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  1. #1
    Airport Extreme vs. D-Link / Linksys

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    Airport Extreme vs. D-Link / Linksys
    Hi, soon to be first time mac owner here, MacBook Pro... sorry if this is a dumb question.

    Am I better off with the Airport Extreme than better rated (and cheaper) routers such as the D-Link Xtreme or Linksys Wireless N? According to sales, sometimes Linksys and Apple don't get along. The salesperson also argued that it only made sense to get an Apple product for compatibility reasons.

    thx, glenn

  2. #2
    Airport Extreme vs. D-Link / Linksys
    cwa107's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsusser View Post
    Hi, soon to be first time mac owner here, MacBook Pro... sorry if this is a dumb question.

    Am I better off with the Airport Extreme than better rated (and cheaper) routers such as the D-Link Xtreme or Linksys Wireless N? According to sales, sometimes Linksys and Apple don't get along. The salesperson also argued that it only made sense to get an Apple product for compatibility reasons.

    thx, glenn
    The AirPort Extreme is a fine, albeit pricey wireless router. The reviews have been mostly positive. D-Link and Linksys routers are also very good products. It all comes down to personal preference. Apple products tend to be very easy to use and setup. D-Link supports Macs, but Linksys does not. Any of these units should work fine if they are setup properly and located well (in a central location in your home and as high up as you can get it). My personal preferences lean toward Linksys products, but then, I have no experience with Apple and only limited experience with D-Link. In most cases, wireless routers use very similar (and sometimes the same) chipsets - usually not made by the manufacturer of the device. However, the user interface (firmware) is usually model-specific and the quality of the firmware can have a big impact on the reliability and ease of configuration.

    If you don't mind spending the extra cash for the Apple unit, I'd say go for it. But if the price tag is a big consideration, then there's no reason not to buy a 3rd-party product. Stick to the ones that get the best reviews. What a lot of people lose sight of is that 802.11x products are made to standards and are designed to be inter-operable, regardless of the brand. Although some models have special non-standard features (like "Speedboost" and "Rangebooster") that only work with matched wireless adapters.
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

  3. #3
    Airport Extreme vs. D-Link / Linksys
    Kash's Avatar
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    While the Airport Extreme seems like a great product, I find it far too overpriced if you don't plan on using every feature it offers.

    I've tried my Macbook on practically every type of router and they have all worked perfectly. I have a Linksys WRT54GL at home and my Macbook has worked flawlessly with it since day one. I setup a spare Dlink router I had at one of my dad's business locations and the Macbook has worked great there as well. I'm not sure what sort of routers they use at my university, but again, no problems there.

    However, I've heard many people having problems with some Dlink routers and upon replacing them (often with a Linksys product), the problems went away. So if the Airport Extreme isn't a viable option, then I would suggest sticking with a Linksys product just to avoid any potential problems you may have with a Dlink router.

  4. #4
    Airport Extreme vs. D-Link / Linksys
    dtravis7's Avatar
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    Agreed with Kash and CWA107. The Airport Extreme (New one) is a nice router but at a very high price. If you need the printer and Hard Drive support, it's the one to get. If not, go with a top Linksys. I would go with the Linksys WRT54GL that Kash recommended as it has Linux Firmware like the older WRT54g's had at one point.

  5. #5
    Airport Extreme vs. D-Link / Linksys
    Kash's Avatar
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    I specifically got the Linux model so that I could load custom firmware onto it. I first tried DD-WRT, which was fine, but then I discovered Tomato firmware, and I've been happy with that for several months now. I absolutely love the graphs, and I personally find it to be far more stable than both the stock firmware and DD-WRT :black:

  6. #6
    Airport Extreme vs. D-Link / Linksys
    bobtomay's Avatar
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    Looking at the WRT54GL, it appears it has WEP only, no WPA / WPA2, is this correct? Or will some 3rd party firmware provide the higher encryption.

    From what I can see, it looks like most of the current Linksys models being sold do not have WPA and/or WPA2 encryption. My current model WRT55AG has WPA but will not allow any access to the internet. It does allow me full access to the router itself and the LAN from my MBP.
    Don't really want to go with any of the 'n' routers yet as it looks like to much hit and miss based on the reviews. And to me the Airport Extreme is way overpriced without Gigabit connections.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  7. #7
    Airport Extreme vs. D-Link / Linksys
    Reel1's Avatar
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    I dont think that the price should be that large of a factor. At present a sampling of the the prices in Canada for the wireless N technology are;

    Linksys $149.99
    Belkin $149.99
    Dlink $169.00
    Airport $199.00

    As well with the Airport you can plug an inexpensive usb hub into it and then plug multiple usb devices into it which can then be shared over your network. This feature is worth the added $50.00

  8. #8
    Airport Extreme vs. D-Link / Linksys
    cwa107's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobtomay View Post
    Looking at the WRT54GL, it appears it has WEP only, no WPA / WPA2, is this correct? Or will some 3rd party firmware provide the higher encryption.

