Tuesday, March 18, 2008
AirPort Express to support 802.11n promises speeds five times
Apple's tiny wireless base station has been updated with technology to support the high speed connectivity for the full satisfaction as customer demand .
The iPod gets a lot of credit for Apple's success, and rightly so, but another Apple device deserves more attention than it has received: the humble Airport Express. If you use iTunes, have WiFi, and have a stereo somewhere in your house -- a combination that probably describes a decent percentage of the population -- you should consider the Airport Express, updated today to support faster 802.11n wireless networks.
Apple enthusiast sites including AppleInsider began hinting at a possible release of a new version of Airport Express over the weekend. The overall design of the player has not changed much, nor has the price -- it remains at $99.
802.11n promises speeds five times that of 802.11g, with about twice the range of today's wireless networking technologies.
At this price, it would be competitive with offerings from other network hardware providers. Most companies have put a similar $99 price point on their Wireless-N router products, although there are a few options available for less than that.
All Mac computers with Intel Core 2 Duo and Intel Xeon processors except the Mac mini and the 1.83 GHz iMac support the 802.11n technology in AirPort Express, Apple said. Windows computers have begun to ship with the technology built in as well.
A $1.99 download is required to enable Wireless-N on some computers, unless the Extreme model is purchased, where it comes with the device for free. Both Windows and Mac users can connect to the Express, and can also share a printer through the included USB port.
In addition, speakers can be connected to the device to allow users to stream audio from iTunes wirelessly.
The Airport Express is the third 802.11n product from Apple, following the $179 Airport Extreme router for up to 50 concurrent wireless users, and the 500 GB and 1 TB Time Capsule wireless storage systems, priced at $299 and $499 respectively.