If you’re looking to buy or upgrade your AirPort router, then you may be surprised to find that Apple’s abandoned the product. Luckily, there are plenty of powerful replacements for the AirPort.
The Apple AirPort is a celebrated, modern router that looks good and functions how it should. Sadly, it’s been discontinued. And with the rise of mesh Wi-Fi systems and superpowered gigabit routers, a slightly outdated (yet surprisingly expensive) AirPort may not be worth your time.
The demise of AirPort is disappointing, but Apple isn’t leaving its fans dead in the water. After announcing the AirPort’s death, Apple published a support page that explains how to find the perfect AirPort alternative. There they outline that the company’s products work best with MIMO or MU-MIMO routers that support IEEE 802.11ac and simultaneous dual band connections. In laymen’s terms, Apple products work well with mildly expensive, modern routers.
Of course, it can be hard to tell the difference between a good router and a bad router, especially if you don’t know anything about router specifications. That’s why we’ve taken the time to find direct alternatives to the AirPort router. All of these routers line up with Apple’s AirPort specifications, and some of them are actually mesh Wi-Fi systems that guarantee easy whole-home coverage.
Linksys Velop Mesh Wi-Fi System ($262)
If you’re looking for a router that looks like the AirPort, then you should check out the Linksys Velop Mesh Wi-Fi system. Apple actually sells the Linksys Velop on its website as a direct alternative to the AirPort router, and for good reason. It has the same Wi-Fi standards as the AirPort, but each beacon has a range of 1,500 feet.
Like the Apple AirPort, the Linksys Velop is super easy to set up. You connect one beacon to your modem, and then you just plug the other two into outlets around the house. Each beacon puts out a highspeed Wi-Fi signal, and you can use the Ethernet port on any beacon around your home (even if it isn’t plugged into your modem).
Google Mesh Wi-Fi System ($260)
The Google Wi-Fi is one of our favorite mesh Wi-Fi systems. It’s easy to set up (and forget about), but it’s also open to a lot of tinkering and customization. And since Google Wi-Fi hub has a range of 1,500 feet, you can expect your home to be fully covered. Google Wi-Fi is also open to the Google Assistant ecosystem, which is nice if you have a lot of smarthome products integrated into your home.
Google Wi-Fi is up to the same standards as the Apple AirPort, so you don’t have to worry about any slow speeds or connectivity issues. And since it’s a mesh Wi-Fi system, you can use it to bring reliable Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity to every room in your home. Aside from being an AirPort alternative, the Google Wi-Fi is a great replacement for your outdated Apple router.
eero Home Mesh Wi-Fi System ($400)
If you’re a fan of Amazon smarthome products, then you should consider the eero Home mesh WiFi system as an AirPort alternative. Amazon bought eero earlier this year, and the company’s made an effort to integrate the eero routers into the Alexa ecosystem. This is a great device for anyone that wants to turn on parental controls with simple a voice command.
The eero mesh Wi-Fi system is up to Apple’s Wi-Fi standards, and each eero beacon has a 1,500-foot range. Since it’s a mesh Wi-Fi system, you can expect the eero to bring reliable signals and ethernet connectivity to every room in your home.
NETGEAR N900 Router with 2TB of Built-In Storage ($215)
If you’re looking for a Airport alternative that can function like an Airport Time Capsule, then you should check out the NETGEAR N900 router. The AirPort Time Capsule was, essentially, an AirPort router with built-in networking storage. It’s a great device for people that work from home, like graphics designers or writers, or for people that want to have remote storage without paying for a cloud service.
The N9000 comes with 2TB of built-in storage, so you can use it as a NAS right out of the box. If 2TB isn’t enough for you, you could always upgrade the external storage or attach an external drive via USB. The NETGEAR N900 lives up to Apple’s AirPort standards, and it’ll work well as a Time Capsule stand-in. That being said, it isn’t a mesh Wi-Fi system (of course, the AirPort isn’t either). If you want a consistent whole-home connection with NAS features, then you could pair a mesh Wi-Fi system like the Google Wi-Fi with a NAS product like the Synology DiscStation.
NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Router ($388)
The NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 is a popular, powerful router. It makes a great AirPort alternative, especially if you’re in need of a fast, gamer-ready router. It isn’t a mesh Wi-Fi router, but its four antennas put out a signal that can cover even the largest homes. Plus, it’s built with dynamic QoS software that can automatically prioritize bandwidth allocation for different devices. In other words, your Kindle update won’t throttle your Fortnite connection.
Because the NETGEAR Nighthawk has a gigabit connection port, it’s an ideal router for gamers and geeks that rely on an ethernet connection. That being said, the Nighthawk is around the same price as some high quality mesh Wi-Fi systems. If you’re more interested in Wi-Fi connectivity than wired connections, then you should consider grabbing a mesh Wi-Fi system.
Linksys Max-Stream AC2200 MU-MIMO Router ($144)
If you’re in the market for a powerful, easy to use AirPort alternative, then you should check out the Linksys Max-Stream AC2200. Because the AC2200 can prioritize the bandwidth allocation for different devices, it makes for a great gaming router. And although isn’t a mesh Wi-Fi system, it puts out a powerful signal that can easily cover a large home.
Like the NETGEAR Nighthawk, the Linksys AC2200 has a gigabit connection port. This makes it ideal for people who want to make the most of an ethernet connection for gaming or uploading large files.