How to choose the best Wi-Fi replacement for your Apple AirPort routers

“I remember a call from Apple PR in October 2000,” Glenn Fleishman writes for Macworld. “They wanted me to test their wireless AirPort equipment, and would loan me a spaceship-shaped base station and the associated plug-in card required for my Mac. I was dubious. I’d tested and been disappointed by previous “wireless” (infrared) technologies, and hadn’t heard great things about an earlier, slower version of what was being called Wi-Fi.”

“Nevertheless, I told Apple I’d take a look. I was blown away by the consistency and performance,” Fleishman writes. “And thus began a 16-year-so-far love affair with Wi-Fi and associated technologies, and which led to a blog I wrote for a decade about Wi-Fi.”

“Now, according to reports that Apple never confirmed, Apple’s Wi-Fi road may be at an end. While it will still include the latest and greatest Wi-Fi technology in the radio systems embedded in its computers, mobile devices, and the Apple TV, it will apparently no longer release new versions of its base stations,” Fleishman writes. “If you’re an all- or mostly Apple household and it’s already full of Apple base stations, you may be concerned about pivoting away and losing features you rely on, or creating a mixed network of Apple and non-Apple routers. This article will help provide guidance on what features Apple allocated exclusively to its base stations, and what kind of options you have to supplement or replace an AirPort-centric home network.”

Tons more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: Eero or Orbi.


    1. It was only a rumour, Apple are still selling them. After reading this article, I caught a case of the sharps and ran to to order their Airport Extreme (802.11ac), US $199 with free two-day shipping. Ease of use and set-up, and design elegance, are still important to me. All these years later, they still deserve my dollars, and my trust, more than any of the others.

  1. I went with the Google Wifi 3pack ($300) and have been using them for a month now. Very happy and I had previously used a mix of Apple AirPort Extreme 802.11 AC and some older airport routers to make my own homegrown “mesh” network. (My main reason for upgrading was that my older routers didn’t do 802.11AC.). Google wifi blankets my 2000 sq ft two story in excellent strong coverage (even outside and in garage) and the handoff between hotspots is seemless for voice and data. (Previously I’d experienced call drops on wifi calling with my Airport routers when moving around house).

    I have Google fiber in my home so I also sort of figured I’d go with Google wifi mesh network vs others. The mobile app works great and has more features than my Airport Utility did. I still use my AirPort Extreme for backups and no issues on Google wifi network.

  2. Apple has plenty of cash. Why they don’t think continuing to make good peripherals like AirPorts and Thunderbolt Displays is a good idea is beyond me. Even if they have to make them at a loss. Apple customers like to buy Apple products. Letting them out the door, forcing them to go elsewhere for necessary peripheral products could have the reverse of the halo-effect that iPods had for Apple back in the early 2000’s. If you have to leave the comfortable Apple nest to get WiFi and find great alternatives out there, it’s logical to question “What other great non-Apple products am I missing?”

    Is this true for the tech-savvy? Of course not. The tech-savvy are always aware of what else is out there, even if they then buy Apple. But Apple has made its fortune by selling to the NON-tech-savvy, those who want something that “just works”. Even being as tech-savvy as I am, I’ve had no desire to investigate Eero or Orbi, because I haven’t had to: my AirPort gear “just works”, and works great. Now when my AirPort gear gives up the ghost, I don’t have a choice — I HAVE to go non-Apple. And with as weak as the rest of Apple’s line-up is these days, now is NOT the time for Apple to give people reasons (or the need) to go elsewhere.

  3. Still love my Time Capsule/Airport Express home-based system, it’s rock-solid reliable and fast. Time Machine works great with it, and maintenance is about as easy as it gets.

    I’ll keep this system as long as everything continues to run okay, which I hope will be another several years…

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