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There is a lot to like about the Airport Extreme - It offers lightening fast connections via dual bands, a USB port to offer network flexibility, and the ability to join and amplify an existing network. In my case it works well but not perfectly (I will admit I have not tried to use it to expand an existing network).

The features that I like

- The N-band is lightening fast. One example is my Apple TV with 160GB Hard Drive - MB189LL/A which now downloads movies alomst instantly.

- Basic set-up is very easy (using a Mac) - Airport Utility will walk you right through the set-up.

- The ability to serve a printer server - allowing one printer to be shared by multiple computers

- Ability to add an external hard drive through Airport Extreme's USB port - it is great being able to back-up files wirelessly!

The things I had issues with

- The range is below that of my NETGEAR Wireless-N Access Point - although it is much more reliable than the Netgear.

- Try as I might I was never able to connect my HP Printer to the network - the network will recognize it but I am unable to print. I am sure that this can be overcome... but how much more time will it take?

- It took several tries for me to install my external hard-drive and have it recognized.

- I do get a few network drops - it may be issues with my computer.

Final Verdict - If it was easier to install my printer and external network this would be an easy 5-star recommendation, but due to the hassles (and failure in the case of the printer) I will give it 4 stars. It is the best router that I have used... but it is also the most expensive (so it should be the best).

4 Stars
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on January 5, 2010
this is exactly as I expected, however I have one small complaint. Apple ships this product with documentation that doesn't explain correctly how to "extend" the network using an Airport Express. This is a highlighted benefit of using the Airport so I think it bears some explanation. When using an AP Express with an AP Extreme, you can play music on a stereo system plugged into the AP Express as well as increase the overall range and strength of your network.

It seems that they've changed their preferred method from the "WDS" system outlined in the document. I was able to figure it out, but I'm not sure that the everyday user would just get it.

I've searched out this thread on the Apple forums that explains it:

[...]

"On the Extreme:
Open AirPort Utility, click Manual Setup
Click the Wireless tab below the row of icons
Wireless Mode would be set to "Create a wireless network"
Make sure there is a check mark next to "Allow this network to be extended"
Update to save settings

On the Express:
Open AirPort Utility, click Manual Setup
Click the Wireless tab
Wireless Mode would be set to "Extend a wireless network". If you don't see this choice, hold down the "option or alt" key on your computer when you click on the selection box. When you select this choice, you should see the network created by the Extreme to "extend".
Enter the wireless password if requested
Make sure there is a check mark next to "Allow wireless clients"
Update to save settings

Although it is not documented, the ethernet port is also active in the "extend" setting. This can come in handy at times. And, if you want to stream iTunes, be sure to enable this by clicking on the Music icon."

Hope this helps!
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on June 22, 2011
I was in the market for a new wireless router; the wireless router I have (Netgear 802.11g) was acting up; I had to reset it at LEAST twice a day; it kept on losing the IP addresses of our network; our network consists of two PC laptops, one MacBook, two iPhone 4's, and a Ethernet HP Officejet printer that is configured to print through the wireless network.

After doing MONTHS of research for a new wireless router, I decided to buy the Airport Extreme Base Station based on customer reviews, and people that own it. They both have said the same thing; easy to set up, and it just works. I bought it last week, and I got it yesterday, and I was planning on a 2 hour session to configure the IP addresses in our network, setting up the printer that is hard-wired to print from wireless, and put in the new passwords for the two iPhone 4 that we use.

Well, after opening it, bringing down my MacBook, and setting it up; it took me the max of 12 minutes. That's with setting up the IP addresses, guest networking, wireless encryption, and the whole nine yards. I've set up wireless networks before in the past, and speaking from experience, it is a pain in the butt because you have to make sure that your gear works with the wireless router, if it doesn't, you have to buy more things that will make it compatible, and that of that good stuff. With this wireless router, it just works.

Setting up the Airport Extreme Base Station was a walk in the park; open Airport Utility (on a Mac), go through the instructions on the screen, and your done. It just works.

The speed is very fast; traveling through the network at 300Mbps just on wireless n, but last night, I got smart and I decided to take my old wireless g router and turn it into a wireless bridge (basically, jumping up the speed and range of our network; I can now get range in my backyard with just wireless n alone where wireless g would drop, but both of them together are working like champs).

