Airport Extreme N - The New Hotness

by Matthew Bookspan Jul 10, 2007

Moving to California has caused me some interesting issues when setting up my wireless network. Previously, in Portland, we had no issues with our router and wireless network.

However, in our new home, we are competing with at least a dozen wireless networks as well as radio frequencies from the airport, which is relatively close to our home.

So, for the past few weeks, I have had to suffer with restarting my Airport Extreme G (snow white model) as often as three times an hour. As you can imagine, this was extremely annoying.

I contacted many folks where I work (as well as some very bright IT Managers) and was told to try different channels, ensure interference robustness was enabled, and more. However, none of these recommendations really solved the problem (other than keep the router going for at most three days straight).

This weekend, I had enough and went to the local Apple store. I purchased a new Airport Extreme N router to see if it would solve my problem. I made it clear to the Apple Genius I was working with that I might return the product if it did not meet my needs. The Genius was reasonably certain that the new router would work.

Well, I set up the new router last night. I kept the same wireless SSID to ensure that the laptops and Apple TV would immediately discover it. And thankfully, I had no issues there.

Unfortunately, I did have problems setting up my NAS and my Skype phone. I had to do some basic reconfiguration on each of those devices so that they would work with the new router (the router had given them new IP addresses—which I did expect).

Once that work was done, the network was up and running. So far, the network uptime has been 24 hours. That might seem minimal, but to me it is outstanding. I just hope that the uptime continues forever (excluding a potential power outage).

Now, if this router doesn’t work, I will be evaluating the Linksys 350N. The real value with the Linksys over the Apple router is that it is a gigabit router. And, my NAS is also gigabit. I am still surprised that for the price of the Extreme N router, the product does not support 10/1000 (AKA—gigabit).

Still, I like the idea of Apple products, as they tend to be pretty reliable (excluding the Extreme G router, which appears to be the external elements, not the router itself).

The other reason I went with the Apple is the AirDisk/USB Printer sharing capability. This is critical as I have a USB printer that I share to the three machines in my house. The Linksys 350N has USB, although it is only for disk sharing, not printer sharing.

I only wish that the new router would run on two independent WiFi channels—G for my MacBooks and N for the MacBook Pro and AppleTV. Unfortunately, the new router works at the lowest common denominator and runs at G for all of the devices.

So, did I make a mistake buying this new router? It appears to resolve my issues, although I want to hear your thoughts. Do folks have other recommendations? I can still return it, given Apple’s decent return policy. Speak to me….


  • Matthew,  I’m no expert on routers but I have had great success with the new Apple router that you have.  I setup my in-laws network and they have had 0 downtime since April.  I also have been using one for the past couple of months.  I pick up about 10 wifi networks from my neighbors and I have had no problem.  I can’t wait to use this router with time machine this winter.  I’m one of those backup freeks!

    tigerw had this to say on Jul 10, 2007 Posts: 5
  • Seems to me this “review” would have been much more useful to readers after the questions had been answered.

    As it is, it reads more like a forum posting.

    MarkSF had this to say on Jul 12, 2007 Posts: 14
  • Linux not user-friendly?  One word: Openmoko. 

    I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned by this site, but it certainly deserves to be considering the number of iPhone articles you’ve put out.  Openmoko has the same sort of touch screen interface like the iPhone (no buttons) but it has the benefit of being open source, which allows third parties to develop software for it, like say, a Skype app.  The only way for Apple to include such a function is to clear it with AT&T, which will probably happen sometime in the next 12 months I suppose, what with the T-Mobile announcement of WiFi enabled phones with free talking in hotspots.

    Chicken2nite had this to say on Jul 12, 2007 Posts: 79
  • oh snap.  wrong article

    Chicken2nite had this to say on Jul 12, 2007 Posts: 79
  • Used a second “B” router (Netgear)  into an Extreme-N LAN port. Created “B” wireless for my non-N laptop.

    duke had this to say on Jul 12, 2007 Posts: 1
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