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Review: AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wi-Fi base

Believe it or not, but until recently I was still using an AirPort Express that I bought for my home in late 2004 (!), Shortly after the launch of its first generation. The base lasted quite a while, but after a few months it started to behave strangely and, for a certain period, I even connected to the internet via cable, directly on my GVT modem.

As a Christmas gift, I decided to give myself a new AirPort Extreme purchased 12 times without interest of R $ 54.09, by the Brazilian Apple Online Store. The product arrived in just four business days, here in Salvador.

AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wi-Fi Base

The current AirPort Extreme was launched by Apple in March 2009, but updated with improvements to its Wi-Fi hardware a few months later. It has been officially sold in Brazil since last March.

Packaging and box contents

AirPort Extreme is noticeably bigger and heavier than Express, so it's not very easy / practical to take it up and down. I lost count of how many times I took my Express on trips; I can't do the same with Extreme.

AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wi-Fi Base

In the box, we have the base, its power supply, plug extension cord and the traditional Apple envelope with warranty information, quick usage guide and AirPort Utility installation CD for station management. No mystery, here.

Base

AirPort Extreme looks a lot like Time Capsule, differing only by the Apple logo on its top. At Extreme, the white apple; in Time Capsule, it?s silver.

AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wi-Fi Base

A front light indicates the status of the base. Normally, it is lit green when it is working, connected and without any problem. But in certain cases, it may turn orange to indicate problems or a lack of connectivity.

The bottom of the base made of non-slip rubber:

AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wi-Fi Base

But at the rear, the game is fun, after all, the AirPort Extreme is a Wi-Fi base aimed at professional users and widely used in companies / schools of various sizes.

AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wi-Fi Base

It does not have the 3.5mm audio port of the AirPort Express, but it does have a USB for wireless sharing of hard drives or printers, a WAN port and nothing less than three Gigabit Ethernet ie it also works as a wired router.

AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wi-Fi Base

Is it good for you?

AirPort coneTechnology

AirPort Extreme competes well with the best Wi-Fi bases on the market, operating on 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies simultaneously (simultaneous dual-band). Although it already works on the faster IEEE 802.11n standard, it is backwards compatible with 802.11a / b / g.

The base offers optimum range and holds up to 50 users connected at the same time whether they are on Macs, PCs or portable devices, including iPads, iPhones and iPods touch.

Security

Believe it or not, this is still a big taboo among some people; many think that because data is transmitted over the air, they will be more exposed to attackers / malefactors. This is definitely not a problem nowadays.

Like Apple's other wireless bases, AirPort Extreme has a built-in firewall, data encryption including WPA / WPA2 and 128-bit WEP, access filter by MAC Address, parental controls and even a special way of sharing your connection with visitors.

Experience and conclusion

There is not much to talk about a Wi-Fi base, when it works properly. Since I installed my AirPort Extreme, here at home, I have been using it to transfer files of varying weights and making constant use of my 15Mbps GVT connection, without any problem.

I positioned the base at a high height in a central room of the apartment, and anywhere in it even in closed rooms, with several walls "blocking" the signal, the Wi-Fi indication is full on my MacBook Pro and iPhone. It covers my entire residence loosely.

AirPort Extreme in the AirPort Utility window

Setting up via the AirPort Utility is super simple and quick, and it even offers an assistant for laypeople. With just a few clicks everything is working, but if you are an advanced user you can browse through each control panel option and customize the base to your tastes and needs. It supports, for example, the ?Back to My Mac? feature of MobileMe, already activated here.

I am very, very satisfied with the product. Highly recommended.