At last, Apple have entered the world of 802.11ac – they have entered with the Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station ME918LL-A. For use with all hardware platforms and operating systems (Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, Android, PC, iPhone, iPad etc).
The Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station ME918LL-A is designed to work autonomously across all your devices whilst ensuring you have the fastest wireless speeds with the most stable wireless connections. Using next generation technologies including Beamforming and Simultaneous Dual Band, the next generation of wireless is available on an Apple router.
We’re going to run through the features and give a detailed conclusion…
Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station ME918LL-A Features
Apple have packed a lot of features into the AirPort Extreme. Here’s some of the more important ones…
7 Features of the Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station ME918LL-A
Wireless AC (802.11ac)
Apple’s first 802.11ac router delivers theoretical speeds up to 1.3Gbps. Using three-stream technology, the throughput is up to 3 times faster on the AirPort Extreme Base Station compared to 802.11n devices.
Wireless AC has brought with it the ability to intelligently locate devices around the home and focus bandwidth in the direction of those devices. Older wireless technologies were only able to emit a constant signal across a 360 degree area – Beamforming changes all that and takes wireless innovation to the next level. This means that you enjoy faster wireless with a much more stable connection – a big plus.
Dual-Band – Simultaneous
Use both the older 2.4GHz for your older devices and 5GHz for your newer devices to balance your data traffic, rather than compete with everything on the congested 2.4GHz range. Your devices will connect to whatever range is best available at any one time so you know you’ll get the best performance.
The Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station has been designed with performance enhancement and space-saving in mind. The tall/thin build means that the antennas are located at the top, ensuring that the potential coverage is increased to the maximum. There are six antennas in total, 3 for 5GHz and 3 for 2.4GHz. The increased density in antennas caters for more simultaneous connections with greater stability at a further distance than ever before.
The option to share a USB hard drive or a printer exists with the inclusion of a USB port. No need to switch on another device to access shared files or to print, just plug the printer or USB drive into the USB port and you’re good to go. The hard drive can also be accessed remotely and securely over the Internet if desired.
Less Desk Space
At only 4 inches square, the Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station ME918LL-A takes up only a small amount of desk space. The power supply is built in, saving even more room!
Using the Mac & PC compatible Bonjour technology you can share a wireless printer around your domain.
Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station ME918LL-A Technical Specs
- IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
- Simultaneous Dual Band
- 4x Gigabit Ethernet Ports (1x WAN – 3x LAN)
- USB Port
- 6 Element Beamforming Antenna
- WPA2 / WPA / 802.11x
- NAT Firewall
- Port Forwarding
- Up to 50 Concurrent Users
Conclusion for the Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station ME918LL-A
- Apple 802.11ac – at last!
- Great Coverage
- Simple Setup
Not so Good
- Only one USB port
Apple have entered the 802.11ac market a little later than the rest – better late than never! The ME918LL-A comes well packaged, just make sure you open it up on a table, so as not to break anything should you drop anything. We made this mistake and ended up cracking a floor tile! Perhaps that’s just because we’re a little clumsy? The AirPort Extreme has been designed to save space and looks like a mini-tower. It looks a little different to other routers on the market, but we think it looks good.
Once opened up, setting up is a breeze. Just plug in the wires and run the AirtPort Utility on your Mac or Windows laptop. You are given several options to use, or not use, including IPv6, whether or not to use DHCP, and the option to upgrade the firmware (we recommend upgrading the firmware!). All of these options can be disabled or enabled depending on your preferences.
Features we like are USB drive sharing, although we wish it was USB 3.0 and supported NTFS. Wireless printing, again on the USB port, and we’re also a fan of the Gigabit Ethernet ports – a must for today’s data demands.
Overall the Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station ME918LL-A is impressive, although it does have a few small quirks. If you are looking for super-fast wireless, then the AirPort Extreme Base Station should definitely be on your final comparison list.