The 11th Letter (da_guru) wrote in osxhardware,
The 11th Letter

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Airport Extreem Base Station

Hey All,

I am running a MBP and the second to last generation of G4 iBooks wirelessly in our house and a G4 PowerMac on the LAN. We are currently running a D-Link DI-514 wireless router and have had numerous performance and security problems with the router. I recently bought (and had to return because it was defective) an Airport Extreme Base Station.

I was wondering what experiences folks have had with these and if it is worth it to have them send a replacement or just return it and purchase some less expensive wireless equipment?

Any experiences and advice would be greatly appreciated. I just spent the most frustrating 45 minutes of my life trying to figure out which bonehead could actually take my call and after all that told them to just give me a refund. But if it is worth it, I'll buy one.

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I'm currently running one. It's solid, fast, and very configurable, offering options that the cheaper competition doesn't (with the exception of the Linksys WR54GL, and that one you need to be comfortable with Linux to configure). I heartily recommend this as a solution, as long as you have at least one mac to configure it (Sadly, there's no PC config client, which would really come in handy for me, all my wireless systems are Windows boxen).
There is, in fact, a Windows client.

I've been unimpressed by my Extreme BS. It doesn't do static MAC-to-IP mappings, doesn't allow more than 20 static "port mappings" in the client configuration, and doesn't speak UPnP for mapping of ports (the Apple equivalent, NAT-PMP, might be a superior protocol but it's hard to say since no one uses it).

The combination of these things makes it harder than it should be to get P2P clients to work from behind an Airport's NAT, or allow a service like ssh from the Internet.

Every configuration change requires rebooting the thing, and the ethernet ports on (all) Apple hardware are the pickiest I've ever seen -- they often refuse to work with other ethernet hardware no other machines I have have problems with.

Its DNS "server" also doesn't resolve the DNS names that Bonjour advertises, which no one else will either but I did sort of expect -- this like this are why I paid more for the Apple solution, and I've yet to find one thing on the BS that other manufacturer's stuff doesn't do.

So... yeah, I really wish I'd bought something that offers more features for the money, or the same for half the price -- I liked some stuff I've seen from 2wire, but I'm not sure they make anything that doesn't include a DSL modem in with the rest.
In my parent's house (in the UK) we fly my 2-year-old Netgear DG834G ADSL modem/router. The set-up was dead easy and it seems pretty reliable. (It ceases broadcasting wireless for no obvious reason maybe once a month: a simple reboot of the router sorts this.) It's happy with our far-too-many computers:
  • It works very well with my original-style airport-enabled Pismo.
  • My sister's cheap-and-cheerful E-systems PC laptop, using a Philips USB wireless dongle, has a little difficulty picking up the signal more than 15 metres or 3 walls away from the router.
  • It also serves my mother's old iBook, my brother's PC laptop and my father's Compaq PC box just fine via ethernet.

My partner initially had a Belkin wireless router (sorry but I can't remember the model) between her cable router and her HP PC box, also serving my Pismo. After a few months or two, it started going down within 10 seconds of rebooting. We asked the store it came from and they told us 'it's stuffed - get a new one' (fortunately within the guarantee period).

She replaced it in October 2006 with an appropriate Netgear product: a very easy setup and we've had no problems since then. I can't remember the model number: if you want, reply to this comment and I can let you know on Saturday when I get back to my partner's flat.