    From what I can see, it looks like most of the current Linksys models being sold do not have WPA and/or WPA2 encryption. My current model WRT55AG has WPA but will not allow any access to the internet. It does allow me full access to the router itself and the LAN from my MBP.
    Don't really want to go with any of the 'n' routers yet as it looks like to much hit and miss based on the reviews. And to me the Airport Extreme is way overpriced without Gigabit connections.
    Interesting you should say that, as my Linksys WRT54GS is about 3 years old and supports WPA & WPA2. WPA has been around since about 2002. I'd be surprised if any current, up-to-date model doesn't have WPA support.
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

  9. #9
    Airport Extreme vs. D-Link / Linksys
    dtravis7's Avatar
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    Where are you seeing that? EVERY modern Linksys that I have worked with has WPA and WPA2 like CWA107 stated.

  10. #10
    Airport Extreme vs. D-Link / Linksys
    Kash's Avatar
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    I agree, my WRT54GL has WPA/WPA2 support out of the box. I have yet to see a router made in the past 2-3 years that doesn't have such support

  11. #11
    Airport Extreme vs. D-Link / Linksys
    bobtomay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kash View Post
    I agree, my WRT54GL has WPA/WPA2 support out of the box. I have yet to see a router made in the past 2-3 years that doesn't have such support
    Well, you are probably right. Even on Linksys site for the WRT54GL is only lists WEP and 128 bit encryption. Does not list WPA or WPA2. It does list TKIP and AES.

    Have never used a wireless network prior to getting this MBP and don't know much about it. So, been doing some reading. Correct me if I am wrong here - looks like TKIP is WPA and AES is WPA2. Right? If so even the Linksys rep I talked to didn't know this.

    My WRT55AG has both of these listed as options under WPA. Maybe you network guys have an idea of what else I might be able to try. I can access the router from my MBP and change it to WPA, either TKIP or AES, reset the MBP and regain access to the router with either one. However, I can get no access to the internet whatsoever under either one. As soon as I change it back to WEP, internet is back.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  12. #12
    Airport Extreme vs. D-Link / Linksys
    dtravis7's Avatar
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    bobtomay, I wish I knew what was going on at your place with the WPA and WPA2 as they work here with now 5 different routers and many Macs and PC's. Are you for sure that the key is EXACTLY the same on the router and Mac?

    I did have one stupid Dlink 11Mbps router who's firmware was updated so it did WPA that would not work with any Mac. Found if I changed the setting in the Dlink from AES to TKIP all worked like a champ.

  13. #13
    Airport Extreme vs. D-Link / Linksys
    cwa107's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
    bobtomay, I wish I knew what was going on at your place with the WPA and WPA2 as they work here with now 5 different routers and many Macs and PC's. Are you for sure that the key is EXACTLY the same on the router and Mac?

    I did have one stupid Dlink 11Mbps router who's firmware was updated so it did WPA that would not work with any Mac. Found if I changed the setting in the Dlink from AES to TKIP all worked like a champ.
    Same here. Also, I'm not sure if anyone caught it, but Apple just came out with another AirPort update that is supposed to make it more compatible with third-party routers using WPA/WPA2.
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

  14. #14
    Airport Extreme vs. D-Link / Linksys
    bobtomay's Avatar
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    Yeah, just did the update and gave it a try again. No dice. Am sure the Key is the same, because I am using copy and paste since I'm doing it all from my MBP. Figure it's gotta be something with the router. But it blows me away that I get access to the router, but no internet.

    Only used the wireless side for a couple of weeks over a year ago after I got my 360 until I had time to run some Cat5 across the house for it. Have a printer attached to the router, think I'll check and see if it will let me print under WPA.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  15. #15
    Airport Extreme vs. D-Link / Linksys
    cwa107's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobtomay View Post
    Yeah, just did the update and gave it a try again. No dice. Am sure the Key is the same, because I am using copy and paste since I'm doing it all from my MBP. Figure it's gotta be something with the router. But it blows me away that I get access to the router, but no internet.
    That is very weird. I'm stumped at the moment. Have you tried doing a cold reset on the router and start with a fresh config?
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

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