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Many users had hated the hope and delayed the expansion of the network devices, with the expectation that Apple would eventually update the hardware again. If that's no longer the case, AppleInsider has put together a list of solid alternatives that go well with your other Apple products.
As described in Apple's new support document, there are two basic types of routers to explore, and some basic skills to go with them. Smaller households would benefit from a single router, while larger households could benefit from a mesh system.
All routers we recommend support 802.11ac and offer dual-band or triband support.
Eero (second generation)
Eero has long been one of our favorites. They were the first to popularize the idea of mesh networking in everyday households. When we reviewed the original Eero a few years ago, we fell in love with the simplicity of the app and it looked like Apple had released it.
When a second generation Eero hit the market, it solved most of the original issues. There are several options, but the most popular option is a large Eero and two beacons that are best for a two to four bedroom house.
The second-generation model is twice as powerful as the original and now has a third 5 GHz antenna. It has also adopted USB-C and even supports Thread, Google's new smart home protocol.
Of all routers tested, they also had our preferred mobile app. It was clean, easy to use and provided plenty of extra features.
Unfortunately, there is no additional USB port on these devices. If you want Time Machine support, you need an external NAS.
You can pick up the starter pack at Amazon or at B & H Photo for $ 399. If you have a smaller house, there is a package with a beacon for $ 298. Larger homes can charge the pro set-up, the three large Eeros for $ 499, even at Amazon and B & H. For additional cost savings, B & H does not charge VAT for orders placed outside of New York and New Jersey (Colorado and Vermont, see here).
Another of our favorites is the Linksys Velop router system. Like the second-generation Eero, the Velop Triband routers and high towers look like a blockier version of Apple's latest AirPort devices.
Linksys says that each node is sufficient for 2,000 square feet, and you can purchase three bundles together or individually according to your needs. Velop is also one of the few routers to support MU-MIMO or multi-user multiple-input, multiple-output.
The Velop app is nice and simple, allows you to view the devices on your network, prioritize certain devices, enable child protection, running speed tests, and more.
Like Eero, they do not have USB ports, therefore any attached storage for Time Machine will be a NAS over Ethernet.
A three-node starter kit from the Linksys Velop Router can be purchased at Amazon and at B & H for $ 449.97
Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD
Ubiquitis AmpliFi HD is by far the best for exceptionally large homes. Even older buildings that have extremely dense walls or many other obstacles.
Contains the main router and two external beacons. They all look very conspicuous, and the primary router even has a full-color LCD touchscreen to get the time, date, internet speed, IP address, and current throughput speeds.
Like the others, including a mobile app allows you to craft and monitor your network. Guest access is an outstanding feature that allows you to create a guest network with expiration.
There is a USB port on the back of the device, but it does not appear to be active. Which in turn means that a NAS is your solution for Time Machine support.
The Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD Home Wi-Fi System is available at Amazon and B & H Photo for $ 329.99 with free shipping
As Apple's Leaves the router market, Google has made significant in-streets. They first teamed up with other manufacturers for a number of routers before launching their own Google Wi-Fi system. The routers themselves look modern and sleek and come like the others in bright white.
Each "Wi-Fi Point" can cover up to 1,500 square meters of your home. They have no USB ports, so you can not connect USB storage or other peripherals, which can be a disadvantage for some.
With the Google App, you can quickly and easily set up and go, with a different simplified design. The lack of USB ports means that this is another mesh router that uses NAS for backups.
Amazon has the Google Wi-Fi system (set of 3) for $ 258.97 available. B & H Photo also launches the 3-pack for $ 258.99 with free expedited shipping to the adjacent US. The merchant will not charge VAT for orders outside of New York and New Jersey (residents of Colorado and Vermont, see here).
There are many fans of the Netgear Orbi router, but when we tested them, they had some problems. Namely, slow Internet speeds that we have not experienced with other routers. Since then, several updates have been released for the devices, and glowing reviews as the early problematic signals signaled that these problems have since been eradicated.
They have a pretty impressive specification list with tri-band support, MU-MIMO, six antennas for 5,000 feet coverage and a litany of ports. The main router has three Gigabit LAN ports, one WAN port and one USB 2.0. The satellite beacon has four Gigabit Ethernet ports and an additional USB 2.0 port for additional peripherals. Unfortunately, the USB port currently only supports printers with ReadyShare and no hard drives. So if you need a Time Machine backup, consider a NAS option.
They are available at Amazon for $ 291.99 with free shipping.
Netgear Nighthawk AC2300
If you look at individual routers, one of the strongest is the Netgear Nighthawk AC2300. This router works well under heavy loads and can be awesome for players. It can all be configured via a fully featured web interface that is easy for both beginners and professionals.
One thing we liked most was the ability to prioritize traffic in two different ways. Outbound traffic can be prioritized for gaming while inbound traffic can be prioritized for video streaming.
One drawback is that it's just a dual-band router that does not work well in crowded environments such as city apartment buildings. Fortunately, the USB port can be used for a hard drive, so both USB storage and NAS work for Time Machine.
Amazon currently offers the Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 for $ 167.99, a $ 32 rebate on MSRP.
This dual-band router supports MU-MIMO like others and can even work as a Time Machine backup. Just plug your memory into the back of the router and you're ready to go.
It also has built-in content filters and parental controls. VPN Plus enables the RT2600ac to be a powerful VPN server for even more secure access.
The back of the Synology RT-2600ac has a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, and even an SD card reader, something we do not normally see on routers.
You can find the Synology RT-2600ac on Amazon for $ 194.99.
Netgear Nighthawk AD7200
This is a powerful router that not only supports 802.11ac, but also 802.11ad. Around the back there are 7 LAN ports and 1 1 WAN port, which reduces the need for an additional Ethernet switch.
With breathtaking speed and MU-MIMO support, this is a great router if you are future-proof network. Netgear does not explicitly call Time Machine support, so be careful.
For $ 449.99 in retail, Amazon currently offers the AD7200 for $ 377.84 for free shipping, a $ 72 discount