Apple’s Airport Extreme sets Wi-Fi on fire for Macs and PCs

Apple StoreInfoWorld’s review of Apple’s new 802.11n Airport Extreme Base Station gives the product a score of 8.7 out of 10 or “Excellent.”

“AirPort Extreme is a Wi-Fi base station that works as a secure LAN/WAN gateway or bridge, a four-port 10/100 Ethernet router, a network access controller and a file/print server. No, really, this Wi-Fi box does file and print. Jack USB external hard drives and printers into AirPort Extreme’s USB port and they pop up on your LAN and WLAN as Windows and Mac volumes and networked printers. Not only that, but any Windows or Mac user can choose to auto-mount the device when it’s within range. For all of this, there is zero server administrative overhead because there’s no server,” Tom Yager reports for InfoWorld.

Yager reports, “AirPort Extreme supports the 2.4 GHz 802.11b and 802.11g standards as well as 802.11n and its neighbor in the 5 GHz spectrum, 802.11a. While 802.11n-enabled Macs sniff out WLANs in both bands, AirPort Extreme only operates in one or the other. The administrator chooses the band at configuration time and can change it at will. The fact that Macs, like most multi-standard clients, hunt base stations (or access points) across bands is key to AirPort Extreme’s wireless manageability.”

“Apple claims that AirPort Extreme tests out at five times the top speed of 54 Mbps standards 802.11a and 802.11g, and that it can maintain speeds equal to 54 Mpbs standards’ best at twice the distance. Apple is taking care to be conservative with its numbers, which is wise. I tested AirPort Extreme in ugly conditions and found that in places where the previous AirPort Extreme model (the one with the pointy head) couldn’t see my MacBook Pro eval notebook at all for impediments structural and human, the new AirPort Extreme bathed me in bandwidth,” Yager reports.

Full review here.

Related articles:
Apple’s AirPort Extreme vs. Microsoft’s Windows Home Server – February 23, 2007
Hands-on with Apple’s superspeedy 802.11n AirPort Extreme Base Station – February 19, 2007
Apple’s new AirPort Extreme offers increased speed and range – February 18, 2007
High-quality Apple AirPort Extreme 802.11n unboxing photos – February 04, 2007
Apple ships new Airport Extreme Base Stations two weeks early – February 01, 2007
Apple AirPort Utility 1.0 screenshots, 802.11n AirPort Extreme Base Station manuals – January 26, 2007
Apple releases AirPort Extreme Update 2007-001 – January 26, 2007
Apple’s new AirPort Extreme ‘AirPort Disk’ feature: cheap, simple network storage for home networks – January 15, 2007
Apple’s new AirPort Extreme supports 802.11n, enables wireless streaming of HD media – January 10, 2007
Apple introduces new AirPort Extreme with 802.11n – January 09, 2007

28 Comments

  1. its funny how they make a big deal out of wireless printing as if it wasnt a feature on the last base station.

    im glad its faster though. ive got the old one and its always dropping the connection even when im in the same room.

  2. This thing looks nice. A serverless, networked hard drive makes a lot of sense, too. Maybe I’ll get rid of my Netgear MIMO wireless router and get one of these when i get a new MacBook Pro.

    bobby… if you want gigabit ethernet, just buy a gigabit ethernet switch for $40.

  3. “While 802.11n-enabled Macs sniff out WLANs in both bands, AirPort Extreme only operates in one or the other.”

    Not true. Airport works in both. I have wireless N and G things connected to my Airport Extreme.

  4. bobby, i was thinking the same thing. gigabit ethernet has been standard on many apple computers for around seven years now. i figure it’d make sense to include gigE in their routers. ah well, other than that it seems like a very impressive piece of hardware, but i’m happy with my ap express for now =)

  5. No mention of USB disk access speeds. I am under the impressin that n enabled computers work fine together, but that the attached USB drive does not transfer at n speeeds, but the slower g speeds only.

  6. Not 10/10 because:

    Cons:

    All configuration changes require lengthy reboot
    No Web or console-based management
    Testing initially encountered performance and connectivity problems; resolved by Apple
    No hardware for wall or post mounting

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