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An in-depth review of Apple's 802.11n AirPort Extreme Base Station

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
Apple's revised AirPort Extreme, introduced at Macworld Expo in January, offers several new features and significant improvements in wireless networking speed and reliability. Whether it is worth the upgrade price to move on up to the new 802.11n wireless technology depends upon the specific needs of potential buyers. Read all about it in our 4-page in-depth review.

The most obvious advantage of the new AirPort Extreme over Apple's previous models is support for the new 802.11n wireless networking standard. Apple says the new standard offers five times the data transfer speed and more than twice the range of devices using the former standard.

The last time a new AirPort wireless standard appeared was 802.11g, back in 2003. Apple assigned it the marketing name "AirPort Extreme" to distinguish the faster new second generation wireless networking standard from the earlier 802.11b technology that the company had been simply calling "AirPort" since its introduction in 1999.

New In N

This time around, there is no new Apple marketing name for the unwieldy mouthful of characters representing the IEEE's third generation 802.11n technical specification, but it is commonly referred to as wireless-n. One of the key technologies associated with the new wireless-n standard is its new MIMO antenna technology.

Rather than using a single radio antenna to send and receive wireless data, wireless-n devices all use a series of antennas, referred to as "Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output." MIMO technology allows wireless-n devices to more efficiently spread data over multiple radio frequencies and maintain multiple, simultaneous data streams.

The result is faster data transmission and greater signal reliability over longer distances, without a significant increase in the amount of power or bandwidth required. Wireless-n can operate on the same frequencies as existing 802.11b/g networks, and is backwardly compatible with earlier wireless devices.

How Much Faster?

Apple promises a five fold increase in speed using wireless-n, and AirPort Extreme delivers. That's in part because the wireless-n standard is a big jump in technology, but also because the former 802.11g standard was somewhat problematic. Users will likely appreciate the more reliable signal that wireless-n MIMO devices provide, and find the better coverage at least as useful as the new boost in speed.

The degree of benefit realized by the new wireless-n AirPort Extreme base station depends a lot upon how it will be used. To take advantage of its faster speeds, users will of course also need wireless-n support in all of their other devices.

Nearly all of the Core 2 Duo Intel-based Macs offer built-in support for wireless-n, apart from the entry level 17" 1.83GHz iMac. Earlier Intel Macs based on the original Core Duo or Solo, and all of the earlier PowerPC Macs lack built-in support for wireless-n.

Apple offers no wireless-n upgrade path for earlier Macs designed for the first two generations of wireless technology, in part because earlier systems' AirPort slots can't accommodate the full speed of wireless-n, and their existing built-in antennas wouldn't deliver the main MIMO advantage offered by the new standard.

Some third parties offer upgrades for certain Mac models, including QuickerTek's $149-$179 wireless-n upgrades for the Intel-based Mac mini, iMac, and Mac Book laptops. Other vendors offer external USB adapters, such as D-Link's $149 wireless-n interface, which is commonly available online for around $99.

Mixing AirPort Traffic

Of course, existing wireless clients will still work with the new AirPort Express, but won't be able to benefit from its faster speed. Using earlier 802.11b/g devices with it will actually slow down throughput for any wireless-n devices whenever those older devices are actively transmitting data.

That suggests two bits of buyer recommendations: the first is for users to consider waiting to upgrade until they have enough wireless-n devices to make use of the new speed; the second is to consider using a new wireless-n base station in tandem with an earlier existing AirPort base station for optimal speed in circumstances where there are several wireless clients with different speed capacities.

While the new AirPort Extreme can act as a drop in replacement upgrade for earlier models, it can also be configured as a parallel upgrade, set up to only talk to new devices supporting wireless-n. It can even be set up to use an entirely different frequency band, preventing any overlap or contention between existing network traffic and the new wireless-n only devices.

A Question of Need

Of course, another factor to take into consideration before building a complex system optimized to wirelessly shoot around bits at the most optimal speeds is whether wireless-n will offer any real world difference.

For users who are simply using AirPort to share an Internet connection, upgrading to wireless-n won't really make a speed difference at all; the existing AirPort Extreme 802.11g is already far faster than DSL or Cable Internet. Typical Internet access is commonly the weakest link, with speeds in the range of 1.5 - 3 Mbps, compared to the theoretical maximum of 802.11g at 54 Mbps (actual throughput is typically closer to around 20 Mbps). Upgrading the wireless network isn't going to make Internet access any faster, although it likely will help with the coverage area.

The upgrade to wireless-n is most useful to users who are sharing files between their computers. This includes both direct file sharing and remote sharing of the contents of an iTunes or iPhoto library between networked computers. While these are all possible using earlier wireless standards, the much faster speed of the new wireless-n makes for a considerable improvement in the overall experience.

