proof and the performance has been excellent, while it is more expensive than other routers in its class, I do believe you get more and if you have a problem, taking it to the Apple Store for Genius consultation will more than make up for any price gap with others. Remember, Range is a highly subjective performance gauge, your situation may not be as clear cut, there maybe more signal interference around you or there maybe more physical obstruction (like really dense walls, floors or ceilings. So for this reason, buy this from a retailer with a liberal return Policy. You can always bring it back and try a different brand.
This router impressed me, enough so that I will be giving a MacBook Pro serious considerations for my next Laptop. The Halo effect certainly worked on me.
Areas of Improvement.
Packaging. I dropped the router after I opened the box. It is nearly impossible for an unsuspecting customer not to do this. Open this box over a bed or somewhere not too high above the floor.
You can access the internal part of the router fairly easily, I opened this and to my surprise, there is space for a 3.5" internal hard drive, I was very excited to see this but further investigation showed that there is no way to connect the hard drive to the logic board. Understandably so! (otherwise why would you buy a Time Capsule) But obviously for me, having an extra hard drive sitting around collecting dust would have given me a way to reuse and recycle.
Good luck with your decision.
143 of 147 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2013
I purchased a new (latest gen) 2 TB Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme pair to replace my venerable but aging Apple AirPort network. The old network was asked to perform some impossible tasks -- such as providing reliable wi-fi between the two separate buildings that make up my home, as well as to offer decent speed and reliable transmission to allow Skype, FaceTime, and GoToMeeting services to work well without jitter or frame loss. Generally, the equipment was able to deliver, but often I would get strange signal fade due to the saturation of wi-fi in my neighborhood. I had a total of six AirPort Extreme or AirPort Express nodes in the network, and I'd characterize availability at about 99%. Still, getting a strong and reliable signal to some of the outlying locations was challenging through so much drywall, siding, and distance. Thus, my decision to give the latest generation of these products a shot.
Long story made short: I've been using the new TimeCapsule and AirPort Extreme for a week now, and they have performed absolutely flawlessly. Based upon a quick test of the new nodes and their beam forming antennae arrays, I decided to take a chance and reduce my rather complex extended AirPort network from the previous six nodes down to a total of two latest-gen units (the two I am reviewing here) and one of the older AirPort Express units in my garage. I consistently get a transmit rate of 243 Mbps between the new nodes, and a solid 54 Mbps with the 802.11b node in the garage. Performance has been flawless, and I have had zero problems with connection drops, channel drift (as a result of spectrum congestion), or choppy performance. This, despite the location of the Time Capsule in a fully enclosed closet, and the distant (100 feet-plus) Airport Extreme in an office space surrounded on three sides by wall, siding, and filing cabinets.
As I intended to replace the previous Time Capsule, I decided to setup the entire new network from scratch. It went without a hitch, and I was able to completely modernize, implement the new network (with WPA2 security and a 5 GHz alternate service) in about 30 minutes. All computer nodes immediately recognized the new nodes and, aside from having to perform complete (but now very fast) Time Machine backups from all Mac nodes in the house, the wi-fi service has performed solidly and flawlessly.
Packaging for the new AirPorts was typical Apple; very well packaged in quality materials that I intend to keep so that I can reuse the packaging when it comes time to sell these units. The equipment was well wrapped in tack-back plastic wrap to protect the plastic components from scratches. The units themselves feel very substantial in the hand -- again, typical Apple quality. And I didn't need to consult any of the documentation even once during the setup. Again, typical Apple intuitive setup and configuration.
In conclusion, this has been an outstanding purchase and implementation; the products did exactly what I hoped they would do, and they have performed flawlessly to date. Five stars for the product. Five stars for typical Amazon fast, hassle-free delivery via my Prime membership.
*** Six Month Update 3/16/2014 ***
I continue to be absolutely impressed with the exceptional network performance and reliability of these AirPorts. I have, quite literally, NEVER had to touch them to goof with the configurations, placement, reboots due to software installations, whatever. One of the hallmarks of my purchases is this simple rule: if I purchase a premium product, I have full expectations that said product will perform exactly as advertised, and as expected, regardless of the price, regardless of the circumstances. I can say that these new AirPorts have performed absolutely flawlessly. Without question, worth every penny I paid, and them some.
