Best recommendation for a home Router with an accessible companion app
Hello Apple Vis,
I'm in the market for a new home router, and wondered what you guys recommend for a router that has an accessible companion app?
I've used the NetGear router, and even when I try and use it with my Netgear account it keeps giving me issues. However, I will say they've made some progress on their companion app.
I"m looking for something better.
Let me know what you guys recommend.
Hi Chuck! I bought an Apple Express router a few years ago, and it has never failed me! It is probably the same size as the first generations of Apple TV,s, and it does an amazing joh! The companioo Airport app is also 100 prosent accessible. If you own a Mac, the app is already there in your utilities folder, on iPhone you of course just have to download it.
There is also a somewhat more pricey option of Apple routers with the Airport Extreme, but for my use, I found out that the Extreme was a bit overkill.
Good luck :)
The accessibility of the iPhone app for the Google wifi mesh system is absolutely outstanding.
Since apple has relocated all its wireless engineers and is no longer updating its hardware, it makes little sense to buy an Apple Airport product. They decided, probably wisely, that other manufactureres were going to handle the mesh networking generation as well or better than they could, and they couldn't make their desired profit margin on it.
Nice to hear that Google is accesible.
I have Asus and have had Netgear in the past. Neither is fully accessible, but both are usable with some patience. There is a good comparison thread linked in the related threads section below.
The Safari Web page, app or no app, is an alternative. There are some issues with the Asus Web page on Safari, and i have to switch between Jaws and NVDA to get certain features usable on Windows.
The command line interface is worth learning for Asus: Asus routers, in my opinion, are for tweakers who want to mess with their routers a lot, which is probably not the case for anyone asking about an IOS companion app. asus pretty much frustrates the heck out of me, but only because I try to do the whole gambit with it, including bit torent and entware installs and virtual private networking. Really, life is too short to bother with any of it, so I don't recommend Asus in the end. The router and AICloud apps are both buggy.
After hearing that Apple will no longer support their Airport routers, I was just wondering if anyone out there had any suggestions for modern routers that had an accessible companion app, or even an accessible browser interface. I was looking online and so far am either looking at the Eero mesh system or a NetGear NightHawk X8 or x6 routers. Was curious to know if anyone tried the Eero or NetGear routers and whether or not their easy to use and configure? Or even if there are any other suggestions out there.
I just spoke to someone in the wireless department at Apple. Apple is not discontinuing the router's for now. They said that statement two years ago and they didn't stop production, or the firmware updates. Grab the airport router and the utility if you have an iPod touch, iPad, or even an iPhone unit. If you want to find out when things are officially discontinued, go to Apple's website which can be located at,
I've had a net gear router and I don't like they're technical support nor the design of they're web pages for updates. I decided to spend money on an apple router because Time Warner and I weren't getting along with my ID mate qwest. Hence why the Apple router came into play. I could connect that to the router, hide the network, and go on about my business. You can hide the network on any router, yes, but, i got tired of that particular device disconnecting. Try the Apple router. It's money well spent. By the way, in a lot of states, hardware is supported for five years except in California. That state has seven years of support.
Well, according to Mac Rumors and iMore, they are stopping production of the Airport Express, Extreme and Time Capsule routers.
iMore Article: https://www.imore.com/rip-airport
Mac Rumors Article: https://www.macrumors.com/roundup/airport/
Maybe I may have been a little early to jump the gun and replace my router, but Apple is indeed going to stop making them and will keep selling them until supplies run out. They will still service them for another 5 years, but if anyone were to ask me if they should buy one, I would tell them that they should probably look somewhere else.
After thinking about it longer, I may just hold off on changing my router and keep using my Airport Extreme for another year or two, but when it comes time to upgrade, there will no longer be an Apple option.
That's just it. Your pulling this from another source that deals with information. But, they have roomer's right now. This is why I said that in my earlier post it isn't official. I of course, am not telling you or anyone else who is reading this thread how to spend money. You do you as the saying goes. They haven't stopped production yet so why not just use them while they're still on the market. And remember that in California, you get two more years of support then all other states.
