With Apple abandoning AirPort, here are the best alternative Wi-Fi routers for Mac users

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  • Reply 21 of 127
    Not sure what all the hand-wringing is about. This make sense (like the display decision only probably more so). There are plenty of other products that are likely cheaper and better. As for the "ugly" comments...come on...I just have stuff like this behind or under something anyway. I'm not interested in my router as a piece of artwork or furniture.

    I view this as a good sign that Apple is evaluating and focusing more. They've (almost) gotten to the point of product diversity and complexity they were at when Steve Jobs returned to the company and radically streamlined the product family. That was clearly a necessity then and I don't anticipate such a move today. But some more focus is in order.

    In terms of whether Apple customers want these products, it seems obvious the majority don't. I haven't used a Air Port for at least 5 years (just used the combo DSL modem, router and WIFI access point I got from CenturyLink) and have been quite content.
    edited November 2016 williamlondon
  • Reply 22 of 127
    Worth noting that until recently, Apple more or less had to make routers simply because nobody else was making good ones. You couldn't buy a Mac and have wireless and get a good end-to-end experience otherwise. In other words, Apple wasn't making Airports to make money, they were making Airports to sell Macs.

    That's not the case anymore. Eero and Luma are great alternatives. Apple can pick a partner, put the devices in Apple stores, and put those engineers to work on more important projects.

    It would be out of character for Apple to do another Beats-style acquisition, but they would probably save money and resources by simply buying someone like Eero and letting them continue to do their jobs in a hands-off manner than have an ongoing Airport team.

    I'm only disappointed in that it now looks certain that we'll never see local Time Machine-style backups for iOS devices. It was a nice dream…
    edited November 2016 williamlondondesignrlostkiwibrian green
  • Reply 23 of 127
    tzterri said:
    So what do we use to stream music to speakers now and what do we use for Time Machine backups?
    We will have to spend more money to get separate hardware to do what we've been doing with the Airport all these years.
    baconstangbrian green
  • Reply 24 of 127
    Forgot to put the Linksys WRT1900ACS on that list. AI should check that one out.
  • Reply 25 of 127
    TimT2016TimT2016 Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Anybody with an iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV, or Mac that has had continual network problems despite switching between numerous routers, all I have to do is set up an Airport for them and the problems are gone. This is really a dumb decision, they are shooting themselves in the foot by doing this.
    baconstanghucom2000brian greendysamoria
  • Reply 26 of 127
    larryjw said:
    Okay. Time for the Apple executives to be replaced. I don't know if any should be kept on in executive or non-executive positions, or even with the company, but collectively these folks don't have a clue. This replacement needs to be done fast. Apple as no more than 5 years left as a viable company.

    Steve Jobs was adamant that one does not worry about stock prices and profit. Both come when one produces innovative products and sells them for what they are worth (maybe what the "market can bare"). 

    For Apple to abandon all products except their most profitable ones is guaranteed to kill the company. Companies grow based on the synergies from all their product lines. 

    Bottom line. The current crop of Apple executives are proving themselves to wholly incompetent. 

    I think you're overreacting. Nothing they've done in killing products (i.e., displays and AirPort) is "guaranteed to kill the company." That's simply a silly statement. As is the statement that the "current crop of Apple executives are proving themselves to wholly incompetent." I don't agree with all of their moves and I think have and are making mistakes. All companies and executives so. But to say they are "wholly incompetent" is a huge stretch.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 27 of 127
    danuff said:
    tzterri said:
    So what do we use to stream music to speakers now and what do we use for Time Machine backups?
    We will have to spend more money to get separate hardware to do what we've been doing with the Airport all these years.
    There are lots of "Airplay Receivers" on the market. Here's one:
    https://uedata.amazon.com/MUZO-Cobblestone-Wi-Fi-Audio-Receiver/dp/B00N9NZIKM
    designrDan Andersen
  • Reply 28 of 127
    tzterri said:
    So what do we use to stream music to speakers now and what do we use for Time Machine backups?
    My home theatre receiver supports AirPlay. I can stream right to it, even when it's in low power standby mode. For TM backups, I've been using a 3TB USB 3.0 WD MyBook plugged into a USB 3.0 port on my Synology DS1812+ for the last several years. I've never used my AirPort Extreme 5th gen for any of that stuff.
    designrrandominternetpersonDan Andersen
  • Reply 29 of 127
    Good gravy, those are the most heinous designs ever. I have my Express tucked away near the ceiling on a speaker, which prevents me from enjoying its savory design. However, one of those monstrosities would remain easily visible, but would also sear the image in my brain to be seen waking or sleeping.
    brian greenDan Andersen
  • Reply 30 of 127
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,397member
    6toecat said:
    You didn't mention the Peplink AP-One. http://www.peplink.com/products/enterprise-access-point/pepwave-ap-one/ Rock solid like the Apple router, unlike D-Link, and the other trash you mention.
    They have a new SOHO router coming out in a week or so. http://www.peplink.com/products/pepwave-surf-soho/  More features, good security.  This is a very good router.

    edited November 2016
  • Reply 31 of 127
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,752member
    "We believe in a wireless future."
    - Jony Ive's first sentence in the AirPods introduction video