*** One Year Update 8/24/2014 ***
These AirPorts have been performing flawlessly for a year now. Still not a single problem with managing them (though I did need to perform a single reboot for both nodes to install a firmware update earlier this year). Still no performance problems, and I continue to get outstanding reception between both buildings. My neighborhood is absolutely packed in the 2.4GHz spectrum and I know that many of my neighbors are frustrated by poor performance in this band, but I am able to successfully avoid all of that congestion by using the 5GHz secondary network that I've created with these AirPorts). Frankly, even the 2.4GHz service works well, possible due to a hot amp (not quite enough to cook a chicken, but still pretty darned hot) as well as the beam forming capabilities of the AirPorts' antennae. I can't recall the last time I purchased technology that has performed so well (which is a sad testament to the state of current tech). So, a year after this purchase, I am back to reiterate the five-star rating and continue to assert that these are worth every penny I paid for them, and then some. Absolutely superb and solid product.
260 of 280 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2013
I've purchased my base station a week ago, and finally it arrived last night. I was extremely happy to get my paws on it, and after reading all of the reviews below, I knew exactly how this package needs to be open.
***For those that havent seen any reviews, once you will take off the outer plastic cover, make sure to put the box on a table, and lift the top part off, that way nothing will fell down on your feet, furniture of floor of the room, breaking everything or anything on its way down***
Once the you've got it open, hopefully without damaging anything, you can begin your setup. My advice is to power down your modem from ISP, while you are unwrapping Aiport Extreme Station. When all of the wires are connected to the station, power up your modem and then the station. Fire up Airport Utility from your Mac, Windows or iOS, and start messing with settings. When your station is found by Airport Utility, you can select it and click on Edit, go through screens and different option, everything is self-explanatory. For those that like to hide their networks, there is an option to make hidden network. There is also an option for IPV6 which is enabled by default, but if you wont need it, you can disable it. Anyhoo, setup was a breeze and my network was up and running in less than 3 minutes, that is including updating firmware to 7.7.1 on Extreme Station, limitation of IP addresses in DHCP option and reassigning from 10.0 starting address to 192.168 for a private addresses on my LAN.
I'm still in my honeymoon stage with this product. This is my first Airport product, as I've been using linksys (used to work there) and then switched to Netgear...I've got to say, this router is the most impressive one yet. I was pleasantly surprised by ease of the setup, absence of web-interface, and ease of use of Airport Utility.
As far as signal boost goes...Well...I'm very happy to see how much signal has improved in my house and throughout the house and the backyard. Here is what I had before...Netgear router and ECB300 repeater in order to have coverage on first and second floor of my house (my ISP modem and all the wires are downstairs, in my home-office room), outside the house (front and back yard). When I've plugged in my Extreme, there is no need anymore of my ECB300 repeater, I'm running just Airport Extreme and have full bars upstairs on my MAC, iPAD and iPHONE, as well as my ATV2 and kid's dell laptop. And when I say full bars, I mean it, signal is awesome and everyone said that they surfing speed improved. While watching a movie on my ATV2, the only one thing that is connected to my 5GHz signal, the buffering was to the minimum, which made me extremely happy!!!
All in all, I'm very happy with my purchase. Everything works great and exceeded my expectations (I was concerned about pairing my extreme station with my repeater, but there is no need for it anymore, so...hello fleabay!!!) I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a new router. Price point is on par with Apple's price point, but you really get what you paid for, and a little extra (I've purchased my Netgear 2 years ago for $179, but it isn't as good as this $199 beast) so go ahead and pull a trigger, purchase this one, you wont regret it (in case you will, you can return it)
Thank you for reading my first review (I wasnt paid for it, I felt that this product deserves to get its 5-stars, especially after seeing few haters writing a crappy review because of wan disconnects. It is obvious that there is something more to that problem than this router, and if router is a culprit, exchange it to make sure that it IS the router's fault, before posting a 1-star review, while everyone else is happy with the purchase)
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2014
This is a true Apple product. It does what it does better than other similar products because of the mating of the best software and hardware. The result, the easiest to set-up router with the best performance.
I am fairly technical and understand a good deal about network topology and 802.11x. I have a small old house that is made of plaster and lath. Up until now I have needed 3 access points to get good coverage throughout the 2000 sq. foot home and the backyard. This router actually does a decent job with just one but I have added a second to guarantee great service throughout.
