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The AirPort Extreme Base Station from Apple is a compact Internet router with powerful wireless capabilities. The router allows you to share your Internet connection between several computers via the draft 802.11n wireless protocol. It also features three standard 10/100/1000Mbps RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet ports. The router is also fully backwards compatible with legacy 802.11a/b/g devices. A USB port is present for printer and hard disk sharing.
The router also features a firewall to protect you from malicious software that can attack your computer from the Internet, as well as wireless security to insure that your data remains private. It includes configuration software for both Mac OS X and Windows, making it a true cross-platform solution.
Wireless network users demand two things: higher speeds and greater range. The AirPort Extreme Base Station delivers on both fronts and offers superfast wireless network access throughout just about any home, office, or classroom
Some Wi-Fi devices use the 2.4GHz wireless band, including iPhone, iPod touch, and devices using 802.11b/g. Other devices can use either 2.4GHz or the higher-speed 5GHz band, such as the latest 802.11n-based Mac computers and Apple TV. Instead of choosing one of the bands, AirPort Extreme operates simultaneously on both bands, and your multiband devices automatically use the best available band. This means all your Wi-Fi devices get the fastest possible wireless performance and the best possible range. In addition, AirPort Extreme reduces the possibility of interference from appliances and cordless phones that use the 2.4GHz band
Based on the IEEE 802.11n specification, AirPort Extreme uses a technology called multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) to transmit multiple data streams simultaneously. The result? AirPort Extreme delivers data transfer speeds up to five times those of 802.11g wireless networks -- while achieving up to twice the range. And improvements in antenna design give you up to 50 percent better Wi-Fi performance and up to 25 percent better range than with the previous-generation AirPort Extreme Base Station
Up to 50 people can all share the same Internet connection, exchange files using the file-sharing capability built into Mac OS X or Windows, access local and remote file servers, annihilate the competition in multiplayer games -- anything a typical network user can do, plus a number of things that are decidedly not typical, such as wireless storage and printing
It's easy to allow guests to use your Internet connection without sharing your password or giving them access to the rest of your network. Simply enable the guest networking feature using the AirPort Utility application and create a separate Wi-Fi network just for your friends. You can set up this guest network with a different password or with none at all. Your primary network -- including your printer, attached drives, or other devices -- remains secure
All currently shipping Mac systems support the next-generation 802.11n technology in the AirPort Extreme Base Station. And AirPort Extreme is compatible with Mac computers, PCs, and wireless devices such as iPhone and iPod touch that use 802.11a, b, or g technologies. You can also rest assured that AirPort Extreme works with other certified 802.11n products
Hard Drive Sharing
AirPort Extreme can turn your external USB hard drive into a drive you can share with all the users on your network and access securely over the Internet. This feature -- AirPort Disk -- is a simple and convenient way to share files among everyone in your family, office, or class
How does it work? Just connect the external hard drive to the USB port on the back of your AirPort Extreme and -- voilà -- all the documents, videos, photos, and other files on the drive instantly become available to anyone on the secure network, Mac and PC users alike. It's perfect for file sharing, collaborative projects, and more.
You can set up password-protected accounts for everyone on the network or allow read-only access to certain files and folders. If you're using Mac OS X Leopard, you'll see the drive in your Finder sidebar, where it's always available for accessing files and folders. For Mac OS X Tiger and Windows users, a simple-to-use AirPort Disk Utility provides a variety of setup options, including setting the disk to become available whenever you connect to the network
Say you're traveling and you need a file on the hard drive connected to your AirPort Extreme back at home. If you're a MobileMe member using Mac OS X Leopard or Snow Leopard, no problem. You can access all the files on your shared drive over the Internet. Simply register your AirPort Extreme with your MobileMe account, and your drive appears in your Finder sidebar just like any other attached drive. It's like having your own personal file server wherever you go
What if you'd like to exchange files over your wireless network and still have access to a wireless printer? Easy. Just connect a USB hub to AirPort Extreme and attach your devices to the hub. Share both a printer and a hard drive, multiple printers, multiple hard drives, or a combination
Ever wish you had more than one printer in your home or office -- one for every computer so you never have to go far to print something? Say you want to print a business letter from the living room, or your son wants to print his school report from his bedroom. Taking each computer into the den simply to print something is inconvenient, and buying a printer for every room is expensive
With wireless printing through AirPort Extreme, it's almost like having a printer in every room of the home or office. AirPort Extreme uses the Mac- and PC-compatible Bonjour networking technology to let everyone on the network take advantage of one centrally available printer. Wirelessly, of course
Here's how simple it is to set up: Just plug the printer into the USB port on the AirPort Extreme Base Station, add it to the printer list on your Mac or PC, and you're good to print -- without a single cable tethering anyone's computer to the printer.
