Routers are a necessary evil.
If you need access to the internet and want to setup a wifi network in your home, a router is a necessity.
But they can also be a royal pain. When they work you don’t know they are there. When they act up you feel the pain big time.
When selecting a router, most people want to just plug it in and have it work. No muss no fuss.
But that isn’t always the case and not all routers are created equal. I have tested the latest top three routers and my review follows:
Asus AC68U vs. Netgear R7000 vs. Apple Airport Extreme
These are the top 3 routers utilizing the latest technology. They all have the ability to create both 2.4ghz and 5ghz networks.
I purchased the 3 routers to do a comparison. I am normally a dedicated Apple guy but I wanted to see what else was out there. I had heard there were better choices for Mac users.
First I hooked up the Asus.
Had some difficulty getting everything connected. The USB3 input would not function with my external drive. My older Canon printer would not interface correctly with my older Power Mac desktop. My Nest thermostat would not operate properly. I tried installing a beta firmware from Merlin and that solved the Nest issue but the other issues remained. Overall internet speed was alot better than my previous Apple Time Capsule Router.
Next was the Airport Extreme.
As I expected, everything connected immediately and everything functioned properly. No issues at all, except no USB3 input and internet speeds and coverage worse than the Asus but zero aggravation factor. If you want zero hassle and don’t want to get involved in the inner workings and subtle settings of a router and wifi network, the Apple is the way to go. Right out of the box, it just works.
Then the Netgear R7000.
Everything connected properly first time. Even my Fantom USB3 3TB external drive connected fine. My Canon printer interfaced properly working fine from all devices. The Nest thermostat worked as expected. My Airprint printer connected to the wireless netwrok fine and is usable by all Apple mobile devices. The internet speeds and coverage are equal to the Asus and better than the Airport Extreme.
My network consists of:
1 older Apple Power Mac via ethernet and wireless
1 Apple iMac connected wireless
1 G4 iBook connected wireless
1 Apple Airport Express connected wireless then via Cat5 to my Directv receiver
2 Apple iPad Mini’s
2 Apple iPhones (One 4S and One 5S)
2 Roku Boxes
1 Apple TV
2 story house covering 2500 sq.ft.
The verdict is the Netgear stays and the Asus and Apple are being returned. Realistically, I could have stayed with the Apple, but I wanted a bit more download speed that the Netgear provides. But the most user friendly of the 3 is the Apple hands down.
Hopefully I will still feel good about my decision in 6 months, but right now I think I made the right choice.