With most routers setting up two or three can be a pain, manually turning off DHCP (server for IP addresses) and setting modes. In my house the DHCP is done by a non-wifi router attached to the modem so the Apple AirPorts need to be set-up as access points. That can take a half hour or more with many routers. With the AirPort Extreme you just plug it in, it surveys your network and sets itself up correctly. Adding a second access point can be even harder. Both access points are hardwired to ethernet but the correct set-up is that the SSID (wifi name) and security should be set the same on both routers so you can roam the house seamlessly. Again, this can be hard with other routers, but the AirPort just asks if you want to extend the wifi network through ethernet and BAM! It is set correctly.
Add to this ease-of-use stellar performance and you have the best router on the market, even if you only own one Apple product, throughput is limited by my Comcast connection to about 60MBPS. On wifi I get 57MBPS everywhere, wired or wireless, amazing. You can connect USB hard drives to create networked storage. 4 Gigabit ports. Printer sharing. It may seem expensive but at $200 this is a REAL bargain.
The only negative is you need to download the AirPort utility for Windows, Mac or iOS for set-up, but that takes only a couple of minutes. I would set one up even in a house without a Apple product, it just works that well.
173 of 200 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2013
I have an airport extreme only 5 months only (5th generation), but when I picked up this new Airport Extreme with the redesigned antenna geometry, and the Ultrafast 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
I KNEW I'd get better bi-di communication on my brand new 2013 macbook air, which I do, but what turned out a real shocker is Im getting around 30% faster www cruising on my Ipad 4th gen and my Ipad mini! Why didn't apple Inc. advertise "Hey, not ONLY will you get blazing better speeds with the new Ultrafast 802.11ac Wi-Fi,...but ALSO you'll notice faster speeds on your Ipads and other devices"
My wifi on my 2012 Macbook Pro is about 20% or more faster on downloads and MUCH faster refresh on known sites.
I was planning on getting faster speeds on ONLY my new Macbook Air, and FURTHER stronger signal strength. But additionally a HUGE PLUS is my now-faster Ipad communications and home networking speeds.
Was it worth the $200 considering I had a basically a new (older model) airport extreme? Absolutely YES. WORTH IT!
67 of 76 people found the following review helpful
I am a long time Linksys and D-Link guy. My last router was the D-Link DIR-655, which served me well for several years. I "converted" to Airport routers after my friend purchased one and I helped him set it up. I was amazed with the simplicity of the set up, and the features available for advanced users. This is now my second Airport Extreme, I purchased this 802.11ac router as I have some new hardware that utilizes the high speeds of the 802.11ac protocol.
Be aware that your clients (phones, laptops, desktop computers, etc) must be 802.11ac capable in order to realize the 1.3Gbps speeds this thing boasts. If you're not sure, check the specs on the box or on the amazon product page. 802.11ac is very new (at the time of writing, Sept 2013), so if you have devices made in 2012 or earlier, it's likely they do not support 802.11ac. Having said that, if you're looking for a new router and you don't have stuff that uses the new high-speed stuff, it's still a great purchase to accommodate future devices - in less than a year, it's likely that everything will be 802.11ac compliant.
Pros of the Airport Extreme 802.11ac:
- Easy set up. I mean, incredibly easy.
- Intelligent software. If there's a problem with your configuration, it will tell you how to fix it.
- Offers the same advanced configuration options as other mainstream routers.
- Stability. These devices will run months without a restart or hiccup. You get what you pay for, and in this case, you're getting the best.
- Looks cool.
- Supports "Back to my Mac" - remote access of your mac from anywhere.
- Provides guest network easily - your visitors can get internet access without having access to your file shares, devices, etc.
- Integrates perfectly with Airport Express stations. Expand your wireless network seamlessly, you'll never know when you go from one access point to the next... Apple AirPort Express Base Station (MC414LL/A)
One possible negative:
- You must have the Airport Utility for configuration. Most routers are configured through a web browser, but the Airport family of routers are configured through an Airport utility, which is free and available for Windows and Mac (OS X comes with Airport Utility by default). It's a good utility and Apple has their reasons for using it, but I still find it a bit annoying sometimes, especially on a Windows system when I need to download it.
How fast is 802.11ac?
