The best alternatives to Apple's discontinued AirPort routers

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 99
    irelandireland Posts: 17,749member
    Too bad EERO aren’t available this side of the pond yet.
  • Reply 42 of 99
    I second the post about suitable replacements for Airport Express - for those of us that stream music to different stereos throughout the house. As nice as it is, the HomePod can't compare to the vintage Speakerlab towers I have in my garage. If you don't believe me, just ask the neighbors :)
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 43 of 99
    lovemnlovemn Posts: 52member
    eero is easy to set up and works extremely well. 
  • Reply 44 of 99
    irelandireland Posts: 17,749member
    The wire cutter has an excellent investigative tech article on routers and mesh routers.  
  • Reply 45 of 99
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,158member
    tdknox said:
    thrang said:
    Velops lets you create your mesh with a wired backbone like Apple's routers...other may also, but I find this important.
    Eero does also.
    Velop, Eero and Amplifi all let you do ethernet backhaul. Orbi might, too, but I'm not sure.

    I have an Amplifi and have been very happy with it. Fortunately for consumers, there are many solid alternatives to the old Airport routers, many with a significantly richer feature set. Google has a history of abandoning its hardware projects, so the Google Wifi makes me nervous. I'd rather stick with other options that I'm more sure will continue to be around.

    Also, a USB port is not a guarantee of USB functionality. Before you assume you can plug a printer or USB hard drive in, check the specs. It they dont' specifically say it's supported, it may well not be. 
    edited April 2018 rare comment
  • Reply 46 of 99
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,396member
    I'm using a $150-ish Netgear router that works flawlessly with my slowest grade Comcast (directly, no additional gear needed) and around 5 Macs, Xbox, Roku, Wii (the original one), 2 Wintendos and a total of around 8 iPod Touches, iPads, iPhones, Android phones and my Android car stereo when I'm parked in the driveway (to download updates and apps when I don't want to use my cell modem). It covers my 2200 sq foot house, InLaw unit (my music studio) and back to the hot tub in the back yard. I'm unclear on what the AirPort routers brought to the table that a generic WiFi router doesn't.... maybe other than Time Machine-over-WiFi support. I just have a few backup drives for various machines I care about, and manually plug them in once a week or so. "Get what you paid for" is mostly BS, as far as I can tell... at least if you don't buy the cheapest of the cheap, and buy a well established brand.
    My old Linksys routers constantly required manual reboots. My Airports never did. 
    redgeminiparare comment
  • Reply 47 of 99
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,028member
    Synology RT-2600ac

    A really nice touch is VPN Plus allows RT2600ac to serve as a powerful VPN server, which can give you even more secure access.
    How does this work? Can I connect it to a VPN service which I pay for so that I don't have to run the VPN on connected devices, thereby freeing up the number of VPN connections I'm making with the service?
  • Reply 48 of 99
    dws-2dws-2 Posts: 262member
    MplsP said:
    tdknox said:
    thrang said:
    Velops lets you create your mesh with a wired backbone like Apple's routers...other may also, but I find this important.
    Eero does also.
    Velop, Eero and Amplifi all let you do ethernet backhaul. Orbi might, too, but I'm not sure.

    I have an Amplifi and have been very happy with it. Fortunately for consumers, there are many solid alternatives to the old Airport routers, many with a significantly richer feature set. Google has a history of abandoning its hardware projects, so the Google Wifi makes me nervous. I'd rather stick with other options that I'm more sure will continue to be around.

    Also, a USB port is not a guarantee of USB functionality. Before you assume you can plug a printer or USB hard drive in, check the specs. It they dont' specifically say it's supported, it may well not be. 

    Plume also supports ethernet backhaul for any pod.
  • Reply 49 of 99
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,192administrator
    Soli said:
    Synology RT-2600ac

    A really nice touch is VPN Plus allows RT2600ac to serve as a powerful VPN server, which can give you even more secure access.
    How does this work? Can I connect it to a VPN service which I pay for so that I don't have to run the VPN on connected devices, thereby freeing up the number of VPN connections I'm making with the service?
    Other way around. It allows you to "dial in" to your own network while on the road, and use all services and whatnot.

  • Reply 50 of 99
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,372member
    The pictures above remind me that there are only two schools of design in the non-Apple computer industry:

    1. "Make it look sorta kinda like something Apple would make ... but don't copy it exactly, like Samsung" or
    2. "Make it look like something that Darth Vader would like around the house."

    I'm one of those people who can easily set up nearly any router through a browser-based interface because I know what all the acronyms mean and what they do. I finally got tired of doing that for myself and others, and bought an Airport Express five years ago. I am loathe to replace it, because everything I have ever said about Apple is embodied in that device: it's gorgeous, It Just Works, set it and forget it, beautiful integration with the hardware, and a smarter alternative to the industry standards. Five years later, it continues to work flawlessly, so I'm going to keep it around at least as a guest network until security becomes an issue for the 802.11n standard.
    edited April 2018 irelandpscooter63rare comment
  • Reply 51 of 99
    technotechno Posts: 729member
    Had to look up NAS.  Maybe a future review possibility -- NAS options to connect to our new routers. Thanks for the review!
    Take a look at the Synology products. They offer NAS and routers that blend very well. The GUI is incredibly easy and scalable.
  • Reply 52 of 99
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,028member
    Soli said:
    Synology RT-2600ac

    A really nice touch is VPN Plus allows RT2600ac to serve as a powerful VPN server, which can give you even more secure access.
    How does this work? Can I connect it to a VPN service which I pay for so that I don't have to run the VPN on connected devices, thereby freeing up the number of VPN connections I'm making with the service?
    Other way around. It allows you to "dial in" to your own network while on the road, and use all services and whatnot.

