We all have WiFi routers in our homes and the industry is at the point now that a decent router can be had for next to nothing.1
The problem: none of those cheap routers will be something that you are happy with. They will all cause you to have days where you can claim: “I was fixing my wireless, again”. I’ve been there, I hate that place.
In my opinion you are wasting your money if you buy anything other than the Apple Airport Extreme/Time Capsule.
For a few reasons:
- Apple’s routers are a device that you aren’t going to have to constantly tinker with to get working. You need only set them up once and you are done.
- AirPorts have great range, but if you need more, Apple makes it easy to extend the network. Hell, you can even add in an AirPort Express, or three, if you need to extend quickly and cheaply.
- Apple makes the process of setting up super fast 5Ghz networks simple.
- AirPorts make setting up a guest network dead simple.
- You can administer AirPorts from your iPhone.
- Wireless printer sharing is easy.
- Quite literally, grandparents can set them up.
- Hard drive sharing is easy.
- If you get the Time Capsule, backing up is seamless, wireless, and (you guessed it) easy.
I’ve only ever had three Apple routers: an Airport Extreme, Airport Express, and Time Capsule.
I bought the extreme when they first came out and the Express to extend it. Both were replaced by the Time Capsule, but only because I wanted the new features of adding in a guest network and 5Ghz speed. If it weren’t for those reasons, I still would likely not need a new router beyond that first AirPort Extreme.
Compare that to all the Netgear, Linksys, D-link routers I owned before (top of my head count: 8) and why Apple just outshines each of those in every facet. I have only had three Apple routers, but really I only bought more because I wanted new features — not because I was tired of trying to mess with my current router. Pre-Apple routers I would buy new routers because I was convinced I had a dud.
I have installed DD-WRT on routers. I know, and can vouch for, just how fast non-Apple routers can be. The problem: they require a lot of work, and more than that, a lot of maintenance. I had one router that needed to be reset every time ~10GBs of data passed through it — no really.
I know a lot of people who constantly have trouble with their ’wireless internet’ and after I convince them to get the Apple router I don’t hear another peep from them.
I know these routers aren’t for everyone, but they are for most everyone.
Go get yours, set it up, and then forget about your network for a couple of years.
If you don’t care about speed, they can be had for less than $15 on Amazon. ↩