Wireless USB Disk Sharing

Along those lines, the new AirPort Extreme includes a new feature to exploit its faster speed: a USB hard drive can be plugged in to set up a simple disk share that any connected Mac or PC can access. With a USB hub, multiple disks, along with multiple USB printers, can be shared among all of the networked users, whether they are wirelessly connected or plugged into the base station directly via an Ethernet cable.

This offers the potential for AirPort Extreme to serve as a simple file server for home and small office users. It also provides a convenient way for users to copy files from multiple computers to a central disk for backup purposes, and makes it easy for users to share files between Macs and PCs without setting up and managing file shares on each machine.

Some competing wireless routers also offer similar shared disk features, but few support the Mac's native Apple File Protocol file sharing; most only provide Windows' SMB file sharing. While Macs can interact with these systems, they do not provide full support for some expected Mac features such as file icons and resource forks; Apple's AirPort Extreme is both Mac and Windows savvy.

On page two: Networking with Apple TV, Apple's Web Free Interface, No Paperclip Required, Introducing the Summary Tab

Networking with Apple TV

Another application of the new speed offered by wireless-n comes from Apple TV. Since the new set top box is also wireless-n ready, users interested in accessing their iTunes library on TV have a clear reason to upgrade. While Apple TV can work with earlier wireless networks, it will sync much faster when connected to a new AirPort Extreme.

The Apple TV does not work as a wireless router itself. It needs to either be plugged into an Ethernet network directly, or be connected to an existing wireless network. That includes an existing AirPort Extreme, the new wireless-n version, or a Mac configured with Internet Sharing to relay its network access to other wireless clients.

Another option, of course, is to buy a cheaper, third party wireless base station. However, there are some potential problems with mixing and matching different wireless networks. While all WiFi devices are supposed to use the same open standards, in reality many devices tack on non-standard "speed boost" features or alternative protocols which require installing special software. Many alternative routers only provide limited support for Mac users, and don't always work properly with network services such as iChat video conferencing.

In addition, nearly all wireless devices apart from Apple's are configured using a web interface. Discovering them on the network and setting them up properly often requires struggling with an awkwardly designed interface and the complications inherent in refreshing a browser display while changing the very settings that affect connectivity with the device. Of course, many don't support Safari browser, either.

Apple's Web Free Interface

Apple's approach to configuring its AirPort devices is to rely upon a desktop application to do all the setup work. Among other things, this makes it easy to set up multiple units with the exact same settings, or to back up a device's settings to a file, so they can be restored if the device ever needs to be reset.

Bundled with the new AirPort Extreme is a revised, fifth version of Apple's AirPort Utility. This software makes both the basic setup and any advanced configuration of AirPort devices so easy that it bumps Apple's wireless base station product from very good to excellent, and handily negates any price advantages offered by competitors. It's really that good.

Everything about setting up shared disks and printers, and even the more complex details of configuring network settings of the base station, are easy to configure with the contextual help information provided. Clicking on "more info" presents a clear explanation of what to do and why it matters.



Apple has also put together a detailed reference guide with more information: Designing Airport Extreme 802.11n Networks.

No Paperclip Required

The new AirPort Utility shows a list of all discovered base stations, each with a colored indicator dot reflecting the status light on the unit itself. These can be used to identify the device when multiple base stations are being set up at once, but also work as a problem indicator if anything about the settings is not quite right.

The third unit I set up, for example, was in a typical home environment, connected to a 2Wire DSL router. Since the existing device was already creating a private network, the AirPort Utility software alerted me to the potential problem of "double NAT," and recommended I set up the AirPort Extreme in bridge mode. Clicking on the indicator smartly took me right to the configuration panel listing that option.

While the AirPort Utility's setup steps already present all the configurations options in an easy to understand language, the simplicity behind the new indicator interface is really brilliant. Rather than forcing the user to figure out what's wrong with their network and then search around through a convoluted set of jargon-heavy web pages to hunt down the setting required to fix it, AirPort Utility monitors for common problems, flags a warning, offers a suggestion on how to solve the problem, and then directs the user right to the relevant settings.

It's a bit like the annoying, dancing paperclip from Microsoft Office, except there's no dancing paperclip, and it doesn't annoyingly interrupt and take over the whole screen. Imagine if Office simply lit an amber light to indicate that it had a suggestion available for consideration. Wow, that would actually be helpful.

Introducing the Summary Tab

Another cleverly-subtle interface feature debuting in the AirPort Utility is the Summary Tab. Like earlier versions of the AirPort Utility, the new version uses the familiar Mac OS X tabbed view to present multiple screens of settings by subject: Base Station, Wireless, WDS, and Access Control.