My apologies, for some odd reason, each time I tried to copy the link to the iMore article, my computer wouldn't copy it. I managed to copy it now and updated my last posts with the links.
Yes, MacRumors are linking to iMore's article, but iMore does report on what is currently happening in the world of technology. and yes, sometimes rumors and sometimes facts.
But iMore has verified with Apple that they are indeed discontinuing production of the Airport routers and will continue to sell them while supplies last. They are still selling them, but they are no longer making them.
So though most blogs do report sometimes on rumors and sometimes facts, when they have confirmation from the company themselves, I tend to believe it as fact, not a rumor.
I read someplace 18 months ago or so that Apple had re-assigned all their Airport engineers to other depts, suggesting that they'd concluded that there wasn't enough profit margin anymore, given that so many other companies offered strong(er) and increasingly stylish mesh network units. Apple would have had to invest a lot to keep up. They've pared back their product lines wherever they can't retain an extremely fat profit margin: airport, mac mini, ipod, time capsule, stand-alone monitors, etc.
I would really try to buy a router based on range and quality, first. I've never had one that was 100% smooth in terms of accessibility, but I've also never had one I couldn't effectively use, and how often does one have to mess with it? As I noted earlier in this thread, I have Asus now and would buy another one if it looked best at the time, even though the companion app is pretty annoying (but usable) and there are a couple of controls on the Web interface that I can't access without juggling browsers and screen readers (and between Mac and Windows at times). I've also had D-Link, Linksys, and Netgear. I run RMerlin alternative firmware on the Asus and ran DD-WRT alternative firmware on the Lynksys. Had no problem at all with DD-WRT. No iphone app that I know of, though. I think Netgear is pretty good, both in terms of staying with standard IOS/HTML controls and in terms of broadcast range.
Their "Orbi" system isn't a true mesh network, but spoke and hub--basically, a base unit and range extender that communicates through a "back haul" dedicated channel so as not to reduce bandwidth. But I'd go with that or another mesh network system, unless you're in a small house or apartment *and* aren't overwhelmed with other wi-fi networks in the area, as I absolutely am, thanks to being surrounded by rental houses and an apartment building. If it weren't for those congestion factors, my smallish house and yard wouldn't need a super-router or mesh network.
5Ghz 802.11AC with MIMO, plus simultaneous broadcast of 2.4 Ghz for smart home devices and the like (or for greater range) is really the minimum feature set that'll see someone through the next few years. On the other hand, companies go antenna crazy: 4x4 or even more. I don't have a single device that has more than 2x2 antennas, other than my 3-antenna router itself. I don't even know of any, except for range extenders. Mesh network devices are designed to be very simple to use, without zany features like the ability to run software (and yes, I run several software packages on mine and administer it using the Mac terminal program). It'll just be a really sound connection everywhere with a minimalistic app/Web page. I'd like to hear someone report on one of those systems in terms of accessibility, though, despite suspecting that it'll be better rather than worse than my current or past routers.
Looked back up the thread and realized how much I was repeating myself! Sorry about that. I'll even offer an argument against myself: there's still nothing wrong with buying an Apple Router. My Airport Express is still working after 8 years, and I'm sure Apple will continue support for the useful life of the newer airport products. Finally, prices may come down here as Apple's own supplies run down (they can spike again once they become rare in the after-market channels). So, if you really like Apple, it will continue to "route." I opted against one because Asus had better performance, but I liked the design of the Airporrt Extreme quite a bit. Depends on your priorities and needs, as you already know. Would like to hear reports from users of other products I haven't tried...
I've heard that Google Wi-Fi is accessible. I don't own one so can't say for certain. Google has been very good about making their iOS apps accessible, so I can't imagine why the Google Wi-Fi app wouldn't be. I also like that you can buy more than one device and create a mesh network.
