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High-quality images of Apple's AirPort Extreme w/ 802.11n

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Why, oh why, are the LAN/WAN (at the very least, the LAN) ports not Gigabit?????

Makes no sense when (1) all shipping Macs now sport Gigabit Ethernet, and (2) the wireless protocol (802.11n) is FASTER than the wired ports. WTF. So let's say I want to use the previous version iMac that doesn't have 802.11n but does have Gigabit Ethernet as a base server for TV via AirPort. Instead of being able to tap into the full potential of 802.11n, the maximum throughput is going to be 100Mbit/sec. That's lame, especially when competing products from Linksys and I'm sure soon from Belkin et al. sport 10/100/1000-Base LAN/WAN ports.

I guess we in the US can find some consolation in the fact that 99% of us don't have to worry about an internet connection that will saturate the 100Base-TX WAN port, but users in developed countries (Japan, Korea, etc.) who have FTTH exceeding 100Mbit/sec will find this less appealing still. As sexy as this looks (and I'm definitely snatching an TV when it comes out), and dare I say the relatively competitive pricing for an 802.11n unit, I will probably seek out a 3rd party alternative when I go on the market 2~3 months from now. Sigh.
post #2 of 24
No gigabit...wtf?

It'd be pretty awesome is appletv could also act as an airport extreme, except that it didn't have any more ethernet ports so everyone had to connect wirelessly. They wouldn't have to change it physically to do that but oh well.
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post #3 of 24
Had it not been for the press release beamed out over the news wires, it would have been easy to overlook Apple's announcement of new AirPort Extreme wireless base stations on Tuesday.

The wireless networking device completely escaped the company's opening keynote presentation by chief executive Steve Jobs.

Just like Apple TV, the similarly shaped device won't be available to ship until sometime in February. And like iPhone, there only about two of these puppies inside Apple's booth at this week's Macworld Expo.

The updated base stations will fetch $179 and include 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking, MIMO (Multiple In Multiple Out) smart antennas, dual-band antennas for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies, three 10/100 Ethernet LAN ports, one 10/100 Ethernet WAN port, one USB port, Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA-2), 128-bit WEP encryption, and a built-in NAT firewall.

Photos follow:













post #4 of 24
Guys you might want to make use of the auto-levels tool in Photoshop, last time I checked the base station wasn't a tinge of pink.
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawhead View Post

Why, oh why, are the LAN/WAN (at the very least, the LAN) ports not Gigabit?????

Makes no sense when (1) all shipping Macs now sport Gigabit Ethernet, and (2) the wireless protocol (802.11n) is FASTER than the wired ports. WTF. So let's say I want to use the previous version iMac that doesn't have 802.11n but does have Gigabit Ethernet as a base server for ?TV via AirPort. Instead of being able to tap into the full potential of 802.11n, the maximum throughput is going to be 100Mbit/sec. That's lame, especially when competing products from Linksys and I'm sure soon from Belkin et al. sport 10/100/1000-Base LAN/WAN ports.

I guess we in the US can find some consolation in the fact that 99% of us don't have to worry about an internet connection that will saturate the 100Base-TX WAN port, but users in developed countries (Japan, Korea, etc.) who have FTTH exceeding 100Mbit/sec will find this less appealing still. As sexy as this looks (and I'm definitely snatching an ?TV when it comes out), and dare I say the relatively competitive pricing for an 802.11n unit, I will probably seek out a 3rd party alternative when I go on the market 2~3 months from now. Sigh.

Do you honestly think 802.11n can outrun 100 BaseTX Full-duplex? At MAX, 802.11n runs at bursts of 70 mbit. Nowhere near the wirespeed of 100 base T. That would be a huge stinking waste of hardware putting a gig port on it. To insist you need gig in this case just shows what a moron you are.
post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecking View Post

No gigabit...wtf?

It'd be pretty awesome is appletv could also act as an airport extreme, except that it didn't have any more ethernet ports so everyone had to connect wirelessly. They wouldn't have to change it physically to do that but oh well.

OMG; another person who has no idea what they're talking about. 100 base T is about 1.5 times faster than 802.11n. The wireless is going to be the slowest link in the chain. Not the wirespeed. Please go cry about something worthy, like why there's no gig port on Apple TV.
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by damoof View Post

That would be a huge stinking waste of hardware putting a gig port on it. To insist you need gig in this case just shows what a moron you are.

