The Apple AirPort Extreme wireless router receives high praise in reviews -- especially for Mac and mixed Mac/Windows users. Owners say it's reliable and easy to use, and experts often recommend it for novices. Reviews recommend the AirPort Extreme router more enthusiastically than any other Apple unit for Mac users.
Great for novices. Experts say the AirPort Extreme offers great range and is simple to set up and use, and owners call Apple routers the most reliable. Dong Ngo at CNET recommends it for all novices, whether they use Macs or PCs.
One of the fastest routers. In most professional tests, the AirPort Extreme delivers speedy throughput on both the 2.4 Ghz and the 5 Ghz bands. The Apple routers also work fast in CNET's speed tests, both routing and reading/writing to an attached external hard drive. The reviewer at CNET recommends the Asus RT-N56U (*Est. $100) as a less expensive and more stylish alternative.
Have up to 50 guests on your network. The AirPort Extreme uses simultaneous dual-band, dual-radio, wireless-N technology with Gigabit Ethernet (GbE). The AirPort Extreme also includes popular features such as parental controls, so you can decide what times of day your child can access the Internet, and guest networking for up to 50 people, so you can add guests to your network without telling them your password. Unlike most of its rivals, the AirPort Extreme lets you share USB printers wirelessly.
Review Credibility: Excellent Justin Yu calls the AirPort Extreme's easy setup suitable for novice Mac users. However, despite the router's speed and "good looks," he says it's expensive and its features aren't comparable to those of other units.
Review: Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station (Summer 2011), Justin Yu, July 11, 2011
2. Small Net Builder.com
Review Credibility: Very Good Tim Higgins reviews the AirPort Extreme and says not much has changed since the last version. Choosing this router for its better wireless performance means you'll miss out on some features, such as firewall protection and URL/domain filtering.
Review: Apple AirPort Extreme Gen 5 Reviewed, Tim Higgins, Aug. 22, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good PCMag.com readers vote Apple AirPort routers the most reliable and best overall in this 2012 service and reliability survey. Apple beats several other router brands, including Cisco, Buffalo, D-Link and Netgear.
Review: Readers' Choice Awards 2012: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Network Routers, Ben Gottesman, June 22, 2011
Review Credibility: Good The Apple AirPort Extreme is one of the top-rated routers at Amazon.com, with more than 300 owners giving it an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. The majority award the unit 4 or 5 stars, praising its long and easily extendable range and its simplicity.
Review: Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station (Simultaneous Dual-Band) (MC340LL/A), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2013
5. Which? magazine
Review Credibility: Good The U.K.'s Which? magazine, which is similar to ConsumerReports.org, tests routers, including the Apple AirPort Extreme. Each is scored on ease of use and performance, with an individual write-up explaining what it's like to use it.
Review: Apple AirPort Extreme New, Editors of Which? magazine, As of January 2013
Review Credibility: Good The Apple AirPort Extreme is one of Macworld's favorite routers. It earns a rating of 4.5 out of 5 mice for being easy to set up and use, with great range and the latest technology. The only cons are its bulky power adapter and its three GbE port.
Review: AirPort Extreme Base Station (Early 2009), Scott McNulty, March 27, 2009
Review Credibility: Good Michael deAgonia tests the Apple AirPort Extreme with a variety of Apple devices, such as iPhones and MacBooks. He says the router's dual-band support and guest-networking option make it worth the price.
Review: Review: Apple's New AirPort Extreme Gets Dual-Band Wi-Fi, Michael deAgonia, March 29, 2009