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  • kylewat - Friday, August 05, 2011 - link

    The airport extreme gen numbers change from the top chart to the bottom on the FCC Docs page. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Thanks, fixed!

    -Brian
    Reply
  • bigrobsf - Friday, August 05, 2011 - link

    Minor typo in AFS discussion paragraph in the "WiFi Throughput and Range - Improved page:

    "Airport Extreme makes a hue difference"

    I'm guessing you wanted to write "huge" :-)
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Good catch, thanks, should be fixed!

    -Brian
    Reply
  • iwod - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    I just wish they put out a Raid 1 2.5" HDD Time Capsule so i know my data is going to fairly safe. HDD failure are happening more often these days and with their huge capacity i just cant afford to lose some of my content. Reply
  • repoman27 - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Just use one of these: http://www.icydock.com/goods.php?id=121

    Combine with a brace of Western Digital WD10JPVT or Samsung Spinpoint M8 HN-M101MBB and you'll have 1 TB of RAID 1 goodness.
    Reply
  • Penti - Sunday, August 07, 2011 - link

    Raid 1 doesn't really protect from bit rot, just pure 1 drive failure. However they should take reliability and data corruption seriously, but it's not enterprise hardware so you can't really expect it. Reply
  • jackwong - Sunday, August 14, 2011 - link

    I will never go with TC unless they have a better backup solution of the TC itself.

    I have a Synology 1 bay NAS with a external USB to backup all the contents on it.
    Reply
  • cheinonen - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Though I imagine most people won't be confused, labeling it as "Smaller values are better" when all the values are negative could cause people to read the data incorrectly. Perhaps "Closer to 0 is better" or something else? Reply
  • Brian Klug - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Totally agreed, edited those tables to make it more easy to follow.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • jigglywiggly - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    time capsule wins an award for stealing your money.
    500$ for a wireless 3tb hd? Don't be sodding st00pid.
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    $300 for a $150 simultaneous dual-band, three-stream router with gigabit switch, on board SATA controller and an $80 HD, all in one compact little unit along with the PSU? Not a bad deal, really.

    Paying $200 (2/3) more for a $70 HD upgrade that only provides 50% more storage space? Questionable, but Apple knows that most people won't bother to upgrade themselves because they'd be out of pocket an additional $150 for the drive and then have to open a brand new device to make the swap.
    Reply
  • jackwong - Sunday, August 14, 2011 - link

    It is more about the data on the TC, and it runs EXTREMELY hot during Summer...

    This is my setup, Airport Extreme base station, Synology 1 bay with 2TB, and a Sesgate goflex 2.5" 1.5TB to backup the Synology. These cost me ~$550 but if the nas has problem, I can still have all the data on the 1.5TB Seagate.
    Reply
  • name99 - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Then don't buy one.
    Connect a USB drive to your Airport base station.
    Or use network time machine to back up to whatever home server/HTPC mac you have sitting around. That's what I do.

    I honestly do not understand why people feel compelled to tell the world: "this product is a bad match for me and my needs and therefore no-one should ever use it".

    Do you apply the same logic to, I don't know, Intel chips? Damn those Xeon's are expensive --- and they even run at slower rates than my i5. Anyone who buys one is obviously an idiot.
    Reply
  • HilbertSpace - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Did you try putting the mini Broadcom PCIe into the Gen 4 Airport Extreme and seeing if you can do an upgrade that way? Reply
  • Brian Klug - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    I considered it for a long time, but decided that I wasn't sure it was worth spending too much time on (particularly because I have no idea where you could buy just the card) and because there's ostensibly some firmware flash that must go along with the Gen 5. I'm not sure whether there's a way to force a firmware update with the Gen 5 firmware on a Gen 4.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • hechacker1 - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    The only missing feature IMHO is some type of QoS management and uPNP.

    I have a 4th Gen Airport Extreme, and as you say it's a stable router that just seems compatible with everything (everything connects reliably).

    I'd love to upgrade to the 5th Gen for the extra power (that's surprising Apple cranks it up that high), but when it comes to using p2p and gaming at the same time, the lack of QoS prioritization kills it.

    Then it doesn't have uPnP, which more broadly supported than NAT-PMP. The Airport also has a nasty bug of forgetting your port forwardings and MAC address bindings, as soon as the network card sleeps for too long (a few hours).

