AirPort Extreme’s Shortcomings

Apple is now shipping the AirPort Extreme. I personally think it’s a pretty nice wireless access point, but it has a few shortcomings which would make me a little hesitant. I’m hoping on the 2nd gen they fix it up a little. To be fair, I haven’t found the perfect Wireless device yet and AirPort Extreme’s shortcomings don’t exactly put it out of the running. For the price I’d expect to see more. Here’s what popped into my mind after reading more about it. Why is this on my mind? Because I just saw some great pictures on unboxing the AirPort Extreme.

  • 10/100 Ethernet – Now 100Mbps is pretty good, but when 802.11n is supposed to reach 540 Mbit/s, I expect Gigabit Ethernet. Especially on a device that expensive.
  • 3 Ports Switch – At first glance you may think the device includes a 4 port hub. The reality is it’s a 3 port hub. The 4th is the uplink (where you plug your modem in). Granted you can get a switch for cheap, it’s not the same. All that money, wireless capacity, and your sharing a wired 100Mbps port? Something is not right.
  • VPN Endpoint – Apple still hasn’t included a VPN Endpoint. Apple includes support for common VPN protocols like L2TP, IPSec, PPTP with Mac OS X for a while, as does Windows. A built in VPN endpoint would be a great addition.
  • Security – Documentation doesn’t mention anything about Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) or DoS protection. Instead it mentions a vague “NAT firewall”. Not quite sure what that exactly is.
  • Other Features – Also lacking is WMM (Wireless Multi-media) , IGMP snooping, and UpNP (though I don’t care too much about UpNP). If there is support for any of this, it’s not mentioned anywhere I could find. Not even a mention about WDS, which was the most surprising to be missing from the list of acronyms. According to a comment below WDS does exist.
  • It’s not 802.11n certified – Truth is nobody has certification because the standard isn’t official yet. I’d personally like to wait to ensure I get something that is certified.

On a sidenote, did anyone else notice that neither the Airport Extreme website, nor the Apple 802.11 page give any numbers in regards to 802.11n performance? It won’t say more than “Up to five times the performance and up to twice the range compared to the earlier 802.11g standard.” I found it very strange to see no numbers “up to XMbps”.

3 thoughts on “AirPort Extreme’s Shortcomings

  1. Yes, there is WDS. It’s now labelled as “extend network”. Read the discussion boards from Apple. We’ve been talking about the new basestation as having WDS.

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