2013 AirPort Extreme again clearly demonstrates the Apple advantage

“One problem with routers in general is that something that should be easy to configure ends up being more complex than it’s worth. That’s a key reason why routers may be among the products most often returned to consumer electronics stores,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “Customers just give up, or stick with the lousy router they get from their ISP. Now, with the Cisco Connect app, a Linksys isn’t that hard to set up, but the interface is overloaded with far too many steps, and the sort of experience that reminds me of a poor copy of Windows.”

“So when I had a chance to test the new 802.11ac savvy version of Apple’s AirPort Extreme, I jumped at the opportunity. Flat is out, tall is on. The upgraded model appears completely redone as a 6.6-inch tall rectangular tube, with curved edges,” Steinberg writes. “Connection features are identical to the previous version, consisting of a single Gigabit Ethernet WAN (or Internet) port, plus three Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports (for your local gear). There’s also a USB 2.0 port for a printer or network hard drive.”

Apple's redesigned AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule base stations feature 802.11ac Wi-Fi for up to three times faster performance
Apple’s redesigned AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule base stations feature 802.11ac Wi-Fi for up to three times faster performance

Advertisement: Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11ac Wi-Fi (ME918LL/A) only $194.

Steinberg writes, “The setup process was amazingly quick… Within seconds, Apple’s minimalist AirPort Utility app recognized the new router, and gave me the easiest setup screen of all. I merely had to enter network names for the router and the Wi-Fi network, along with passwords for each (defaults are already there for both). I clicked Next, waited a minute or two, and I was connected. End of setup! A similar routine is offered in the Windows version of AirPort Utility, and for iOS gear, such as your iPhone or iPad. No, folks, there is no Android version… If you are in need of a new router, consider the initial cost against the ease of setup.”

Much more, including Gene’s specific router issues, in the full article here.

Related articles:
PC Mag reviews Apple’s new 802.11ac AirPort Extreme Base Station: As gorgeous as a router can get; ‘just works’ out of the box – June 28, 2013
Pure Speed: Apple’s new 802.11ac AirPort Extreme benchmarks – June 28, 2013
802.11ac wireless networking: What it is and why you want it – June 17, 2013
Teardown: Apple’s new AirPort Extreme is extremely easy to disassemble – June 12, 2013


    1. That most people don’t know how much better the Apple product is because the “sales rep” said they are all the same or that model (with a sales incentive to the rep) is better and their store offers set up service for just $100.
      Similar reason Windows sold in retail days back, people didn’t know better and figure the person who works there, who answers no to are you on commission, knows more than them.

      1. Or the sales person tells them that ‘…no, those only work with Apple computers…not to mention that “Apple Tax’.” Pffft.

        Still rocking a three-year-old Airport Extreme as well as a four-year-old Time Capsule. Both have been flawless but when the days comes, the new Apple skyscraper will be the replacement(s).

    1. Both would need to be configured.
      Verizon FIOS to not broadcast WiFi and hard wire connection to Apple Extreme, it should work fine. If both broadcast WiFi, it seems to be a problem for FIOS. At least from my one friends experience with my help.

      1. I can’t say for the FIOS modem, but I can say that the Adaptec high speed modem for Verizon works nicely with my Extreme. I did have to go into the Adaptec settings ( generally the IP address given in your settings at System Preferences) and disable Wireless Connectivity in my Adaptec Settings. I needed to call Verizon and get a password to enable this function, but once I had done so, my signal is stronger for all WiFi in my home, with no down time since. The Airport Extreme works much better than my previous Extreme for streaming to ATV, or any of my iPhones or iPads, and works better on my HP wireless printer as well with no drops.

      2. I just switched to FIOS and wanted to keep my Airport Extreme (previous generation) as base for my wifi network. Disabling wifi on the FIOS router was simple, but the Express kept flashing yellow (though seemed to be working) because of the “double NAT error). Switching the Express to bridge mode eliminated the error and all seems to be working properly so far.

    2. The previous router (s), which I have owned work fine with FIOS. Even if you want both to stay WiFi. With a bit of configuration, you can use it as the main router too.

    3. Why do you need Verizon’s router? I’ve have FiOS and a 4th gen Time Capsule and the Verizon installer just plugged my TC directly into the FiOS wall outlet–said I didn’t need their router. Worked immediately (TC was already configured) and is fast & stable for 18 months at this point.

    4. I’d set up the FIOS in bridge mode and let the Extreme handle the DHCP. One reason is, I’ve found that the Apple router can handle 100 or more simultaneous connections without breaking a sweat, but this is (or was) definitely not true with my previous Linksys or some other name brand router (can’t remember the brand). They would slow to a crawl.

      1. That’s exactly correct…FiOS router in bridge mode – avoids the double NAT issue and the Airport is far superior in every way. The VZ router is configurable or you can call VZ and have them do it for you.

        1. I would prefer this option, too — but worried about fiddling too much with the Verizon hardware and locking myself out. Do you recall what tab or directory in the Verizon browser-based router setup screen you found the bridge-mode option? Thanks!

  1. To be able to use this Airport, I would have to “upgrade” to craptastic Lion OS and spend thousands of dollars upgrading my Quicken, Adobe, Microsoft, & Audio editing software. Sorry guys. Just not worth it.

    1. I’m not sure I understand why you are saying this? Are you saying that in order to take advantage of the AC you’d need to upgrade? Then I agree… If there is another reason, I don’t 😉

      1. Apple seems to have made a break with their airport setup utilities. I have an old airport express and the new setup apps don’t support it. Conversely the new setup apps may not run on snow leopard? Hmmmm.

    2. I bought two of these one in garage where service entry is and one for my shop about 70 feet away. They replace the previous two airport extremes I had. I’m running Tiger and Snow Leopard for many of the same reason you cite. I configured it with Airport Utility on my Gen 1 iPad. You don’t have to up grade your computers. Obviously your airport card is limiting speed factor in this scenario. I did because I wanted faster throughput to my shop. Everything else is wired.

  2. When Apple ships the 801.11ac version of its Airport Express, I’m buying both the Extreme and a couple Expresses. I need the extended range, and I want to set up the Expresses as bridges. That way I have 802.11ac across the entire premises.

    I hope the 802.11ac Express shows up soon. Until then I’ll just suffer through with 802.11n.

  3. Just set mine up on the weekend. It recognized my previous Airport Extreme and asked if I wanted to migrate from the old to the new. I said yes and within a few minutes the new AE was all set up, including my Timed Access for the kids and everything else. Awesome. Now I’m waiting for my new MacBook Air with AC to show up and we’ll see how it performs.

  4. If these Apple devices area aim at consumer people, why don’t they come with a telephone socket 6P4C option to be wired directly to internet? Why just Ethernet always in every new model? In such a way, I could avoid using my ISP router.

    1. That would work for you, but it would also need coax cable, fiber optic, and a telephone port to try to cover a majority of ISP’s. And that’s just the hardware – there tends to be a lot of different firmware required for each ISP connection too. It would also add a lot of headaches to Apple customer support if they had to be responsible to connecting directly to many different ISPs.

      I’d like to just have one router too, but it just doesn’t seem feasible unless ISP’s all start following the same connection standard. And that seems unlikely to happen any time soon, given how well fiber optics, cable, and DSL meet meet different price and speed requirements.

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