I agree with everyone here about this. I just got my Airport Extreme yesterday and that was the first thing I noticed. I immediately began "googling" and searching the forums at Apple to determine if this was a common issue. To my surprise (being an Apple fan), it is all too common.
I have also noticed that the sound appears to be more prominant with heavy traffic. For example, I have a shared drive connected to my AE, and one partition of it is used for my Time Machine drive on my iMac. While it is performing a backup, the noise is very noticable.
I guess on the positive...it should be a good way to keep mice of your home office!
I just got my Airport Extremem today and noticed the noise coming from it. It is horrible. I took video of the device, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lX_Pfkmh8Xk and You can see when doing a speed test, the high pitched noise really takes off.
No other router I've had before has made any noises like this. Does anyone have one and not have the problem?
This is old news. This problem has been known for months. Apple doesn't appear to be doing anything about it. It apparently doesn't rise to the level of a quickly draining iPhone 4s battery or antenna-gate. To get this fixed, you would have to get it on the radar screen of someone like John Gruber (Daring Fireball) or Rene Ritche (TIPB).
I couldn't believe it when I got mine and it was hissing during transfers. The router itself works great and resolved my issues w/Airplay. My solution, and its probably going to offend the sensibilities of the style-conscious and perfectionistic, was to stick the power supply in a yellow padded mailer envelope and punch some holes in it for ventilation. For good measure i affixed a spare heat-sink to it w/thermal tape.
I don't hear it anymore, but apparently my dog does. The router sits a few feet from his dog bowl and he sometimes jumps away when I am transfering large files.
You could be right, Wicksteed.
I think the problem is the power transformation (transform high voltage power from the power outlet to have low power available for the chips). I had a similar issue with an old Lenovo Thinkpad and it went away by replacing the internal power adapter.
This could also explain, that the noise is only appearing under special conditions. e.g. if you download something your router needs a little bit more power for transfering the data (also over wi-fi). Maybe this "little more power" is the "critical mass" that causes the power adapter producing this noice.
By the way: On my Airport Extreme (2 month old) the same noise appears (in the first weeks it didn't). It's hard to say if it just appeared or was caused by a software update. I'm using the Airport Extreme only over Wi-Fi (iPhone, MacBook Pro, iPad) and the noise is only appearing when I transfer data (e.g. call a web page, download something, etc.). Also, a hard drive as Backup device is connected to the Base Station. But even if I (physically) disconnect the hard drive, the noise is still appearing. I live in Germany, so I have a 240V power supply.
Also interesting: When I connect my MacBook Pro over Ethernet with the Base Station, I hear no noise at all. So it definetely has either something todo with the Wi-Fi Chip or with the power adapter (because over ethernet the power consumtion is different than with Wi-Fi, which doesn't cause the power adapter to produce this noise).
I hope my information can be helpful for Apple or others.
Edit: When using my iPad and iPhone over Wi-Fi the noise also doesn't appear. It only appears by using my MacBook Pro over Wi-Fi.
There is the same discussion in another thread...
I can almost confirm that the problem is in the power transformation internal circuits (not of the external power adapter, but on the Airport unit itself).
More precisely, as I stated in a previous message in that thread, I found that routers from other manufacturers like Linksys have a similar problem due to a DC-DC coil vibration.
At the beginning I thought the issue showed only when tranfering data over WiFi, but I have experienced the same issue with my iMac connected over Ethernet while backing up with a USB disk connected to the Airport.
So, this is definitely something related with the internal DC power circuits of the Airport Extreme Units...
@Richard9998: from what you say it seems the noise you notice comes from the external power adapter and not from the AE unit itself? I'll check that again to be sure, but in most cases it seems the noise comes from the unit, not the adapter.
I agree with you about the issue being internal. My Airport Extreme is located a good 10 feet from the unit itself, and the noise is very obviously coming from the base station itself and not the power adapter. Heavy Wi-Fi traffic is the only thing that causes the noise on my unit. Video streaming to Netflix, Wi-Fi iOS device syncs through iTunes, or data transfers via Wi-Fi are all things that cause the buzzing noise. Anything wired directly using RJ45 to one of the three gigabit Ethernet ports makes absolutely no noise at all, no matter the load. I have adjusted the settings on the wireless side in any number of combinations but it didn't help, so I put everything back to optimal settings for speed. If it's gonna make noise anyway, I might as well get the best performance out of it.
Actually, over Ethernet the issue only showed when Backing up with Time Machine with an external USB disk connected to the AE (and powered by the AE through USB) .... So, it seems the noise is quite proportional to power consumption. This would explain why I noticed a louder noise using the 5Ghz vs the 2.4 Ghz band, or the amount of data and speed of downloads.
Maybe as someone suggested here, as Apple is paying no attention to this issue, we should give it some publicity contacting some Apple-related blogs.
Hi all, I can confirm I have the same issues related to the Airport Extreme. As shofmn mentioned, the noise only appears when wirelessly transferring files from/to a Macbook Pro. (I haven't tested to transfer big files to iphones o ipad yet, though). It must be the wifi chip !
Has anyone heard Apple about this ?
Just want to throw in my $.02. I had to return mine, and stay with my single band 4th Gen. I really need dual band because of all the wireless devices in my house, but the sound was just annoying.
To be honest, I would prefer the constant humm of a fan than the random R2-D2 clicks and pops this thing was making. It was very unnerving.
I hope Apple uses a little of that $96B to come out with an 802.11ac-based device that will take the world by storm.
I just bought an Airport Extreme yesterday, and I immediately noticed the buzzing when my iPhone downloaded a heavy update. Browsing different forums, I found that the "bug" seems to be common to almost all units.
I'm probably not going to complain to Apple. Firstly because the Airport Express itself works perfectly and solved all of my routing problems. Secondly because I'm annoyed that Apple won't acknowledge the problem in spite of widespread complaints. But sadly, I probably have to move the router to another room...
BTW, I've had similar problems with other products with large DC transformers. In particular, I have a heated mattress pad that makes similar annoying buzzes and clicks. Since I'm trying to sleep, I've had to discontinue using that product as well.
However, for a company with Apple's market heft and cash in the bank--and justly deserved reputation for product engineering excellence--my expectations are higher.