Well, I've been living with the Apple Airport Extreme for a bit over a week now, and I wanted to give a few updates on how things are going.
One thing I hadn't tried yet when I wrote about it previously, was to see how the admin tool works on the Windows side. I mostly use the Mac these days, but I do still have Windows running on another machine (and Vista at that!) and I wanted to give it a try. I'm happy to report that the Windows version of the admin tool is basically identical to the Mac version. It has all the same controls, icons, features etc that the Mac version does, all in the same places. This makes it very easy to switch between the two since they are nearly identical. The only difference is that the Windows version doesn't have the little search box in the upper right hand corner of the window. This is a handy feature for finding things in the app and it's loss on the Windows side is unfortunate. The admin app also appears to work perfectly in Vista - a very good sign.
I do have one complaint about the UI of the admin tool though, both in Windows and in the Mac. The problem is, when you go to the manual setup, there is just so much stuff in there, that it's hard to find things. Some features seem really buried in the UI and they can be hard to find, and once you do find them, it can be hard to get back out from them. One example of this is the DHCP client list. This list shows you all the computers that are currently connected to your router, along with their MAC addresses. It's a very handy list to have when you are trying to set up DHCP to always assign the same IPs to certain machines. The problem is that this list is buried underneath a 'logs' button. Once you click this 'Logs' button, the UI changes to allow you access to the logs, but there is no clear way back out of the logs section, short of clicking on one of the main tab icons on the top. On the plus side, this DHCP static IP feature seems to work well on the AE. It seems to be setting the IPs properly as I configure them. I could never get that to work properly for all devices on my old router. The admin app really needs to be reorganized a bit, to make some of these more buried features a bit easier to find.
I've also had a chance to work with the HD sharing using the Airport Extreme, since my last blog. This feature seems a bit 'iffy' so far. It works, but not perfectly. Sometimes when you plug a HD into it, it automatically detects the drive and prompts you to connect to it. Sometimes it doesn't. Even though it doesn't prompt you, the drive is there. You can actually see the drive as a share on it, if your browse through your network. This means you can easily connect to the drives, even if they aren't autodetected and mount them in Windows or the Mac. Basically, your AE shows up as just another computer on your network that happens to be sharing a couple of 'folders'. These folders are actually the entire hard drives themselves, but it is a logical approach to handling it. I've also noticed that my external HDs tend to get quite hot if left running for a while... I don't think this is a problem with the AE, but with the external enclosures I have them in... They have no ventilation, so the drives are getting too hot. I'm probably going to have to investigate getting some better designed enclosures for those. I don't like how hot those things are getting.
All in all, I still like the AE. It works well, and it looks great. I love that it doesn't have any ugly antennas sticking up all over the place, like all the other wireless routers out there.