    So it's back to a router that supports more open features and can also have its radios power cranked up to match the Airport. There's a few good dual band routers out there are are pretty much all open source (even the wireless chip!).
    Reply
  • Zok - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Like what? I bought a Netgear WNDR3700 quite some time ago because it was one of the highest performing dual band / dual radio devices at the time (supposedly the SoC was faster than it's competitors).

    That said, it's been an absolute nightmare to get DD-WRT on it and stable (radio performance and range gets trashed) and the factory GUI is severely lacking (doesn't allow for PAT, for example). Have any suggestions on something DD-WRT compatible, but can also drive dual radios for both bands (2x2 or 3x3, 40 MHz on both, preferable)?
    Reply
  • hechacker1 - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    I'm using OpenWRT on the 3700v2. Check out the OpenWRT forums for community builds that let you set the radios to their max power output (24dBm on 5GHz 40MHz, 27dBm on 2.4GHz 40MHz). It reaches the hardware limit.

    Surprisingly, the new Airport Extreme has slightly more power output at 5GHz than the 3700v2.

    OpenWRT has been stable on this router for me. It's a great alternative to the Airport if you want LOTS of power output and open source software with tons of features.

    The biggest con with OpenWRT is that its interface sucks; but whatever, you only have to set it up once.
    Reply
  • name99 - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    uPNP I couldn't give a damn about, and neither can Apple.
    They have their solution for devices transparently connecting to each other, in the form of Bonjour, and that's not going to change. Like NAT-PMP it's an IETF standard and, for all the complaints otherwise, Apple is actually a pretty standards compliant company.

    The two obvious (IMHO) missing features (which could both be added with software, at least to some extent) are QoS and transparent caching (most easily by running squid on the device and having it store the cache on any attached storage --- stick in an 8GB USB flash drive if you have nothing better). I continue to think that the rumors regarding base stations being part of iCloud will likely prove true in the long run --- it's to Apple's obvious advantage to be able to offload as much work to base stations as possible via transparent caching.

    I also have no idea what the complaint about "forgetting your port forwardings" refers to. I used a 3rd gen extreme for years, and switch to a 4th gen about six months ago, and I have NEVER had my port forwardings forgotten or borked in any way.

    Personally if someone is going to complain, the real item to complain about is the USB performance which was so crappy it was unbelievable in the 3rd gen, and appears unimproved even today. Come on, Apple --- even if the Marvell chip is garbage, spend the extra buck and buy a decent 3rd party USB controller. I think the best we can hope for is that the 6th gen device uses an upgraded Marvell chip with a USB3 controller that is lousy by the standards of USB3, but gives at least say 60MB/s.
    Reply
  • edporras - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    QoS would definitely be handy but not having the ability to forward port 53 just killed me. I really wish there was a way to disable the ABS' DNS server. Or if anyone has figured it out, please share. Reply
  • geekd0m - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    I'll second the request for QOS and uPNP on these. I would love to get the Airport Extreme or Time Capsule for their solid performance, but really need the QOS.... Reply
  • MGSsancho - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    http://www.anandtech.com/Gallery/Album/1282#13 passwords Reply
  • Brian Klug - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    That's my placeholder password ;)

    -Brian
    Reply
  • pius - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Hi Brian

    Thank you for a very thorough review! Based on your review I think I'm going to buy the new AirPort Extreme. I think I need two of them to reach the entire appartment. Should I instead then get one and then add an Express? Or will I then lose the advantages of the new Extreme? Also, is the Extreme any better that the Express when I don't need the USB and ethernet ports? I've heard about a device limit on the Express. Does that also apply if I only use it for extending the Extreme?
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    I have an Express I originally intended to use to "extend" the network (really just WDS), but ran into all sorts of issues. I don't think they've updated that product in a while, and yeah the Extreme has much more power and range than the Express in general.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • gameman733 - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    During the review, you mentioned that you ran into some trouble with Lenovo blocking the installation of mini-pcie wireless cards. I just wanted to let you know that this is definitely not the first time I've heard of it happening, and its not a recent thing.

    My old laptop, a Compaq Presario V2402US, purchased in 2005, didn't come with a wireless card. I went looking for a 3rd party wireless card (buying from HP didn't make sense when it came with a mini-pci slot available, and I could find a mini-pci card cheaper), and came across a page that mentioned several HP/Compaq laptops that did exactly what your Lenovo laptop did.

