Apple to adopt 802.11n early

— 12:45 AM on January 10, 2007

The new iPhone may have stolen the show at Macworld, but Apple CEO Steve Jobs also revealed some of the company's wireless networking plans. Those plans include an updated AirPort Extreme router. Apple's networking equipment isn't usually very interesting, but what sets the new AirPort Extreme apart is its support for the draft 802.11n specification. Chances are the 802.11n spec won't actually be finalized until next year, but the Wi-Fi alliance decided to start certifying 802.11n equipment ahead of time, and Apple has jumped on that bandwagon. 802.11n support will enable speeds of up to 540Mb/s at a range of up to 50m (165 feet,) compared to 54Mb/s and 30m (98 feet) for the current 802.11g spec.

Perhaps more interesting is that, as AppleInsider reports, "Apple said all Intel Core 2 Duo and Intel Xeon Macs except the entry 17-inch iMac with 1.83 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor support the 802.11n technology." The machines will simply require a software update included with the AirPort Extreme base station to support the draft spec. The 802.11n AirPort Extreme will be available from the Apple Store starting next month at a price of $179.

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