17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Apple M8881LL/A AirPort Extreme Card (Personal Computers)
The wireless revolution has seriously altered the way I work. It didn't seem like it was that big of a deal, to be able to work anywhere in the house on a laptop. And then I was home over Thanksgiving and tried my father's - it was incredible. So, soon after I had my own and I love it - I even ended up getting another one for my wife's laptop.
Whether it's browsing amazon.com late at night in bed, checking morning email in the kitchen while the kids run around, or being able to set up a writing desk anywhere in the house without worrying about an accessible internet port - the airport system is awesome. Even if you only have a desktop computer it's worth it - you can to put the computer in a place where there's no internet plug, without the 40 foot cord draping your wall to connect it. All in all, a wireless system may seem extravagant, but once you have one you'll wonder how you got by without it.
The airport card, along with the base station, allows you to connect several computers, even ones that don't have wireless cards in them (i.e., we have two laptops on the wireless system, and then one iMac that doesn't have an airport card is plugged directly into the base station). You can print, scan - anything - wirelessly, as long as those extra components are connected to the base station.
If you have a big house and the base station won't be centrally located, you may want to look into the antenna. I have a 2500 square foot house and the base station is at one end of it. I can get access from anywhere in the house without the extra antenna, though in one or two places it's a weak signal. My father's house, on the other hand, is over 5000 square feet and the base station is at a far end - you can't even get a signal on the other side of the house. However, he purchased the antenna and the signal is now very strong wherever you are. A warning - you should make sure your airport network is password protected, especially if you get the antenna. The signal will be broadcast through half your neighborhood and if not protected, people can get on and use your airtime, clogging up your bandwidth.
Make sure you get the right card! There's the airport extreme card and the regular airport card (I believe they are both compatible with either base station). Check Apple's website for direct compatibility between your computer and the two different cards. They are different sizes and will only fit in the right kind of slot.
One final word - I've heard from others that certain products from Net Gear or other wireless manufacturers accomplish the same thing as the airport card and base station for much cheaper. I can't attest to the validity of this, but it might be worth looking into. I'd exercise extreme caution, since if you go with Apple products it will be covered with tech support, even if it's more expensive. And putting third party hardware in your computer will likely void the warranty on your computer.