Alongside a plethora of announcements and releases on their first day of WWDC 2013, Apple unveiled new MacBook Airs and a new Mac Pro with 802.11ac wireless. Often called Gigabit wireless, the technology enables much faster and more reliable wireless networking. With the new 802.11ac-enabled Macs, Apple also released new versions of both their AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule wireless routers, adding support for the new standard.
The new AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule also feature a radically redesigned body, and a load of new features. Here are some of Apple’s comments on the new design:
802.11ac. The new definition of fast.
With three-stream 802.11ac technology, the AirPort Extreme Base Station takes Wi‑Fi speeds over the top. Now you can reach data rates of up to 1.3 Gbps1 — triple the previous 802.11n standard. Which means up to three times faster Wi‑Fi.2 You also get double the channel bandwidth, with 80MHz-wide channels providing more room for more data to flow faster than ever. And if you have 802.11a/b/g/n devices, AirPort Extreme maximizes that connection as well. What you do with all that extra speed is up to you.
Simultaneous dual-band support.
AirPort Extreme features simultaneous dual-band 802.11ac Wi‑Fi. That means it transmits at both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies at the same time. So no matter which band your wireless devices use, they’ll automatically connect to the best available band for the fastest possible performance.
A top-down approach to design.
For the all-new design of AirPort Extreme, we took an approach that centered around performance. We made it taller and put the antennas at the top, creating a higher platform for dispersing the signal. We also increased the number of antennas. There are now six of them — three for the 2.4GHz band and three for the 5GHz band. Together with 802.11ac wireless technology, they let you connect faster, farther, and with more power than ever before. The bar for Wi‑Fi base stations has been raised. In every way.
The new AirPort hardware features the same simple setup as previous versions, while adding much more powerful hardware under the hood – including an impressive array of no less than 6 antennas, a new technology called beamforming, and more. And those with devices that don’t yet include 802.11ac need not worry – the hardware is also backwards compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n/ devices.
To check out all of our WWDC coverage, head on over to our official WWDC Summary!