    As I recall, it was only watching the device and vendor ID's of the card, and the bios could be modded to take any card, but this really shouldn't be necessary. The only close to legitimate reason I could think of was FCC clearance, but that doesn't make any sense either. Anyway, just wanted to share my experience.
    Reply
  • Alchemy69 - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Oh look, Apple have invented Wi-Fi. Expect lawsuits Reply
  • repoman27 - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    I bet it would work just fine. As long as you update the older model to version 7.5.2 of the AirPort Base Station and Time Capsule firmware first (available download from Apple), you should be good to go. The reference module has everything it needs, and the main board is the same hardware revision. No muss, no fuss.

    eBay has scads of listings for various Broadcom reference modules which can be used to upgrade older Macs, so I imagine it's only a matter of time before these hit the streets as well.

    And it was an amazing review - everything I've been hoping for since I was looking at Hardmac's take apart photos back in June and noticed that Apple had switched from a Marvell to a Broadcom radio module.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Thanks! Interesting, if the reference module BCM94331 comes up, I'll definitely give it a shot. I too bet it would work, I just wonder whether the device only gets flashed an image with the appropriate controller drivers depending on what "generation" it is, as opposed to actually looking at what card is installed.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • tipoo - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Are there any non-Apple routers using this new Broadcom wireless chip? Would they get the same performance with the same chip, or is there some added Apple-juice in there? No doubt this is a great router, just very pricey. Reply
  • tipoo - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Oi, I should read slower, heh

    "There’s a stigma that Apple gear is more expensive, and for the 3TB Time Capsule that may be the case, but the Airport Extreme is actually right near where it should be. Take for comparison the Linksys E4200, which is a 2x3:2 device on 2.4GHz, and 3x3:3 on 5GHz, and also Broadcom based. That device runs for $179.99 and features similar functionality including a USB 2.0 port for sharing devices. At $179.00, the Airport Extreme offers full 3x3:3 on both 2.4 and 5GHz, albeit the E4200 does have considerably more Tx power, which we'll investigate in a forthcoming article."
    Reply
  • lowlymarine - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Calling Caviar Green's "server grade" strikes me as galling even for Apple, who are pretty willing to play fast-and-loose with truth in advertising as it is. Reply
  • repoman27 - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    This odd bit of nomenclature has been around and much debated since Apple first introduced the Time Capsule. WD Caviar Green drives generally offer the lowest price per GB combined with some of the best performance per watt for a 3.5" spinning disk on the market... Just ask Google how many they currently have deployed. So yes, they are ideal for servers.

    What isn't "server grade" in the Time Capsule is the utter lack of redundancy within the device itself. The intended usage model for the TC is as a backup device though, so there is redundancy in the overall system, i.e. you never actually store critical data on it, just a backup of critical data, therefore if it fails it's not much of a problem.
    Reply
  • solipsism - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Can the Linksys E4200's USB port be used for a printer the way the Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme/Express can? Reply
  • Brian Klug - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    I know it can share attached USB Mass Storage devices, but I'm actually not certain about printers. Jarred probably will talk about it in his review soon.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • ThomasA - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Does the AE software offer a means to record data usage? With the 'new' DSL caps set by At&t I'd like to be able to compare my info on usage vs. theirs. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    You could watch the SNMP counters and use one of many software packages (including some big ones like MRTG/Cacti) but that's sort of daunting admittedly. There's nothing in airport utility that will show data use. That's just another thing I leave to Tomato on a WRT54G-TM personally.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • deadshort - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Here's a general suggestion for hardware reviews: could you plug the gizmo under examination into a power meter instead of just the wall and eyeball up some numbers? These days green geeks fret over these matters, especially for 365x24 devices like routers. The badge or spec. numbers are often worthless. Just a thought, thanks.

