I own a first generation AirPort Extreme 802.11n, released in 2007. It's an "n" router, and generally seems to perform well, especially since my house is relatively open and free of obstructions.
That said, I have an ever-proliferating number of wireless devices feeding off of this 5-year-old unit—two Apple TVs, an iPhone and iPad, a laptop, a networked Blu-Ray player, an Airport Extreme unit, etc., plus whatever devices guests bring into the home.
So: Would I see any noticeable improvements if I upgraded to the latests (fifth gen) Airport base station? Or should I stand pat?
There are a few noticeable differences between your model and the latest (5th generation) 802.11n AirPort Extreme Base Station (AEBSn) worth noting:
Thanks for the detailed reply, very helpful.
I also spoke with an Apple rep who gave a more general response, that I would see a "noticeable" improvement, but not a "huge" one. I asked what that meant, and he said "well, not two or three times faster, but... Noticeable." I got the sense that meant, in my situation, maybe 25% better, but noticeable is different from personal person.
I too purchased a 1st gen AEBS back in 2007 and after configuring it to replace my sky supplied router (for their fibre service & not the openreach vdsl modem) I wondered if I would see better coverage with the 5th gen.
Despite knowing I should do more research I just went ahead and bought one.
My findings for 5th vs 1st gen are that:
On the ground floor sat in the same location I receive slightly faster g speed @ 145 vs 130 Mb/s, and N @ 210 Mb/s.
on the first floor on my iPhone 4 I get nothing vs 2 bars, appletv is very jerky on N with 2 bars but very smooth on g with 2 bars, I never tested the appletv with the 1st gen.
On balance, I wanted coverage which I find is less on the 5th gen than the 1st. I put the 5th gen in the same spot as the first and imported the config from 1st to fith to save redoing my port mappings and dhcp assignments. The house is British, 1920's brick construction.
I think I will place the 1st gen somewhere on ground floor and see if I can extend and distribute the N, maybe also experiment with the interference robustness options too.
I hope this helps future searchers!!