//I've been on a bit of a reviewing streak this past day reviewing all the things i've aquired, this is one of the things however i've had for a while and never even looked at to think of reviewing//
So, What is this UFO looking object Im trying to tell you lovely people to buy? Well, its essentially a wireless router by Apple, their "airport base station". One thing I will point out from the beginning is that it is NOT just for people with Apple Mac laptops/computers, it works fine with normal windows too. It connects using the B wi-fi protocol, which is a bit of a drawback from the Belkin routers which support B/G and N.... If you're not very technical then this probably doesnt matter to you. Rest assured if your laptop is cerca 2005 then I dont invisage any problems.
It connects pretty much in the same way as any other router, it has a DC power cable, 3 ethernet out cables for wired connections (home networking, connection to old pc's etc) and a USB port which you can use to plug in a networkable hard drive, or perhaps a printer ( though many printers actually have Wi-fi built in so that you can connect your laptop direct). There is also a set of lights which flash to tell you whether or not things are connected.
In terms of wireless connectivity, I have to say that the apple airport base seems to provide a slower internet service than my Belkin router, however, I can successfully connect about 4 laptops and a few other devices before I notice any severe drop in quality.
The Airport is a very pretty device, certainly those accustomed to Apple products will be in heaven to know that they dont have to buy an ugly grey box, however I cant help but feel that the Airport is a bit superflous, adding design to something that most of us have hidden out of sight.... Belkin and netgear have spent alot more time developing their interfaces and setups, whereas apples product feels a bit thrown together.
Don't get me wrong, I use this router all the time, and it works fine, but it works fine for about £50 more than Its competetor which has far more surrport available. You're choice.
What Is It?
The Apple Airport Base Station (802.11n) is one of the wireless internet devices by Apple. There has been an upgrade of this base station however with the Exteme Base Station which was out last year.
Why Buy It?
I bought it mainly for the computer, I had never used a wireless router before but had heard they were very good and efficient. But another big reason we bought it was because we have an iPhone and iPod touch, so it would allow us access to the internet on it. Other reasons to buy it would be if you have a laptop/s then they can be connected to the internet wirelessly (as long as they meet system requirements, see below.) Also if you need internet to connect up to many computers or devices, then this will connect with unlimited clients for up to 24 hours a time. This would also benefit small buisnesses, so only one connection for say 10 computers. It seemed to be exactly what we were needing.
The great thing about this device is that it is suitable for Mac computers AND PC's. I admit I am not a Windows user and changed to Macs some time ago, but it is good this device also supports Windows. This device cannot be used on older computers, which is a little annoying, as it will not support my older Windows laptop. For Mac users the specifications are:
*Apple Mac OS X 10.2.7 or later
And for Windows users it is:
*Microsoft Windows XP SP2 or later, Microsoft Windows Vista (or anything later than that)
Where To Buy It?
I bought my Airport Base Station from the actual Apple shop in Glasgow. There are Apple shops scattered around the UK but they are very limited and only in the biggest cities like London, Birmingham and Glasgow. If you are seriously thinking of purchasing the Airport Base Station then the best way in my opinion is online at
There you can find more of the technical information and find out if it is really for you or not. Other sites also offer the Airport Base Station like Amazon, PC World, MacWorld etc but your better getting it off the official website in my opinion.
The box is a lot smaller than I expected it to be and is only half a centimeter bigger than the actual base station! So top marks for reduced packaging anyway. On the front is a picture of the Airport Base Station with advertising about the product. Half of it is in English the other half in French.
You have a unique code number at the side so if there are any problems with the product then you can call or email the Apple help and they can tell you exactly when, where and how it was made.
When you open the box up you find leaflets, an installation CD and the actual base station. The leaflets are in different languages so you do have to find an English one which is a little annoying. You then have a 1 year warranty card and a setup guide to look at and study.
The base station is 16.5 cm by 16.5 cm and looks a lot like the Apple TV device. It is a very futuristic, bright white color. As with all apple products, it has the stamp of the grey apple logo, visible for everyone to see.
On the front is a little light which tells you 'How the Airport Base Station is doing' for example, if it is green, all is well. However if it is amber or blinking, then it is telling you that something is wrong.
