A week following the IEEE’s final 802.11g spec approval, Apple has released an update to bring AirPort Extreme base stations and client computers equipped with AirPort Extreme cards in-line. The release updates the firmware for the AirPort Extreme base station itself.
The months leading up to the 802.11g specification’s approval had been filled with controversy. Some analysts recommended against deploying 802.11g “draft spec”-compliant products, suggesting that the final spec could require drastic enough changes to render early-release products like Apple’s AirPort Extreme devices incompatible — a situation that failed to materialize. Then some industry experts suggested that 802.11g’s final specified speed may be significantly lower than the 54Mbps rating — a difference between raw data rate and real-world performance, according to Apple’s Vice President of Software, Mike Bell, who spoke to MacCentral about the issue.
New features also include AirPort Extreme base station and client support for “Interference Robustness,” which Apple noted offers improved performance when other devices that operate on the 2.4GHz radio frequency used by AirPort Extreme cause problems — devices including cordless telephones and wireless video distribution systems. Simpler WDS setup within the AirPort Admin Utility and other changes have been made, as well.
No changes are detailed for users of original AirPort products, although Apple said that users of original AirPort cards paired to AirPort Extreme Base Stations will enjoy significant benefits “especially from the standpoint of wireless printer sharing, easy base station administration, and many options for managing the range of your wireless network.”
If you fail to see the update through Software Update System Preferences pane, you can also download the file from Apple’s Knowledge Base support Web site.