I just set up my new wi-fi router from Ubiquiti, it's called Amplifi HD, and the setup couldn't be better, almost. There are maybe a handful of issues, but they are very small, and very easily navigated. Ubiquiti also has a mesh system that's engenious. You only have to connect the mesh point to power, and it syncs to the main router by it self. I can't recommend these enough. Hope this helps!
So, this thread made me curious enough to run by Best Buy and grab an Orbi AC3000 (on sale) to take a look at. I'm keeping it, because it's nice to have my full 100mbps download speed everywhere in my house and yard. Each unit looks like a giant tooth. If you're a dentist, you'll find it attractive. For the rest of us, not so much, maybe.
The companion app is both buggy and slightly annoying. Bugs include the inability to display my attached devices (about 30, including chromecasts, smart plugs, etc.). It hangs on the "loading..." screen forever. It also had some bugs in the product registration process that I won't bother to get into. Mainly, the app is usable. Everything can be clicked and it's easy to know what everything is. Each plainly-readable textual control is accompanied by an unlabled image that repeats the text, such as "icon_settings" or "black_back," which is somewhat annoying. The "speed test" feature doesn't render the results in a way readable by VoiceOver.
I doubt I'll be launching the app much. I tend to use the Web interface anyway, and that's as accessible as the other routers I've had: no problems doing anything I need to.
To set up, I plugged my laptop into the router using ethernet, and the admin screen popped up immediately to take me from there. Unfortunately, there's a default wi-fi password printed somewhere on the unit, so I couldn't connect directly to the router for set up using my phone.
To figure out which of the identical units was the router, I used Seeing AI and quickly identified which unit had "Internet" as a port label next to the sync button (the other unit just says "ethernet).
It's a good system for set-it-and-forget-it blazing wi-fi. There's a USB port on each unit that now can connect a printer; I'm using the port to power an Echo Dot on the satelite. Speaking of Alexa, there's an Alexa skill to enable/disable guest wireless and maybe a couple of other things.
Orbi has some advanced features available through the orbilogin.com browser interface, like port forwarding and OpenVPN, as well as a rudamentary firewall. 3 ethernet ports on the router, 4 on the satelite.
BTW, router reviews on Amazon are crawling with trolls and fake reviews. That's something I noticed a couple of years ago when buying my Asus router. Never seen anything like it. Though there are plenty of manufacturer-sponsored fake positive reviews, particularly for cheap Chinese generic products, some router manufacturers (Asus, I suspect) seem to be engaged in active warfare against one another. The Ubiquity system noted above in #12 got really good pro reviews, but seems to have been badly trolled on Amazon.
update: I'm returning the Orbi. 18 months or more after launch, fgthe software and firmware are still extremely buggy. Within that time, Netgear should have produced a smoothly-running product! Much as with my last NetGear router, they relased the product far too soon. If it's like my RangeMax, they'll figure it out about the time it goes off the shelves. I suspect that the 2.4GHz radio in my satelite is also not working, since devices drop off a cliff around the place where they would be expected to go from 5GHz to 2.4GHz on the satelite, and the result is very near to what I experience when using my old router. So, while it's nice to have great 5Ghz speeds for network transfers on the porch and in the back yard, that's not worth $300. Also, I had problems with HomeKit not activating automations and numerous problems with ChromeCast, which I put down to communication between the router and satelite. The minute I go back to the old router, I can chromecast to a group from VLC without a problem, as well as no longer receiving errors from my Google Home Mini.
And yes, I've rebooted, etc. I'm waiting for 802.11X in a couple of years.
Thanks everyone for the wonderful suggestions. After thinking about it all weekend, I may just hold off and wait a little longer before upgrading my Airport Extreme. Being that I am in a one floor condo, there isn't really any need for me to go the mesh route, so a single router should suffice for now. Maybe one day when I move into a bigger house, then a stronger or mesh routers may be a better option.
It is still nice to see what others are using and their experiences with setting them up.
I know that Apple had pulled away their teams working on the Airport routers over a year ago but this is the first time they've come out and said that they were no longer making them. Granted we kind of guessed it by them pulling away the team working on them, but at least now we know for sure. Like I said, my Airport is still working fine for now, but hearing others experiences, gives me an idea on what to consider when my Airport does eventually crap out. Now, when will that happen, no one knows.
