updated 11:10 am EST, Tue February 6, 2007
AirPort 802.11n benchmarks
Apple's new AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless capability boasts a performance boost of 10 times that of its older sibling, with three times greater usable range, according to iFixit. The N AirPort Extreme revealed a comm quality of 76 at a distance of five feet from the base station, a significant jump up from the G base station with a comm quality of 56 at the same distance. Transferring two 35MB QuickTime files at five feet revealed a whopping 9MB/sec with the new AirPort N technology, offering an average transfer speed of 7.8MB/sec. The older G technology failed to perform from 300 feet away, but the new N-enabled AirPort still transferred 500KB/sec. The testers said they grew tired of walking and stopped, but believe users could still get signal at up to 600 feet from the 802.11n base station under proper conditions. [updated, images]
Apple unveiled the new base station at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco in early January, and announced that many Intel-based Macs had already silently shipped with 802.11n AirPort Extreme functionality built-in. Later, Apple confirmed rumors that it would sell the upgrade software for a "nominal fee" -- amounting to $1.99 in the U.S. -- which the company attributed to required accounting practices.
MacNN recently unboxed Apple's latest AirPort Extreme base station, and posted photos of the new device as it is shipped from Apple. Numerous screenshots of the Cupertino-based company's new AirPort Utility depict the ability of the revised utility to control the new base station as well as older Apple routers, and several support resources recently surfaced to accommodate Apple customers who purchased the new devices.
Disassembly of the new base station revealed a rubber pad covering the bottom attached via adhesive, which must be removed to access open the base station for inspection. The device includes five Phillips #0 screws beneath the pad which hold down a perforated plastic cover. Lifting out the cover reveals the "guts" of the base station, as well as two large aluminum blocks that serve as heat sinks attached to the upper case.
Three antennas are mounted internally which include a white cable in the front, a grey cable on the left, and a black cable on the right. All antennas feature standard antenna connectors, according to iFixit.
The logic board contains a 3-volt battery, two Samsung memory chips, and imprinted Apple part #820-1942-A. The processor is covered by a heat sink, and the bottom of the logic board is covered by yet another heat sink. The board includes four Ethernet ports, one USB port, a power jack, and a reset button.
Apple's 802.11n AirPort Extreme Base Station is shipping in the U.S. ($179) as well as Europe.
The two previous photos are courtesy of iFixit.