    Oh, nice review, BTW. I agree that the recent Apple 802.11 gear is getting boringly reliable and decent, in a good sense. You can't tweak the firewall in quite the gruesome detail I'd like, but the box never needs attention or unplanned restarts. The he.com tunnel works fine, the BSD/Roku/Apple/Sony/Epson clients are happy, there is no drama to upset the non-geeks. Not bad, even for the price.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    I actually completely forgot to mention my Kill-A-Watt numbers. I don't recall the Time Capsule numbers off the top of my head, I saw a peak power use of 11 watts on the Airport Extreme Gen 4 (while data was being transacted on 2.4 and 5 GHz) and 12 watts on the Gen 5.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • ThomasA - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Yes, I read of MRT/Cacti. Also looked into replacing AE with a Netgear WNDR4000 that offers the data usage meter. I'd prefer the Apple, but must look ahead. Too bad. Reply
  • Jacob Marley - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    On page 3...
    "Marvell 88E6350R 7 port GigE switch, with 5 physical interfaces, all of which support up to 10 KByte jumbo frames."

    So the hardware supports jumbo frames, but does the software?

    I have yet to find a home router that supports and enables jumbo frames at the switch level.

    Jumbo frames make no difference for internet bound traffic but it seems to make a big difference for LAN based large data transfers.
    Reply
  • jay2901 - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    brian,

    why do you use a separate box for nat? better firewall? curious as to what that device is...

    thanks.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Sunday, August 07, 2011 - link

    I prefer the wealth of configuration options that going that route provides. Specifically software like Tomato, DD-WRT, or if you're really feeling daring, a FreeBSD based solution with a PHP wrapper like m0n0wall or pfSense.

    Just a ton more options for firewall, reporting, bandwidth tracking, QoS, e.t.c.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • danacee - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    Use D-link, or if you really have to Netgear.. Although only D-link I know for sure makes 5/2.4ghz N routers that never EVER have to reset and run for years. Netgear I've only seen that sort of reliability with their Wireless G routers

    Linksys is rotten filthy garbage just like everything else Cisco makes, avoid it. They've not made a single wireless router in the past 2 years that doesn't shit itself and need a reset nearly every day.

    -Your helpful networking tech.
    Reply
  • thingi - Sunday, August 07, 2011 - link

    Apple infuriate me sometimes. It would appear that the 'new' time capsule still can't join a wireless network without it's Ethernet ports becoming being disabled if nothing has changed apart from the wifi card :-(

    My iPhone is my only source of net connection which is 80Gb (yes thats eight-zero gigabytes) of 'fair usage' per month which is oodles for a 3G connection so here's what I want to do:-

    'iPhone Personal Hotspot' > Time Capsule > Airport Express (wifi-to-eth) > xbox

    The trouble is that when a time capsule joins a network it's ethernet ports fall asleep. So instead I have to do the following:-

    'iPhone Personal Hotspot' > Airport Express (wfi-to-eth) > Time Capsule > 2nd Airport Express (wfi-to-eth) > xbox.

    The really stupid thing is that a Time Capsule is more powerful piece of network equipment than an airport express, there is no reason why the ethernet ports should fall asleep just because Apple have deemed that users must connect a Time Capsule directly with an iPhone personal hotspot without crippling it.

    The other slightly annoying thing about this setup is that Apple in their infinite wisdom have deemed to force iPhone personal hotspots to set up a 'g' connection instead of an 'n' one (ok it would still be an 2.4Ghz due to the iPhone radio but that would be better than being stuck at 'g' for no good reason in a totally 'g' saturated neighbourhood!

    thingi
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    When you tell an AirPort Express / Extreme or Time Capsule to "Join a wireless network" it becomes a client on that network and ceases to perform as a router. This is really only useful to share attached USB or audio devices wirelessly.

    When you enable Personal Hotspot on an iPhone 4, it creates a wireless network (802.11n (b/g compatible), 2.4 GHz band, single spatial stream, WPA encryption) and provides DHCP and NAT to share your cellular internet connection. 802.11n connections are actually possible according to this article: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4163/verizon-iphone-... but if you're in a neighborhood where 2.4 GHz is saturated, as many are, there's not much you can do about it. Not many phones have 5 GHz WiFi radios these days.

    If you just want to provide an internet connection for your Xbox, the simplest solution is to buy a WiFi adapter for it and configure that to connect to your iPhone's Personal Hotspot. In order to bridge your Personal Hotspot to your wired network, you would have to set your Time Capsule's Internet Connection: Connection Sharing setting to "Off (Bridge Mode)", set the Wireless: Wireless Mode setting to "Extend a wireless network", and then choose your Personal Hotspot as the network to extend. For various reasons, I'm going to guess that this will never work though. Besides, the iPhone Personal Hotspot only supports a maximum of 3 (GSM models) or 5 (CDMA models) clients via WiFi, so you can't really have much else on your LAN unless you put it behind yet another router.