Now there's a new tab: Summary. It presents an overview of the entire configuration, with hyperlinked labels. Click on Base Station Name, and the interface takes you directly to the page used to set it. Click on Wireless Clients, and you are presented with a display logging individual systems currently using the network. Brilliant!



Much like Tiger's System Preferences, there's also a search panel that provides a quick way to jump to features just by typing in a keyword. Hopefully, this same searchable, Summary Panel interface will be applied in Leopard to clean up Mac OS X's quirky Network and Printer setup controls. And what about Disk Utility? Imagine if Apple made the entire Leopard interface coherent and consistent! AirPort Utility would be a good model.



On page three: You're Looking For What?, Disk Sharing Setup, The New Base Station Hardware


You're Looking For What?

One minor flaw related to using the search field to find settings relates to what happens when the user searches for something that makes no sense in the current context. For example, after setting up the AirPort Express in bridge mode--where it acts only as a wireless distribution point and not as a router--I did a search for port forwarding.

In bridge mode however, the settings page for port forwarding isn't just grayed out, but actually goes away to help simplify the interface; it makes no sense to configure port forwarding in bridge mode. However, the search box still offers to help the user find these hidden settings. Since they are no longer displayed however, the search tool confusingly either dumps the user on the closest page possible, or appears to do nothing.

This makes it feel like the interface is broken or buggy, when really the user is just doing something non-sensical. It seems Apple should address this by presenting the hidden settings--in this case port forwarding--with an explanation that they are currently unavailable and why, rather than just hiding the page entirely. This is the same user interface concept behind greying out menu items that are unavailable rather then just making them vanish.

Disk Sharing Setup

The other new feature in AirPort Utility is, of course, the configuration controls for disk sharing. Unlike a full blown file server, all that's required to share a disk with AirPort Extreme is a USB drive and a tick in the appropriate check box. The box is already even checked by default. As Jeff Goldblum might announce, "there is no step two!"

Disk sharing requires the disk to already be formatted and ready to use. If you plug in a drive that is already formatted and full of files, the AirPort Extreme happily shares everything without any extra setup. If you plug in a defective drive as I did, the AirPort Utility software warns of the error and tells you to plug the drive into another computer and run Disk Utility to repair it.



There's an option for allowing guest access to the drive for anyone on the network, and controls to use either a single disk access password or the option to set up individual user accounts to control access to files on the disk.



Using the included AirPort Disk Utility, USB drives shared from the base station can be automatically discovered by Mac and PC users on the network, and client computers can turn on a new menu bar icon that lists all of the available shared drives on the network. After choosing to connect to a shared drive, all of its partitions will be mounted.



This magical simplicity is delivered through the convenience of Bonjour, Apple's automatic network configuration and discovery protocol. Bonjour is also behind printer sharing and the automatically discovered, shared playlists in iTunes.

Sprinkled throughout the AirPort Utility software are options to advertise shared printers, disks, and even the base station configuration "globally using Bonjour," although this requires an an account with an external dynamic DNS server, something Apple provides little information about how to actually go about doing. Perhaps it's waiting for a new .Mac wide-area Bonjour service to be unveiled in conjunction with Leopard.



The New Base Station Hardware

The new AirPort Extreme lacks the external antenna port present on the model it replaces, but wireless-n's new MIMO antenna technology means that an external antenna is not only unnecessary, but would only interrupt the workings of its internal array.

Also missing is support for dial up networking, but the number of people relying on modems for Internet access is dwindling to the point where Apple doesn't even include a modem on its new Macs. Users with needs for dial up networking can pick up a refurbished model of the previous AirPort Extreme from online vendors for around $100.

The shape of the AirPort Extreme unit is also new. The base station is no longer a UFO-shaped blob resembling a pregnant frisbee, but now hints at the simple candy box share of a Mac mini or Apple TV. It has the same footprint of the mini, but is about half as tall. Apple TV is larger around, 7.7 inches square, rather than the 6.5 inches of the mini and the new base station.



The new AirPort Extreme is significantly less expensive than the previous versions, at $179 rather than a list price above $250. While Apple originally introduced wireless networking at a breakthrough price, it didn't stay ahead of the curve on keeping prices competitive until release of the AirPort Express. With this new wireless-n model of the AirPort Extreme, Apple is again working to hit a competitive price target.

Even the most bargain basement wireless-n routers without disk and printer sharing have list prices nearly identical to Apple's. Although many can be found online at significant discounted price, they fail to offer the same easy-to-use software and attention to detail. The AirPort Extreme is particularly a good value for Mac users, because it provides hassle free support for Mac protocols and devices.