We're insisting because Apple has made a big push in all of computers to implement gigE, this product contains a switch, and that switch doesn't support gigE. So why include the switch if it's not gigE. I mean, the old AE base station lacked a switch completely. It's just stupid, especially considering the cost of gigE over 10/100 is negligible at this point.
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arty50 View Post

We're insisting because Apple has made a big push in all of computers to implement gigE, this product contains a switch, and that switch doesn't support gigE. So why include the switch if it's not gigE. I mean, the old AE base station lacked a switch completely. It's just stupid, especially considering the cost of gigE over 10/100 is negligible at this point.

The switch is probably built into their Draft-N chipset so they threw it in as a "freebie" rather than buy a GigE switch component. Same likely for Apple TV which also lacks GigE. For example the Sigma chipset used in IPTVs for decoding includes 10/100 support as a base function.

Eh...the only port I'm likely going to use is the WAN port and maybe the USB port for a USB drive if that works. There is the vaguest remote chance one of the ethernet ports might go to a Vonage or Verizon VOIP box.

Vinea
post #9 of 24
You're missing Apple's point... they're both devices that are wireless. Read that? Wireless. Less wires, means go get yourself a gigabit hub, why waste your money on this $200 wireless router, when you can go get a hub and a regular old ass wireless router for wireless clients on your gigabit network?

Jesus. I love Apple, but sometimes Apple fans are steeeupid.
post #10 of 24
Anyway, suppose I want to couple that with a DSL modem. What would you recommend that's small and reliable?
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by sentient_robot View Post

You're missing Apple's point... they're both devices that are wireless. Read that? Wireless. Less wires, means go get yourself a gigabit hub, why waste your money on this $200 wireless router, when you can go get a hub and a regular old ass wireless router for wireless clients on your gigabit network?

Jesus. I love Apple, but sometimes Apple fans are steeeupid.

Huh? So if they're just concerned with wireless capability, then why include the switch? The lack of GigE is retarded and there's no logic to refute that.
post #12 of 24
I think that some people are forgetting something. Apple does little updates every now and then to keep you interested in their products. The computers get speedbumps and such. Im sure this will get gigabit in the future.
post #13 of 24
Where´s the audio? No AirTunes? =(
post #14 of 24
Okay, I switched my cordless phones from 2.xGHz to 5GHz to stop losing Apple Extreme and Airport Express WiFi network when someone in the house walked into the room yakking on the phone.

Does this mean if I move to this N-class device (cool--it sounds like a naval destroyer description) that all my new phones will start causing web connection interuptions as well? Worse, when playing a movie beamed to my new AppleTV?

Does this mean in order to get the superior speed, range (and firepower) of the N-class, I have to buy everyone in the family a new iPhone? I was kinda hoping only I could be cool for once...
post #15 of 24
Do you think that Apple will sell a new 902.11n card for the imacs previous to the ones that came included with the card?

Thanks
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by gpope View Post

Do you think that Apple will sell a new 902.11n card for the imacs previous to the ones that came included with the card?

Probably not. So far, they have no retrofit 802.11n cards for sale, and I doubt they will, because adding "n" to the previous generation "g" isn't simply a matter of upgrading the circuitry - it's also a matter of adding a new antennae (whilst keeping the old ones for "g" and "b"). (Thus the reports from the folks dissecting the new iMacs and new MBPs that there are now *3* antennae in each unit, vs. the older models having only 2.)

And yes, that's a bummer, because my MBP from last May doesn't have the "n" stuff in it, either. \
post #17 of 24
Could someone help me with a couple basic questions? I was considering buying this AirPort for my new Mac Pro and MBP and I don't know anything about 802.11n or Gigabit Ethernet, except that one's in my Macs and not in the new Airport...and that's apparently not good.

1) Is GbE a wireless or wired connection...thingie?

2) With DSL at 3 Mbps, is my speed going to be adversly affected or not up to it's full potential without GbE?

