Apple Airport Extreme Base Station (AEBS) 802.11n


I ordered this right after I ordered my Apple TV. In theory I could use the Ethernet cable that I’ve (partially) run from the office to the family room for that, but the AEBS had some other nice features, and running 802.11n to the Apple TV should work fine. It runs on 5 Ghz instead of 2.4, so the microwave and phone interference I’ve experienced playing music should (hopefully) go away. If not, I’ll get around to finishing the ethernet run.

The other features that it has that are nice are the ability to use the USB port for adding a printer, or a hard drive, or adding both a printer and a hard drive or drives via a USB hub, as networked devices, accessible to all pc’s/macs in the hosue.

Of course the Apple TV has still not shipped, but as soon as I got the AEBS, I set it up.

I changed my network around some, to eliminate some devices that I no longer need. One thing that could go was my very old 802.11a access point! Also, the AEBS has 3 Ethernet/Fast Ethernet ports, and I’ve been able to eliminate a FastE switch I was running. I do wish there were 4 ports, instead of 3, as I did have to go wireless on one of my devices that I had wired, but so far, so good with that. Second, it would have been nice to have GigE instead of FastE. Considering 802.11n’s speeds, the bottleneck to the wired devices will now be the FastE.

Adding a printer and hard drive via the usb hub was a snap. Just had to install Bonjour for windows on the XP box, and the mac saw it all easily. I am going to get one of the Lacie or ministack HD drives that are the exact same form factor as the mac mini, which is the same as the AEBS and the @TV. Thsoe drives have a USB hub built in, so I’ll just plug the drive into the AEBS, and then the printer into the drive. And I can easily add drives as necessary.

There are a ton of options on the AEBS — much more than with most home routers. So this could easily be used in a small business. One nice touch is that it has SNMP on it, so I am able to graph my DSL line usage. This allowed me to run my DSL modem in bridge mode instead of router mode. That actually makes synergy run nicer in my (somewhat) strange setup. And the interface to configure the AEBS is much nicer than the DSL modem, but can do all of the same things.

I have heard reports of VPN issues when using the AEBS, but I have not experienced any with the Cisco VPN client my work laptop uses.

I was hoping the range on it would be enough to get to my neighbors house so we could do cross house backups, but it doesn’t quite make it. But our homes are probably 275-300 feet apart, through woods. My AEBS is not in an ideal position to reach them. I haven not yet walked around outside with my laptop to test the range.

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