People love Apple’s doomed AirPort more than any other router

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Apple's routers are #1.
Apple's routers are #1.
Photo: Apple

Apple sure seems to be doing routers right. At least according to the more than 3,000 customers polled in J.D. Power’s 2016 Wireless Router Satisfaction Report.

Apple came out as the top-rated router manufacturer in Overall Satisfaction, which would be great news for the AirPort team — if Apple hadn’t just disbanded it.

Earlier this month, the company disbanded the division that develops its Wi-Fi routers. Apple reportedly is scrapping the product line in order to focus on core (and more profitable) consumer products, but in doing so the company will be getting rid of a product that customers seem to really dig.

Routers are improving

It might seem surprising to those of us who still have headaches with Wi-Fi connections that, on the whole, people are a lot happier with their routers than before. The J.D. Power survey, released today, registered jumps in satisfaction in each of the 10 factors measured.

2016_wireless_router_chart
Overall customer satisfaction with Wi-Fi routers is up across the board.
Photo: J.D. Power

People are more willing to stick with the company that made their router, and are paying more for new ones. After Apple, the most popular routers came from ASUS, D-Link and TP-Link.

Ease of use — which includes the setup process — is up by 30 points, while overall satisfaction gained 24. The features of the various routers on the market in 2016 also got higher favorables. Connection reliability is up by 24, transfer speeds by 25, and signal range by 28. Less than 20 percent of customers said they experienced any router problems, which seems remarkably low.

The top gripes were how often users had to reset their routers, general data speeds, and the difficulty of setup. With Apple supposedly bowing out of the router ring — and with its customers switching to different brands when upgrading in the future — the results of coming years’ reports will likely look quite different.