Routers to Replace The AirPort Extreme & Time Capsule


[UPDATED November 2021]

There’s a lot of things to consider when choosing the best router for your Mac and other iOS devices. For one, you have to ensure that the router you’re getting is of good quality and is capable of supporting all your activities and devices. The best choice before was Apple’s AirPort Extreme but the company discontinued these in 2018. Hence, if your AirPort is becoming old and slow, it’s high time to look for other options, even if it holds a special place in your heart – as it does in ours.

You need to consider four main factors in choosing the router to replace your AirPort: your internet package speed, the size of your home, the expected number of connected devices, and the desired router features. Here are some of the best options you have that are currently available in the market.

Linksys Max-Stream EA7500 Wireless Router (now $149.99 from $219.99)

If you’re looking for the best of the best without having to consider the budget, you should check out the Linksys Max-Stream EA7500 Wireless Router. Not only is this router reliable, but it also provides great performance and amazing coverage. This router is capable of supporting over 25 devices all connected simultaneously. Isn’t that just incredible?

In addition, the EA7500 also features the famous MU-MIMO technology. This means that it allows more than one user to stream on several devices at the same time. It can also cover up to 1,500 square feet, so it’s great for those with bigger spaces. Serving as a dual-band router, the EA7500 offers a 2.4GHz as well as a 5GHz. The 2.4GHz band can run at a speed of up to 600Mbps while the 5GHz band can run up to 1300Mbps.

NETGEAR WiFi Router R6230 (now $49.99 from $74.99)

On the other hand, if you’re a little bit tight on the budget, you might consider the NETGEAR WiFi Router R6230. This is a router that provides good performance while still being easy on the pocket. It comes with an 880MHz processor, 2 amplified antennas, and advanced QoS. Despite it being more affordable compared to other routers, the R6230 does not compromise on quality and performance. It provides AC1200 speed with a wireless coverage of 1200 square feet. Connect up to 20 devices and you can still stream videos and play games all at the same time.

Gryphon Smart Mesh Wireless Router (now $199 from 219)

If high performance is what you’re after, then there’s probably no better option than the Gryphon Smart Mesh Wireless Router. For one, it features simultaneous tri-band radios. Yes, you read that right. This router comes with 2.4GHz and two 5GHz bands. Overall, this router can provide 3Gbps.

Plus, it also comes with antenna Beamforming as well as 4×4 MU-MIMO technology. Thanks to this, the Gryphon Smart Mesh Wireless Router can accommodate streaming on more than a single device at the same time. Its features stop the streaming from lagging or slowing down. This router can also cover up to 3,000 square feet, which you can also increase by adding extra points since it functions similar to a mesh system. And we have to say, we love how it looks.

Gryphon AX ($279)

Another winner from Gryphon is the Gryphon AX, designed ideally for smart homes where several devices will be connected. Some of its features include 40% Faster WiFi Connectivity and Intrusion & Malware Smart Home Protection. This device offers 4.3Gbps so it can support several devices and has a coverage of up to 3,000 square feet. This is a Gryphon Parent Control router as well and connects the Gryphon app so it’s easier to manage from the tip of your hands.

The app itself is easy to set up and you’ll be able to see everything that’s on your network. To make sure that your system is well-protected, this device features Intelligent Intrusion Detection, Daily Security Updates, Device Vulnerability Scanning, and Malware Filtering. It’s like a cyber-armor that protects the whole family at home.

NETGEAR Nighthawk XR500 Router (now $198.99 from $249.99)

Now, if you’re a gamer and you’re using an Apple device, possibly the best router for you is the Netgear Nighthawk XR500 Router. Who else knows gaming requirements but gamers themselves? Hence, you’d be glad to know that this router was actually designed by gamers for gamers. With this in mind, the XR500 probably has all the features you’d need or want in a router for gaming purposes.

For one, this router provides excellent performance and ensures that you get the lowest ping possible while playing through optimization. It also utilizes geo-filtering to ensure that users are connected to the closest services and players available. In addition, it can also deliver a speed of up to 2.6Gbps. It also features QoS that allows users to bypass network congestion as well as decrease any potential for lag spikes. This allows users to play uninterrupted games and isn’t that what a gamer truly wants?

Google WiFi Mesh System Router (now $174.16 from $269)

On the other hand, if extended coverage is what you’re on the lookout for, you can check out the Google WiFi Mesh System Router. It features an excellent extended system for any Mac setup. This router is possibly the best mesh system out there right now. It features a network assist technology that provides users with a strong signal at any point. You can also extend this by adding more points. Considering the proper configuration of all points, this router can actually cover up to 4,500 square feet.

Whichever router you choose to replace your AirPort, just make sure that it can meet your specific needs. A router of this caliber may cost you a bit, so ensuring that it has the features that you need is important. These options are some of the best out there today, so you won’t be disappointed with their performances.

TP-Link Deco Mesh WiFi System (now $109.99 from 149.99)

On the more affordable side is the TP-Link Deco Mesh WiFi System. Even if it’s relatively cheaper, it certainly doesn’t compromise on quality. This system comes with three units that work seamlessly to build a WiFi mesh network. Together, they can cover an area of up to 5,500 square feet with no dead zone. Instead of using WiFi range extenders, we believe that using a mesh WiFi system like this is better for the Wifi to be seamless and stable. Even if there are three units, you only need one network name and password and you’ll stay connected throughout the entire house. You pay less and you still get the amazingly fast AC1200 speeds!