On page four: It's Wired, Too, Extreme vs Express, The Wrap Up, Rating, Pros and Cons

It's Wired, Too

One welcome feature over earlier models is the new built-in switch providing an additional three Ethernet ports for wired computers. However, it's a bit disappointing that these are only 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet ports, and not 1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet, particularly since Apple's computers have long offered the much faster Gig-E ports for some time.



Was it an issue of too much heat, or too much extra cost? While Gig-E ports wouldn't really speed up the networking between wired and wireless clients, they would make it easy to attach Gigibit Macs with fast access to each other, and perhaps eke-out faster responsiveness from a shared USB disk.

Of course, anyone who really needs Gig-E connectivity likely already has a Gigabit switch. The price of these switches has dropped dramatically over the last few years, with 5 port switches now available for as little as $50. Still, it's a feature that would have been nice to have built into the AirPort Extreme.

Extreme vs Express

The new AirPort Extreme is the same bright white color as the AirPort Express, which Apple continues to sell. The more compact Express version only supports the earlier 802.11g standard, but also includes support for AirTunes wireless audio distribution, which is not offered at all on the faster new Airport Extreme. Why didn't Apple include a digital Toslink audio port on the new Extreme? It appears to be an odd omission.

What about Power over Ethernet, a feature offered on the institutional version of the previous AirPort Extreme? This enables large scale AirPort users to deploy Apple's base stations without needing a separate power supply, and instead use power fed over the Ethernet port. It appears Apple simply discontinued the earlier Extreme models (they no longer listed in the public Apple Store). Will it offer a new PoE version of the new Extreme? Power over Ethernet is not a feature of interest to consumers.

Apple's current wireless offerings target the casual consumer with AirPort Extreme, which now begs for an upgrade to wireless-n, and the home/office user with the new AirPort Extreme, which conspicuously lacks AirTunes and Gig-E, but adds disk sharing features and couple extra LAN ports. This leaves a question mark over the version Apple intends to sell to schools, but given how central AirPort is to Apple's education strategy, it is likely to address that question soon.

The Wrap Up

Essentially, the new AirPort Extreme adds a some useful new hardware features, offers much faster wireless speed and improved coverage, and delivers a solid upgrade in software ease of use. For users interested in upgrading to the new wireless-n standard, Apple's new base station should top the list of potential considerations, with a competitive price and a strong lead in ease of use and innovative, practical features.

Apple's smart AirPort Utility configuration software won't get used frequently, but it will make a big difference in limiting the hassle and annoyance users will need to experience when they do. It goes a long way to erase the competitive difference in price offered by other manufacturer's wireless routers. For example, users won't need to worry whether Apple's own router will appropriately pass traffic over the right ports to get iChat video conferencing to work.

Users with an AirPort Express will have to decide whether it makes sense to upgrade to using two base stations, or give up wireless iTunes delivery. Users of the previous AirPort Extreme will have to consider whether their needs for local network file sharing, shared media libraries, and Apple TV warrant springing for the extra boost in speed.

Rating: 4 of 5


Pros:
Competitively priced, slim, solidly designed hardware.Excellent AirPort Utility software.Simple and easy to use network disk and printer sharing features.Offers a big boost in wireless speed and coverage.Built in switch for wired Ethernet devices.\t
Cons:
Lacks AirPort Express' AirTunes for wireless music distribution.Lacks Gigabit Ethernet.
Products and companies mentioned in this review
Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station
D-Link\t\t\t
Quicker Tek
post #2 of 45
my question has always been the speed comparison when using airport express vs. airport extreme N.

Many reviews will say there is little difference if any, but I wanna see the numbers.
post #3 of 45
Good writeup.

Quote:
The new AirPort Extreme is the same bright white color as the AirPort Express, which Apple continues to sell. The more compact Express version only supports the earlier 802.11g standard, but also includes support for AirTunes wireless audio distribution, which is not offered at all on the faster new Airport Extreme. Why didn't Apple include a digital Toslink audio port on the new Extreme? It appears to be an odd omission.

Because they want to sale Apple TV's. That can be the only logical solution once they stop selling the Express.
Hard-Core.
Reply
Hard-Core.
Reply
post #4 of 45
2.0 GHz MBP / 2GB RAM / 256 MB / 120 GB
Reply
2.0 GHz MBP / 2GB RAM / 256 MB / 120 GB
Reply
post #5 of 45
Under "How much faster?" you wrote "express" instead of "extreme."

Tsk tsk.

