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Airport Extreme – it had so much promise

October 3, 2010

In a follow-up to a previous post, I purchased a refurbished Apple Airport Extreme.

Long story short, the device was faulty. I took it to an Apple Store, and they said that the Apple Store is different from the online store, and it was really difficult to arrange a replacement. A really earnest, and, in the end, competent, assistant wound me through the Apple ways, and I walked out of the store with a brand new Airport Extreme. Before anyone thinks that was my hope before I walked in the store, I really, truly wanted the thing to work without having the hassle of returning it.

Anyhow, the replacement worked very well when talking about simple networking. Expected Gigabit wired and wireless ‘N’ devices worked great.

But the effing printer simply wouldn’t work reliably using the Airport Extreme USB port. We have a fairly standard ‘HP Jet Direct’ protocol Samsung CLP-315 color laser printer. The iMac hooked up to it, no problem, and was consistent. However, my Win 7 box, and the Win 2008 Server box simply wouldn’t reliably connect to the printer. I tried Apple Bonjour Print Services, and that was a waste of space. I tried every which way using the ‘Add a Printer’ wizard in Windows, using an IP address, using a UNC name, but it would work once and then fail, at best. Most of the time it just sulked.

What is so frustrating is that we’ve had this Buffalo Print Server working reliably, every time, for, lo, these many years to create and use a network printer. Why can’t any of the major networking providers simply replicate the behavior of a standard device?

So the new Airport Extreme went back to the Apple store (I really did want it to work out), and I’m disgusted that Apple can’t turn out a product that will work as advertised.

Back to our humble Belkin router, I’m afraid. We’ll solve the network speed problem with a USB drive attached directly to the laptop.

Categories: computery stuff
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