apple began shipping the newest airport extreme which provides 802.11n networking. this method provides greater wireless “reach” and much faster (theoretical) speeds.
802.11a (came around the same time as g, same speeds as g, but more reliable)
802.11b (which was the first easily accessable methods) run at best 11mbs
802.11g (which is what most users have in their laptops these days) run up to 54mbs
802.11n (brand new) runs up to 540mbs!
10x faster than 802.11g! this is theoretical, but very impressive.
if you have a new macbook (core 2 duo), macbook pro or imac – you can purchase (for $1.99) an updater for existing “newer” machines to unlock the 802.11n capabilities (as well as give you some insight as to how to confirm you will be able to use the update).
apple is using the new extreme with 802.11n in conjunction with the AppleTV. this is being done when when streaming a video (generally about 1gb for a movie) to the AppleTV it should flow VERY smoothly. if something can copy in about 15 minutes (via a 802.11g connection) it should be much closer to a 4-5 minute copy!
i see this as a huge advance, especially for what i do in my “day job”. we continually speak about rewiring residence halls and for 200-300 beds, the costs and time would be enormous. could we install 6-10 of these a floor, cover the same space and provide equal or better throughput for students? only time will tell, but i’m guessing that by summer 2008, the BIG players, Cisco for one, will have enterprise level 802.11n access points which we will seriously be able to do this with.
time will tell more, but the outlook is great!