New Airport Extreme Offers 54Mbps And More

Wireless networking just got a lot faster. Apple has announced several enhancements and products to their wireless networking offerings. Until today, Appleis Airport technology was based on the industry standard 802.11b which allowed for networking speeds of up to 11Mbps. Apple, today, introduced Airport technology based on 802.11g, a new industry standard that allows for wireless networking at a whopping 54Mbps while maintaining backwards compatibility with the older 802.11b standard.

Thatis not all. Airport now supports wireless bridging, which allows a user to seamless travel between wireless access points in real-time, and USB printer sharing, which gives access any wirelessly connected Mac access to a USB printer connected to an Airport base station.

Appleis press release gives the details:

Apple? today announced AirPort? Extreme, the next generation of Wi-Fi wireless networking technology based on the new ultra-fast 802.11g standard. With speeds up to 54 Mbps, AirPort Extreme delivers almost five times the data rate of today?s 802.11b based products, yet is fully compatible with the millions of 802.11b Wi-Fi devices around the world. Starting at just $199 (US), the new AirPort Extreme Base Stations offer 54 Mbps data rates for up to 50 users, wireless bridging to extend the range beyond just one base station, and USB printer sharing to allow multiple users to wirelessly share USB printers connected directly to the base station*.

?Apple was the first computer company to ship products based on 802.11b when it launched AirPort in 1999, kick-starting the entire Wi-Fi wireless revolution,? said Steve Jobs, Apple?s CEO. ?Today we?re doing it again by launching AirPort Extreme, the next generation of wireless products based on 802.11g that runs at 54 Mbps, yet is fully compatible with the millions of 802.11b Wi-Fi devices and Hot Spots around the world.?

AirPort Extreme, based on the new 802.11g wireless standard, operates at up to 54 Mbps?up to five times faster than current Wi-Fi technology. AirPort Extreme works with the installed base of 802.11b devices, including public Hot Spots and Wi-Fi certified 802.11b Windows solutions. AirPort Extreme continues to be the only wireless solution to support dial-up access to America Online and is also compatible with Cisco?s LEAP security**. With up to 50 users per base station, AirPort Extreme supports many more users than typical base stations.

AirPort Extreme provides the flexibility and power to service home, school and institutional networking needs. In addition to increased speed, both of the AirPort Extreme Base Stations offer new features such as a USB port for low-cost wireless USB printer sharing and a second 10/100BASE-T Ethernet port for connections to fast LANs and DSL or cable modems. Education campuses and other institutions can take advantage of new features such as a software placement utility for optimal base station location, a software power control that lets administrators adjust the wireless network range to fit a specific area and optional range-extending omni-directional and directional antennas.

A new wireless bridging feature lets customers easily and inexpensively extend the range of a wired network by allowing one AirPort Extreme Base Station on a LAN to ?bridge? with up to four additional AirPort Extreme Base Stations, eliminating the need to pull additional cables underground and into buildings.


Pricing & Availability

Available now through the Apple Store? (, at Apple?s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers, the AirPort Extreme solution includes the AirPort Extreme Card for a suggested retail price of $99 (US) and the AirPort Extreme Base Station for a suggested retail price of $199 (US). The AirPort Extreme Base Station with a built-in 56K V.90 hardware modem and additional port for connecting a range-extending antenna has a suggested retail price of $249 (US).

For more information go to Appleis Airport Extreme website.