Apple Airport Extreme 802.11N (5TH GEN) Review

The new Apple Airport Extreme 802.11N (5TH GEN) now on sale at Amazon.


The Airport Extreme Base Station is the perfect solution when you have are several users at home that need to advantage of shared hardware. You first connect your modem to Airport Extreme and create a wireless network that can be accessed by up to 50 people. You can then connect a hard drive, for example, to the device making it available to all who access the network. Consider the following hypothetical scenario: you have a computer that’s few years old and even though at the time of purchase it came with significant size hard drive, over time you have used most of its space. There are many documents that you perhaps don’t have to take with you everywhere you go, or it makes no sense that several people keep certain files on their computers. External drives have become quite inexpensive right now, and it makes a lot of sense to purchase 2 TB drive to save information that can be shared. You simply connect the hard drive to Airport Extreme and it becomes your network drive. I take many pictures and work in Photoshop, having a digital camera my finger does stop snapping so over time even the biggest hard drive on a laptop gets filled up. This is a great solution for my wife and I to access the pictures and keep on saving. Now imagine more people doing the same.

In the same manner you can take advantage of your printer. Instead of each roommate or employee having a personal printer, you can connect it to Airport Extreme and everyone can wirelessly send documents for printing.

On the back of Airport Extreme there is only one USB slot, which is used to connect a printer or a hard drive. If you plan on connecting several devices to it, you have to purchase a USB hub separately.

Some other features of Airport Extreme are:

  • Very fast transfer, up to 5 times comparable 802.11g devices thanks to multiple-input multiple-output technology.
  • Dual-band technology for wireless transfer that allows different devices use the best band available; different devices can work on different bands and rather than assigning one band to all of them, the devices can choose the most appropriate for the best service
  • Compatible for both Mac and PC users, Apple TV and all other most common Apple devices.
  • Create a guest network – you can allow friends enter your network without having access to your printer and personal information stored on an external device; you can create a different password from the one you use for guests to access your network.
  • Encrypts data with WPA/WPA2 and 128-bit WEP technology; it also has a built-in firewall and some basic parental control options allowing to let your kids use the Internet only during specific hours

Airport Extreme Base Station received very solid reviews. Although not the top product based on standards, it still earned 3.5 out of 4 stars. It received “Excellent” score for bandwidth, ease of use, and help and support, and “Very Good” for bandwidth management and security. The overall impression is very good due to its easy installation and management and dual-band data transfer. On the negative side was the lack of support for Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI).