Here is another review written by Scott Granados that he posted on the mac4theblind mailing list and has given kind permission to post on this site. This review covers the latest version of the Apple Extreme Base Station.
Here we go, a review of the new airport extreme 802.11AC base station.
The current version of the Airport Extreme from Apple is a base station that provides WiFi connectivity to your apple or non apple devices and can provide routing for an entire network or act as an access point for an existing network. Airport Extremes can also be used together as repeaters.
What’s in the box?
The Airport Extreme 802.11AC comes in a tall rectangular box with an airport extreme base unit, small booklet and power cord. (same power cord as the Apple TV)
The Airport Extreme description.
The Airport Extreme is a rectangular box with rounded edges. The airport itself stands about 8 to 10 inches high and is about 6 inches square or the same circumference as an Apple TV. The box has an Apple on the top and bottom and the ports are all located on one side starting from the bottom of the unit. The plugs in order from bottom up are AC power, WAN, USB, and 3 LAN ports.
Configuring and connecting.
Configuring and connecting the Apple Airport Extreme is very easy. Simply attach a cable from the WAN port to your local network you wish to extend or to your modem if acting as a router. Once connected apply power and wait approximately 20 seconds. You’ll see an open network called Apple Network appear in your WiFi list. Join this network and the airport utility automatically starts. Enter in your network name or SSID, password or key, follow the directions and save your settings. Check the firmware, update if an update exists, reboot and reconnect using your new network name. That’s all. Very simple and can be done in only a few minutes.
Once connected you will join your WiFi devices to the new network and enjoy your Airport extreme. You will notice improved connectivity across all network devices whether they support AC networking or not. If you have an Apple Macbook / Pro or Macbook Air that supports AC you will get easily 1 half gigabit throughput. Most devices seem to connect in the 400 megabit range using type N. This will improve as Apple deploys AC networking across their product line.
The Airport Extreme supports both 2.4 and 5 GHZ as well as channel bonding. The best band will automatically be selected and if possible both bands will be used in parallel for maximum throughput. (depends on wireless client’s capabilities)
Over all I like the unit a great deal. As always, the setup is simple and clever, performance is very good and it worked right out of the box. Negatives are it’s not that configurable especially for advanced use cases, QOS isn’t exposed or configurable, but it does boot securely.
For folks who have a USB hard disk available the Airport Extreme can share that drive as a network resource using it’s included USB port. This port can also be used to share a printer.
Over all, I’d give this unit 4 out of 5 stars. It’s a definite must have if you have a majority of your devices with Apple.