446 of 467 people found the following review helpful
High performance WiFi (yes), my own cloud (cool), and easy setup (nice),
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This review is from: AirPort Extreme 802.11n (5th Generation) (Personal Computers)
Although setup is quick, it is the high performance 802.11n dual RF bands and the creation of my own cloud storage (HD on USB port) that makes the AirPort Extreme a best-in-class choice!
After reading the other reviews, I knew this was going to be quick and easy. I started a pot of coffee thinking I could enjoy a cup while plugging in the AirPort Extreme Base Station (AEBS) and configuring it. Here are the steps:
1. Attached an ethernet cable from the AEBS to my ISP connection. Plugged in the AC adapter and power cord. AEBS powered up. Status light flashed green for a second, glowed amber for several seconds, then flashed amber until the AEBS was configured from a computer.
2. From my MacBook Pro (wireless access works fine for this step), the airport utility app had already launched and was waiting for me (otherwise, go to Applications\Utilities\AirPort Utility.app). Followed instructions that included typing in a router name and two passwords. The default AEBS configuration selects channels and RF bands automatically to optimize speed.
3. Plugged a spare hard drive (in my case: Mac OS Extended (Journaled) formatted 1 TB HD) into AC outlet and the USB port. As soon as the HD had started, it showed up as a MBP network drive device on 'Finder'. I then created a folder, transferred a file, and read it back.
At this point, the coffee machine beeped to let me know my coffee was ready. I was done before the coffee was even ready - about three minutes from opening the box to being operational! Gotta luv it.
Basic Performance Testing:
Not about to let the coffee go to waste, I proceeded with some performance testing. I conducted some very basic data throughput tests by transferring files from the MBP through the AEBS to the HD. This test arrangement kept my ISP download and upload data rates out of the equation. For the wired tests, the MBP was connected to one of the three AEBS Gigabit ports.
Test 1 (a control test configuration between MBP and HD via USB on MBP):
Write to HD: 33.8 MBytes/sec
Read from HD: 34.3 MBytes/sec
Test 2 (wired data transfer)
From MBP to AEBS via Gigabit port, then from AEBS to HD via USB): 13.6 MBytes/sec
From HD to AEBS via USB, then from AEBS to MBP via Gigabit port): 18.3 MBytes/sec
Test 3 (wireless data transfer - 5 GHz RF band)
From MBP to AEBS, then from AEBS to HD via USB): 7.8 MBytes/sec
From HD to AEBS via USB, then from AEBS to MBP): 12.6 MBytes/sec
Test 4 (range test, 5 GHz RF band between MBP and AEBS with a max capacity of 300 Mbits/sec):
3 ft, devices in close proximity: 300 Mbits/sec
50 ft, indoors, no ext walls in path: 243 Mbits/sec
70 ft, outdoors, one ext wall in path: 144 Mbits/sec
80 ft, outdoors, one ext wall in path: 104 Mbits/sec
Default settings seem to provide high bit-rate connections. Using 'manual setup' in Airport Utility.app, I tested several variations on the configuration without improving the rate/range for the 802.11n wireless provided by the default setting of the APBS. Reading data from the HD back through the AEBS to the MBP was always faster than writing data to the HD. Including ethernet into the data transfer path (Test 2 compared to Test 1) reduced data rates in half. Including WiFi into the data transfer path (Test 3 compared to Test 2) reduced data rates to 2/3. Range test performance was very good for distances within 50 feet.
My own storage cloud:
Originally, I envisioned just using the HD (USB port on AEBS) as a network drive for a SVN (i.e., software version control) repository in support of software development on my MBP. But, I realized that this drive is a common storage location for all my devices (MBP, iPad, iPhone, iTouch) that is accessible wirelessly on my local WiFi. And with a VPN connection, from anywhere with WiFi access to the internet. Simply stated, I have my very own cloud! We aren't talking about a skimpy few GB either, but a full TB of dedicated exclusive mine-only cloud. Now, that's cool.