-=|Mgkwho

[::Fixed, thanks -- edited by Kasper::]
post #6 of 45
Thanks for this write-up. It answered a lot of questions I had in thinking about the new extreme. I would really like to network my iMac and wife's iBook and offload files from the iMac. Doing it through an Airport extreme is the neatest solution, I may have to see how much of a pain networking the ibook through my imac is on a 'g' based network. but that's for another thread.
post #7 of 45
It's worth pointing out that 802.11n as Apple implements it in the UK and some other countries is only theoretically 2.5 times as fast as 802.11g.

See http://www.macworld.co.uk/mac/news/i...m?newsid=17059

The USB disk mode isn't terribly quick either even over ethernet.

IMHO 4 out of 5 is a little generous given it's major cons of no Gig-E, poor USB disk performance and lack of AirTunes. More than one USB port would be useful too if you're after using it as a print server and a USB disk.
post #8 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by syklee26 View Post

my question has always been the speed comparison when using airport express vs. airport extreme N.

Many reviews will say there is little difference if any, but I wanna see the numbers.

Please supply the links. We have been testing in house and checking the reviews. I gather you have evidence to suppor your statement

Macword review http://www.macworld.com/2007/02/revi...base/index.php
http://crazybob.org/2007/02/airport-...t-express.html
http://www.barefeats.com/net80211n.html Great article. Great links
post #9 of 45
But will it fix the interminable dropped wi-fi connections that MacBooks experience when running on WPA2-Personal? Or does one not have anything to do with the other?
post #10 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

It's worth pointing out that 802.11n as Apple implements it in the UK and some other countries is only theoretically 2.5 times as fast as 802.11g.

It would have been a little more ethical if you had quoted from the article, "An industry source explained the implications of this to Macworld: “The 802.11n standard offers a bandwidth frequency that determines how much speed you will be able to achieve. This is either 20MHz or 40MHz, with 20MHz being 2.5x faster than 11g and 40MHz being 5x faster than 11g. I suspect that in the UK Apple's device is only able to use 20MHz because it is illegal to use the 40MHz bandwidth when using the frequency of 5GHz.”

If the source's theory is right it would appear that Apple is only able to promise speeds increases of 2.5 times is because of its choice to adopt the 5GHz frequency. “Most venders haven't adopted this frequency so they can use 40MHz and hence get the full 5x 11g speed,” explained Macworld’s source.

However, another industry source has suggested that it may not be possible to use the 40MHz band in the 2.4 GHz frequency. Interference from Microwaves, cordless phones and Bluetooth devices could lead to loss of performance, and neighbouring 802.11g devices would pull the 802.11n device back to 20 MHz, the source said."

A lot of readers won't bother to look up the source which was titled, "Apple's AirPort Extreme constrained by UK laws. UK bandwidth restrictions will stop Apple's AirPort Exteme achieveing its goal," and immediately and erroneously conclude that Apple is 'lying' again.
post #11 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

But will it fix the interminable dropped wi-fi connections that MacBooks experience when running on WPA2-Personal? Or does one not have anything to do with the other?

I was having the same trouble with the G4 Mini I'm using. I believe that Apple suggests removing your preferred networks in the system preferences panel and then re-entering the network information, but that didn't seem to work for me. I found this thread:

http://emperor.tidbits.com/webx?14@7...h3@.3c91043f/2

which basically says:

"It involves dragging the following files to the trash: 1. com.apple.kernelcaches (a folder in /System/Library/Caches) 2. Extensions.kextcache (a file in /System/Library) 3. Extensions.mkext (a file in /System/Library/) (You will need to enter an administrator password to move each these files.)"

I've done this and have had much better luck with waking from sleep and still being connected. Be warned that when you restart after deleting those files, it takes a while because those missing files are being rebuilt. I can't really say whether this solution is more than anecdotal, but it seems to have worked for me. Hope that helps.
post #12 of 45
I may be alone here, but I think the appearance of this Roughly-Drafted guy as a writer on Apple Insider is not a particularly positive development.

C.
post #13 of 45
...like the Extreme Base did with my 2.x GHz cordless phones? I switched to 5GHz phones to be able to talk as well as use the network. Will the -N system futz up and send me back to my older phones?
post #14 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by zanshin View Post

...like the Extreme Base did with my 2.x GHz cordless phones? I switched to 5GHz phones to be able to talk as well as use the network. Will the -N system futz up and send me back to my older phones?

Isn't 802.11 2.4GHz?
post #15 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

I may be alone here, but I think the appearance of this Roughly-Drafted guy as a writer on Apple Insider is not a particularly positive development.

C.

