What it is: Apple recently discontinued their AirPort WiFi routers, so you need to find a third-party solution instead.
Although WiFi is there crucial link keeping computers, tablets, and even smartphones connected to the Internet, Apple chose to let their AirPort WiFi routers languish until they finally announced they’re discontinuing this product line. That means if you want a WiFi router, you’ll have to rely on a third-party solution instead. Apple likely dumped their WiFi routers because third-party solutions were cheaper and updated more often. Apple didn’t update their AirPort products often so they usually fell behind compared to their competitors.
WiFi routers are a commodity so Apple likely decided they didn’t want to waste time duplicating the features of third-party products. So if you need a WiFi router, this is what Apple suggests you look for:
- IEEE 802.11ac, which is the latest wireless-networking standard
- Simultaneous dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz), which allows the router to transmit over both frequencies at the same time, so no matter which band your wireless devices use, they automatically connect to the best available band for the fastest possible performance
- WPA2 Personal (AES) encryption, which is currently the strongest form of security available in a Wi-Fi router
- MIMO or MU-MIMO, which can offer improved performance when many devices use your Wi-Fi network simultaneously, you want to take full advantage of a high-speed Internet connection, or you need Wi-Fi coverage over a larger area
MU-MIMO (Multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output technology) allows a Wi-Fi router to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously. This can reduce choppy video and continual buffering that creates a stop and go experience when viewing videos or playing online games. This is the feature you need to look for to improve your WiFi experience.
So is Apple dropping their AirPort routers a big problem? Not really because Apple didn’t offer anything that third-parties couldn’t offer just as well. Apple excels when they offer hardware that rivals can’t duplicate or compete against. WiFi routers need to follow a standard so third-parties offer better solutions than Apple ever did.
While Apple may be selling AirPort routers cheaply to get rid of them, it’s probably not a good idea to get one since you’ll be buying obsolete technology. Stick with a newer WiFi router even if you have to pay a little more. You’ll be happier in the long run.