Apple updates AirPort firmware with KRACK vulnerability fix

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 50
    hodarhodar Posts: 348member

    I have owned Netgear, Linksys, ASUS, and Belkin routers, from the old 802.11G up through the AC.  In every case, I experienced what I call "Router Rot", in that about after a year of service, each of these routers started flaking out.  Sometimes if you streamed a movie, then paused; you would have to reboot the router to get things going again.  Other times, it seems that the router's performance would generally degrade, and the only thing that TEMPORARILY restored performance, was a power-off and reboot cycle.  This routine got tiresome quickly.

    Then I was persuaded by a co-worker to drop the extra money and just buy an Apple Airport Extreme.  I got the 802.11n; and it worked rock solid for 6 years; when I found that they had the new Airport Extreme 802.11ac in the refurb section for ~$120, I jumped on that.  Both have been rock-solid ever since they were turned on, and they have been running flawlessly for 3 years.  I wish Apple wouldn't leave the router market.

    watto_cobraGeorgeBMacpropodcornchip
  • Reply 22 of 50
    ksecksec Posts: 1,568member
    I've never understood Apple leaving the router market.
    I get it that today's routers are probably a difficult market in which to make money.   They're a commodity. 
    But, WiFi and related protocols are also critical to IoT and Apple's interconnectedness -- even the Apple Watch partially relies on it to talk to the iPhone.  And, potential seems to be growing rather than shrinking.

    To me, from a strategic standpoint, it does not sound like a smart move.  Apple doesn't do too many dumb things so I have to believe that there is something to this story that I'm missing.  But, right now, it sounds like it is, at best, not a smart move.
    Every Single market Apple is in right now is a commodity. PC / Mobile Phones / Tablet, so I dont think commodity was ever a reason Apple leave a market.

    I dont think they left, since they are folded into Apple TV team, may be Apple TV will offer Router function. 
    cornchip
  • Reply 23 of 50
    I've never understood Apple leaving the router market.
    I get it that today's routers are probably a difficult market in which to make money.   They're a commodity. 
    But, WiFi and related protocols are also critical to IoT and Apple's interconnectedness -- even the Apple Watch partially relies on it to talk to the iPhone.  And, potential seems to be growing rather than shrinking.

    To me, from a strategic standpoint, it does not sound like a smart move.  Apple doesn't do too many dumb things so I have to believe that there is something to this story that I'm missing.  But, right now, it sounds like it is, at best, not a smart move.
    There's also something important about trust. I trust Apple to get it right. If they abandon the router market that will mean I have to rely on someone else for that. It will also undermine HomeKit, and by extension, HomePod. So I have a tough time believing they've made this decision. It just seems short-sighted. Routers are an integral part of the interconnected home. But I'll admit circumstantial evidence exists that, when paired with the insider rumors, is troubling.

    For example, I bought and installed expensive Nest thermostats (pre-Google) and most likely I will do a gigantic pain-in-the-ass rewiring soon to switch to something that is HomeKit-compatible. Just to keep my home as secure as possible. I trust Apple to do that for me. Discontinuing the routers wouldn't completely break that trust, but it undermines it.

    On the other hand, the delay in updating the router firmware could be because they are going to get refreshed around the same time HomePod is released.
    edited December 2017 watto_cobraGeorgeBMacpropod
  • Reply 24 of 50
    mike54 said:
    I hope they continue making routers. The internet is key to the working of Apple products, so the router is key ingredient.
    They kill this business because TP-Link took over market and kills anyone in that space. Apple would not be able to compete with their product reliability. AirPorts of last generations had a lot of issues (unlike previous gens that I still may use here and there, but TP-Link replacementc did the magic Apple could not). On top of that Apple blocked quite a bit functionality with their management software. For example some AirPort generations allowed power control and old management software allowed to change it. New software removed that option even though AirPort still could do this. A lot to be desieredd from Apple in that space and they are not gurus in networking anyway (at least you could judge that by having issues with device identification by iCloud and not by phone number that they have been having for years now).
  • Reply 25 of 50
    I've never understood Apple leaving the router market.
    Ask yourself this question: what in-house technology can Apple leverage within routers that differentiates the product vs. competitors? Nothing at the moment. I think Apple is trying to focus on hardware products that provide more than just industrial design as a differentiation for sales. Same thing applies to the Cinema Display. 
  • Reply 26 of 50
    RacerhomieXRacerhomieX Posts: 95unconfirmed, member
    Rayz2016 said:
    I still love both of my AirPort Expresses at home. They act as a mesh network & also are good looking. Please Apple don’t stop making routers.
    Mmm. Do Apple routers qualify as a mesh network?

