Last week, while happily watching a Netflix movie, my 4 year old Netgear wifi router just stopped working. Nothing – restarting, resetting and subsequently cursing / kicking would bring it back to life.
So suddenly, I was in the market to buying a wifi router. After a fair amount of research, I was settling into a couple of choices. The Linksys EA 4500 router and the Apple Airport Extreme. My criteria was actually fairly simple.
One, I wanted a dual-band 802.11 b/n device. Secondly, I wanted it to look smart enough that I could keep it visible in my kitchen (which is the only place where I have the broadband input coming in – so no ugly antennas sticking out). And I wanted a router that gave me fast coverage all over the house.
After a lot of deliberation and soul searching (also aided by the fact that I have a Macbook Pro and a Macbook Air) and the fact that at least in web pictures, the Airport Extreme looked a lot sleeker, I decided to go for it.
So how has it been so far. To me, a wifi router should ideally be invisible to the end user. It should have adequate firewall security and should not require the regular reboots that my old Netgear router required.
Setup was a breeze. Seriously, having set up a number of private networks and VPNs in my day, I have yet to come across any device that was so smooth to set up. 3 steps – a) Unbox b) Plug on c) Fire up Airport Utility from Mac – enter network name and password. Done.
Of course, you can set up a number of other features. I for e.g. set up a separate guest network for our guests – but that took all of 2 minutes.
I plugged in a NTFS formatted external hard drive (where I archive all my music) – and bingo – it was accessible from all my wireless devices. And done. Nothing more to it.
Has been about a week. Never had to restart. Speed and coverage area is about 4x my old Netgear. And it looks great on a small table in the kitchen.
Couldn’t have asked for anything simpler, more hassle-free and effective. Comes at a price (around $180)- but to me, it was entirely worth getting rid of a regular headache.