MWSF: Dr. Bott offers AirPort Extreme base antennas

Mac peripheral maker and distributor Dr. Bott has announced the ExtendAIR, a range-extending antenna for Apple's new AirPort Extreme Base Station.

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AirPort Extreme is the latest evolution of Apple's wireless networking technology. Using the 802.11g standard, AirPort Extreme Base Stations are capable of communicating with remote computers and other base stations at up to 54Mbps -- almost 5 times faster than the 802.11b standard supported by Apple's original AirPort hardware. Unlike the competing 802.11a standard, AirPort Extreme's 802.11g standard is downwardly compatible with the 802.11b technology used in slower AirPort hardware, as well as that used by many other companies.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs presented AirPort Extreme to the keynote crowd at Macworld Expo this week; AirPort Extreme is featured in the 12 inch and 17 inch PowerBook G4s also introduced during Jobs' keynote. Two separate AirPort Extreme Base Stations are available -- a broadband-only model and a model that sports both broadband and modem connections. The combo unit also provides a receptacle for a range-extending antenna, and Dr. Bott said that the ExtendAIR fits the bill.

ExtendAIR is being offered in two models -- ExtendAIR Omni, which extends the range of the AirPort Extreme Base Station by 250 feet in all directions, and ExtendAIR Direct, which extends the base station's range by up to 500 feet in a single direction; this comes in handy if you want to try to link a remote location, for example.

Dr. Bott anticipates making the ExtendAIR antennas available to its dealer network in February. The ExtendAIR Omni will retail for US$99.95 and will be available worldwide; the ExtendAIR Direct will cost $149.95 and will only be available in the US and Canada, due to regulatory restrictions.

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