If you search amazon for home and small business internet routers, you will find over 1700 different routers from over 200 difference vendors. How to know which one can best suit most home or small business needs? From our experience (having installed hundreds of routers over the years), our recommendation is the apple airport extreme. It is powerful, easy to setup, reasonably priced (based on features, simplicity and performance), fully functional, secure and cross platform compatible (macs and windows). It supports a wide variety of wired and wireless devices, and has excellent antenna range. The apple airport extreme looks cool, and you can easily mount it on the wall with inconspicuous brackets (from 3rd party vendors). These router-antennas should be mounted 2/3’s of the way up the wall, unobstructed is best. Need to extend the range of your wireless signal? We recommend 1 airport extreme per every 3-4 rooms, each hardwired back to the network (connect the bottom ethernet port to the network). By hardwiring each extreme to the network, you insure optimal performance. You can wirelessly bridge the extremes, but performance may degrade slightly). The airport extreme can function as an ethernet hub – it has four usable ethernet ports on the back for other network capable devices (computers, printers etc.). The apple airport extreme easily bridges a single wireless network between multiple extreme-antennas, for roaming and functional signal distribution. Each extreme has a built-in router, and a built-in series of antennas. You only need one router on the network, but you can never have enough antennas. Simply turn off the router function on all but the first router, and bridge-extend your wireless network simply and easily. For network hard drive backups (time machine and windows), consider the apple time capsule (which is an airport extreme with built-in 2tb or 3tb hard drive (for network backups). Again, you can turn off the router in the time capsules, and enable-bridge it’s wireless antenna and then activate the network backup drive (for unattended data backup, protection, security). Apple offers it’s free airport utility software (for mac or pc), which you use to manage, program, update and monitor the apple airport extremes. We recommend not using the apple airport express (wireless network extenders), they can be problematic. Buy the airport extremes, they cost a bit more but work better.also, don’t mix and match the different airport extreme models, this can also cause stability issues. Finally, you can reuse the airport’s white cardboard package-box. It is a marvel of engineering – sturdy, efficient and refined.
From someone who has been working with Apple products for 30 years, I have to ask – when is Apple’s great next product going to appear? Granted, Apple lost their brilliant and original leader. Steve Jobs made products that people wanted (before they even knew they wanted it). He consistently captured the world’s attention. Apple came from humble beginnings, to early successes, to near oblivion, to world class product (and interface) design, to financial super–success. It seems lately, that Apple is gradually becoming just another technology company. Apple’s products still look great and work great. Their interface design continues to push other industries to rethink their approach to products. Apple’s products and user interfaces still set a high bar. Apple has revolutionized digital selling and distribution, Apple has created whole new product categories. The current problem? Apple has not announced a truly revolutionary product in quite a while. The IPhone is now just another phone. The Apple watch will become mainstream only when they are priced under $200, and when you don’t need them tethered to your iPhone for full functionality. The mac pro is a terrific computer – design, performance and expandability. Too bad it costs 3x as much as a basic IMac. The iPod product line has dwindled. Apple laptops are innovating faster than Apple desktops, and Apple’s iPads are evolving even more quickly. (With all the iPad’s success, why is there still no iPad with a desktop OS installed?). It seems apparent that Apple’s growth vision is portability. The next pot of internet gold is being mined via subscription-model based website productivity apps & services, ‘Cloud-Gold’. Workgroup automation and access-from-anywhere data services have an interesting value. Subscription model software is becoming the norm – you now pay every year for your software. Tech products are starting to mimic the auto industry, with defined model years and managed innovation. With computers, prices comes down as performance grows. With the Cloud, yearly costs are less than purchase costs initially, but cumulative cloud costs over time end up being not so cheap. On the other hand, Cloud services generate a better revenue stream which helps fund clever and innovative software and services. In the world of cloud based data synchronization, the big players include Microsoft Cloud (and exchange server), Google Cloud (and apps) and Apple iCloud. Of the 3, Apple’s iCloud is the hardest to configure and maintain, both between devices and between workgroups. The industry is moving on from personal hardware to cloud & digital services, but you will still need digital devices to connect. Apple needs to empower some new leadership-vision that can inspire, motivate and again capture the world’s imagination and desire. The next generation of Apple products will be Cloud enablers. They should be revolutionary (plus look cool, work great, weigh 4 oz. and last 50 hrs on a single charge). If Apple does not or cannot innovate in a way that refocuses the world’s attention on Cupertino, they may end up just another generic appliance company. PAUL