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Customer Review

1,162 of 1,197 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not so technical review from a technical guy, August 18, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station (ME918LL/A) (Personal Computers)
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
Verizon FiOS+upgrade
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).

The Range.
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.
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Showing 1-10 of 49 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 19, 2013 3:14:25 PM PDT
S. Hajosi says:
Nice review! I'm an IT pro myself and our company decided to go with an Extreme to replace an old Cisco Aironet unit. I'm shocked how good the Extreme is. We've had it online for close to 2 months now with zero issues. I have it set up in bridged mode with authentication to radius server. This thing is flawless. Never thought I'd see an Apple AP in the enterprise but I'm sure glad we bought it.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2013 3:12:47 PM PDT
Paulmoh says:
thank you and I agree with you. I would like to see more of Apple in Enterprise.

Posted on Aug 25, 2013 8:39:35 AM PDT
Felix Brault says:
I bought this router yesterday and it's amazing. I'm also working in the IT business and I would be really interested if you can tell me why this router is as good as enterprise router.

''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.''

I won't sleep, I promise :P

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 26, 2013 7:54:18 AM PDT
S. Hajosi says:
We use the AE in Bridge mode so it's not exactly doing routing but it's one solid Wireless Access Point. The AE beat our old Cisco Aironet in range and throughput. Keep in mind that all the back end is still Cisco including switches and an ASA, this is where you'll be doing all your detailed configuration like vlan's for a guest network.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2013 4:24:38 PM PDT
Hi I see you have Verizon Fios with upgrade, I too have Fios with upgrade to 300 MBPS. I was wondering if you could help me with the setup/connections you had to make to hookup the AirPort Extreme to the Fios gateway. I know with the older version of extreme and the non Fios gateway you had to go though a bunch of gyrations to keep the guide and VOD. So could you help a not so tech savvy PC user on how to make the connections and is there any off the wall settings I need to change? Thanks in advance for your help. Steve

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2013 9:26:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 23, 2013 9:28:15 PM PDT
Paulmoh says:
Hi Steven,

Video On Demand is not a wireless router issue. What I think you're asking me; VOD (Verizon's VOD that is) is handled through your STB (Set Top Box) which is connected directly to your Verizon's Optical Terminal (the big white box in your basement) .. absolutely nothing is transmitted via OTA (over the air) ....If you are having problems with with VOD, you may have issues with your old STB units (they may need to be upgraded/replaced) Verizon is notorious for charging you to enable the faster throughput but keep the old equipment.

Now, if your definition of VOD is a service like Netflix (or similar) issues, you may have a netflix gateway device like a TV/Bluray player/Nintendo Wii that is in need of a Software or firmware upgrade. This issue is most likely not related to your Wireless router.

Let me know if you have other questions.


In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2013 9:32:42 PM PDT
Yes I do have one more question how do I hook the extreme to my Fios router/gateway using Ethernet (wired) and then just wireless. In your option which would be better I already have cat6 cable though-out the house?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2013 9:48:19 PM PDT
Paulmoh says:
I think you may have the old Verizon router. Should contact Verizon and get all new equipment to get the full boost from your network. After I upgraded, Verizon wanted $10 a device to "replace" the old devices. I badgered them and threatened to switch to Cablevision which did the trick. My recommendation for you is to get Verizon to give you upgraded equipment. Sounds like you're running early generation stuff.

The old Verizon Wireless Router allowed you to disable its wireless portion and attach a different Wireless router to the unit via ethernet. For this you may need to contact Verizon so you can gain access as an Admin in to your wireless router. Don't worry, it's not as painful as it sounds. If you don't feel comfortable about that, make up a bogus technical problem and demand for a tech to show up at your house, then you can talk to the tech about what it is you want to do.

FiOS + is by far the best way to connect to the Internet in my neighborhood, sadly Verizon's corporate culture ruins a bit.

Posted on Nov 17, 2013 10:19:12 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 17, 2013 10:20:42 AM PST
D. D. says:
I am looking for a new, faster modem to use with the AirPort Extreme. Any recommendations from you IT guys? I am a HW engineer with limited networking skills and I need something easy and fast to manage my do-it-yourself smart home hub and net cams.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 17, 2013 12:23:19 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 17, 2013 12:26:52 PM PST
Paulmoh says:

you need to contact your cable company for the list of approved modems. Most of them do not allow third party modems and require you to use theirs. Those that do allow you the use of third party have a list of approved modems already. The modem speed is generally not a concern, they are all adequate. You may be looking to spend extra money on something that there is little need for. The issue you may have is with the wireless portion of your modem (ie Verizon bundles the modem and the WiFi router in one box.) That is something that is worth upgrading.
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