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Fast and reliable routers for Mac

Mac owners, and some experts who use both Macs and PCs, say the Apple AirPort Extreme (Est. $200) is the best wireless router you can buy. Apple routers are also said to be the most reliable in owner surveys at PC World and Netgear's WNDR3700 (Est. $85) and Cisco's Linksys E4200 (Est. $190) also earn praise from professional reviewers and owners for use with Mac computers and PCs.

The sixth-generation Apple AirPort Extreme supports the 802.11ac standard. It's taller than previous iterations, thanks in part to its beamforming six-antenna array, a technology unique to wireless-AC routers. Like other top-of-the-line wireless routers, the AirPort Extreme offers guest networking so you can allow up to 50 guests onto your network without telling them your password, plus it offers the ability to share external hard drives wirelessly. The router lets users share USB printers wirelessly, too, although only Mac users can do this over the Internet. Three Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports are on board.

Dong Ngo at CNET says the AirPort Extreme is easy to set up and use. He recommends it for all novices, whether they use Macs or PCs. But tech-savvy Windows users -- or those on all-PC networks -- can get more features for their money elsewhere, some reviewers say.

An interesting alternative is the Apple AirPort Express (Est. $100) wireless router. It's designed mainly to stream music from iTunes to computers and media devices at home, and a handy remote control lets you change the music without a computer. Because of its focus on wireless streaming, the AirPort Express lacks some features like Ethernet ports, making it more suitable as a router to extend an existing network. It runs in both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, but not simultaneously.

Cisco-Linksys E4200 Dual-Band Wireless-N Router
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