Airport Extreme

Something that was not announced during the keynote at MacWorld yesterday is that Apple release an update Airport Extreme Base Station. The update wireless route/gateway supports several 802.11 wireless standards (b,g) including the yet to be finalised “n”. Of course being a mac compatible Apple product all of the current WiFi security features are supported as well including the very crackable WEP. Interestingly Apple chose to limit the router to 802.3u (100BASE-T). With more media whizzing around home networks Apple should have provided support for faster networks.

Feature list:

  • Wireless protocols
    • 802.11a/b/g
    • Draft 802.11n
  • Security
    • Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2)3
    • Wireless security (WEP) configurable for 40-bit and 128-bit encryption
    • MAC address filtering
    • NAT firewall
    • Support for RADIUS authentication
    • 802.1X, PEAP, LEAP, TTLS, TLS, FAST
  • Interfaces
    • RJ-45 10/100BASE-T Ethernet WAN port for connecting a DSL or cable modem
    • Three RJ-45 10/100BASE-T Ethernet LAN ports for connecting computers or network devices
    • USB port for connecting a USB printer or USB external hard drive
    • 802.11 wireless

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What distinguishes Apple’s product from similar offerings from Cisco/LinkSys and Netgear is the inclusion of a USB port on the back of the device. You can plug in a USB printer of external hardrive and make this devices network aware. You can even plug in a USB hub thus making any supported USB device available via the network. Apple has not release any details on what USB device are compatible with the AirPort Extreme.

I noticed that the new AirPort Extreme has the same size form factor as the mac mini. I can imagine the AirPort Extreme stacked under a mac mini connected to a Belkin Hub and one of mac mini form factor external hard drives.

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