Thanks in advance, I know this is terribly basic but I know nothing about the subject and after hearing everyone complain about this new product, it makes me hesitate in purchasing one (though I do need a router regardless).
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by zanshin View Post

Okay, I switched my cordless phones from 2.xGHz to 5GHz to stop losing Apple Extreme and Airport Express WiFi network when someone in the house walked into the room yakking on the phone.

Does this mean if I move to this N-class device (cool--it sounds like a naval destroyer description) that all my new phones will start causing web connection interuptions as well? Worse, when playing a movie beamed to my new AppleTV?

Dual-band means it uses either 2.4GHz or 5GHz, but not both at the same time. Your phones are on 5GHz, set your AirPort to 2.4GHz, boom, no interference.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenomos View Post

Could someone help me with a couple basic questions? I was considering buying this AirPort for my new Mac Pro and MBP and I don't know anything about 802.11n or Gigabit Ethernet, except that one's in my Macs and not in the new Airport...and that's apparently not good.

1) Is GbE a wireless or wired connection...thingie?

2) With DSL at 3 Mbps, is my speed going to be adversly affected or not up to it's full potential without GbE?

Thanks in advance, I know this is terribly basic but I know nothing about the subject and after hearing everyone complain about this new product, it makes me hesitate in purchasing one (though I do need a router regardless).

"Ethernet" is the near-universal wired form of computer network connection. The various generations of Ethernet speed visible in the market today are 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, and 1,000 Mbps (a.k.a. 1Gbps Ethernet or GbE).

Some folks (myself included) have a mix of wired and wireless devices in our homes, with the wired devices connect (by Ethernet) into our wi-fi basestation. The new Airport model includes 3 Ethernet ports (for local LAN usage), vs. only 1 port on the former Airport Extreme. The issue being bandied about is when, and how much, it matters that the speed of those Ethernet ports is limited to 100 Mbps. If you're not using them (and use only wireless connections), it matters not at all.

If all one had in their home network were a single machine, connected over wi-fi to their DSL modem, which connects in turn (at, say, 3Mbps) out to the Internet, then the lower DSL speed would be the bottleneck, even with the oldest & slowest form of wi-fi, 802.11b (with a theoretical max of 11Mbps and 4-6 Mbps typical). If, instead, that single machine were connected over Ethernet to the wi-fi basestation and on to the DSL modem and the public Internet, the DSL speed would still be the bottleneck, even if that Ethernet were the oldest/slowest, running at just 10 Mbps.

But the more interesting scenario is where one has a non-trivial home network ... and those machines talk to each other, within the home, as well as out to the public Internet.

In a combo home network using both wi-fi and Ethernet links, the second-generation wi-fi, 802.11g (with a theoretical max of 54 Mbps and 20-30 Mbps typical) can help those within-home connections. Here, having one (or more) 100 Mbps Ethernet ports on the wi-fi base station (the Airport) means that the Ethernet part would not be the bottleneck -- it would either be the wi-fi link (when using that), or (most often) that 3Mbps DSL connection to the outside world (which starts to seem puny, by comparison).

Now we have 802.11n wi-fi (pre-standards version). It is supposed to provide 200 Mbps typical, with a theoretical max of 540 Mbps -- and thus 10x the theoretical max of 802.11g, which in turn was 5x the theoretical max of 802.11b. Not only that, but 802.11n provides a bigger range between the base and the nodes communicating with it (maybe 1.5x or 2x that of 802.11g). This is all summarized pretty well on the 802.11 Wikipedia page.

Using those numbers for the capacity of 802.11n connections, yes, they will go somewhat faster than a (wired) 100 Mbps Ethernet connection ... so the Ethernet link to the Airport base station becomes the limiting factor in the household LAN, while that 3 Mbps DSL connection to the public Internet is now way way way smaller than all the interconnections, wired or wireless, within your home, and thus it (the DSL connection) is the undisputed bottleneck for communications with the public Internet.

Another factor that blurs this comparison, though, is that the wi-fi speeds are likely to be slower in a mixed "n" wi-fi network, where some nodes are using one of the older wi-fi generations (b or g). In the early days of 802.11g, the presence of a "b" node would slow all the other wi-fi activity, even between two "g" nodes, but that was later refined so that the "g" nodes could talk to each other at full speed, and only the links to the slower "b" nodes would (necessarily) operate at the slower "b" rates. Now that we're moving up to "n", there's been some mention (even on Apple's own product description page) that mixed node types results in some kind of slowing, but I have yet to see any statement precise enough to distinguish whether a "b" or "g" node slows down all the traffic or just that on the links to those slower nodes. So, just maybe, the presence of older wi-fi nodes in one's shiny new 802.11n wi-fi network will slow all the wi-fi traffic down enough to go slower than a 100 Mbps Ethernet connection.

