Question about

June 10th 2013 4:38 pm

What am I missing that makes the airport extreme worth $199?

So I am sort-of in the market for a new router (I am currently using the wireless modem my ISP gave me)

At $199, this seems more expensive than top of the line routers including the gdgt must-have Asus rt-n56u (At $95)

However that router is only wireless N and the truly comparible model, the asus AC66U appears to be the same price ($205) so perhaps the airport extreme is a competitive price

I am assuming the Apple router does something very well, in order to be competitive in the market. What advantages does this have?
top answers
TgD's pick

I hate to use this argument but I think this is prime example of something getting the apple tax.
mark as good answer

6 people like this answer

Clicking the mark as good answer button helps us highlight the best answers.

community pick

The Asus RT-N56U is an 802.11n router, the Airport Extreme is 802.11ac.

My understanding is that AC routers can be up to 3 times faster then N routers. There are cheaper (and potentially better, hard to say before it is reviewed) AC routers then the extreme but they mostly start at 160$ish?

So when you look at it that way it's not that much more expensive.
mark as good answer

5 people like this answer

sort by

9 more answers

One extra thing this router can do that none of the others will ever do is make an old drive plugged into it a Time Capsule type drive which uses Apple's Time Machine. This has no meaning for PC users, but for anyone in a Mac environment, being able to stick an old drive onto the router for all computers in ones house to back up to with Time Machine Archiving is a really nice capability. The older Airport Extreme Base Stations couldn't do this. If one of my machines gives up the ghost spontaneously I have an archival copy of it I can work with to restore my system. Also if I delete some key pictures. I can go back through my Time Machine and find them.

People always tell me apple sells stuff more expensively. This is almost never the case and I have built 60 plus Systems for Linux Boxes or Windows Machines. Apple tends to sell stuff maybe slightly above market for things that generally are expensive items in the first place. If you do the 1:1 comparison with hardware of the same spec. Apple products start becoming much more reasonable. And if one looks at the software and software integreation the ecosystem provides Apple becomes even more reasonable. You get what you are paying for really. How valuable is your time becomes more of the question.

Apple never sells cheap stuff so in order to buy what they are currently selling you have to spend more money to get it. Apples Airport Extreme is $199... the comparable Asus was over $200 last year and can be had for $160 this year. Apple almost never reduces their price until a newer product comes out.

My old Apple router has been zero trouble for the last couple of years. My Neighbor had to upgrade his system because my setup was always more powerful and he got a stronger signal in his house from my Apple router than he was from his own router.
Before the Apple Airport Extreme Base station I went through a string of top rated routers (D-Link, Cisco, LInksys, and Netgear). Some of them were over $200 and all of them had issues and eventually ceased working. I have not had even an inkling of trouble with the Apple Router so far. Grandma has also had non-stop issues with all kinds of routers. She has been through at least 4 different models over the last 3 years and all of them have had problems with dropping connection and having to be rebooted constantly. I setup this new Airport Extreme. No more dropped connections. Increased responsiveness and speed. Rock solid so far and no more calls for me to come over and fix things because none of her stuff is working anymore.
I will be buying another for myself.
mark as good answer

0 people like this answer


What everyone here is missing is reliability. Every firmware update the AC66U has inevitably causes issues with one thing just to fix another. 1st uPnP had issues with 270, then the 2.4ghz radio was slow after 354 and Merlin writes about 4 firmwares a day to experiment with settings. At some point I just want my router to work well, at high speeds for more than a day and even after my isp pushes an new IP to my modem. Apple may be simple but its fast and I would much rather play games or stream video than to re-write code over and over to get firmware that works. No to mention there will be a model a month....Next flavor of the week, the bright shiny new AC68U. Just 200 more dollars and you can have the best hardware money can buy and reprogram everyday for the rest of your life getting it to go even faster and farther! Oh, and try not to brick it!
mark as good answer

3 people like this answer


The main advantage of an AirPort is that it works well with apple devices, particularly for Time Machine, otherwise you are better off going with the ASUS RT-AC66U or waiting around for the new ASUS AC router that is not yet available for sale, which will be the RT-AC68U. The main advantage of the new router is it will have a dual core CPU.

This is the place to check router rankings (other than GDGT)­/rankers­/router­/ranking­/AC1...

The RT-AC66U is currently in the $180 range, but I have seen referbs for as low as $120:­/RT­-AC66U­-Dual­-Band­-Wireless­-AC1750­-...

More info on the RT-AC68U (this page is mostly guesses right now since it is not out yet)­/wiki­/ASUS­_RT­-AC68U
mark as good answer

2 people like this answer


Why you buy Porsche, Ferrari? When most of cars can get you to same destination.

I thinks it is the same, I buy Apple product when I have to put it in my living room but I use DD-WRT at my office.
mark as good answer

1 person likes this answer


Mine is pretty sweet. Went through other routers that bricked or just didn't perform very well. Solid connection and feels faster (didn't do any measuring, though). Basically, I've had pain-free performance and haven't had to think about it. Worth the money, easily.
mark as good answer

0 people like this answer


Do you have any gadgets that use 802.11ac? I have the Linksys E4200 and I am finally happy with the dual band G and N experience. The only device I have that supports 802.11ac is my Galaxy S4 and it connects now through N. N is fast enough for most peoples needs. 802.11ac offers gigabit speeds but not much else. I believe it only supports 802.11ac on one band and B/G/N on the other so the other band would be bogged down (for me at least). It seems you would gain only if you only had 802.11ac and N devices IMHO.
mark as good answer

0 people like this answer


I had that Asus router for two days, before returning it. It had all the bells and whistles (Like), but the web UI was horrible and badly translated into English (Dislike). In terms of performance it was not better than my now-old Airport Extreme.
mark as good answer

1 person likes this answer


An annoying and EXTREMEly limited app to manage it?
mark as good answer

0 people like this answer


Well, Apple sells their stuff way more expensive than the competition. So, get the ASUS one (it better than the airport).
mark as good answer

0 people like this answer