Airport Base Station

Apple’s AirPort family of wireless routers begins with two accessories: the $99 AirPort Express and the $199 AirPort Extreme. Since June 2012, the AirPort Express has looked identical to the Apple TV, a small rounded square, but made from white plastic with slightly different ports on the back. It offers 802.11n support, twin Ethernet ports, a full-sized USB port for connecting a printer, and an analog/optical audio port. Previously, it was designed to rest next to a wall outlet, but now it is meant to sit on a table or desk.

In part because it needs significantly more space inside to hold large antennas for 802.11ac wireless support, the current AirPort Extreme looks like a much taller version of the AirPort Express. Introduced in June 2013, it features three inbound Ethernet ports, plus one for communication with a broadband modem, and one full-sized USB port for connecting a printer or hard drive. The exact same design is used in the AirPort Time Capsule, a version that includes either a 2TB or 3TB hard drive for backup purposes, selling for $299 or $399.

Need extra cash to upgrade? Sell your Airport to Gazelle.

Read our full coverage for details.

Our recommendation:

Somewhat Recommend
We expect Apple to update the Airports to 802.11AC in 2013. If you can wait and desire that functionality hold off. Otherwise, Airports are relatively small investments that last for years.

All Airport Base Station Generations

Release Date Age
June 10, 2013 2 years, 3 months, 29 days ago

Airport Base Station ▪ April 22, 2014

Airport Base Station ▪ October 6, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 7.31.26 PM

AirPort Utility is a built-in Mac app that is used to configure and control Wi-Fi networks using Apple’s AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express, and Time Capsule. The AirPort Extreme is a base station router like you would use when setting up your Wi-Fi network. An AirPort Express is used to extend a Wi-Fi network to a larger area, or can be used to stream audio using AirPlay. A Time Capsule is a combination of an AirPort Extreme and an external hard drive, and comes in 2 TB or 3 TB. It automatically backs up all Macs on your network.

AirPort Utility has the ability to set limits on what time of day the network (and therefore the internet) can be accessed from specific wireless devices. This can be helpful in situations where parents want to keep kids off of the internet after a certain time. Time limits can be set for different times on different days of the week.

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Airport Base Station ▪ September 3, 2013


MacRumors is citing low stocks of Airport Express base stations as suggesting that a faster 802.11ac model is expected soon to match the capabilities of the latest Macs. This would offer wifi speeds almost three times faster than current 802.11n models, a capability that has already been incorporated into the current Airport Extreme and Time Capsule models.

We’re also hearing similar whispers about constrained supplies of iMacs, alongside price-cuts by resellers …  expand full story

Airport Base Station ▪ August 20, 2013

Airport Base Station ▪ June 10, 2013

Airport Base Station ▪ November 21, 2012

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