Tampa Bay is the lightning capital of the United States, a fact not lost on me in the six years that we have made this area our home.
This evening, as I entered our lanai, I was nearly struck down by lightning thanks to a very severe thunderstorm. The hairs on my skin bristled, but unfortunately no super powers were obtained. Thankfully, I was unscathed.
My 18 month old D-Link router, however, wasn’t as fortunate.
Faced with a blinking power light and no Internet connectivity, I tried unplugging the D-Link from the network and removed any AC power going to it. Next, I tried reseting the router and cable modem. Finally, on a suggestion from a few Twitter friends, I plugged the router to a different outlet in the house.
The router was bricked. Just like the Linksys, Cisco, and Netgear routers I’ve owned. In the past, I’ve resisted Apple’s Airport Extreme routers, because I felt that they were too expensive.
Today I had a change of heart. Or maybe it was just a feeling of frustration. Whatever it was, I wound up going to Best Buy to pick up an Airport Extreme router. (The last one they had in stock, as a matter of fact.)
At $173 + tax, this wasn’t cheap. And for all I know at this point, this purchase could be another expensive lesson. But I’m giving it a chance, to see if the Airport Extreme can pass the rigors of Tampa lightning storms where other routers have failed.
The unboxing experience, as with any Apple product, was a delight. Inside the small box was the router itself, a quick start guide and a power cord. (Kudos to Apple for including a fairly long power cable.)
The Airport Extreme is, by far, the easiest router I have ever set up. It’s literally plug-n-play. In the photo below you can see the connections. From left-to-right, we have AC power, a USB connector (which goes to my Brother 2070N laser printer), an input from the cable modem and 3 outgoing Ethernet ports.
The front of the unit is clean and elegant. Initially, before the router was configured, its indicator light blinked yellow.
After connecting the Airport Extreme up, my Mac immediately recognized it and had me supply a password for our LAN. Setting up the printer involved a brief visit to the Printer control panel. I wish there was more to say about this, but that’s pretty much all I had to do to be connected to the ‘net.
The Airport Utility (bundled in Lion) lets you see your connection in a clear visual hierarchy.
Clicking on each icon will give you details, such as router address, downstream connections, WAN IP addresses and LAN IP addresses. Very well thought out and intuitive – typical of my Apple experiences from the past.
I never imagined I’d be nerding out over something as mundane as a router, but there you go. As far as looks and setup both go, Apple’s Airport Extreme is a seriously nice piece of kit. It’s pricey, but I felt I had no other option to go with. I’m very happy with it so far, but time will tell if it will survive…
Here’s hoping it does.