Apple introduces new AirPort Extreme with 802.11n

Apple today introduced the new AirPort Extreme, a wireless networking solution delivering up to five times the performance and twice the range of the previous AirPort Extreme. Based on 802.11n, AirPort Extreme extends a wireless network to even more areas in a home or office and makes streaming digital content and transferring large files faster and easier. The new AirPort Extreme Base Station features a sleek, new design with connections for networked computers, printers and a USB hard drive to quickly and easily share files or back up valuable data and content.

“The new Airport Extreme is the most powerful and easy to use Wi-Fi base station that we have ever made,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, in the press release. “With five times the performance and twice the range, now you can transfer bigger files faster and get access to the Internet and your favorite digital media from many areas in your house you couldn’t reach before.”

Using MIMO (Multiple In Multiple Out) smart antennas and 802.11n technology, AirPort Extreme now delivers greater data throughput and extends the reach of wireless connectivity to more areas of the home, business or school. With the ability to operate in either the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz wireless frequencies, AirPort Extreme also reduces the possibility of interference from appliances and cordless phones that operate in the 2.4 GHz frequency. AirPort Extreme is backward compatible with Macs and PCs using previous generation 802.11b/g wireless technologies.

The AirPort Extreme Base Station features a simple, new design that is just 6.5 inches square and 1.3 inches tall, and a built-in USB port allows users to print wirelessly to a USB printer or turn any external USB hard drive into a shared drive so they can share files or backup valuable data from multiple computers on a network. New AirPort Utility software included with every AirPort Extreme makes it very easy to set up a secure, wireless network for up to 50 simultaneous users within minutes. Users can also set security restrictions, including Internet access limits on their childrens’ computers.

The AirPort Extreme Base Station also includes:
— 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking;
— MIMO (Multiple In Multiple Out) smart antennas;
— dual-band antennas for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies;
— three 10/100 Ethernet LAN ports;
— one 10/100 Ethernet WAN port;
— one USB port;
— Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA-2), 128-bit WEP encryption; and
— a built-in NAT firewall.

The new AirPort Extreme Base Station will be available in February through the Apple Store(R) (, at Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of US$179. Nearly all currently shipping Macs support 802.11n when updated with 802.11n Enabler software, which ships with the AirPort Extreme Base Station. All Intel Core 2 Duo and Intel Xeon Macs except the entry 17-inch iMac(R) with 1.83 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor support the 802.11n technology.

Find out more about the new AirPort Extreme with 802.11n here.


  1. Nice device. Although note that with all wireless devices you can have range, or you can have speed, but you can’t have both. Thus you get 5x the speed, or 2x the range, but not both at once. Wireless devices reduce their speed as range increases. Nevertheless, I particularly like the wireless USB disk capability.

  2. Reality Check: “with all wireless devices you can have range, or you can have speed, but you can’t have both”

    Duh… but, still, 802.11n is considerably faster than 802.11g, so, what’s your point?

  3. Is that the same footprint as a Mac mini? If so, it would look nice with one of those USB-only miniStack external hard drives (from NewerTech/OWC). Since the miniStack has a built-in USB hub, I wonder if you can attach a USB printer and a drive to the Basestation at the same time.

  4. @yeah,so?
    My point is, don’t expect 5x the speed and 2x the range all at once. But yes, of course it’s faster at short ranges.

    @(@Reality Check):
    You need to study electrical engineering I suspect. I did. 802.11 technologies achieve high speeds by exploiting excess signal-to-noise ratio on the received signal. As the range increases. SNR falls, and hence so does the speed. Satellite links use a totally different transmision technique, so your comment is irrelevant.

  5. They don’t say what the USB port supports.

    A hard disk?

    Or a printer? I use my AirPort Express as a wireless printer server more than anything else. It’s awfully nice to be able to print from my PowerBook without plugging in. It cost as much or less than any other wireless printer server, and offered additional features – wireless iTunes speaker server, use as as portable WiFi access point, and more. IMO, the AirPort Express is one Apple product that never got enough credit.

    I’m waiting for Apple to show us what that USB port is for before I pony up my money.

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