On the back hidden away are the different ports. There are 6 on the back:
One for power (DC)
One USB (For wireless printing or hard drives)
3 for Ethernet connections
You also have the reset button, which is only to be used in extreme cases. I have never had to use it and hope never to. It is small overall so can be hidden away out of site, which is handy, so it doesn't clutter the desk.
I started reading the setup guide, which was very easy and had an illustrated guide to help. First you need your Ethernet lead (which all internet connections will have) and plug it into the back of the station. Plug in the DC power supply and you're away.
You then must install the software using the CD. Once installed on computer (which only took about 3 minutes) then you must detect the new WiFi signals. After adding the base station you can get on with the internet. If you are using the iPhone you do not need to install any software and just add it to you list of WiFi connections. This took me in total 10 minutes to set up and was away instantly.
Quality Of Internet Access
With my older internet connection (A Voice Router) it was a fast connection and I had never had many problems with its speed. However as soon as I started up the internet it was extremely fast. I typed in google and there were search results in less than half a second.
I am still extremely impressed by the speed of the Base Station and if downloading files off the internet, like songs off iTunes, I have found it is so much quicker. I like to also rent films of iTunes which really does take 2/3 minutes to download when it used to take up to a quarter of a hour.
When using the WiFi on the iPhone I also find it very quick and accessing emails and sending only takes a second. Youtube and safari is exceptionally fast on the iPhone, and very impressive.
There are a couple of extra features included in this Base station. The first and my favorite feature is the USB port. This has been a lifesaver for me. We installed our printer onto the base station so now we have wireless printing. This means the printer can be hidden beside the base station so does not have to sit out right beside the computer anymore. It used to have to sit on our floor to reach the computer causing it to be tripped over all the time so it now hidden and out of the way, bliss...
Another similar feature to this is you don't have to just use a printer, you can have a wireless external hardrive plugged in. We can't do that as our hardrive is firewire but it is handy for if you want to back-up data from different computers.
I have never had to go near the base station for months. I had to look at it once as the Ethernet cable was accidentally pulled out the back but that was about it. I bought this around a year and a half ago and have never had any problems with it.
It is a very reliable bit of kit to have. It is always on (as long as it is plugged in) so you can access internet whenever you want. I'm on a contract with the BT, so I get unlimited use of internet for around £15 a month (excluding phone) so I can go on when ever, anywhere in my house. It has not failed me yet anyway.
This is a little bit of an issue, the price. Well I bought mine for £119, which is a lot of money. However I really think it is worth the money. I have checked and it has gone majorly down in price now as there are newer upgrades. It creates WiFi all through the house so I am able to access it anywhere. It is more an investment really and I do not regret spending that much on it.
What's Right With It?
The best thing about it is how fast it makes my internet. It works in milliseconds so I am able to do as much surfing as I want very quickly. This is great if I want to upload blogs, photos or videos on the internet. I have uploaded videos on Youtube that took no time at all and was very efficient. Watching videos on the internet as well, especially on the iPhone is unbelievably quick compared to my last connection.
It is very easy to install and only takes around 10 minutes to fully install and get going. It can be used on lots of computers including Mac and Windows so even if you had each type of computer in your house, you would be able to share the connection.
It is stylish and funky and reminds me of futuristic designs. It can be put almost anywhere so can reach computers. It has the brilliant option of plugging your printer or hard drive into it to allow wireless printing and back up which is something quite new and not many models of WiFi stations allow this.
What's Wrong With It?
The price is high, but Apple tends to be very high quality. I use a Mac G5, which was the best investment I ever made. However at £119 for just the wireless connection is a lot. Another thing is that if you use the WiFi next to a TV or microwave then it does not work at all because of the interference so I can't really use the internet on the iPhone in the kitchen very well.
I am using this very device right now to connect to the internet. When on Dooyoo for example I am able to click on a review and it comes up straight away. Then if I want to rate it I just click a rating and it tells me it is done in a second. It has made the internet a much more bearable experience for my other family members, not having to wait for the internet to load. To get the best from this you will need broadband but even not it will still give you quicker results. Overall I think this a brilliant device and worth buying for everyone. If you are going to go WiFi, go with Apple products.
© scotlandizdabest 2008