Best Wi-Fi system with Monterey

Hello everyone.

I am back with WiFi and home network issues. I have a MacBook Pro M1 Max and it can’t see my Apple Airport Express wifi network. Is it time I move off of the Apple network? If so, and I realize I probable should, what are the best options now, in 2022?

Thanks in advance any and all comments and suggestions.

I believe the OS, Monterey or earlier (or future), is largely inconsequential for this issue. Apple’s AirPorts are dated as is the related utility. IMO the best tech today is mesh WiFi, and there are a number of very good ones available, with various speeds and capabilities to consider depending on your needs. I switched to eero some time ago in 2 houses, and am totally satisfied.

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Thanks. I will check out eero. My problem is t that Monterey can’t see my Airport Expresses.

I have an M1 Pro MacBook Pro and Monterey can see and access all my Airport base stations, the latest Extreme, several Express stations and the second oldest Express station (looks like a power charger).

Thanks! And now I can! When I wrote my post I could not see anything but the Apple Time Machine. None of the others were there. Now they are. What the . . . . So you have not abandoned the Apple wifi system? I think I am ready but I have not pulled the trigger. Thanks again.

I have the house hardwired for ethernet in many locations. So I don’t need a mesh system. For that reason I am currently still good with the Apple Airport stations. Of the topic, since nobody answered my other post “Monterey bug emailing HEIC photos”. Can you check with your system what behavior you are getting?

I have had no problems emailing photos. Not sure what HEIC means. I am NOT hard wired, and I need a reliable wireless for the whole house. So far, so good with Airport Express network using 3 stations.

I too have several Airport Extreme for Wi-Fi. I got them when my workplace changed to a new system. I do all the heavy stuff on ethernet, and see no reason to get rid of them. They are far more reliable than the Asus and D-Link routers I have had in the past.

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One doesn’t have much to do with the other. If you have multiple base stations (whether connected by Ethernet or anything else), you are creating multiple Wi-Fi networks, even if they have the same SSID and password. As such, there are often connectivity issues with devices that roam about your home and need to switch from one base station to another as they move.

As mesh system, whether the nodes communicate with each other wirelessly or over an Ethernet backbone, should create a single Wi-Fi network that has multiple access points. This should provide more seamless roaming for devices that move around your home.

Of course, if you’re not encountering any problems (or if the problems aren’t that bad to you), then there’s no reason to switch. My point is just that the presence of an Ethernet backbone in your home doesn’t automatically rule out a Wi-Fi mesh network.

(FWIW, my home is not using a mesh. I’ve got two Wi-Fi routers configured for the same SSID and password, connected using a powerline network backbone. It works, but sometimes I see long downloads or streams break if the device moves from one side of the house to anohter as a result of switching from one router to the other.)

HEIC refers to the High Efficiency Image File Format, a format Apple uses in lieu of JPEG for photos taken on recent model devices (iPhones, iPads, etc.)

HEIC images can also contain video content, which is how Apple supports Live Photos.

With my Airport Extremes, I have no problems with moving around the house. I can start a download in one room and walk all the way around it with no breaks.

Unless you have fairly new Macs or iDevices, you won’t fully benefit from installing a Wi-Fi 6 router. That’s my current condition, but I don’t need any Airport Expresses to supplement my newest AirPort Extreme and I don’t need to transfer files between devices, so it would be premature for me to upgrade at this time. None of my network devices are capable of WPA3 either, which might be another reason for an upgrade.

Good points, Al. We have 3 devices capable of WPA3, but the issue is not speed for us. It’s getting a strong signal to one part of the house. And buying an AirPort Extreme now means buying a used piece of equipment. Not sure if the cost of an AirPort Extreme would be of any benefit. If I went that direction I’d put the money into completely new system and not an AirPort Extreme. Thanks, Al.

Hi John,

I was sad to have to swap out my Airport/Airport Express combo, but I’m very happy with the pair of Asus XT8 mesh routers we’ve been using for about 6 months. My house also has Ethernet along its backbone, but many of our devices (33 currently connected to the network) require WiFi for connectivity. The XT8 routers are on the Ethernet backbone rather than “backhauling” by WiFi, and they provide a strong, fast signal with seamless changeover for all of our mobile devices.

When I previously posted about the Asus combo, a commenter seemed to confuse these with one of Asus’ value-priced offerings. These are in a different class altogether. My favorite part is that the iOS/iPadOS apps for the router can control just about every imaginable setting without looking complex.

I should also note that the first set of replacements for my Airport Extreme was a Netgear Orbi setup, and I found it to be limited, rigid in its approach, and unstable. The Asus setup is as close to fun as you’ll ever have with routers.

For TidBITS articles about mesh network hardware, check out:


I have to echo Matt here. When I upgraded from an AirPort Extreme I went with a Netgear Orbi system at first because it had an excellent rating at the Wirecutter. But it was flakey, hard to setup, and after a few months broke down completely.

I’m now on an Asus mesh system and it performs flawlessly.

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Hi Matt. Thanks for the reply. Asus might be my solution. I will review the articles Adam mentioned.

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Thanks Allen. Asus might be what we need.

Thanks, Adam.

Until recently we had a 2016 Airport Extreme and a 2011 Airport 802.11a/b/g/n running in bridge mode. In October we started having serious problems with signal drop-out. I did some research and decided on a TP Link AC1300 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System Deco M5 that we’ve been very satisfied with. Although it has Ethernet backhaul we aren’t wired for it so we use Wi-Fi backhaul. The Deco 5 includes TP-Link HomeCare that uses a threat database updated by Trend Micro to help block malware at the router. I especially liked the large amount of info available at the TP-Link Support web site. Note that before you install the router it requires you to create an account at TP-Link and the use of an app to set up the network. After it’s set up you can manage it with either the app or (somewhat) via web page.

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Just to be clear, this model is still an 802.11ac WiFi, so if you currently have computers/devices that are 802.11ax you won’t see the full speed potential for them. I feel it’s important to know the capabilities of your current (and any contemplated new purchase) computers/devices before launching into research.