Apple Updates AirPort: New Base Station, Support For AOL & 128-Bit Encryption, New Software

Apple has released a new model of its AirPort base station and new AirPort 2.0 software. AirPort is Appleis brand name for its outstanding 802.11b wireless networking products. The new base station includes support for up to 50 simultaneous users, a second Ethernet port for an Ethernet based LAN, 128-bit password and data encryption, and support for AOL 5.0 for Mac and AOL for MAC OS X. The software called AirPort 2.0 includes support for all this, and can also add support for AOL to the previous base station models, and 128-bit encryption to previous AirPort cards. From Apple:

Apple® today announced the second generation of its award-winning AirPort® wireless network solution for home, school and office. The 802.11b based solution features a new AirPort Base Station offering the first-ever support for America Online (AOL) users, a built-in firewall for greater protection, 128-bit encryption for added wireless security, and up to 50 users sharing one base station.

"Apple has consistently led the industry in 802.11 wireless networking," said Philip Schiller, Appleis vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "Now weire adding another industry first with support for American Online, and great new security features like a built-in firewall and 128-bit encryption."

Based on the industry standard IEEE 802.11b, the AirPort wireless networking solution consists of the AirPort Base Station, AirPort Card and AirPort software. The new AirPort 2.0 software, available as an online download from Appleis web site in both native Mac® OS X and Mac OS 9 versions, provides compatibility with AOL, the most popular Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the U.S. The new software can also be used to add AOL support to existing AirPort Base Stations, as well as 128-bit encryption to existing AirPort Cards.

AirPortis new connectivity and security features include:

  • compatibility with AOL, the most popular Internet Service Provider in the U.S.;
  • two Ethernet ports, one 10BASE-T for wide area connections such as DSL or cable modem, and a new 10/100BASE-T port for local area networking;
  • firewall protection providing added security from unauthorized access via the Internet;
  • support for up to 128-bit password and data encryption;
  • RADIUS support enabling schools and businesses to centrally manage user access control; and
  • AirPort Card compatibility with Ciscois LEAP security method, popular in many higher-education institutions.

AirPort offers a data rate of up to 11 megabits per second, enabling simultaneous sharing of a single Internet connection by up to 50 users and has a typical range of 150-foot radius from the base station. All Apple notebooks and desktops are AirPort-ready with integrated antennas and card slot, some with the AirPort card preinstalled.

The price for the new AirPort products is the same as the old, US$99 for AirPort cards, and US$299 for AirPort base stations. AirPort 2.0 software is a free download. You can find more information on AirPort at Appleis Web site.