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My home network is served by a Time Capsule 802.11ac, connected to an Airport Extreme 802.11ac via wired Ethernet to extend the range of the Time Capsule.

The Airport Extreme just died. I opened it up, checked that the power supply is OK (it's outputting 12 V just fine, and not just on its own, but with all connectors plugged in), cleaned everything with compressed air, but it's still dead.

I'm looking for a replacement WiFi repeater/router, and obviously with the discontinuation of the AirPort line, it's not an option. Looks like mesh WiFi is all the rage these days. My question is, are they going to be compatible with the existing Time Capsule in the network? Can anyone recommend a specific model which they've had success with? And while beggars can't be choosers, I'd really like to keep using the Ethernet connection to avoid wasting wireless bandwidth if possible.

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There are Airport Extremes available on Amazon and Ebay.

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  • While true, Apple Killed off the product in April 2018 and actually stopped development in 2016. It’s counterproductive to get an out of warranty, obsolete router when you can get a modern router so cheaply. – Allan Apr 2 at 19:36
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    @Allan, some of them are refurbed and might be warrantied. The discussion I found on apple.com is more of the "buy and try it" flavor. 802.11ac is pretty modern/fast. And, people still buy old cars, guns, etc because they like them and they work. – marklark Apr 2 at 19:41
  • Speed is not the only concern, constantly evolving security threats are an issue and you can't upgrade a device that's no longer being supported. And yes, people like old guns and cars, but you'll never see them being used as daily drivers. – Allan Apr 2 at 19:57
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I would avoid this type of setup for two reasons:

  • Security. I’m not at all comfortable with putting my data on the “edge” of the network the way these devices do.
  • Availability and reliability. The problem with all-in-one devices like this is if it goes down, you lose everything all at one.

I talk more about in another answer for a similar question.

Getting two separate devices like a NAS (For the TM Backups) and a dedicated router brings in a level of reliability and availability that you don’t get with these bundled devices.

Plus, you get the added benefit of being able to upgrade the individual your router to the latest features (i.e. mesh) without having to worry about your storage; and vice versa.

If you have the technical skill (it sounds like you do), I would go with a pfSense router (Community Edition; free) and put it on a cheap desktop. You can add a WiFi adapter directly to box or go with the Ubiquiti setup I talked about in the link above.

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  • Perhaps I wasn't clear enough in my question. I have a still-working Time Capsule which is playing double duty as WiFi router and Time Machine backup destination. The AirPort Extreme which died was merely a dumb repeater for the Time Capsule. I only need a new repeater -- can't really afford to overhaul my whole network at the time, and I don't see the point in decommissioning the Time Capsule while it still works. – swineone Apr 2 at 22:52
  • You can connect the Time Capsule into any network port - it doesn't have to be directly into the router. If this is the case, I'd build myself a pfSense box as described, get a cheap switch (8 ports will be more than enough) plug in your TC and router into that and you're good to go. Any off the shelf consumer router will do fine, also, if you don't want to go the pfSense route. You won't need the switch as one is usually built in, but I always put a better one like a Netgear for reliability – Allan Apr 2 at 22:56

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