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Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 190319  
Subject: Re: Router Question Date: 6/11/2014 6:22 PM
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1. Since the only Apple device we have is an old iPad, does it make sense to use an Apple router?

It's a non-issue. Internet Packets don't care what logo is on your router. Apple even makes a Windows version of the software used to configure the router.

Note that I'm not commenting on the router itself. Former models of the Airport Extreme were quite good, and the ease of configuration made them my recommended model of choice for all my consulting clients.

The current 802.11 AC models are just as easy to configure, but I don't have much in the way of personal experience with them. Here's a review in which it compares favorably with Belkin, Netgear, and Linksys models: http://www.tekrevue.com/802-11ac-routers-compared-apple-belk...

2. Since most ISP's will provide (rent you) a wireless router, why buy one myself?

A) So you don't need to pay rental fees, B) So you can easily configure it yourself, and C) So you can use features that might be available on the ISP's model. Also, every ISP-supplied router I've seen is based on older Wi-Fi standards. Usually 802.11n, and sometimes even 802.11g. If you want 802.11ac, I don't think any ISP-supplied router will do it (yet).

3. With the buildings around 200' apart, how can this Air Port Express extend the wireless network?

I have two answers for this:

#1: In theory, 802.11n over 2.4GHz has a range of 70 meters in doors, and 250 meters outdoors. (802.11ac is much faster, but it only works using the 5GHz band, which has a shorter range.)

#2: Theories are nice, but I have more faith in Ethernet.

Extending a wireless network can be done by connecting the remote access points wirelessly, or via ethernet. The former will halve your bandwidth, since it also has to use that bandwidth for the two routers to communicate with each other.

For that big a distance, I'd strongly recommend running ethernet cables between the routers. (Ethernet is good for 100 meters.) I have an Airport Express used this way — it's connected via Ethernet to my main router.

You'll need some kind of buried conduit connecting the buildings. Alternatively, you can use something called "direct burial" ethernet cable. Amazon sells a 1000-foot box of direct burial ethernet for $85: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0092TJ4K2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=...

But if it were my buildings, I'd rather run a relatively fat (say, 2-inch) PVC pipe. That makes it easier if you later decide to add coax or fiber, or something that hasn't been invented yet.

(Another reason to avoid direct burial cable: You need to bury it deep enough to protect it from lightning strikes, and/or use some kind of surge protector at each end to protect your network equipment.)
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