    Yeah. They do. My device connects automatically to the nearest base station, even though they both have the same name.
  • Reply 27 of 50
    RacerhomieXRacerhomieX Posts: 95unconfirmed, member
    harrissjt said:

    I've had an Apple-only home for years, but I got tired of waiting for them to update their aging Airport devices.  So I sold my soul, and as soon as they became available here in Australia I got a 3-pack of Google wifi pucks, and I haven't looked back...not once.

    Much better wifi throughout my home.  No dead-spots, no spurious drop-outs requiring reboots, and no grumpy wife and kids - just a fast, reliable signal throughout.

    Oh, and Google supplied the KRACK patch within days...

    I would never buy a device from a company which sells personal data. The AirPorts are doing fine, and they also have no issues.
    A better choice would be eero , if I HAD to buy a new non Apple Router.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 28 of 50
    harrissjt said:

    I've had an Apple-only home for years, but I got tired of waiting for them to update their aging Airport devices.  So I sold my soul, and as soon as they became available here in Australia I got a 3-pack of Google wifi pucks, and I haven't looked back...not once.

    Much better wifi throughout my home.  No dead-spots, no spurious drop-outs requiring reboots, and no grumpy wife and kids - just a fast, reliable signal throughout.

    Oh, and Google supplied the KRACK patch within days...

    I would never buy a device from a company which sells personal data. The AirPorts are doing fine, and they also have no issues.
    A better choice would be eero , if I HAD to buy a new non Apple Router.
    eero doesn't support IPv6 though, so if you're replacing an AirPort with an eero, you'll lose a all your IPv6 connectivity (of which you probably have more than you think).

    People have been complaining on their forums for over a year about this lack and have just gotten lackluster "yeah, we'll think about it" responses. If they haven't added it after this long, it's doubtful that they ever will, in which case you'll be stuck with IPv4 only in a world increasingly moving towards an IPv6 future.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 29 of 50
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    Rayz2016 said:
    I still love both of my AirPort Expresses at home. They act as a mesh network & also are good looking. Please Apple don’t stop making routers.
    Mmm. Do Apple routers qualify as a mesh network?

    Yeah. They do. My device connects automatically to the nearest base station, even though they both have the same name.
    Connecting to a router doesn't mean it's mesh and the same SSID is irrelevant. They all do that.

    If you look at your AirPort Utility's diagram of your routers you'll see it's not a mesh configuration.

    That said, while there are advantages to a mesh network that I'd love for Apple to embrace, there's also no reason to get rid of perfectly working routers. For most people, it's about connecting to the internet so as long as your WiFi isn't your bottleneck then you're probably fine.
    edited December 2017 GeorgeBMacStrangeDays
  • Reply 30 of 50
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,425member
    harrissjt said:

    I've had an Apple-only home for years, but I got tired of waiting for them to update their aging Airport devices.  So I sold my soul, and as soon as they became available here in Australia I got a 3-pack of Google wifi pucks, and I haven't looked back...not once.

    Much better wifi throughout my home.  No dead-spots, no spurious drop-outs requiring reboots, and no grumpy wife and kids - just a fast, reliable signal throughout.

    Oh, and Google supplied the KRACK patch within days...

    I would never buy a device from a company which sells personal data. 
    I agree and I wouldn't either given a choice. Good for us that neither Google nor Apple sell personal data so we don't have that worry, eh? 
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 31 of 50
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Rayz2016 said:
    I still love both of my AirPort Expresses at home. They act as a mesh network & also are good looking. Please Apple don’t stop making routers.
    Mmm. Do Apple routers qualify as a mesh network?

    Yeah. They do. My device connects automatically to the nearest base station, even though they both have the same name.
    No. They don't. You can set them up to extend a network and allow "roaming" between nodes, but it's not a mesh network. I have a roaming network set up with an Extreme and and Express. Yes, it generally works. But the network is unmanaged and the two Airport devices are generally unaware of each other. It does nothing to ensure your device is on the best node. My MBP will cling to one node at the far end of the house even though I'm sitting less than 10 feet from the other node. Even when data throughput drops to near zero I sometimes have to turn wifi off and back on again to get it to drop the distant node and connect to the closer node.

