updated 05:35 pm EST, Wed January 10, 2007
802.11n Macs shipping
Apple has revealed that most of its recently shipping Core 2 Duo-based Macs already are compatible with the 802.11n standard that is included in Apple's new Apple TV and new AirPort Extreme Base Station. Apple says all Intel-based iMacs with Intel Core 2 Duo (except 17-inch, 1.83GHz iMac) are compatible as well as MacBook and MacBook Pro's with the Intel Core 2 Duo processor. The company also said that the Mac Pro with AirPort Extreme card option is compatible with the new faster and more reliable networking standard. "Most new Mac computers ship with built-in 802.11n wireless support that can be easily enabled with the installation of enabler software included with new AirPort Extreme wireless base station." News of Apple's new, faster networking broke one day ahead of the keynote when Electronista reported Apple would likely debut 802.11n-based products at the keynote and during the Expo.
The 802.11n standard was proposed in January of 2004 and is estimated to reach a theoretical 540 Mbit per second--about 50 times faster than 802.11b networks and up to 10 times faster than 802.11a or 802.11g. In November 2006, a draft version was approved and many companies began rolling out products based on the draft specifications. The final 802.11n standard is expected to be approved in April of 2008; however, the working group will likely to continue to update protocol. Devices with upgradeable firmware will likely be able to continue stay compliant with the latest draft through user-initiated firmware upgrades.