    "... except for boring stuff like routers and Time Capsules."
    - possible update to Jony Ive's first sentence in the AirPods introduction video
    brian greenfreshmakerdysamoriapscooter63
  • Reply 32 of 127
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 2,771member
    sunman42 said:
    Note to self: Head to Apple Store (physically or online) and buy two AirPort Expresses. Based on past experience, that should do me for the next 16 - 24 years.
    The AP products are already outdated. Unless Apple plans one more grand update before they pull the plug, then the current crop will be mostly useless, even before they hit Apple's "Legacy" unsupported status.
  • Reply 33 of 127
    ricky_williams1ricky_williams1 Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    The eero system sounds interesting except unless you're from the US it's no dice or insanely priced. I looked at it once and in Canada where I am it's almost $1000 for a 3 router setup I think it was. All the others are ugly but my main problem isn't even so much looks as these companies accountability for security. If Apple didn't patch vulnerabilities it would be all over the media. If TP-Link doesn't push firmware for years no one knows or cares. I am waiting to hear what the real writing is on the wall. The D-Link that supports DD-WRT would probably be my choice though because of DD-WRT. Although it looks like it just needs rotors and it would take off.
  • Reply 34 of 127
    The idea of this article is great and just what I was looking for.  I was hoping for an update to the AE as mine is at least 6 years old and I would to take advantage of the latest WiFi tech (not that I have ever had a problem with my current AE).   

    But this article is missing a few things to the point that it is pretty useless.  It needs to answer the following questions in order to raise it from just a click-bait article to something that is actually useful.
    1) Which of these routers are actually compatible with time machine.
    2) Which WiFi protocols do they support. (This was only mentioned in one of the reviews and only in passing).
    3) What about performance testing ?  I want to know which ones actually meet the marketing spiel in the real world.
    4) Do they get frequent updates to the firmware ?  And how easy are the updates to apply ?

    I have probably left out a few questions but without these answers then this article is completely useless to me.

    randominternetpersonbrian greenration alDan Andersenjvmbdysamoria
  • Reply 35 of 127
    MOBile2DMOBile2D Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    I never jumped into the Sonos ecosystem because I've been using Airplay for years, and I rely on Airport Expresses (wired to amplified speakers) to deliver music in multiple rooms. My home music setup is a hi-fi system (with great sound quality) in my living room combined with lots of AE + OK-speakers everywhere else (for convenience, kids, etc)

    I know there seems to be alternatives to the Airport Express (honestly never took the time to look at any of them). 

    The question is : is there an alternative to the Airport Express that will do the exact same thing? 
    - Easy setup (on the "receiver")
    - Nothing to do for everyone else (aka friends not having to install a special app / perform any custom setup on their devices)
    - Automatically recognized as an Airplay option within iTunes / iOS devices
    - Output a not-too-bad audio signal

    edited November 2016
  • Reply 36 of 127
    On a side note, X years later Apple Inc announce they will stop making any Mac desktop and laptop product. 
    brian green
  • Reply 37 of 127
    viclauyyc said:
    On a side note, X years later Apple Inc announce they will stop making any Mac desktop and laptop product. 
    Yes. Someday that probably will happen. The question is what is X? I'm guessing it is not less that 10, perhaps 15. At 20 I'm not placing bets.

  • Reply 38 of 127
    I love the fact that Apple routers are visually appealing, simple to configure, and are extremely reliable and stable. I utilize my AirPort Extreme for Time Machine backups and my AirPort Express for outdoor speakers powered by a dedicated amplifier - I'd hate to lose either feature. Even though they live in a central wiring closet and are rarely seen, I still don't want a router that looks like a giant arachnid from the toy section of a dollar store.

    I hate the fact that they do not have data counters or throttling capabilities - both features are handy for those without unlimited accounts and where uploading at full speed causes downloads to all but stop.

    Because my requirements exceed the capabilities of Apple routers, I also have a Cisco RV042G small business router and a Linksys wireless router. The former allows for multiples VLANs, usage monitoring, and throttling while the latter provides reduced download speeds to guests to limit the damage they can do to my bill.
  • Reply 39 of 127
    Has anyone thought about what a Apple TV/tvOS device might look like if it had its own integrated wireless router?

    Perhaps especially when you consider the potential of HomeKit?
    williamlondonentropysration al
  • Reply 40 of 127
    1) Which of these routers are actually compatible with time machine.

    None of them, reliably. If you want good Time Machine support, get a NAS or make a home server. That's an entirely different kettle of fish.

    2) Which WiFi protocols do they support. (This was only mentioned in one of the reviews and only in passing).

    This was a selection criteria. 802.11ac, n, b, a

    3) What about performance testing ?  I want to know which ones actually meet the marketing spiel in the real world.

    This varies SO MUCH on individual locations. I have my home and a few other locations to run tests, and they'll be different than your location. My suggestion here is find someplace (like an Apple store, or Apple.com) with a generous return policy and make sure that they work in your location. 

    4) Do they get frequent updates to the firmware ?  And how easy are the updates to apply ?

    This was also one of my selection criteria. All of them get frequent updates, and with the exception of the eero that auto-applies, can be applied through the web-based interface reliably.
    edited November 2016 repressthisdysamoria
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