"Absolutely awesome"4.5 starson by the Otter
Pros: Strong signal, easy setup, extremely reliable, built-in print server (PoE version can serve multiple printers!)
Cons: Single ethernet out; USB port can only be used for printing
Summary: About three months ago, I upgraded my wireless network to the Power over Ethernet (PoE) model of the AirPort Extreme Base Station. I’ve had wireless networking for several years now, but I’ve never been happier that with this beautiful device.
Like most things Apple, it just works. Yes, it’s a bit more expensive than most wireless routers, but it also gives you a lot more. When you consider the ease of use of the AirPort Extreme—not the least of which are the excellent AirPort Setup Assistant and AirPort Admin Utility—and the many ports available for networking, the $199 price tag really doesn’t sound so bad. (Of course, I saved some money by getting it on eBay, but even at full price, it’s an acceptable deal.)
Setup is incredibly simple. Just pop open the AirPort Setup Assistant, answer a few questions, and you’re done. Want to share a printer? No biggie. Just plug it in and select the new printer in Mac OS X’s Printer Setup Utility. Want to share multiple printers? Also not a problem; just plug a hub into the PoE model’s USB port and share, share away! Need wired and wireless? AirPort Extreme has both LAN and WAN ports (or an optional 56K modem) to serve everyone the same.
Are there cons to the AirPort Extreme? Certainly. I’ve always thought it would be nice if, like most other routers, the AEBS had multiple Ethernet out jacks. Also, USB sharing is limited to printing, so if your printer and scanner are part of the same all-in-one unit, the AEBS turns the scanner part into a very large paperweight. A cheap USB switch will allow you hook the all-in-one up to both the AEBS and a computer concurrently, but it sure would be nice—albeit nigh impossible, with today?s technology—to be able to scan without purchasing additional hardware.
Bottom line: my wireless network now consists of the main AirPort Extreme and two satellite AirPort Expresses (as both signal repeaters and stereo drivers) and I’ve never been more pleased with my network. As I said earlier, it just works; the eye candy is just a bonus. There’?s plenty of wireless routers out there, but when it comes to simplicity and features in a package you don’t need to hide under the desk, there’s just no beating this one.