If you want to both print and share a USB hard drive, no problem. Just connect a USB hub to AirPort Extreme and connect
The AirPort Extreme Base Station takes strong measures to keep your online world as safe as possible -- from securing your base station to preventing outside intrusion to controlling when your kids surf the web
It starts with the industry-standard encryption technologies built into AirPort Extreme, including WPA/WPA2 and 128-bit WEP. When you turn on encryption -- easy to do using AirPort Utility -- you'll ensure that only people with the correct password can join your wireless network
If you want to let guests connect to the Internet without giving them your Wi-Fi password, simply enable the guest networking feature and set up a separate Wi-Fi network just for them. Use a different password -- or use no password at all -- and your primary network, including your printer and any attached drives, remains secure
AirPort Extreme includes a built-in firewall that creates a barrier between your network and the Internet, protecting your data from malicious Internet attacks. When you set up the base station, the firewall is automatically turned on to keep the bad guys out. For computers with a cable or DSL modem, using AirPort is actually safer than being directly connected to the modem
A useful access control feature lets you decide not only who accesses your network but also when they can access it. If you have kids with their own computers, for example, you can control the times they're allowed to access the network. They can have accounts that are available only at certain hours of the day -- for example, when you can be home to keep an eye on them
Mac and PC Compatibility
AirPort Extreme works seamlessly and wirelessly with all your Wi-Fi devices. In fact, it's an incredibly easy way for up to 50 users to share a single broadband Internet connection, USB printer, and external hard drive without messy cables
AirPort Extreme connects people to each other as well. You can wirelessly share photos, movies, and other files without having to worry about slow data transmissions. Nor do you have to concern yourself with a difficult network setup. AirPort Extreme uses the Bonjour technology in Mac OS X to allow AirPort-equipped Mac computers running Mac OS X to find each other with no effort on your part -- they discover each other just by virtue of being connected to the network
Computers are only part of the wireless story. If you're an Apple TV owner, you can easily integrate it into your AirPort Extreme network and enjoy the fastest possible connection for syncing with your computer's iTunes library and streaming to your widescreen TV. And if you use an iPhone or an iPod touch, they'll connect to your AirPort Extreme network to let you surf the web and more. iPhone automatically switches from the cellular network to your Wi-Fi network as soon as you walk in the front door of your home
AirPort Extreme works effortlessly with any computer that uses Wi-Fi standards, whether it's a Mac or whether it's a Dell, HP, IBM, or any other Windows-based PC. That's because AirPort Extreme is based on the 802.11n specification and is compatible with the earlier 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g specifications
In addition to Wi-Fi networking, the AirPort Extreme Base Station includes three Gigabit Ethernet ports for fast wired connectivity with desktop computers, network drives, and more
If the process of setting up your wireless network seems intimidating, it's probably because you've never used AirPort Extreme
Other wireless routers make you do all the work -- from deciphering obscure instructions to figuring out where to enter your passwords. AirPort Utility for Mac and Windows does most of the work for you by stepping you through the setup process quickly and easily. In most cases, your wireless network can be up and running in less time than it takes to make a cup of coffee
For the most basic setup, all you have to do is plug your AirPort Extreme into an electrical outlet and connect your DSL or cable modem. Then open the AirPort Utility software and just follow the onscreen instructions. The software asks for relevant information, sets up encryption and security, and configures your computer to access your new network -- all in plain English.
Whether you use a Mac or a PC, the whole network can be ready to go in about five minutes. And if you want to do more -- such as share a hard drive wirelessly or add a shared USB printer -- it's just as easy
In the Box
Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station (5th Generation)