    It might be easier to tether your iPhone via USB to a Mac or PC, turn on internet connection sharing over the ethernet adapter, and then connect that to a Time Capsule set to bridge mode.
    Reply
  • ginghus_khan2000 - Sunday, August 07, 2011 - link

    I was a little surprised you didn't test the wifi and hard drives as a system. I'm sure the wifi is the limiting protocol here but there were a few spots where wifi would be faster than the hard drives. Reply
  • stephenbrooks - Sunday, August 07, 2011 - link

    Can you stack the two Airport Extremes on their side and put the Time Capsule across the top? Reply
  • Brian Klug - Sunday, August 07, 2011 - link

    Wow, that's an awesome idea. I'm going to see if I can set it up ;)

    -Brian
    Reply
  • deadshort - Sunday, August 07, 2011 - link

    Fantastic: thanks for doing that! Spread the word!

    If the main motherboard and chipset are the same, I guess it stands to reason that a more powerful radio would take a bit more power. ~250 Wh/day, or about 5% of my fairly careless daily consumption, is worth knowing but not worrying about.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Sunday, August 07, 2011 - link

    Yeah, I should note that right now idle seems to be around 8-9 watts without much change.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • jalin2 - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    I'm in the market to get a new router and was set on getting the E4200. Now I think I'm going to hold off and wait until your router comparison article. Any idea on timeframe when that'll be released? Reply
  • jackwong - Sunday, August 14, 2011 - link

    I would rather go with Apple, the only good Linksys router I have is the WRT54. I also have the e2500 few months ago, I can't believe a 2011 router doesn't has gigabyte ports... and it has connection problem everyday...

    I would rather go with Apple Extreme base station unless the e4200 is way cheaper.
    Reply
  • melgross - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    I've had a lot of Linksys routers over the years, stupidly, because every one died. That includes some commercial models. I will NEVER use another Linksys product again.

    I've got one Extreme, and two Expresses, and have never had a problem with them. As the review says, they just work.

    I've got an old house, built in 1925. Most interior walls are brick. All the walls and ceilings have .75" wood over the brick, with gal steel mesh over that, with .75" mortar, and a .25" layer of plaster over that. The damn thing is as close to a Faraday cage as anyone will ever live in. I've removed some of that when re-doing the kitchen and downstairs bathroom as well as the two bathrooms upstairs by having everything stripped to the beams and replaced with double .5" Sheetrock, but still...
    Reply
  • Guspaz - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    Perhaps some mention should be made of the fact that Apple advertises the drive in the Time Capsule as a "server-grade hard drive".

    You do mention that it's very much a consumer disk (in fact, the most "consumer" you can get since it's not even a black or RAID edition), but Apple is really billing the thing as server-grade, which is false advertising.
    Reply
  • jwoelich - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    "Fortunately, a source inside Western Digital was willing to explain matters; "If you enter in the drive number on NewEgg you're going to see it come up as a desktop drive. That platform is actually built on a lot of other products for a lot of different OEMs. And the specs could change depending on whatever program we're building for. Needless to say Apple has very stringent requirements that are very specific to them and very unique to them, and that drive has actually been developed and is unique for that Apple product. That unique Apple logo, and what we call 'to the right of the dash,' if you will, indicate that this drive is for a very particular partner to us and this drive is dedicated to that particular audience. You could not buy this same drive at NewEgg or Amazon."

    When we asked whether the variation of the WD20EARS drive is rated for a 1-million-hour MTBF, our source confirmed that it was: "We don't spec our desktop drives with MTBF because our customers don't purchase in that manner, but this particular drive for this particular OEM with these unique requirements does meet those specifications."

    Western Digital says otherwise.
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    lowlymarine did mention it in a comment two days ago, to which I pointed out that for price per GB and performance per watt the Caviar Green is tough to beat, and therefore perfect for servers. Just considering how many Google uses, I would be surprised if there is another line of drives more deployed in servers at the moment than Caviar Green.

