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Review: Apple AirPort Extreme cures networking headaches for novice Mac users

The Apple AirPort Extreme cures networking headaches for novice Mac users with a simple setup, but competing devices offer Windows users more network customization and faster speeds for less.

Now playing: Watch this: Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station

Apple's latest refresh to its AirPort Extreme Base Station does little to set it apart from the previous model from back in December 2009. It borrows the same unobtrusive design, with an all-white housing and internal antennas that visually complements other Apple products, but if you value price and performance over simple aesthetics, we recommend the Editors' Choice-winning Asus RT-N56U router instead.

The new Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station offers faster networking performance than the older model, with few changes otherwise. The two share a physical resemblance, and they both feature the same simple installation, true dual-band connectivity, guest networking, and support for network printer and external storage.

The $179 price tag makes it more expensive than competing routers that offer more control over your network and similar speed. The majority of you can stretch your dollar further with the Asus RT-N56U, which features an intuitive Web interface and long-range performance in addition to a stylish case, but Mac users who value aesthetics over everything else won't be disappointed with the new AirPort Extreme.

For more details, including photos, video, and performance scores, check out CNET's full review of the 2011 Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station.