I am extremely happy about this product; it works like advertised, it's FAST, and it does its job. I will definitely buy another AEBS in the future once Gigabit Wireless (802.11ab) hits the market. In the mean-time, I am very happy with this product, and I am going to keep on enjoying it. Thanks for reading my review.
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on May 31, 2011
Recently began to have issues with multiple wireless devices throughout the house (laptops, smartphones, and PS3) dropping signal to my 6+ year old Linksys router. Furthermore, my Linksys router would give me 1 bar of signal strength throughout the house even when in the same room...not sure how that works?

It eventually got to the point where I was fed up with my current router and started to do some online research. After narrowing it down to a few models I wound up going with the Apple Airport Extreme based on its reviews and what I could find during my online research. I was a bit hesitant to purchase this product as I *do not* own any Apple products and this would be integrating with a completely windows-based PC environment.

Well, there was definitely nothing to worry about! As many of the reviews claimed on here installation was quite simple. I struggled to get the router to recognize itself within the 'Airport Utility' (software you need to install to setup the router) only to realize it was my own mistake and how I booted up the device. Note to others: Make sure you perform the proper 'power cycle' for your cable modem + router or else you'll have some issues with the router acquiring an IP address from your cable modem.

Once I got past my own dumb mistake setup took no more than a few minutes. Went around the house and updated all my wireless devices to use the new router and I'm getting 3-4 bars (4 being the max) on most devices, nothing below a 3!! My PS3 has yet to drop its signal whereas my old Linksys was doing it every 5-10 minutes. Also, I paired up this router with the Motorola SB6120 Cable Modem (Motorola SB6120 SURFboard DOCSIS 3.0 eXtreme Broadband Cable Modem) and my Comcast internet is BLAZING.
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on February 2, 2016
First, the purchase was a bargain. I got mine as open box, so I didn't pay anywhere near full price.
Second, as with 99.9% of Apple products, it works as stated, right out of the box. The apple utilities recognized it immediately and made it easy to merge it into my network.
Third, the range is tremendous. I was able to eliminate an older, Airport Express. That one is now providing network accommodations for my campsite installation.
All my apple devices immediately recognized it, along with two windows devices, a linux NAS backup system, and my Raspberry Pi.
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on February 12, 2010
Worth its weight in gold.

I have a 60mb/10mb internet connection, shared wirelessly among multiple computers and various other devices:

1x Mac Pro (802.11n)
1x MacBook Pro (802.11n)
1x MacBook AIR (802.11n)
1x Apple TV (802.11n)
1x iPhone (802.11g)
1x Sony Blu Ray Player (802.11g)

The problem is, my prior wireless router was 802.11N, but needed to run within the 2.4Ghz "A,B,G,N" spectrum so as to work with all N & G devices. The advertised speed was 54mbps, but would peak at about 23mbps, transmit & receive. As a result, no device in my apartment, aside from those connected occasionally via ethernet cable, could benefit from the massive bandwidth provided by my internet provider. Instead of doing the smart, frugal thing and downgrading my internet service to a lower tier, I instead opted to see what I could do to improve the speed of the wireless network.

The Linksys/Cisco Experience:

Not knowing that Apple now sold a "Simultaneous Dual Band" router, I opted for the slightly more expensive Linksys/Cisco WRT610N router, which is capable of the Simultaneous Dual Band" function. It worked admirably at first, allowing most 802.11N (5Ghz) hosts in my apartment to make use of *most* of the massive internet bandwidth. On average, each 802.11N host was now capable of 40mbps (+/-) transmit & receive. The problem with the Linksys was that the speed degrades, to mere single digit megabits (even lower), over time, specifically if you do a lot of streaming, such as: video gaming, torrent download/upload, file sharing or movie downloads. I had to reboot the router on a daily basis, to get the speed that I paid for. Sometimes twice a day. UNACCEPTABLE! There is a giant thread on Linksys' support forums about this very flaw. No solution from Cisco/Linksys.

The Apple Airport Extreme Base Station (Simultaneous Dual-Band):

I'll keep this simple:

(802.11N 5Ghz)

--54mbps to 64mbps send & receive on the LAN
--62mbps (sustained) to 66mbps, from the WAN

I used "iStat Pro" and "Net Monitor" to run each benchmark, several times. I haven't benchmarked the 2.4Ghz spectrum as of yet.

I've since ordered the previous model AEBS (the one without dual band), used, so that I may extend the network. Since all devices are stored in two separate rooms, I figured I'd extend the network using the 2nd AEBS, turn off the Airport card of each computer/device, and plug them in via ethernet to their nearest AEBS. This will, hopefully, improve the speed a tad more or at least limit the speed fluctuation and jitter inherent of wireless networks. At the very least, it'll reduce the amount of radio waves dancing around my apartment.