You're not alone...having read a few Roughly Drafted "articles" (blog is perhaps a more accurate description), I can't say his opinion carries much weight with me. He takes Mac fanatacism to a new extreme. Unlike most of his articles, at least the two reviews he has written have actually talked about the products involved as opposed to most of the RD blogs that go off-topic from sentence one and never return (if you can point out where in this article, Apple TV: iTunes Store Movie Quality vs DVD, HD, Cable, he is actually on-topic, you're doing better than I). At least he avoided the usual (and unrelated), Microsoft attacks for the review.
post #16 of 45
The article makes no mention of security as a differentiator: the introduction of wap-2 in airport extreme.
post #17 of 45
Anyone have any success with networking a USB Hard drive on the new Extreme?
Particularly with OS 10.4.9
There are numerous posting about the failure of USB drives to mount after installing the update.
I lost my RAID and my USB big disks.
Apple has been strangely quiet on the issue although LaCie seems to be well aware of it.

Also, is it possible to network using the ethernet port? or is there only one?
post #18 of 45
2 early posters have recorded their negative reaction to Daniel Eran of roughlydrafted.com.

IMHO Daniel, in roughlydrafted.com, is guilty of sharing his informed opinions (and attitudes) about all things Apple (always positive), MS (always negative), and other interesting topics including several MS praising hacks. (You know who you are.)

He is the one of the best technical and historical reporters, far above most popular commentators. I (and many others) read him avidly because his work is deeply researched, articulate, and very enlightening.

He loves to pit himself against the world and, for the most part, does that with a good deal of panache and entertainment value.

He fights clean. I don't have a problem with great insight and intelligence delivered with a strong helping of laugh out loud nastiness on the side. Do you?

Before posting in reply, be sure to read several of his fine articles at roughlydrafted.com.

I extend my deepest welcome to Daniel Eran.
post #19 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

It's worth pointing out that 802.11n as Apple implements it in the UK and some other countries is only theoretically 2.5 times as fast as 802.11g.

See http://www.macworld.co.uk/mac/news/i...m?newsid=17059

The USB disk mode isn't terribly quick either even over ethernet.

IMHO 4 out of 5 is a little generous given it's major cons of no Gig-E, poor USB disk performance and lack of AirTunes. More than one USB port would be useful too if you're after using it as a print server and a USB disk.

I agree. These are the reasons why I havn't bothered buying one, plus the fact that Apple don't give us an built in ADSL modem. It seems like a bit of a half effort to me.
post #20 of 45
One weakness in this product is that if you want to use it as an Internet facing routing (e.g. with a DSL modem in bridge mode), it is not possible to stealth all the ports. No matter what you do with the settings, port 53 shows as "closed," i.e. it responds to unsolicited requests.
post #21 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Other vendors offer external USB adapters, such as D-Link's $149 wireless-n interface, which is commonly available online for around $99.

This is of course totally bogus, since the D-Link product provides support only for Windows 2000, XP and Vista. There is no support for any Mac notebook or Desktop, which means that as of today it is not possible to use 802.11n with any of the PowePC-based macs.
post #22 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by neptune2000 View Post

This is of course totally bogus, since the D-Link product provides support only for Windows 2000, XP and Vista. There is no support for any Mac notebook or Desktop, which means that as of today it is not possible to use 802.11n with any of the PowePC-based macs.

I wondered about that too. Guess he is talking about the DWA-130 Wireless N USB adapter.
I sent their tech support an email to ask but, everything I can read seems to indicate no Mac support. It is the first USB solution I have seen. Anyone know of anything that does work?

I think they have a PCMCIA adapter too but, obviously that own't work.
post #23 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by reifer View Post

Anyone have any success with networking a USB Hard drive on the new Extreme?
Particularly with OS 10.4.9
There are numerous posting about the failure of USB drives to mount after installing the update.
I lost my RAID and my USB big disks.
Apple has been strangely quiet on the issue although LaCie seems to be well aware of it.

Also, is it possible to network using the ethernet port? or is there only one?

I hooked up my brother multi printer via LAN using the new airport so... it should? I'm not really knowlegeable on this topic but i'll give my own experience: I attached a Lacie USB drive to the airport and was able to attach the printer to the drive and print via Bonjour (using the external hd as a usb hub required no extra effort- just worked). But I wanted to be able to send scans to the macbook using the printer so I hooked up via the LAN. Recognized instantly, as though the printer/scanner was wired. Brother printers & apple's seem to like each other.

must say, this airport has rocked since day one, I use apple's 'backup' program for nightly backups using 'G' and its a little slow, but works fine. I also keep my movies on network'd HD and watch em through itunes; it only takes a little time to get the file up & streaming (1-4 seconds) then all's good. As much as I would like 'N' for little quicker backups, what I have works and works fine untill I get another lappie in a few years.
post #24 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by pk22901 View Post

2 early posters have recorded their negative reaction to Daniel Eran of roughlydrafted.com.

