Apple airport extreme – a worthy purchase

We finally took the plunge & invested in an apple airport extreme. We have been having a lot of problems with our normally rock solid Cisco router and e crappy salem router supplied by Sky. The problem is while we are in between houses we are living in an apartment. It’s not ideal as we are used to living in a larger space. The key to where we no rally live is the lack of wifi interference & channel overlap. Before we moved out of our last house there where no wifi networks in range of our property, not one. Now we are in the apartment there are over 30 picked up with weak antennas such as the iPhone and over 50 if scanning with the MacBook pro or iMac. This interference causes havoc.

As an example of the interference, no matter which channel we select we are clashing with a couple of other networks. Throughput is right down and stability awful. I would normally hardware with cat5 and a gigabit switch but that’s not really feasible when we don’t own the property. I decided to invest in the pricey airport extreme and what a difference.

I’m not sure I’m 100% happy with using the airport utility to configure the router, but it actually did pretty much everything I needed out of the box. One thing that wasn’t activated out of the box was the 5ghz antenna. It was running on plain old 802.11n. I instantly activated the 5ghz band on the router and what a difference. The iMacs, iPads, MacBooks all connect at 450Mbps. There is nobody within range using the 5ghz band so all the interference has gone. The only issue being the reduced range but within an apartment it hasn’t been an issue.

The apple tv 2’s stream all of our 1080p mkvs with multiple DTS audio stream without any buffering in XBMC and the whole home cinema/media centre experience has been greatly enhanced. In fact the whole network performs as fast as most wired networks I’ve setup so for a £140 investment I’m very happy.

Next time I’ll update you all with the automation of my XBMC using couch potato & sick beard with usenet. It’s like a PVR but much better. Until then a few pics.

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