    Not all "servers" are designed for crazy amounts of IOPS, massive queue depths, or incredibly high availability. For backup or redundancy, which is what the Time Capsule is marketed for, you want big, cheap and low-power.

    No offense, jwoelich, but although the quote may be legitimate, I have a seriously hard time buying that line of utter crap. We're pretty much down to a three horse race in the storage arena, and just like Intel or AMD might bin things differently or cater to large OEMs in various ways, they basically just pump out a small range of identical products by the millions. There are no "magical drives" that are perfect for servers but not sold by Newegg. The way I read it, Apple had a very stringent range of specifications, to which a bog standard Caviar Green drive happens to adhere perfectly (i.e. low price per GB and low power requirements.)
    Reply
  • jwoelich - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    I don't see where anyone stated anything being 'magical', just that if you were to go onto Newegg, you couldn't just order one of these specific drives. Now, does that mean that there is more to it than Western Digital simply taking any WD Green drive, testing it to conform with the criteria set forth by Apple, then throw on a new sticker? Or did WD design/modify a product specifically to meet that criteria? More likely, WD crafted a Frankendrive using the criteria Apple set forth, and used the bare minimum of higher quality components that would more likely ensure that criteria was met, which was probably nothing more than power consumption, size, speed and a greater MTBF. Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    "Some more searching revealed the solution—pin 20 (wireless disable) needs to be taped over to signal the card that the wireless disable switch (which doesn’t exist, since this is the WAN port) is in the on position. A quick surgical application of tape, and the card worked perfectly—take that, Lenovo security. As an aside, what a completely pointless and trivial barrier this is—the Mini PCIe standard (and moreover WiFi notebook cards themselves with U.FL connectors) are designed to be completely and absolutely interchangeable. The notion that this provides any added security (when the adjacent slot is completely unguarded) or—even more absurd, convenience—is nothing short of a surrealist notion."

    Lenovo isn't the only one. HP also does the exact same thing; they whitelist cards in the BIOS, so that only their branded version of Intel's (or Broadcom's) wireless cards work.

    I don't think security has anything to do with it. I think two factors are involved --1) that they don't want to support any other wireless cards than their own, and 2) that they want you to buy from them, establishing vendor lock-in.
    Reply
  • Dug - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    There are also modified BIOS' out there that disable the whitelist which is a lot easier than trying to tape a small pin.

    If the laptop has a 2nd pci slot, which is usually reserved for wlan card, you can use this for the wireless card becuase the BIOS doesn't look at that slot.
    Reply
  • Dug - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    I wish they would allow some type of iTunes server on the Time Capsule. Then I could stream to everything else such as my Apple TV's without having a computer on. Reply
  • tsanga - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    Brian,

    When you took apart your older Airport Extreme, did you notice if the antennas might have been improperly connected? Swapping antenna hookups could result in better 2.4 GHz performance:
    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-f...
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    I'm not entirely sold on that smallnetbuilder conclusion from a long time ago, to say the absolute least. I suspect the swappage they experienced could be explained in other ways. Everything appears to match the way it should be assembled in the present state.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • CharonPDX - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    I have both a first-generation "square" AirPort Express-n (10/100 Ethernet) and a second generation (that added Gigabit,) both of which are single-band-at-a-time only. (i.e. I have to choose between 2.4 or 5 GHz for my whole network, no mixing.)

    When using either one as the 'primary', if I use my maximum bandwidth and/or lots of open connections (I seed Torrents of Debian install images for alternate architectures, I swear!) it will lock up my internet connection every so often. I know it's not my cable modem or the cable company, because if I direct-connect my server, I have no problems. But through either AirPort, every half hour or so of heavy use, my internet will stall until I reboot the base station.

    Have you performed any such testing? I haven't read any complaints about newer generation ones, but want to make sure.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    You're using the device as a router in that configuration? I haven't heard of any such problems on the newer Gen 4 or 5, and I beat on mine pretty hard too and haven't seen it stall/hang.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • weiran - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    I have the original N Airport Extreme (100Mb) and I don't suffer the issue you have. I did have problems with using Time Machine with an attached disk over WiFi causing router lockups, I've since disabled it and the AE runs weeks without issues. Reply
  • davolfman - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    It's nice to see somebody using the Sheeva SOC's in a shipping product. Too bad the RAM and Flash is so low or it would make a tempting (better designed) Sheevaplug replacement. Reply
  • bbarrera - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    Great article, however please change "AFS" (whatever that is) to AFP. Reply
  • blueeyesm - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    I use the "n" Express with a D-Link wireless router and I've had no issues via WDS. It connected and maintained a strong signal through two floors of a house, and through two walls (one of which was a fire-rated wall) of an apartment. Reply
  • pcworth - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    I was wondering if there are any differences in connection reliability and WIFI speed continuity. I have a Gen4 Extreme that was purchased in February and it seems like I have recently started to get slowdowns on the internal network that are corrected by resetting the unit using the Airport Software.

