New AirPort Extreme Base Station, Time Capsule supports Gigabit Wi-Fi

Apple's revised its AirPort Extreme Base Station and Time Capsule to support 802.11ac, the latest and greatest Wi-Fi protocol to see adoption. Called "Gigabit Wi-Fi," 802.11ac offers performance greater than 1 gigabit per second. The AirPort Express was notably missing from any mention of update.

The AirPort Extreme has gotten a complete makeover - it's smaller than before, and features three-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The Time Capsule will be available in 2TB and 3TB configurations. Users of the new versions of the devices will see improvements in video streaming and other bandwidth-intensive activities. Time Capsule backups will be faster, of course. The new devices incorporate a "beamforming antenna array."

Other networking hardware vendors have already beaten Apple to the punch with 802.11ac-equipped devices, but the changes are welcome and timed well with new MacBook Air systems that also support 802.11ac.

Peter Cohen