    Unless and until your device nearly loses the signal, it's not going to try to find a better node to connect to. A mesh network on the other hand is manged by the network devices themselves to ensure things like that don't happen and that your devices are always connected to the best nodes.
    gatorguy
  • Reply 32 of 50
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,799member
    Soli said:

     It seems that people are finally willing to pay a decent amount for quality routers so I'd think there's a market there for Apple to capture.
    I have an Airport Extreme which updated flawlessly by the way. I'm not so sure the general public perceives the difference between expensive routers and cheap routers. I was on vacation in the Caribbean last month and the wi-fi in our rental, which was provided by the cable company, was really defective. It would drop connections and disappear off the SSID. I went down to the local camera store and picked up a TP-Link N router and a short ethernet cable for about $24. I plugged it in to the port on the back of the cable router and it was awesome. Good speed and range. I left it there for the next renter. No space left in the suitcases after all the other junk we bought, plus I didn't need another router at home anyway.
  • Reply 33 of 50
    Thanks to commenters above for the TP-Link references -- living in the bubble I had never heard of them, but they seem like a pretty well-run company, with tight control over production. They're in my bookmarks now, should I need a non-Apple router solution in the future.
  • Reply 34 of 50
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    volcan said:
    Soli said:

     It seems that people are finally willing to pay a decent amount for quality routers so I'd think there's a market there for Apple to capture.
    I have an Airport Extreme which updated flawlessly by the way. I'm not so sure the general public perceives the difference between expensive routers and cheap routers. I was on vacation in the Caribbean last month and the wi-fi in our rental, which was provided by the cable company, was really defective. It would drop connections and disappear off the SSID. I went down to the local camera store and picked up a TP-Link N router and a short ethernet cable for about $24. I plugged it in to the port on the back of the cable router and it was awesome. Good speed and range. I left it there for the next renter. No space left in the suitcases after all the other junk we bought, plus I didn't need another router at home anyway.
    Maybe not, but it seems like it's only been the last two years that people have been willing to pay higher amounts for WiFI routers, at least according to Amazon sales results.

  • Reply 35 of 50
    I've never understood Apple leaving the router market.
    I get it that today's routers are probably a difficult market in which to make money.   They're a commodity. 
    But, WiFi and related protocols are also critical to IoT and Apple's interconnectedness -- even the Apple Watch partially relies on it to talk to the iPhone.  And, potential seems to be growing rather than shrinking.

    To me, from a strategic standpoint, it does not sound like a smart move.  Apple doesn't do too many dumb things so I have to believe that there is something to this story that I'm missing.  But, right now, it sounds like it is, at best, not a smart move.
    Apple has never said they’re leaving the market, only rumors sites have said it. 
  • Reply 36 of 50
    blah64blah64 Posts: 993member
    Can anyone paste a list (as opposed to a URL) of which AirPort routers (i.e. older ones) this update is compatible with?
  • Reply 37 of 50
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,799member
    Soli said:

    Maybe not, but it seems like it's only been the last two years that people have been willing to pay higher amounts for WiFI routers, at least according to Amazon sales results.
    I'm not sure how they determine "Best Sellers" but the $21 router I was referring to has more than 15,000 reviews on Amazon with an overall 4 star rating. A couple of the "Best Sellers" in your list have as many reviews and ratings but mostly they are not very expensive either. The Airport Extreme on Apple's site only has 300 reviews with an overall 3.5 star rating and costs quite a bit more.

    I was speaking with a home security system installer in the Caribbean and he said he likes the Netgear routers best. Super dependable, high performance and you can install DD WRT firmware for secure VPNs which are often necessary for getting US streaming content into other countries.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 38 of 50
    I've never understood Apple leaving the router market.
    I get it that today's routers are probably a difficult market in which to make money.   They're a commodity. 
    But, WiFi and related protocols are also critical to IoT and Apple's interconnectedness -- even the Apple Watch partially relies on it to talk to the iPhone.  And, potential seems to be growing rather than shrinking.