ORBOCOM Whole Home Mesh WiFi System (now $139.99 from 149.99)

Some mesh WiFi systems require customers to download apps to manage everything. While it’s not applicable for all systems, some of these apps tend to be clunky and difficult to use. If you prefer a mesh WiFi system that you can manage through a web interface, you can try out the ORBOCOM Whole Home Mesh WiFi System. You won’t have to provide your data to the manufacturer through the app, which makes the management of the system more secure and private. This system is dual-band and provides great gigabit fiber service and incredibly fast internet. You can even prioritize devices and set up a guest network if desired. A single unit can cover up to 2,000 square feet and if you want more, you can just add more units. How easy is that?


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Alexander Fox

19 Comments

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    1. Hi Jeremy!

      All of these routers have at least four ethernet ports on the backside, so they will also work as wired ethernet routers. And if you need something like a four or eight port switch, nearly any reputable brand like Netgear or TP-Link will be a decent choice for a home network.

    2. Thanks, Alexander. Does use of a switch to disperse ethernet signals intrinsically slow the speed of each signal in a way that use of a router wouldn’t? Does one want a router instead of a switch in order to acquire an additional firewall?

      Thanks, again.

      Jeremy

    3. Good questions! A switch won’t slow your connection, and neither would a router. If you’ve already got a router connected to your modem, it’s far easier and less expensive to use an Ethernet switch over an additional router.

      Also, the firewall provided by most consumer routers is a fairly flimsy bit of security. It’s typically a happy by-product of the network address translation (NAT) protocol, which tends to reject unexpected packets. An additional router on the interior of your network won’t provide an additional security, and the software firewall on your computer is doing the heavy lifting anyway.

    1. I am optimistic about Google WiFi, and I look forward to hearing more about it as consumers get their hands on actual units. Right now, I don’t think we know enough about it to make a confident statement about whether it would be a good choice.

  1. Great and timely information! I have an extended (roaming) network with two Airport Express on the same LAN. It works beautifully as I used the Airpirt setup software to set it up. .
    My question is, Can this be replicated using these routers? I.e., two Aeros or two Netgears set up for roaming on the same network?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi T! If you want to set up one network with multiple routers, Eero is going to be your best bet. That’s by far the easiest way to use multiple access points on the same network. You’ll have the same network name for your routers, and the software should intelligently select the access point with the best signal.

    1. Hi Chuck! My understanding is that none of these mess with with AirPrint. I know that some routers can exhibit this behavior, but short of talking with someone who has used all of them personally, I can’t confirm definitively. But my research and my personal experience with the TP-Link Archer has suggested that the routers are compatible with AirPrint, provided you have an AirPrint-enabled printer.

  2. Had to replace an apple airport extreme that stopped working.
    Tried linksys first. After much heart ache and time with tech support, it turns out linksys routers do not support OS X EL Capitan or above in regards to USB print serve function and Time Machine function. If these two functions are important, don’t buy linksys.

    I then purchased a ASUS AC1900 router from Best Buy for $150 (price match Amazon) and USB print serve and Time Machine work perfect, just like native MAC. In fact, everything else works great, multiple MACs PC, iphones etc connect work no problem, signal out to driveway, 2 story home, basement everything connects and prints.
    easy to set up, 20 minutes
    No complaints. Hope this helps

  3. I have a TimeCapsule that keeps overheating. I’m wondering if I bought one of these to be my primary router and then used the TimeCapsule as an extender and backup it might solve this problem. Thoughts?

  4. My Time Capsule has been over heating. Can i buy one of these to use as my primary router and still have the Time Capsule work as backup? Do you still use Airport software to set up or something different?

    Thanks!

    1. The Netgear router should work with a Time Capsule, since basically any router will work with a Time Capsule. It doesn’t need an Airport device to function.

      Also, the Time Capsule actually functions as a 802.11n router, so you could replace your Airport with the Time Capsule itself: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201510

      I am assuming, of course, you have an actual Apple Time Capsule rather than a network-connected disk enclosure that’s performing the same function.

      If you have something like a Western Digital drive plugged into your router’s USB port, that will also work fine on the Netgear router. It specifically supports HFS+ but I can’t see any news about Apple File System. You may want to look into that especially on newer models of the router.

  5. Hi

    I have what you might call a hybrid system at the moment with an Apple Time Capsule acting as the wifi router (and providing some back-up functionality) which is linked into a Devolo Magic 2 home networking system to extend wifi coverage around the property. All in all it is pretty seamless and the Devolo “Home Network” App is great for controlling and checking how the system is functioning.

    But, as we all know, the Time Capsule is getting quite elderly and before it ends up in intensive care I am minded to swap it out for something else. My question is what that something else should be? I don’t really want to ditch Devolo as I have spent many $$$s on it and it functions well but I think the Time Capsule is now the limiting factor and restricting the connection speeds for the various items.

    Any ideas? Ideally, I’d like something pretty future proof (e.g. does that mean WiFi 6?) and easy to set-up with the existing Devolo system.

    Many thanks

  6. Hi, I bought a EA7500 after reading this article. But I am not being able to make it work with my macAir…

    I’ve already formatted as HFS+ , I can “mount” in MacOS but TimeMachine doesn’t recognizes it.

    Any idea? Thanks

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