Apple readying second-generation of AirPort Express 802.11n

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Apple will soon begin shipping a new version of its AirPort Express portable 802.11n base station, capping a recent series of refreshes to the company's line of WiFi routers ahead of this fall's iCloud launch.



Although Apple's online store still reflects availability of "AirPort Express Base Station with 802.11n and AirTunes," authorized resellers like DataVision report that the same model (MB321LL/A) is discontinued, while Amazon estimates it will have new stock sometime in the next "2 to 5 weeks."



Additionally, a person familiar with the matter says Apple is wrapping up the release of AirPort Utility 5.6, makes reference to a second-generation 802.11n AirPort Express in its developer notes:

"Adds support for the AirPort Express 802.11n (2nd Generation) base station"

The current version of Airport Utility, 5.5.3, was released in June, resolving an issue that caused the tool to unexpectedly quit during setup.



The update would round out tune-ups across Apple's AirPort device family. In June, the company quietly updated both its Time Capsule and Airport Extreme base stations. Though no specific changes were detailed in product specifications, FCC filings revealed that the new devices had received a power boost of as much as 2.8 times the original signal.



Subsequent tests revealed dramatic performance and reliability improvements to the base stations, especially when accessed from more remote locations. A teardown of the AirPort Extreme also showed that Apple has switched from Marvell WLAN cards to the Broadcom BCM4331.



But, given that FCC filings for a new Airport Express have yet to turn up, it remains unknown whether the diminutive base station will also see a signal boost when it is updated.







Apple released the first generation of 802.11n-capable AirPort Express routers in March 2008, billing the device as the world's smallest 802.11n-based mobile base station.



As Apple has been hard at work prepping its iCloud service, rumors have swirled that the company may transition its AirPort base stations to use iOS, with some reports speculating that software updates could be delivered wireless via an AirPort router.
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Comments

  • sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    Never plug that thing into the top socket. Before I upgraded to extreme I loved airtunes feature and never had problem with range.



    Oh and PS, they should make it easier to use this in reverse. IE use it as a wifi hookup for your xbox so that it catches the wifi and sends it back over the ethernet. I know it can be done, but I have always had problems with it and it never seemed to work quite right for some reason.
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    They really need to up the main performance of these routers. With many homes having 30Gbps or even much higher broadband plus several devices with 450Mbps WiFi plus many other devices with slower N and G data, along with attached drives for multiple device streaming simultaneously they need to make these consumer routers a lot more robust than they currently are.
  • hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 751member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    They really need to up the main performance of these routers. With many homes having 30Gbps or even much higher broadband plus several devices with 450Mbps WiFi plus many other devices with slower N and G data, along with attached drives for multiple device streaming simultaneously they need to make these consumer routers a lot more robust than they currently are.



    Where in God's green earth do you live?? 30Gbps?!?! You mean to tell me your downloads peak at 3.75 Gigabytes/second?! You could download an entire blu ray's worth of an entire tv series in about 45 seconds!!



    I'm pretty sure you meant 30Mbps, which is very likely, but still not anywhere near as common as you think.
  • hmmhmm Posts: 3,367member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    They really need to up the main performance of these routers. With many homes having 30Gbps or even much higher broadband plus several devices with 450Mbps WiFi plus many other devices with slower N and G data, along with attached drives for multiple device streaming simultaneously they need to make these consumer routers a lot more robust than they currently are.



    Those speeds make me jealous
  • tyancytyancy Posts: 65member
    I had three of them and each one worked fine until it didn't. I would get a blinking light and no matter how many times I reset it, and did everything else under the sun, I could never revive one. After the third one I gave up on the product. - corporate Mac IT guy.
  • acslater017acslater017 Posts: 424member
    Maybe I'm just being cheap, but a price drop would be welcome. Maybe I'm just used to $99 Apple TVs and $29 OS upgrades. But $99 is a BIT steep for a router. I love their designs, simplicity of set up, Airport Utility, etc. - just saying it could use a $20 drop or something!
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post


    Where in God's green earth do you live?? 30Gbps?!?! You mean to tell me your downloads peak at 3.75 Gigabytes/second?! You could download an entire blu ray's worth of an entire tv series in about 45 seconds!!



    I'm pretty sure you meant 30Mbps, which is very likely, but still not anywhere near as common as you think.



