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Tuesday, March 03, 2009, 05:25 am PT (08:25 am ET)

Apple's new AirPort, Time Capsule add dual-band networking

Apple on Tuesday refreshed its AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule wireless products by adding a new Guest Network feature and support for simultaneous 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz dual-band networking. Time Capsule drives are now also accessible over the Internet for MobileMe subscribers.

The new Guest Network feature, available on the new AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule, allows you to set up a secondary network for friends and visitors with Internet-only access so you don't have to hand out your WiFi password.

Meanwhile, the new combined 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz mode allows your AirPort base stations to simultaneously support iPhones and other 802.11b/g devices operating at 2.4 GHz, while also broadcasting 802.11n wide signals in the 5GHz band to maximize throughput for notebooks and devices such as Apple TV.

Previous-generation AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule models can only run in one mode or the other, providing either wide compatibility or the highest possible network performance, but not both.

Also new to Time Capsule — and oddly omitted from any of Apple's press-releases — is that MobileMe subscribers using Mac OS X 10.5.x Leopard can now now access all of their files on their Time Capsule drive over the Internet.

You need only to register their Time Capsule with your MobileMe account. The Time Capsule drive will then appear in the Finder sidebar of your Mac just like any other attached drive.

"It's like having your own personal file server wherever you go," Apple says.

The new Time Capsule, which combines an 802.11n router and server-grade hard disk for automatic wireless back-up with Time Machine, and is immediately available in two models: a 500GB model for $299 and a 1TB model for $499.

AirPort Extreme

The rear of Apple's AirPort Extreme.


Time Capsule

The rear of Apple's Time Capsule backup appliance.


The AirPort Extreme Base Station is also available immediately for a suggested retail price of $179.