    To me, from a strategic standpoint, it does not sound like a smart move.  Apple doesn't do too many dumb things so I have to believe that there is something to this story that I'm missing.  But, right now, it sounds like it is, at best, not a smart move.
    Despite the repeated rumor site rhetoric, Apple has never indicated that they are leaving the router market. There was a report a long time ago now that Apple had moved its Airport engineering staff to “other projects,” accompanied by breathless speculation that Airport was being abandoned post haste. We’ll stipulate that the reports on staffing changes are accurate, because the AI editors have indicated that they confirmed this information with their own sources.

    There is really no evidence for any of the rest of it, however. The full family of Airport devices continue to be available, not only online but in stock at Apple stores everywhere. There have been multiple firmware updates issued since then, including the one noted at the top of this thread.

    If Apple was leaving the router market, you’d figure they’d have done so by now, and the current stock of Airport devices sold off or pulled from the shelves. The evidence, however, is that they’re still there and supported. And there are HomePods on the horizon, which, along with AppleTV, are kind of dependent on the existence of reliable networking devices. That, along with HomeKit’s niche as the more secure offering for networked home devices, would strongly contraindicate a strategy that includes abandonment of the router category.

    Also, much as one might think Apple would like to replace time machine backups with a cloud-based, fee-based service, there’s a problem with that that lies outside of Apple’s control. With terabytes of data on multiple macs, iPhones, iPads, etc., in a given Apple-centric home, typical broadband services would create an impermeable roadblock, through monthly data caps and severely throttled outbound traffic. You aren’t going to replace your AirPort Time Capsule with a google router and keep that new MacBook Pro wirelessly backed up to the cloud through a typical home broadband service, even if you wanted to.

    Apple does not typically hand over core functions to its competitors. For instance, they took a hit when they ditched Google maps to replace it with Apple maps, because they weren’t quite ready with their own version. They did it anyway, however, because they envisioned maps and geolocation increasingly as a critical core function of the iPhone. (Remember the first iPhone didn’t even have a GPS, so this was a mid-stream correction.) Home networking is a core function to HomeKit, AppleTV, and the HomePod. There is just no way that they’re going to necessitate hanging all those services and products off of competetors’ routers, with no control over quality and security. It just ain’t going to happen. Their challenge is going to be driving the people who don’t already have Apple routers into getting onboard.

    So the most logical scenario is that while AirPort may be phased out sometime soon, there is likely an unannounced replacement in the Apple pipeline. A secure HomeKit router that would eliminate the need for separate bridges and base stations for all your cameras, switches, lights, locks, and garage door openers would be a very Apple-like approach to things, perhaps. We’ll see.
    badmonktenthousandthings
  • Reply 39 of 50
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,911member
    I've never understood Apple leaving the router market.
    I get it that today's routers are probably a difficult market in which to make money.   They're a commodity. 
    But, WiFi and related protocols are also critical to IoT and Apple's interconnectedness -- even the Apple Watch partially relies on it to talk to the iPhone.  And, potential seems to be growing rather than shrinking.

    To me, from a strategic standpoint, it does not sound like a smart move.  Apple doesn't do too many dumb things so I have to believe that there is something to this story that I'm missing.  But, right now, it sounds like it is, at best, not a smart move.
    Agree. I feel like they’ve got to have something up their sleeves. They’ve exited and re-entered markets before, so I remain hopeful. 
  • Reply 40 of 50
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,808moderator
    harrissjt said:

    I've had an Apple-only home for years, but I got tired of waiting for them to update their aging Airport devices.  So I sold my soul, and as soon as they became available here in Australia I got a 3-pack of Google wifi pucks, and I haven't looked back...not once.

    Much better wifi throughout my home.  No dead-spots, no spurious drop-outs requiring reboots, and no grumpy wife and kids - just a fast, reliable signal throughout.

    Oh, and Google supplied the KRACK patch within days...

    You have to be careful with ad company hardware though. Just make sure they aren't doing things like defaulting the DNS lookups through their own servers:

    https://support.google.com/wifi/answer/6274141?hl=en

    The 4th step there has a screenshot showing an automatic config being set to use Google's DNS servers:



    If that was the default (it might not be), it would mean every website you visit is being logged by them.

    https://www.pcworld.com/article/183671/Google_Public_DNS_and_Your_Privacy.html

    It's good to have companies like Apple making this kind of hardware because you have a greater assurance that they have no interest in compromising user's privacy for their own gain.

    They can also add useful features to iOS users like personal VPN server allowing you to connect mobile devices to a home network, QoS controls to throttle iCloud backups to not impact streaming video etc.
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