    Yeah, I meant Mbps, but the facts still hold. The current AEBS is still getting choked on the logic board from having too route too many devices using too much data over the WAN and LAN. They need a nice nice bump in the processing of the data to push these routers into the next 5 years.
  • cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,114member
    I haven't seen any significant change in performance with the 5th gen AEBS compared to the 3rd gen.
  • rtm135rtm135 Posts: 310member
    Why? I use the top socket and it seems to work fine.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sheff View Post


    Never plug that thing into the top socket. Before I upgraded to extreme I loved airtunes feature and never had problem with range.



  • sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rtm135 View Post


    Why? I use the top socket and it seems to work fine.



    lol you block the bottom socket. The pic in the story shows the bottom socket being blocked. I was just making a quickie joke.
  • macadam212macadam212 Posts: 61member
    Stupid socket - who has one above the other or is that a US thing?
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,560member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macadam212 View Post


    Stupid socket - who has one above the other or is that a US thing?



    You don't travel much I gather. Yep, every socket in every building in the US has a ton of sockets exactly like that. Only carrying 110 Volts too. I remember well the massive plugs used in the UK and the really good punch 240 Volts gave when it through you across a room
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,560member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sheff View Post


    lol you block the bottom socket. The pic in the story shows the bottom socket being blocked. I was just making a quickie joke.



    Yeah but if you are not needing the bottom socket the device sits more squarely like that as its butt is supported if you see what I mean and it's less likely to pivot and risk an intermittent connection.
  • philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,286member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    The current AEBS is still getting choked on the logic board from having too route too many devices using too much data over the WAN and LAN.



    Is it only the logic board? I thought a speed increase is only possible with multiple antenna's and it would seem the device is simply too small for that. Nothing to back this up, though.
  • ahrubikahrubik Posts: 80member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Yeah, I meant Mbps, but the facts still hold. The current AEBS is still getting choked on the logic board from having too route too many devices using too much data over the WAN and LAN. They need a nice nice bump in the processing of the data to push these routers into the next 5 years.



    I get about 100Mbps over 5GHz N green mode. A far cry from anything near the theoretical limits but I'm also using a Gen 3 AEBS. According to smallnetbuilder.com the Gen 5 AEBS hasn't improved on speed at all unless like the OP says you were on the fringe and in those cases it's minimal. No reason to upgrade this time around.



    " If you've been hoping that Apple has sprinkled the same fairy dust into AirPort Extreme Gen 5 that it uses on its tablets and phones to make it the über-router to solve all your wireless performance problems, it hasn't. It's just yet-another simultaneous dual-band N router that some people will rave about and others will rave at. And certainly not worth paying the top-dollar that Apple is customarily charging $30 or so extra. "



    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wirel...gen-5-reviewed
  • kozchriskozchris Posts: 206member
    Damn, i just bought the old one Sunday just to have in case i needed it. I could have waited.
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post


    Is it only the logic board? I thought a speed increase is only possible with multiple antenna's and it would seem the device is simply too small for that. Nothing to back this up, though.



    I think it is the board. You have WiFi with multiple channels giving you amazing speeds but you also have multiple devices on the wireless and wired LAN all needing to be routed through the one system for LAN and WAN access. Video streaming is common, then add other types of traffic like all Macs backing up to a central Time Machine drive every hour. These consumer routers are doing more and more each day without a major jump in the technology except in the WiFI, but that's hasn't been the bottleneck for awhile. You try a competitor's equivalently spec'd router and watch it choke on just a few machines and reboot it self almost every hour, at least that was the experience I had with the top of the line Linsys 802.1n router.
  • freshmakerfreshmaker Posts: 457member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kozchris View Post


    Damn, i just bought the old one Sunday just to have in case i needed it. I could have waited.



    Take it back!



    I bought one about a month ago. I could probably still return in (barely), but I've nothing to use in the meantime. Oh well.
  • jpsokoljpsokol Posts: 1member
    I just paid for one at Best Buy - they were out. Said it would come in around the 19th. Hope I'm getting one of the new ones. I might stop by to ask if I can delay my order a week or so.
  • philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,286member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I think it is the board. You have WiFi with multiple channels giving you amazing speeds but you also have multiple devices on the wireless and wired LAN all needing to be routed through the one system for LAN and WAN access. Video streaming is common, then add other types of traffic like all Macs backing up to a central Time Machine drive every hour. These consumer routers are doing more and more each day without a major jump in the technology except in the WiFI, but that's hasn't been the bottleneck for awhile. You try a competitor's equivalently spec'd router and watch it choke on just a few machines and reboot it self almost every hour, at least that was the experience I had with the top of the line Linsys 802.1n router.



    It is posts like these that make me read this site. Informative and backed up by links or experience. Thanks!
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