New, but unannounced: new Airport Extreme Base Station
by Giles Turnbull
Amid the iPhone frenzy, Apple quietly released an all-new Airport base station device today. Selling at $179, it supports the new 802.11n standard (as well as backwards compatibility for versions a, b and g).
There are three Ethernet ports, one USB, and “multiple antennas” for better reception (I put that in quotes because I’m just not sure how many antennae the old base station unit had…). According to the tech specs page, it comes with software called “802.11n Enabler for Mac” - so that’ll be the thing that wakes up the sleeping 802.11n compatibility in recently-purchased machines.
The device is, as you’d expect, being touted as “perfect for use with Apple TV” and can also act as a hub for network-shared drives and printers, something that’ll be easier with the addition of a USB hub. I suspect this might be pushed as the ideal hardware solution for backups via Time Machine, once Leopard is released.
|It rather surprises me that there's no Gigabit ethernet since all recent Macs are shipping with it. In theory the wireless is faster than the wired!|
Why no gigabit ethernet? All the Macs have had gigabit ethernet for quite a while now. And limiting the new Airport to 100 Mbps ethernet ports means that you are never going to be able to wirelessly make use of 802.11n's supposedly much more expansive bandwidth.
I with the thing had an audio connection -- it would be a perfect replacement for my router and my Airport Express then.
And I am not sure if it really allows multiple USB devices via a hub (I don't think the web page says so!). If it could handle a harddrive *and* a printer it could be a really nice thing anyway ...
|Actually if you go to Apple's web store it says explicitly that a USB hub can be used with it in order to hook up multiple printers and drives.|
Well - actually - Apple's web site says:
A Printer AND a Hard drive,
OR multiple hard drives.
I read the to mean either many drives but no printers, many printers but no drives, OR 1 printer and 1 drive.
But who knows?