Thanks to all for your suggestions.
If you have 802.11AC on your Extreme now, then I'd definitely hold onto it. In an apartment, honestly, there's actually no benefit above 802.11N, really, unless your neighbors are drowning your signal and you need more power. If you don't have 802.11AC and decide you could benefit, one option is to buy a Google Wi-FI router now (on sale for $115) and then add additional nodes when/if you need them in a larger space later. Like the other poster, I suspect its app will be accessible, though I can't say. Two years from now, as you may know, 802.11X routers/mesh units will be on the market.
See above for my revised take on the Orbi.
I just upgraded from a Netgear Modem router with an in-line power extension to an Apple TimeCapsule and could not be happier.
I get strong signal across all floors and in all rooms, the App is easy to navigate and the auto back up is great.
Yes the Google wifi app is accessible. I have one of the routers in my house and use the app all the time. I don't think the router is quite as strong as some of the others mentioned though. I may have to get a second Google wifi router to improve the signal in my house. I also believe the Eero app is accessible as well.
I do indeed have an AC Airport Extreme, and considering I live in a one floor condo that is about 1,000 square feet, getting a mesh router wouldn't be worth it right now. For now, I am still keeping my Airport and perhaps in a few years, I may consider getting a new one, but for now, my Airport does the job just fine.
I am glad to hear that the Eero app is possibly accessible, as if I ever were to move into a larger home and would need a mesh system, that is probably one of the first I would look at.
Thanks again for all the suggestions, definitely a lot of options to choose from.
The Linksys app is pretty good. There's an issue or two but I'd give it 4 out of 5. The Velop I have also has a web interface that's better than the app in one or two areas and has more settings. But since the unit is password protected by default, when you first set it up you'll need to use the Linksys app on your phone. However the setup process, at least, is great. They ask for your email address, unlike most standalone routers. But I have over 100 Mbps usually on my secondary node. Both nodes areidentical and no need to use a particular one for the main one, they're square shaped about 7 inches high and 3 inches wide. One of the few downsides is there's only 2 ethernet ports on each unit. I don't think it matters which one is used for Internet, but I use the bottom one closest to the power socket.
This post is half-warning, half-rant. Sorry for the rant part.
I recently bought an Arris Surfboard G34. The lack of accessibility is reprehensible.
The Surfboard Central app has some mislabeled text fields. Arris also makes you set up an account in order to use the app, and they verify your email address by sending a code. But I could not enter the code using my Bluetooth keyboard with VoiceOver. The app seemed to be designed to walk me through router setup, but there was no option to skip that step if the router was already up and running, so I never could find out if the app had any use beyond initial setup.
I already had the router up and running by using the router configuration web page. However, the configuration web page itself has at least two accessibility issues. The most egregious is the omnipresent use of visual CAPTCHA challenges. There is no accessible alternative challenge, and after speaking with their customer support, I understand there is no way to disable the challenges. But they pop up just about any time you want to change any router setting. The other accessibility issue is the use of dialogs. This might be a Mac Safari problem, but VoiceOver doesn't announce that a dialog is open and focus doesn't jump to the dialog.But then this is a problem I remember from the Windows 7 and JAWS days. Why web browsers can't make dialogs accessible is beyond comprehension.
Why did I buy this product? The Arris Surfboard I purchased five years ago had an entirely accessible configuration web page. I had no reason to believe that their latest products would be less accessible. Sadly, that's the world we live in.
I've just got the standard Eero, only two ethernet ports on it and one will either be for connecting to a modem or directly to your broadband.
The app does have some little issues with labelling and navigation but this tends to be in the deeper controls for things like port forwarding though, with a bit of patients you can get around that too.
They can be set up in a mesh so great for bigger plots but also something I like is that it can be controlled from outside the home, useful if you need to check state of certain devices or open ports and so on. For about £70 it was a good option for me at least.