Apple Airport Extreme
Easy setup; unobtrusive
Limited configuration options
Apple’s Airport Extreme has been on the market, largely unchanged, for some time so we wanted to see how it stacked up against other, newer devices.
Other than the inbound internet connection, there are just three Gigabit Ethernet ports on the device. There’s also a USB port for connecting either a printer or storage device. Wireless is covered off with 802.11a, b, g and n.
The AirPort Utility makes installation easy, and you can now do this with the mobile app version from your iOS device if you prefer. This method is secure throughout the entire process as the device can’t be accessed through a web browser like most other routers.
Unlike other dual-band routers on the market, the Airport Extreme doesn’t support the creation of two separate wireless LANs, which can be handy in an office where one radio can be used to offer wireless access to staff and another to guests with limitations on what they can see on your network.
While the Airport Extreme is easy to set up and manage, there are limiting configuration options to deal with. For example, if you use VoIP, there’s no way to configure QoS to ensure that VoIP network traffic is prioritised over less important traffic. Wireless range and performance was very good with connectivity maintained without any data loss at over 20m. It was only when we moved behind a brick wall that the connection faltered. Otherwise, the connection was fast and trouble-free.
Although it performs well, the Apple AirPort Extreme might be too limited for power users. Although the Airport Utility makes setup and management easy, it delivers very limited options for tweaking the configuration.