Apple Airport Extreme 802.11ac (Newest Version) by MacSlatch
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- Ultrafast 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Reach data rates of up to 1.3 Gbps
- Simultaneous dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi support
- New 6.6-inch height with smaller 3.85-inch base
- 6 antennas located at the top allows for a faster and more powerful connection
- Easy setup with Macs and iOS devices
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The taller sibling of airport express is an advanced version with extra ethernet ports,wireless AC standard and a USB port for sharing drives on network.All the ports are GIGABIT Ethernet ports in this one compared to airport express. GIGABIT is extremely fast for transferring data if you a NAS connected to your AirPort Extreme or any other gigabit Ethernet enabled device.Also, if you use PLEX Media Server at home for streaming media content to your iPad,Laptop and Smart Tv then AirPort Extreme is going to help you with streaming that transcoded media file to your favourite device and its going to be extremely smooth, if it’s hardwired via CAT5 or CAT6 of course.
Coming to wireless AC Standard I am personally not a big fan of wireless AC standard at its signal strength is weaker than wireless N standard. I have tested both of my AirPort Express and AirPort Extreme in my bedroom. There was a lot of difference between the two as the wall penetration strength of Wireless AC is weaker than Wireless N . But, if you have multiple AirPort routers and since range can be extended easily between airport devices than you should go ahead with Apple AirPort Extreme. If your priority is range then I don’t recommend AirPort Extreme as it’s very expensive and all extra benefits you get over airport express are available on other Routers by companies like Tp-Link and Netgear and for half the price. But if you intend to create a Apple centric Mesh Network and if all your devices are either iOS or MacOS then you might be able to justify the purchase as it works flawlessly in Apple Environment.
Now let’s talk about the one port everyone is excited about ie. USB drive sharing. Well, it works great if you are already in Apple Environment which means if you use Macbook as your main machine because it won’t support any disk which you intend to use on a windows laptop which is FAT32 format as FAT32 format is not fully compatible with drive above 4GB of disk space and in case you have a drive with 8GB disk space then FAT32 won’t read above 4GB. NTFS is not supported on AirPort Extreme so now you are only left with Mac OS Extended format which is fully supported by Macs but windows won’t read it.
AirPort Extreme fails to justify its price over other routers available at half the price with same or better features. If you are an Apple Fan and wants to buy an AirPort device then go for airport express. It’s cheaper and comes with better range.