    I originally owned the b/g spaceship and a b/g express, but when we bought our iPads in April 2010 we noticed that the airport station would stop connecting until the units were restarted. We tried working around this using power timers to restart the units, but in the end we gave up and bought a new Gen4 extreme. This problem has now stopped.

    I have no idea whether the problem is a temporary glitch, a hardware problem, or my imagination. It does seem to affect the AppleTV most, which is at the opposite end of the house, because we find it sometimes takes a long time to start streaming from iTunes. When I go in and reset the unit, it seems to improve.

    I was wondering if there are any measures of speed stability, and connection stability, to determine whether the Gen5 is more reliable than the Gen4 and worth thinking about for an upgrade?

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • gman_wa - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    I bought a 5th Extreme when they came out a couple weeks ago and returned it based on the Meraki Wi-Fi Stumber java-based browser app.

    Maybe its my house, but with the 2nd gen and the 5th gen side by side, the 2nd gen signal strength was consistently ~5-10db stronger than the 5th ten. My 2nd gen runs the 2.4Ghz b/g/n network in the house and I wanted to replace this with something stronger and add the guest networking.

    I didn't actually try to compare throughput via wired or wireless.

    Maybe I got a dud? Or would the single radio on the 2nd gen model outperform the dual radio models?

    Thoughts?
    Reply
  • applesandsynths - Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - link

    Hey guys,

    I just had a quick question for anyone who may have a new 5th generation Airport Extreme. Can you tell me if the power rating numbers on the AC adapter are:
    Input AC 100-200v 50-60Hz 0.5A Output: 12V 1.8A Model: A1202?

    I know that these are the numbers from an older adapter but was just wondering if the new adapters are any different?

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • jackwong - Sunday, August 14, 2011 - link

    I have the 4th and 5th.

    They are both 1A instead of 0.5A and the model is 20BB A.
    Reply
  • Lebannen - Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - link

    One thing I'm very interested in with regards to the Airport Extreme is noise. When connected to Airport Extremes (4th gen) over 5GHz, I can hear a reasonably loud noise when data transfer is occurring - elsewhere on the net I've heard it described as screeching and sizzling. I'm aware that it's all solid state so can only speculate that it's switching noise.

    It only occurs with 5GHz transfers, not with 2.4GHz, which *might* make it something to with the antenna configuration? If so, it may not have changed, but I'd be glad to hear either way - thanks :)
    Reply
  • tichi - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    Just wondering if two other features (not mentioned in the article) are supported in the new version of Airport Extreme :

    1) Can you clone mac address for those of us not using DSL?
    2) Can you still throttle the power output of the antenna?

    Thanks
    Reply
  • layman2 - Sunday, August 14, 2011 - link

    It would be great if it had wireless internet i.e it gets internet over 3G or cDma networks and share it through wi-fi with other devices Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    Hey guys!
    Really good article.
    I was wondering if you will be testing other 450mbps routers, too? You mentioned The Linksys E4200. What about the TRENDnet TEW-692GR which costs 20-30€ less than the Apple and about 5€ less than the Linksys, but seems to support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz with 450mbps simultaneously.

    Also, I have only found one WiFi adapter for 450mpbs for desktop PCs and that is a USB one called TRENDnet TEW-684UB. I have not found any PCI/PCIE cards that support 450mbps for the desktop. Is there any way to use mini-PCIE cards like the Intel 6300 in a desktop PC? Would it make sense to use a 450mbps access point as my WiFi card via ethernet?