I've also seen some posters here on AI seeming to claim that the 802.11n max speed will be less than the 100 Mbps Ethernet links, but I don't understand those claims, as they flat out contradict what the Wikipedia article says (and what I've heard in various other venues) about the typical speeds provided by 802.11n. Maybe they are taking it as a given that wi-fi networks (at least for the early years) will have older ("g" or even "b") nodes in them, and that the presence of those older nodes will necessarily slow the whole network to less than 100 Mbps.

So, bottom line, yes, it looks like the 100 Mbps Ethernet in the new Airport base stations will be somewhat slower than the speed of the 802.11n links that it provides. And it is mildly puzzling that the new Airport does not provide 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports that would operate at the full 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps), since that has indeed become so common in other devices -- including all of Apple's computers. But, personally, I don't see that it's such a big deal.

The one scenario that I can see where the lack of GbE on the Airport would ever matter is if you had multiple hard-wired devices that all had GbE and were using the Airport as their hub -- and so would be limited to 100 Mbps rather than being able to use their full GbE in talking with each other. If that matters, get a separate GbE hub and use that to interconnect all those screaming-fast computers to each other, with just a single link to the Airport. For connections from them, through the Ethernet to the Airport and on out to the public Internet, that 3 Mbps DSL link is still going to be, by far, the greatest limitation. Only when going between a wired device with GbE and an 802.11n device will the Airport's 100 Mbps Ethernet speed-limit matter ... and then only by a factor of 2 or so.
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by plus View Post

The one scenario that I can see where the lack of GbE on the Airport would ever matter is if you had multiple hard-wired devices that all had GbE and were using the Airport as their hub -- and so would be limited to 100 Mbps rather than being able to use their full GbE in talking with each other. If that matters, get a separate GbE hub and use that to interconnect all those screaming-fast computers to each other, with just a single link to the Airport. For connections from them, through the Ethernet to the Airport and on out to the public Internet, that 3 Mbps DSL link is still going to be, by far, the greatest limitation. Only when going between a wired device with GbE and an 802.11n device will the Airport's 100 Mbps Ethernet speed-limit matter ... and then only by a factor of 2 or so.



While I completely agree that the 100Base-TX WAN/LAN ports will matter little to most people, here's the reason why I personally won't buy the new AirPort base station:

(1) There is another, more profound scenario when the lack of GbE would matter. When you have multiple GbE machine (say a desktop and a laptop) between which you would, on occasion, like to transfer large amounts of data. If there were GbE on the router, then I'd connect my laptop using wires and be able to exchange data at 1000Mbps rather than 100Mbps. That's a factor of 10. I know I will do this because that's exactly what I do right now with my 802.11g wireless router (Linksys WRT54G). I.e., my desktop (iMac) is wired to the router and I have a couple of laptops roaming around wirelessly. But when I need to do some serious file moving, then I'll connect my laptop directly to the router to achieve 100Mbps, even thought the difference is theoretically only by a factor of 2 (and realistically by a factor of 4-5). In fact, I was looking at 802.11g + GbE LAN/WAN routers on Newegg.com as recently as a week ago so that, under those circumstances, the throughput would be even greater.

2 things I won't do: go into "target firewire mode" -- unless I'm taking a backup of the entire HDD of something. As great as the feature is, which I do utilize on occasion, I don't want to have to reboot my Mac twice (and not be able do anything on it during) to do some file transfers; connect the two machines via Ethernet directly to achieve 1000Mbps -- I know this can be done, but no thanks, I'm not willing change my ethernet settings so that one can be a virtual server/router for the other to do file transfers.