I live in a large condominium with dozens of other nearby interfering wireless networks, so I have a feeling I won't be able to get much more performance out of the AEBS, but, needless to say, I'm very satisfied.
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VINE VOICEon May 14, 2010
Another excellent wireless internet base station from Apple. I've had a few of this things. Not because I had any problems with them; I've just been keeping up with the speed updates for our home. Between the three I've had at home and two at work locations; I've been very happy with these units. Our office's and home offices are all Mac so I can't comment on setting one up with a PC, but PC laptops brought in by friends link up with out any problems.
Setting up with a mac is easy. Using the airport utility (found in the utilities folder in the "go" menu bar item - right there at the top of your screen) the unit will walk you through set up, and you won't have lose any of hair. This time, setting this one up I got an alert telling me I had the wrong IP address in the setup. This was easily rectified by doing a google search for "my ip address". This search will give you your ip. I just copied it and went back into the setup using the Airport utility. After the correct ip was entered and the base station restarted I was in business. But, don't worry to much this problem may not affect you.
The two channel feature allows you to use smart phones or computers that don't have 802.11n wireless without slowing down the n connection for other users. Wireless modems without two channels slow down to the speed of slowest wireless computer or smart phone.
I have a brother printer hooked up to the base station and all our computers see it with no problems.
Very happy with the unit. For those of you with windows machines here is a link to web page explaining how easy it is to use this base station with a PC: [...]
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on May 20, 2011
recently switched internet service providers to comcast. verizon [previous ISP] gave me a router with 4 LAN ports, comcast gave me a modem with 1 WAN port, needless to say this was a problem. in addition to changing ISP i also changed my phone service from verizon to vonage VOIP which goes through your internet instead of a phone line so its much cheeper, but at a cost. i used an airport express for wireless for years and it still works great. i have the typical appliances like a macbook, windows tower, 360, netflix instant streaming box, ipods etc. and one WAN port just wasnt going to cut it.

i bought a trendnet gigabyte 8 port ethernet switch to try and solve my problem, but it added more, mainly because of vonage, i had to connect the modem directly to the vonage box then to the ethernet switch, by trial and error this is the ONLY configuration that would work and it was slowing many things down rather than speeding them up. since the ethernet switch and vonage didnt play nice i bought an airport extreme base station.

i bought a grade 'c' [bad aesthetic condition but i was expect a or b condition, but ow-well what can you do] refurbished unit. i had trouble installing it and thought the WAN port on it was broken on the AEBS, but it was just my own idiocy, i was about to return it then a thought popped into my head, i never tried reseting the modem, so a few hours was waisted because i didnt try the simplest of things, so i did that and presto! everything worked. the problem was the modem not sharing its IP address.

i set it up so that the 5GHz and 2.4GHz frequencies had different labels. 5GHz is about 5MB/s faster than 2.4GHz, glad it had both for the variety of wireless devices. it TRIPLED my upload speed over both frequencies and over wired connection. upload was 1.3-ish, now its around 4.1Mb/s. the wired connection is noticeably faster for internet [which has always been a problem with my win7 tower]. vonage works well in the configuration that i WANT instead of the configuration that was extremely problematic.

havent had any signal dropping issues, i have 5 bars everywhere in the house, and i have an airport express if i ever had to extend the network.

printing works for my macbook [hassle free since i learned to do it with my express], but not for windows [yet] havent played around with it but i have heard its a hassle, but the windows computer is about 6 inches away from the AEBS so i can unplug the printer and swap it easily if i have to. for how close they are to each other, its almost not worth the time to set up the printer for both simultaneously.

i tried using a flash drive that is formatted for HSF+ and the AEBS did detect it, but it wasnt available, ill look into that in the future. never really need a flash drive [thankful i dont i misplace everything] or an external because i just put a 1TB HDD in my tower and i can just drag and drop or stream things wirelessly.

when a file sharing network between OSX and win7 DOES work i can stream 1080p over wireless just fine, but i still havent worked out all the bugs with that, so sometimes it will work, most of the time it wont. thats just a case between mac and windows and i have had the same problem for years so its not the AEBS's fault on this one, windows just needs to learn to play nice with macs.

