Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tested: Apple's Airport Extreme

We have many clients whose team members bringing "solutions" into the office in an attempt to extend the WiFi network. Many times, those are Apple Airport Extremes. So we decided to try replacing our office wireless access point with one; here's a quick summary of our findings.
  • The setup was quick and easy.
    • We were surprised that the 5ghz broadcast radio does not come enabled by default!
    • You have to find it in the app's Wireless Options and turn it on.
  • The signals were good and strong, enabling good WiFi connections to every device we connected.
  • We use multiple SSIDs that segregate WiFi traffic into different VLANs, just like most of our clients do.
    • There is not a way for the Airport Extreme to recognize VLANs in its configuration.
    • Thus, all access is the same, with the exception of setting up a guest network in the device configuration; but the guest network does not accomplish what we need and accomplish via VLANs.
The bottom line is that it's an elegant wireless access point, but is only suitable for consumer-grade applications (like at home) vs enterprise applications (like at work).

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