(2) Now this is the more important point. The lack of GbE LAN/WAN ports wouldn't be, relatively speaking, that big of a problem if it weren't for the fact that there already exist products that achieve those specs (i.e., 802.11n/g/b + GbE LAN/WAN) for about the same price as the AirPort. So, for those who care about GbE, it becomes a no-brainer. And my gripe is that I'd always thought that Apple, of all the computer makers out there. would be one of those people who care about GbE (how many times have you heard Jobs emphasize its addition onto a product line during a keynote speech?).
post #21 of 24
I too think that the omission of gig-E is a mistake.

Anyone that transfers large files around the house will want gigabit. For instance, if your AppleTV is connected via 100Mb, it would take about an hour to fill the 40GB drive. With gigabit it would take 15 minutes.

My old G4 sits in a spare room and functions as a file and media server. Via gigabit (even without jumbo frames) I can get about 40MB/s sustained throughput.

[edit] My bad, I forgot that the drive in the AppleTV probably can't sustain that high of throughput. So it probably would take closer to 30 minutes with gigabit, with the HD being the bottleneck. [/edit]

Gigabit makes remote drive access as fast as local drive access. The 100Mb ports apple went with makes remote drive access slow as shit.

So basically, apple's wifi-node/switch/router is horribly crippled and not suitable for anyone that wants to use remote storage.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by plus View Post

I've also seen some posters here on AI seeming to claim that the 802.11n max speed will be less than the 100 Mbps Ethernet links, but I don't understand those claims, as they flat out contradict what the Wikipedia article says (and what I've heard in various other venues) about the typical speeds provided by 802.11n.

802.11n will have higher speeds. Current draft-N routers on the market are performing under 90 Mbps. Oh wait...the Netgear RangeMax NEXT hit just over 100Mbps...at 7 feet.

http://www.extremetech.com/image_pop...=146345,00.asp

http://images.tomshardware.com/2006/...annote_big.png

http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/index...=100page5.html

Typically Wikipedia is not an authoritative source. Then again neither are Toms Hardware or ExtremeTech but hey...they've got charts.

Quote:
So, bottom line, yes, it looks like the 100 Mbps Ethernet in the new Airport base stations will be somewhat slower than the speed of the 802.11n links that it provides.

No, not really. And certainly not if you have some draft-N gear from one manufacturer and some from another. If you want draft-N speeds you buy the airport to work with the built in draft-N chipsets in your macs. Or at least make sure the router you do buy uses the same chipsets...

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/...2013307,00.asp

http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/conte...27008/100/1/2/

Or you're going to get G speeds.

Quote:
And it is mildly puzzling that the new Airport does not provide 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports that would operate at the full 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps), since that has indeed become so common in other devices -- including all of Apple's computers. But, personally, I don't see that it's such a big deal.

The Belkin N1 Draft-N router doesn't either. Nor does the Buffalo WZR-G300N and Linksys WRT300N. Why? The Buffalo and Linksys both use the BCM5325 10/100 switch. Why not the BCM5397 (the GigE part)? Because Broadcom only announced on Dec 6 that they added Gig-E to their Intensi-fi draft-N chipset with the BCM4705 for use with their BCM5397 GigE switch chip.

Dunno what chip is in the Airport but it'll get a gigE bump soonish I think. Probably the older Broadcom chipset given Apple already uses some in current Macs.

Vinea
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caribou Killa View Post

I think that some people are forgetting something. Apple does little updates every now and then to keep you interested in their products. The computers get speedbumps and such. Im sure this will get gigabit in the future.

Not so with their Airport hubs. A quick glance at Designed in California shows that the Airport Extreme hub has basically kicked about unchanged since ... April 2004! The Airport Express came out a month later (I bought one right away) and basically exceded it in features for a lower price ever since until now. Seems to me like the track record is against this new hub getting a makeover for quite a while. Shame, because I too, like every good minded geek, prefer the idea of a single solution to a household wi-fi and wired gigabit network. Apple, evidently, think different.
post #24 of 24
Forget about the gigabit ethernet, put an optical port for AirTunes in it an I would buy it tomorrow. I don't want to have 2 wireless devices to connect all of my peripherals.

IE I want this new Airport to allow me to print, stream music and access my external hard drive, I don't want to print and access my external HD from one device and stream music via the other. And yes this is quite important for laptop users who are often on the go and wish not plug in a lot of wires everytime the get back to the desk.
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