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Review: Apple Airport Extreme


I needed to replace my wireless router after having dealt with two rather crappy Linksys routers. So instead of going to to the well again with a third one, I decided to pony up for an Apple Airport Extreme wireless router. In short, except for one minor detail this is the best router I’ve ever owned. More on that one detail later.

The setup was easy. In fact it was so easy, you don’t need a nerd like me to do it. It’s all wizard driven and the wizard (which is optional by the way as there is an advanced mode) even points out mistakes you’ve made. For example, I mistyped the user ID for my DSL account. The wizard pointed that out and allowed me to fix that quickly. It also told me that a firmware update was available as well and allowed me to update the router. I was also able to quickly able to set up external access to my security camera via the web, and my DNS-323 NAS box via FTP. I also set up Apple Remote access as well to my MacBook Pro. The total setup time was 10 minutes. Another plus, it is a simultaneous dual band router. That means you can take slower 802.11 b/g traffic and keep it separate from 802.11 n traffic ensuring that everybody goes fast on the Internet. Speaking of speed, this router is FAST. A trip to confirmed that it was way faster than either of the Linksys routers that the Airport Extreme replaced. Not only that, but with gigabit ethernet ports onboard, wired computers can transfer data quickly. Finally, it comes with a USB port that you can use for either a printer or external hard drive that you can share with the Macs or PC’s on the network.

Now, what’s the one minor detail that I didn’t like? It only has three gigabit ethernet ports. Most routers out there have four ports. This forced me to buy a 5 port gigabit switch so that I could get all of my devices online. A minor quibble. But one worth mentioning seeing as I had to shell out an extra $60 that I didn’t plan on spending.

Bottom line: If you want a wireless router that’s easy to set up and gives you options for printers, storage, as well as one that that keeps your wireless traffic operating at top speed, check out the Apple Airport Extreme. It’s pricey, but it’s worth the money.

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