    I would like to upgrade my WiFi system in order to stream HD content from my future file server to my media PC in my living room. My wife would kill me if I laid any cables for ethernet, so WiFi is the only way in this situation. I somehow feel like the higher WiFi offers are still very experimental. It's difficult to find decent reviews who test the products not just write down the specs.
    Reply
  • Matt Campbell - Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - link

    Very nice, especially the FCC listings and teardown. The one thing I would have liked to see is how the internal drive speed compared to a NAS system like the My Book Live, Go Flex or other home NAS system, which would bypass the slow USB connection. I bought a 2 TB unit yesterday and am still reserving judgment vs. a router/NAS setup. Reply
  • Amia - Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - link

    I saw this review and bought TC 2T but file transfer speed from TC to PC via GigE is no where near 80mbps,actually less than 40. Wonder how this test has been done ( Reply
  • Amia - Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - link

    Under 5g my Mac air is getting 270mbps but my another laptop which used to get 300mbps using my previous router can only have 150mbps. Maybe just like Mac air apple doesn't want you to use dual band (40mhz) under 2.4ghz Reply
  • MobiusStrip - Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - link

    It would be nice to see a comparison of Airport with other brands of wireless routers. Reply
  • Flachr - Friday, August 19, 2011 - link

    I noticed that the 5g Extreme's country field in the airport utiliy is limited to very few countries while all my previous TC's had a long list of countries to choose from.
    Is Apple now tailoring devices to regions? Is there a way to get the longer list of countries back to select from?
    Reply
  • IdBuRnS - Monday, August 22, 2011 - link

    I have been using my Airport Extreme (MD031LL/A) for about a week and a half now and I'm loving it. It replaced an old Netgear G router so it's like night and day between the two when it comes to streaming wirelessly.

    Since I have FiOS I only use it as an AP (FiOS router is in my wiring closet in my garage which puts it out of range for all my devices) but so far I couldn't be happier.
    Reply
  • Jack iCaseReview - Friday, August 26, 2011 - link

    I don't think the AirportExtreme will ever be a good solution for massive network backups. For small backups it great, but anything too big, and it somewhat slow....

    Jack
    editor - www.iCaseReview.com
    Reply
  • MarsMSJ - Sunday, September 04, 2011 - link

    I had bought an E4200 to replace a WRT310N that started acting up (going unresponsive.) I had issues where I would get abysmal download speeds on wired. I moved my cable modem to as few splits as possible and that resolved most of the issue (though I argue that my speeds were fast for a year until 2-3 weeks ago and the split had nothing to do with it. Now I get 8-12 where as I had 12-15 for though it's better then the .5 I was getting.)

    Anyway I noticed right away that when connecting the E4200 my speeds are cut by a 1/2 in comparison to connecting directly to the modem. I upgraded to the latest firmware which not only did not fixed the issue, but broke other features of this router (media server does not work among other things.) Cisco is testing new firmware that won't be available until the end of September if everything goes well.

    I found this out because I got an the new Airport Extreme Gen 5 for my side of the house recently. I got curious and switched out the new AE and saw that my speeds were as fast as connected directly to the modem. I spent my Saturday night testing these both by themselves and my notebook and confirmed the E4200 is cutting internet speeds in half. When I hooked everything up the speeds were similar to when I was the only device connected to it.

    Right now I have the AE Gen 5 connected to the modem on the other side of the house while the old WRT310 is on my side with my devices wired in (no wireless on my side for the moment.) Wired into the WRT310 which is wired to the AE Gen 5 (we have a 100 foot cable that runs outside along the roof) and using speedtest.net (used them and the same server for all testing) I get 7-9 Mbps compared to the 2-4 on the E4200.

    Something is definitely wrong and luckily I got the E4200 at Best Buy on sale (130USD though it's back up to 180) and they have a 45 day return policy for Reward Zone Silver members (Dad bought a mac book pro from them thus spent enough to qualify.) I will be returning it and maybe getting another AE Gen 5 or just waiting it out to see if the new firmware fixes the E4200 download/upload speed issue. (I can live without wireless in my room for month.) If you're debating, now is not the time to buy an E4200.
    Reply
  • milan03 - Saturday, September 17, 2011 - link

    You can totally share a printer using Airport Express. I've been doing it since the 4th Gen. Reply
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  • spaztec - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    Noticing a fizzing sound coming from my unit during wireless data transfer - any techs here with insight as to which exact component is causing it? I'd check myself, but voiding the warranty for curiosity's sake sounds like a bad idea. Reply

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