Airport Extreme Base Station Initial Impression: Home Run!


Updated 08/03/2011: The Airport Extreme Base Station has a major flaw for anyone planning to use a PPTP VPN connection to access a computer behind the router. I’ve added a new post that details my current view of the AEBS.

I finally had enough of dealing with my router problems and it was time to upgrade to 802.11n, so I purchased the AirPort Extreme this week. It came today and I just hooked it up. So far, I’m very impressed.

It was very easy to configure, compared to the slower, Web based configuration schemes I’m accustomed to. Frankly, I think I prefer having the stand-alone application to configure the router – this makes it more difficult for a random visitor to alter my settings.

Configuration didn’t take very long – everything is working the way it was with the Linksys, only better. Signal coverage is vastly improved. It covers the entire house, which allowed me to remove a Linksys AP I had in place at the opposite end of the home.

Even browsing the Web seems faster. I wasn’t expecting it but I guess there was some overhead on the Linksys/DD-WRT system that slightly reduced performance.

Ultimately, I’ve replaced three network devices with one. I’ve removed the old Linksys wireless router and a Linksys Access Point. In addition, I was also able to take a gigabit switch out of line that was previously connected to the old router since the AirPort Extreme includes gigabit Ethernet ports.

The only downside I’ve since learned is that I may not be able to reliably use a USB drive connected to the Express for Time Machine backups. It will work, at least initially. However, it seems that Apple does not support using Time Machine this way and I’ve encountered a number of blog and forum posts indicating that users have experienced backup failures and the corruption of backup images. It’s not an advertised feature so it’s not really a flaw in the Extreme, but it was something I had hoped to put to use.

Updated 06/20/2012: We had a power surge recently that damaged an air conditioner along with some other equipment in the house. The Airport Extreme Base Station appears to have been a casualty. The wifi and the WAN port are working but the switch ports seem to be dead. I might try to get it working since it’s been sitting unplugged for a while but if it doesn’t work I don’t think I’ll purchase another. It just costs too much to risk having another get blown out. I’d rather have to replace my $45 ASUS router than another Airport.

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