Why buy the 5th generation AEBS:
- High performance 802.11n wireless performance
- Easy and quick setup
- USB port for attaching a hard drive or printer
- Capability to create my very own AEBS WiFi storage cloud for all my devices
- Guest access to ISP without access to other devices or attached USB device
- Sleek clean stylish look
I am so completely pleased with this purchase.
Tracked by 11 customers
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Showing 11-20 of 34 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2011 9:45:19 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 18, 2011 9:49:21 PM PST
Cary Champlin says:
Sorry for the delay. Life got super busy, again. I bought a Belkin USB 4-Port Ultra-Mini Hub and tested it with two 1 TB hard drives. Both drives use external power cords and worked well with the Hub on the USB port of the AEBS. I wrote to each drive and read back the contents. I did notice that the bit rate was about 2-3% slower using the hub. I also tested a 4 GB thumb drive on the Hub which was 10x slower than the hard drives. Good luck with your setup.
Posted on Dec 19, 2011 7:34:26 PM PST
FD Firefighter 121 says:
Thanks. I am considering getting this based upon your review for my Mac Book Pro. We still have some Windows PC's at home as well as Kindle and Kindle Fire. Will the Apple device work as well with Windows internet connection?
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2011 7:40:44 PM PST
J. Schwarz says:
I bought the Airport extreme for my Android Xoom and it works great. I have a windows 7 computer and there is no problem. If you do buy it, there is a time limit for free help from the company. If you buy it and don't install it for a while they may charge you for their time. I was late by a few days and they were beginning to give me a hassle about paying for help, buy luckily the supervisor gave me a break and they walked me through the installation.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 23, 2011 11:26:18 AM PST
Occasional Amazonian says:
Really?...because for the life of me I cannot figure out how to read the hard drive through the base station from our Windows XP and Windows 7 machines.
It's working fine on the Macbook but I cannot even see the drive on Windows.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 23, 2011 5:00:04 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 23, 2011 5:02:24 PM PST
J. Schwarz says:
It states good for Windows computers on the box. Contact Apple and let them walk you through it. Oh and you have to download some program from Apple if I remember correctly.
Posted on Dec 26, 2011 9:25:04 PM PST
P. Perez says:
A most excellent review!
I will buy one of these because of your thorough review.
I was wondering if I could storage movies in an HD attached to the AEBS and watch them via AppleTV.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 15, 2012 4:48:45 PM PST
Jay Young says:
Cary, informative review, nice application examples, thanks for posting.
A. Perez, yes and no. The short general answer to your question is... No, you cannot stream to the AppleTV from a Time Capsule (TC) or an HD connected to an AEBS (HD+AEBS) in the sensible, direct way we would like.
Yes, it is possible to stream content to the AppleTV from a TC or HD+AEBS, provided the following conditions are met: (1) The files on the TC or HD+AEBS are linked to an iTunes library on one of your computers, (2) You have that computer on with iTunes running, and (3) Of course Home Sharing must be enabled in iTunes to stream to AppleTV.
So, you can do it, but you must have iTunes and your computer running (exactly how we currently stream to AppleTV). Unfortunately, you cannot simply browse and stream the content directly from the TC or HD+AEBS to the AppleTV. You do still benefit from having your giant home media library stored and accessible on your network at all times. Hopefully, Apple will write a little bit of software (iTunes server or something) for the TC and AEBS. These products would be six stars.
I have the 2TB TC (MD032LL/A) and (2) Airport Express (MB321LL/A). This stuff was pricey, but it blows my mind how fast and stable these products are. It truly is worth the Apple premium.
Posted on Apr 20, 2012 10:16:52 PM PDT
Gern Blanston says:
Is this router using Smart Wi-Fi and App Enabled like theLinksys EA3500 App-Enabled N750 Dual-Band Wireless-N Router with Gigabit and USB?
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 6, 2012 4:19:15 PM PDT
Tribal Plague says:
If the Hard Drive is formatted in Journaled for OS X, then Windows won't see it. For Windows to see it it should be formatted in FAT32 or NTFS (The mac would need a plugin then to write to it...).
Posted on Jun 12, 2012 10:10:09 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 12, 2012 12:01:22 PM PDT]