IMHO Daniel, in roughlydrafted.com, is guilty of sharing his informed opinions (and attitudes) about all things Apple (always positive), MS (always negative), and other interesting topics including several MS praising hacks. (You know who you are.)

He is the one of the best technical and historical reporters, far above most popular commentators. I (and many others) read him avidly because his work is deeply researched, articulate, and very enlightening.

I'm sorry, but its hard to read anyone's opinions, regardless of how 'informed' or 'researched' they are, if he's always positive about one company, and always negative about another. That would imply that, if he were unbiased, that Apple can do no wrong (ha!) or MS can do no right (I'm sure they have, it just takes some time to think about what it might be).

Its like reading people who go on and on about how great the OS 9 finder is without seeing its downsides (or how bad the OS X finder is without looking at its upsides - again, it must have some, it just requires a little thinking....). Or how Apple's product line-up is the greatest ever. Or how, if you compare like computers, Apple's are cheaper (oh god, I hate that argument!). There's a reason people mock Dvorak! Its because he never says anything nice about Apple (well, I recall he did once, but I think he was on some medication at the time), and so everyone feel he's got an agenda.
post #25 of 45
Well, I've been using my AE for two weeks now, upgrading from an Express due to multiple and constant dropouts, slow speeds, etc. I am in apartment building, and using a MBPC2D.

It took some fiddling to setup (had to unplug my modem for Comcast), but afterward, it has been great. The signal is much stronger than the Express (which is now on the network as printer connection) and the speed is better too. I recorded 21mpbs with a broadband speed test after installation. That's damn fast.

I also owned an original Airport Extreme (G) and a Snow base station. This one is far better in terms of speed and stability. I think I had one very minor dropout the other day, but honestly my feeling was that it related to the Express as I was trying to print when I noticed it.

My feeling is that if you have an all "g" network and you're happy with the signal, don't upgrade. But if you have connectivity issues like I had (and it was BAD), it's definitely worth it. I couldn't be happier. I haven't tried the AirDisk function yet, but I will soon.

SDW
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I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
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post #26 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by chabig View Post

Isn't 802.11 2.4GHz?

I was mistaken. It's 2.4 and/or 5GHz. I'm operating at 5GHz right now.
post #27 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

But will it fix the interminable dropped wi-fi connections that MacBooks experience when running on WPA2-Personal? Or does one not have anything to do with the other?

I've been having this problem with mine, but haven't gone out of my way yet to fix it, I guess hoping Apple will eventually. I'll try the tips further down the thread to see if they help.

I'm in the UK but I bought my Extreme in the US, so I'm able to run it at 5ghz (legal or not). This means it avoids interference from my DECT handsets, the microwave, and my other b/g network. I'm running it as a separate WPA2-secured n-only network, and the range on 5ghz through walls though is less than on 2.4ghz - one of the disadvantages I guess. But my MBP C2D is in the same room anyway.

Doing rough speed comparisons with my 100mbit wired network I get very close times for copying large (several gb) files to/from my NAS, which is great.

Overall I'm happy with it, but just wish Apple would do something about the intermittent drop-offs, always while copying large files across the network. With my MBP I never have problems when I wake from sleep however, as others seem to.
post #28 of 45
In reply to Louzer # 24:

Funny you should mention Dvorak. He's opinionated (to be generous) and he's NOT insightful, nor reality based. Eran, on the other handed is opinionated AND insightful, clear, factual, and well worth the read.

So, did you actually read something in roughlydrafted? If not, are you arguing for dispassionate, boring, uninformative drivel?

Read the roughlydrafted articles (It's only fair; you've read Dvorak!)!

(And I think you'll enjoy the read.)
post #29 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by reifer View Post

I wondered about that too. Guess he is talking about the DWA-130 Wireless N USB adapter.
I sent their tech support an email to ask but, everything I can read seems to indicate no Mac support. It is the first USB solution I have seen. Anyone know of anything that does work?

I think they have a PCMCIA adapter too but, obviously that own't work.

I'm looking into 802.11n solution for PPC-based Macs as well. Went thru xlr8yourmac, macintouch, etc.
post #30 of 45
I have a Canon 9000 printer hookedup to my Airport Extreme, if I switch my printer off and back on again, my Airport Extreme will not renew the connection with my printer unless I switch it off an back on too. This was not so with the older Airport!
Anyone has a similar problem?
post #31 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by suhail View Post

I have a Canon 9000 printer hookedup to my Airport Extreme, if I switch my printer off and back on again, my Airport Extreme will not renew the connection with my printer unless I switch it off an back on too. This was not so with the older Airport!
Anyone has a similar problem?

this is a known issue i've seen on apple.com forums. no fix, wait for firmware...maybe.
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post #32 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

More than one USB port would be useful too if you're after using it as a print server and a USB disk.