    That's what I thought, but I still use a VPN on the road to protect me from whatever local hazards there are.

    PS: I wish there was an easy way to disallow all network access that isn't required before I can connect my VPN. For example, let the portal screen for a hotel or coffee shop's come up so I can agree to terms, get an outgoing IP address, and enable  my VPN before all of iCloud services that to run in the background.
  • Reply 53 of 99
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,028member
    Even though I dislike Apple deprecating access to SNMP in their AirPort products over the years, I do love that configuration backups seem to be "universal" XML files that will work with any AirPort product.

    Anecdote Warning: When I gifted my 4th gen Apple TV I didn't just ship it across the country. I removed into a family member's Mac, opened AirPort Utility, copied their AirPort Express config file (saved it in their 1Password app since I had already done all the other steps). I then installed it on my AirPort Extreme, connected the newly wiped Apple TV, set up all preferences and accounts (I have the data in my 1P app). When I was done I then loaded my AirPort configuration and plugged my 5th gen Apple TV. All that was needed after shipping was swapping the 3rd gen with the 4th and figuring out the new UI and Siri Remote.

    While probably a rarity, that's a major convenience. I wish there was a standardized router configuration that would allow you to jump from router model and brand at will, but I don't see that ever happening.

  • Reply 54 of 99
    dws-2 said:

    I love Plume! It's truly set it and forget it, and all my devices instantly connect everywhere in the house and outside, unlike with my previous Airport Extreme. Their app is also beautiful and very easy to use. It's by far my best experience with wireless.

    So how do you handle DHCP and routing with this device, or do you not have any wired devices? If you've got a single ethernet connection coming out of your ISP's bridge (and it isn't a router) and any wired devices, then you'd need a wired router sitting in-between it and your Plume since it has but a single ethernet jack.

    Other than that limitation, it looks like a pretty nice setup.
  • Reply 55 of 99
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 897member
    stuke said:
    What about Plume?
    Haven't used it yet. Everything on the list one staffer or another has very recent experience with, and we're at least reasonably happy with integration and features.

    For everybody else: https://www.plumewifi.com
    Plume is fucking fantastic, +++

    Ars Technica did a very detailed comparison, including heatmaps(!) to show coverage in a suburban home. Plume wiped the floor with Google and AmpliFi. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/12/review-comparing-google-wifi-to-other-mesh-networking-heavyweights/
    dws-2
  • Reply 56 of 99
    kruegdudekruegdude Posts: 340member
    Wow, you missed the best option of all, the AirPort Extreme.  It works now, it’ll work years from now. 
  • Reply 57 of 99
    cjcoopscjcoops Posts: 96member
    Soli said:
    Synology RT-2600ac

    A really nice touch is VPN Plus allows RT2600ac to serve as a powerful VPN server, which can give you even more secure access.
    How does this work? Can I connect it to a VPN service which I pay for so that I don't have to run the VPN on connected devices, thereby freeing up the number of VPN connections I'm making with the service?


    Many routers will advertise vpn server ability but what you seek is specifically a router that has VPN CLIENT capability - not so common!

    The Asus DOES allow this - I have this model (most Asus routers are also vpn client capable, at least the mid to high level ones), and it also receives frequent firmware updates and works very well. So, the Asus can indeed be setup to connect to a paid (or free) VPN Server of your choice using all the usual protocols (PPTP, OpenVpn etc etc) and so any device using that wifi connection will go through that VPN server.

    A quick look at Synology website seems to hint it also supports vpn client, but make sure first!
    The Synology also can create a NAS drive with external drives connected - so similair to a Synology NAS, but probably not quite so powerful - the Syno software is great (I have a separate Synology NAS drive)... seems odd this rather major advantage isn't even mentioned in this appleinsider article, but hey ho...

    syno router review here
    https://www.cnet.com/products/synology-rt2600ac/review/
    "the Good The RT2600 has long range, fast Wi-Fi speed and plenty of features. The routercan host more than one broadband connection, and also works as a robust network storage server when coupled with an external hard drive. It also includes state of the art firmware that delivers a stellar set of extra .."
    Soli
  • Reply 58 of 99
    majorslmajorsl Posts: 119unconfirmed, member
    jeff_cook said:
    dislikes:

    the trend seems to be cloud managed devices.  i.e.  They call home, and you interact with them through the vendor's server.  I the vendor server gets compromised, then they effective have access to your home's LAN. 

    I'd like to find a mesh network that isn't cloud managed and supports 802.11r (fast hand over to support roaming for applications like VoIP ) .

    Anyone know of something that meets both requirements?
    I recall a thread over in the smallnetbuilder.com forums where the new AiMesh with the Asus routers supports it.  I also don't think AiMesh requires cloud management.  I have one of the Asus routers and, while I'm not using AiMesh, I don't see anything in it's setup that requires a cloud account.
  • Reply 59 of 99
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,021member
    macxpress said:
    zroger73 said:
    According to the Wi-Fi map produced by my Roomba 890, my Apple AirPort Extreme covers my entire home. If my AAE were to die today, I'd probably replace it with a single Google Wi-Fi.
    Oh so you like people watching everything you do eh? 
    Except they don't. Neither the Google Wifi app nor any of your Google Wifi units do any tracking of the websites you visit or collect the content of any traffic on your network. 

  • Reply 60 of 99
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 760editor
    Would have loved some mention of printer sharing. I must be an edge case, but my non-networkable laser printer is hooked up to my AirPort via USB. Am I SOL when my AirPort dies?
    Synology does printer sharing. 

    The thing is, I would much rather tell you to use an AirPrint compatible printer, or at worst, use a USB to AirPrint bridge. Your macs and iOS devices will be able to print to them all. I've done the airprint USB to wifi bridge using raspberry pi, or lantronix devices that make it simple for you. 
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