WiFi has become one of the most coveted items in our homes. A lot of new technology comes equipped with wireless functionality nowadays. Some of this new technology includes, thermostats, electricity monitors, Carbon Monoxide detectors, garage door openers, and refrigerators, just to name a few. The advances in wireless technology are vast and ever evolving. One thing I have noticed over the years is the quality of your wireless router does make a difference. Sometimes spending the extra money on a quality device can help you avoid frustration in the future, so here’s my experience on why.
How long have you had wireless internet in your household? At least 10 years, maybe? How many wireless routers have you gone through? I easily went through 3 wireless routers in four years after buying my first home. I have no idea why I seemed to be replacing them after just over a year, but they kept dropping wireless access. Every couple of days I would have to unplug the wireless router for a minute, plug it back in and everything would work just fine. This got extremely frustrating since it would drop the signal at the most inopportune time, like when you have company over and you’re online showing them something hilarious on YouTube or when you’re laying in bed at night all comfy. Eventually, it would drop the wireless signal altogether and never return. Extremely frustrating!
The wireless routers I was using at the time were just over $100, so it really didn’t seem too much since the overall cost of the item was $8.33 a month, if I was getting a years worth of use out of it. The part that eventually got to me was I kept adding more and more devices that connected to the WiFi router, so each time I setup a new WiFi router, I had to connect every wireless device to it. It’s easy to setup a wireless router out of the box so it transmits a signal to connect to, but having to reconnect 10 or more items to it gets time consuming. Also, if you’re the tech savvy person in your house, you’re the one who gets to setup everything or everyones devices. Lucky you, but there’s a solution.
Do the research on wireless routers available and spend the extra cash on a wireless router that will stand the test of time. Don’t get me wrong, the Linksys and D-Link routers I purchased did the job I asked of them for a short period of time, but they simply didn’t last long enough. Eventually, I bit the bullet and spent the $200 on the Apple Airport Extreme wireless router after doing my research. It took a while to persuade myself to purchase such a high priced item, but it has been one of the top performing Apple devices in my household. Without it, all the other Apple products in my house would have a hard time talking to one another.
My airport extreme has been doing its job since early 2008. I’ve enjoyed it so much, I added 3 Airport Express’s to my network. These additions to your wireless network are extremely useful for syncing and playing music throughout your entire house wirelessly or connecting a printer to your devices. We do a fair amount of entertaining at our house, so having music is important. Everything syncs up seamlessly and easily with little effort and setting everything up is quite simple.
The great thing about the Airport Express router is you can use it exactly like the Airport Extreme, except it loses some functionality. It will still transmit a wireless signal to connect to (50 users) but the connection won’t be as fast as the Airport Extreme. The Express cannot connect an external hard drive to it for Time Machine backups, and there are not as many ports on the Airport Express as there are on the Extreme. The best part is, the Airport Express is only $99. If you want to sync your iTunes music wirelessly, you will need Airport Express in order to do that. You cannot wirelessly stream music with only the Extreme.
Hopefully this information is not too confusing, but I wanted to get a post out there about the Airport Express and Extreme. The wireless network at work is currently undergoing an overhaul since there has been performance issues with the wireless routers and the overall network in general. It got me to thinking how satisfied I have been with everything I setup at home. The initial investment did require quite a bit of capital on my end, but with as much as I was previously plunking down on wireless devices, I think I’ll be back in the red next month. I originally spend around $500 for the Airport Extreme ($200) and 3 Express’s ($99). I’ve now had them for at least 5 years and never had to replace them. My overall monthly cost is $8.33 for all this equipment, so now I’m spending less per month than I was replacing routers almost every year. This Airport equipment introduced me to syncing wireless music throughout my house and I would’ve never thought to seek that out had I not made the switch. Needless to say, I’m extremely happy with my research and decision to pay a bit more money to avoid dealing with this again for a while.
Do you have a wireless setup you’d like to share that has worked great for you? Please leave a comment below.