CONCLUSION: so after i reset my modem this worked like a charm, cant blame it for my own ignorance. its even better than i thought it would be and completely hassle free. dual band wireless works just how it should, no range problems [i put it up a bit high just in case] through 3 walls and 25 feet, wasnt expecting the extreme boost with uploads, but they call it 'extreme' for a reason. i will update this in the future if i get the printer working, flash drives working, or if this is some how the missing link between mac and windows that finally makes them work together. so far so good and its working better and faster than any other network configuration i have ever used. also want to note that every ethernet cable i use is cat6 because they are gigabyte capable, for home use i noticed a slight increase in speed with them, but for server and business use i have read that they are magnificent and are really cheap to buy on amazon.

sorry if any of this doesnt make sense, i am dyslexic and cant see my mistakes as well as other people, i try my best
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on June 11, 2011
Before I purchased the Airport Extreme, I tried two other well known name brand dual band routers. Because I had on PC with legacy equipment in my house, those routers did not support the protocols it would support, although they worked fine with my newer equipment. This was a problem though, because that one old piece of technology acts as my printer hub and file storage. I also had a harder time setting those other two routers up. Their web page interface wasn't bad, but definitely wasn't real easy and didn't explain a lot of things.

So I eventually got frustrated with them and tried ordering the AirPort Extreme, dual band router. Once I received it, I literally had it up and running, with dual networks that supported all my PC equipment, in just over 10 minutes! I cannot overstate how much better this was. Previous routers took about half an hour; more if you consider the time I spent trying to get my older machine on the lower speed network.

Now, I have my older equipment on their own a/b/g network and my new on the 802.11n network. If you're not aware of this fact, be warned: if you set up an 802.11n network and have equipment that only supports a, b, or g, on that network, they will work, but your other devices will also be slowed down to the old equipment's level. For example, my old computer only supported wireless a or g. So while it was on the 802.11n network, ALL my devices were operating at only 802.11g speeds. Now my new equipment is much faster on the n network and my print server and files are all happy on their own g network. It was simply amazing how easy and quick all of this was to set up. I highly recommend the Airport Extreme dual band router. It is a bit more expensive than some other 802.11n dual band routers you can find, but it's worth it. Don't forget that while the router is usually sold at around $149 brand new, you can often find one in excellent condition, factory refurbished with warranty for around $99 which is what those other cheaper 802.11n dual band routers will cost you.

In the end, Apple does it again. They make a product that's easy to set up and manage and that just works for you without all the fuss.
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on January 16, 2011
After working hard in the past to find good products at lower prices, I have come to the conclusion that cheaper is not always better. On a few occasions I have been burned by saving a few bucks, only to loose more $$ by wasting time trying to get those products to work well.
So in this instance I decided to spend the additional money on an Apple product on the assumption that it would work without hassles and not prove to be a sinkhole of my time. Fortunately, I was right.
SET UP:
I set this thing up about 10 mins and it has worked flawlessly over the past 2 weeks. I opened the box, followed the directions and set it up with my wife's MacBook Pro. Then added the new network to my HP laptops x 2, the Panasonic TV, HP printer and 2 iphones. All have continued to work work without a hitch.
I bought this router to replace a Linksys wireless G router circa 2001. It took me hours to set that one up, and it had to be rebooted several times in the first year, not sure why. It was very difficult to add the HP wireless printer when we bought it a few years later. Spent over 6 hours easily on that mess with people on the phone in India trying to get it all to work. It finally did.
In the interim we had At&t uVerse with their provided router, that worked very well. Then switched back to Comcast, and wanted a newer faster N type router to work with the wireless features of the newer Panasonic TV (that I love, a 42 inch G series, had the S but returned it an upgraded to the G, well worth it). So I hunted around and read reviews, especially focussing on the ease of set up. I figured if it took hours to set up, I could be working that time and easily earn way more money than any router cost--so I just decided to get the this one. While at a big box store I noted the price was significantly higher than here at Amazon. Did an internet check and found the best price was here at Amazon, no big surprise. So I ordered it.
RANGE:
The only bad things I saw in reviews were about the router's range. I have it set up about chest high in the living room which is in the center of an approx 3,000 sq foot house. It easily serves the entire house, basement and 2d floor. In fact, when I am in the driveway with the iPhone checking email I get two bars with the router. Its a brick house, so I think the range is fine. Not sure why others have had difficulties, maybe poor placement or just a much bigger house.
FYI:
I choose to set up the device with an Apple product. Had read in another review about someone having difficulties when using a windows based laptop during setup. So to avoid the risk of that, I just used our MacBook. Can't vouch for ease of setup with a different system.
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