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Networking Question - Apple AirPort vs Linksys EA4200

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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November 13, 2012 7:08:15 AM

Hi there,

I'm going to upgrade my network at home so that it provides full WiFi coverage throughout the entire house (3-storey, 6000sq. ft). I intend to design it so that through the entire house I'll be receiving "Very Good" to "Excellent" signals (I think this translates to <-65 dBm).

However, as the title may have hinted, I'm stuck between router options. I've read many, many reviews over the Internet that each resolved in different opinions as to which router I plan to get.

The proposed setup is as follows:

Modem -> Time Capsule -> Switch (8-port)
Time Capsule -> MacBook Pro, iMac, Windows PC

Switch -> AirPort Extreme (as bridge) -> PS3, Apple TV, Television
Switch -> 2* AirPort Express (as WAPs to provide coverage)

The remaining ports would be placed in rooms to allow access to the Gigabit LAN (Ethernet).

As you can probably see this setup is Apple dominant. I realise that Apple's Wireless Products are premium-priced and offer less-than-premium features, which is why I'm considering having other alternatives.

I've already bought an AirPort Express a few months ago (2012 Summer model), and am considering a Time Capsule for the sole purpose of backing up my Apple devices (there are more MacBooks but they'll be connected wirelessly). I've considered the Linksys EA4500 as I like its interface and features that it provides which Apple (obviously) doesn't.

My current priorities are coverage, speed, reliability (not having to touch the networking at all), QoS (for games, media streaming), NAT (Port Forwarding?) and the Parental Controls (at least the ability to restrict online time and websites). I also thought about having the EA4500 (or other, better, more suitable routers) connecting to the modem but worry about compatibility issues. Would this router be compatible with Apple AirPorts? I'd like to maintain Apple's format for SSID broadcast, i.e, LAN; LAN 5GHz; LAN Guest as to create a "roaming" network.

I've considered a NAS for storage and backup, but that's just too expensive and inconvenient for me, so I'll be getting a Time Capsule instead. I think it'd be a waste (slightly) to get the Time Capsule, or Apple AirPorts which are capable of acting as routers if they're only going to be used as WAPs. If you guys have any suggestion as to what WAP I can get to complement my network setup, which is equally as sturdy and reliable - it would be very much appreciated.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing your voices!
November 13, 2012 4:11:38 PM

I have the Linksys E-4200 and can tell you first hand that I have signal issues in the second floor bedroom that is the furthest from the router. I have a two story home and while it does well for the first floor and much of the second floor I had to wire the problem bedroom to a four port switch I installed upstairs and that is wired to the router on the first floor so it's basicly a wire going the length of the house and up one flight.
Some suggestions for you are have you looked into the power line adaptors ?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also the new wireless routers from Netgear have some good features incuding gb wireless.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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November 13, 2012 8:37:47 PM

Hey, thanks for your reply.

I have indeed looked into PowerLine adapters while doing my research. What's stopping me from using them right now really is their speed. I'm having the house fitted with 7 extra LAN Sockets(?) as to allow me to place APs around the house.

Thanks for your input regarding the E4200. Reviews I've read have applauded the router's signal strength and throughput, so I wondered about having it installed.

Nonetheless, my major source of concern is not just about signal strength but compatibility between the router and Apple AirPorts (guest networking, dual-band, etc).
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November 13, 2012 10:17:25 PM

The Linksys router was able to connect to my wife's Mac Book without issue and you can manualy adjust the number of guest computers and devices on the network. The dual band is also manualy djustable in the routers settings. The internal settings of the router has a great number of setting option to set up any number of configurations.
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November 14, 2012 1:34:08 AM

Oh, right. Thanks.

Do you have any idea if the router supports USB storage AND can act as a print server for OSX and Windows?

Those are my requirements.

I'd like to be able to stream videos from the router into my PS3 and other compatible devices. Unfortunately Apple's Time Capsule doesn't support this much-needed feature.
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November 14, 2012 1:52:23 AM

Currenty I have a 1.5tb WD Elements plugged into the uab port on the router and all the computers on the network can access the hard drive.
I also have a HP printer connected wirelessly to the router and again all computers on the network can printto it.
My son comes over with his Ipad and jumps onto the router as a guset without proble,s, and my wife's mac book can print to the printer that is connected to the router.
If this info is what your looking for then I hope it helps.
I also have netflix subscription and my blue ray player is connected to the router and we watch movies on the tv.
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