FOOL you can use a USB hub
post #33 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by caribbean_mac View Post

FOOL you can use a USB hub

there are many ways to answer his question, one other way might be:

"btw, did you know that you can use a USB hub and attach more than one device? Its probably best if you use one that is powered so that it works better".

just something to consider in the future.
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post #34 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by pk22901 View Post

In reply to Louzer # 24:

Funny you should mention Dvorak. He's opinionated (to be generous) and he's NOT insightful, nor reality based. Eran, on the other handed is opinionated AND insightful, clear, factual, and well worth the read.

So, did you actually read something in roughlydrafted? If not, are you arguing for dispassionate, boring, uninformative drivel?

Read the roughlydrafted articles (It's only fair; you've read Dvorak!)!

(And I think you'll enjoy the read.)

I don't particularly care to read something so biased. Mac users take flack for this kind of one-sided fantaticism.

But I had the temerity to politely disagree with something in a Roughly Drafted article. Eran came back with a personal, agressive flame. I decided the fellow had some kind of issue and decided to leave it.

C.
post #35 of 45
Heard back from D-Link.
No Mac drivers for the DWA 130
They have an Express card option too, but, no Mac drivers there either.
I know that we Mac users are the red headed stepchildren of technology but, the guys who run these companies don't get it.
With the introduction of the Airport Extreme "n" base station, Mac users are some of the most likely early adopters of this techonology.
I've had an Express slot for about 15 months now in my MacBook Pro and haven't had anything I wanted to plug into it. A wifi adapter would be perfect.
Particularly on Wifi "n", I think Apples owes us a little more help.
post #36 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by caribbean_mac View Post

FOOL you can use a USB hub

Charming.

You'll also need another power supply to power your hub.

I know you can attach a hub to it but that doesn't take away from my point that two USB connectors would have been a useful feature and not that expensive to do either given the high price of the unit already.

If we're going with your kind of reasoning then Apple were FOOLs to put more than one ethernet connection on it as you can easily attach an ethernet switch. Heck they were FOOLs to include wireless too. They could have forgot that and have you buy an ethernet-wireless bridge. The FOOLs!
post #37 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandau View Post

this is a known issue i've seen on apple.com forums. no fix, wait for firmware...maybe.

Thanx, it seems that I needed to upgrade to the latest version (duh), I think it works now.
post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenneth View Post

I'm looking into 802.11n solution for PPC-based Macs as well. Went thru xlr8yourmac, macintouch, etc.

The Buffalo AirStation Draft-N WZR-G300N has a bridge mode that would allow you to have Draft-N. Check compatibility with the router on the other end. It uses the older Broadcom chip and this is, I think, a soon to be discontinued model that might have been replaced by the WZR2-G300N and WZR-AG300NH.

These likely also have a bridge mode but there's no manual available for download. They do have an external mode switch like the older WZR-G300N. Labeled differently but described the same way on their web site.

I use one of their G routers in bridge mode. Its a middle of the pack G router that was cheaper than most standalone single-port "game adapters" (cost me $65 or so).

Getting a WZR-AG300NH to use in bridge mode will be pricey at $250. The new WZR2-G300N isn't out yet but the soon to be replaced WZR-G300N is down to around $110.

Note that the WZR-G300N clocked in at 90-75MBps...which was slower than some of the pre-N MIMO offerings. Dunno how fast the WHR-HP-AG108 (a dual band A+G router that also has bridge mode) is but its $80.

I'm trying to hold out another generation of Draft-N devices.

Vinea
post #39 of 45
Are there any N mode 'game adapters' yet?

I've been using SMC EZ-Connect Ethernet Bridges - SMCWEBT-G on Macs that can't take new cards including an iBook G3 and an SE/30!

They're around £25 here in the UK.

http://www.smc.com/index.cfm?event=v...cid=5&pid=1476

http://www.broadbandstuff.co.uk/prod...roducts_id=524

As they plug in to your ethernet port there's no drivers required. The SMCWEBT-G also acts as a WDS repeater so as well as getting older Macs on the network, it extends too. I'm using a Draytek Vigor 2800VG router though, not an Apple router. They were all working with an Airport Express in WDS mode too up until the Airport Express went bang last week. It's funny how you miss Airtunes.
post #40 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

Are there any N mode 'game adapters' yet?

Not that I've found yet.
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