802.11ac will move at 1.3Gbps in optimal conditions. That's 1300Mbps (Megabits per second, not to be confused with Megabytes). Quick note, in the network world, MB with the capital "B" means megabyte, and Mb with the lower case "b" means megabit. What's the difference? There are 8 bits in a byte, so to get MB (megabytes) per second, you divide 1300 by 8, which gives you 162.5 megabytes per second. So, in a best case scenario, this router will throughput 162.5MB per second. In reality, you're not going to get that if you're downstairs hanging out watching TV, with household radio interference and distance from the router. However, you will get great speeds that, for the most part, will accommodate the transfer of large files from computer to computer.
To give you a good idea of what today's computer are capable of, I copied several large (over 5GB) files from one computer to the other, both with solid state drives, and both with wired Gigabit ethernet. I was able to get 110MB per second in the strongest test. Most were around 90-100MB.
In conclusion, you buy nice or you buy twice. This router WILL last you until the next great thing comes out.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2013
Expensive. Totally worth it. I've had every other brand of wireless router you can name. This thing is the BOSS. The range is INSANE. My Note 3 phone picks up in the car when I'm getting near my house. Whole house coverage with good signal. Now I can watch Netflix upstairs on the other end of the house. Recommend this to everybody. You can pay $50-$100 for a lesser model that will work fine, with some issues maybe. Buy this and never have to worry about it again. I'm a Windows guy but there's no denying that Apple makes some of the best hardware.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2013
I always secretly wanted this router, but could never justify the high price tag to myself. Finally, with the latest upgrade from Apple, I decided to give it a shot. I replaced a nice D-Link DIR-825 router that I've had for only a few years. I live in a two story townhouse of about 1650 sqft. I keep my wireless router in the bedroom closet on the second floor, and I've always had trouble with the D-Link's signal reaching across to the second bedroom and downstairs to the living room. I thought this was just a fact of life. I tried over and over to extend the signal through various means, and finally settled on a WiFi repeater in the guest bedroom to help cover that bedroom and the living room downstairs.
Enter the new Airport Extreme. Setup was a breeze. It was so easy in fact, it almost took the excitement out of getting a new router. I like to tinker and set things up, and this was a no-brainer. I immediately saw an incredible boost in signal strength in the areas where my last router could not cover. I didn't even have to tweak the router's position or anything. I just set it down and walked away.
Now not only is the 2.5GHz signal stronger, but the 5GHz signal is EQUALLY as strong. With the D-Link, i just couldn't use the 5GHz signal downstairs reliably. Now, I've been able to shut off the repeater and reduce the complexity of equipment in my network. This router works well with all of my non-Apple devices, and its seamless with all of my Apple devices.
I'm exciting to see what I can do with the USB port on the back to put some storage on my network. I'm thinking it's finally time for a proper Time Machine backup solution. My MacBook Pro Retina shows it's connected at 405Mbps. I couldn't even get my D-Link to connect much faster than 150Mbps, even though it was capable of 300Mbps.
Administration of the router is accomplished Airport Utility on the Mac or apps on my iOS devices. I have not tried from Windows yet. The configuration options do seem very limited compared to previous devices. There are only a few screens, but it appears to accomplish everything I need. You can reserve IPs for specific devices, and set up port forwarding really easily. I like being able to check the settings and make changes from my iPhone or iPad.
In summary - it's the best router I've ever owned and since it has 802.11AC, it's going to stay relevant for quite a while.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2013
I've had Linksys, Cisco, D-Link, Netgear, and Apple's previous Airport routers prior to buying this one, and all I can say is WOW, what a difference. The range is literally 2 to 3 times better on this thing. I used to have an outdoor antenna to get WiFi in my yard. I don't even need it any more - this thing covers my entire house, and outside into the yard.
If you're thinking - this is just another router, you're wrong. If range is an issue for you, this will solve it and more than double your wifi range.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2013
I've been using this router for almost one month without any issue. The quality of the wireless connection is absolutely amazing. Under 1ms almost everywhere in my house. The quality of the internal component and design is state-of-the-art. Dual Core 1.2ghz processor, 512MB LDDR3 ram, hidden ventilated heatsink and absolutely perfect vertical tower design.
The Apple Airport Utility available on Mac/Windows/Iphone/Ipad work extremely well. I'm a guy coming from DD_WRT and there's not one setting i'm missing. It is true that airport utility doesn't feature an extensive list of feature but you honestly don't need them. 99% of consumer don't need to adjust TX/RX rate, pre-ample rate and beacon interval. There's more harm than good when you mess with those settings.
Buy this router with your eyes closed.