Monday, 18 June 2012

WWDC 2012: The New Apple AirPort Express

During WWDC, Apple has announced the next generation of its portable WiFi routers, AirPort Express, which had not received any major hardware or design update since 2008, when it got 802.11n WiFi capabilities. It has now received a whole design change, it now looks similar to a white Apple TV and a mini version of the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule, which is different from the previous generation which rather looked like a power adapter WiFi router made for travelling. Now it looks like a solid WiFi router capable for use in place of any modern WiFi home router.

The ports on the new AirPort Express are similar to the previous generation - one power port, one USB port only for adding printers, one audio connector which allows you to connect external speakers for AirPlay, and a reset button. The difference is that it now includes two Ethernet ports, one for LAN and one for WAN. A LAN port now allows you to add an external storage to your network through the AirPort Express while wasn't possible in the previous generation. 

The new technology in the next generation of AirPort Express is that it now support dual-band simultaneous 802.11n WiFi that enables the AirPort Express to transmit WiFi at both 5GHz and 2.4GHz frequencies and chooses the best for your device. For example, the iOS devices support 2.4GHz frequencies where as the MacBook support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, so the AirPort Express will choose the best frequency to maximize speed on your device. 

The AirPort Express allows you to use it as a WiFi repeater, to extend your current WiFi range, or as a new WiFi connection. It has also got the facility to set up separate guest networks which give other people access to your network, while your network devices remain secure. 

The new AirPort Express is also easy to setup, you can set it up even using your iOS device or do it with the traditional way using your PC or Mac. Apple also provides an application called AirPort Utility that helps you to manage your network which is available on the App Store (iOS), for Windows and for Mac

The AirPort Express is currently available for $99.