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In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, certain products stand out as pioneers, shaping the industry and leaving an indelible mark. In the year 2001, Apple made a significant stride in the tech world with the introduction of the AirPort Base Station Late 2001 also known as “Dual Ethernet” or “2nd Generation”. This wireless router, part of Apple’s AirPort Base Station series, not only showcased the company’s commitment to innovation but also set new standards for connectivity and security.
On November 13th, 2001, Apple unveiled the second generation of its award-winning AirPort wireless network solution. This 802.11b-based solution featured a groundbreaking AirPort Base Station that brought several notable features to the table. One of the key highlights was its unprecedented support for America Online (AOL) users, a move that reflected Apple’s dedication to broadening accessibility.
Philip Schiller, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, remarked, “Apple has consistently led the industry in 802.11 wireless networking.” The AirPort Base Station Late 2001 aimed to enhance the user experience by introducing a built-in firewall for heightened protection and 128-bit encryption for robust wireless security. With these features, Apple was setting a new standard for wireless networking solutions.
The AirPort wireless networking solution was more than just a router; it was a comprehensive ecosystem consisting of the AirPort Base Station, AirPort Card, and AirPort software. The introduction of the AirPort 2.0 software marked a significant step forward, offering compatibility with AOL, the most popular Internet Service Provider in the U.S. This software, available for download in both native Mac OS X and Mac OS 9 versions, not only supported new Base Stations but also allowed existing ones to benefit from AOL compatibility and 128-bit encryption.
The connectivity and security features of the AirPort Base Station with Dual Ethernet were impressive, including:
- Compatibility with AOL, the most popular Internet Service Provider in the US.
- Two Ethernet ports, one for wide-area connections and another for local area networking.
- Firewall protection for added security against unauthorized access.
- Support for up to 128-bit password and data encryption.
- RADIUS support for centralized user access control in schools and businesses.
- AirPort Card compatibility with Cisco’s LEAP security method, a popular choice in higher-education institutions.
The AirPort Base Station 2nd Generation offered a data rate of up to 11 megabits per second, enabling seamless sharing of a single Internet connection by up to 50 users. Its impressive typical range of a 150-foot radius from the base station made it a reliable choice for both home and office environments. Apple ensured that all its notebooks and desktops were AirPort-ready, featuring integrated antennas and card slots, with some even preinstalled with the AirPort card.
Apple positioned its wireless networking solution as an accessible choice for consumers. The AirPort Card was priced at a suggested retail price of $99, while the AirPort Base Station was available for $299. The AirPort 2.0 software, a crucial component for unleashing the full potential of the AirPort ecosystem, was offered as a free online download from Apple’s official website. It was compatible with AOL 5.0, catering to users in the United States.
The AirPort Base Station with Dual Ethernet was undeniably ahead of its time, offering a WLAN port for DSL routing and compatibility with both Mac and Windows PCs. Its ability to connect up to 50 devices made it an ideal choice for small businesses and homes with multiple devices. However, the product’s journey was relatively short-lived.
On January 7, 2003, Apple discontinued the AirPort Base Station with Dual Ethernet, making way for the AirPort Extreme Base Station. This successor boasted faster speeds, increased range, and more advanced security features, reflecting the relentless pursuit of excellence in Apple’s product lineup.
As we look back at the AirPort Base Station with Dual Ethernet, now 22 years old, it serves as a reminder of its profound impact on the world of wireless networking. This pioneering product was one of the first wireless routers on the market, setting the stage for the advanced networking products we use today. Its AOL support, built-in firewall, and 128-bit encryption were trailblazing features that paved the way for a new era of connectivity.
While the AirPort Base Station with Dual Ethernet may have been replaced by more advanced technologies, its legacy lives on. It remains a testament to Apple’s commitment to pushing boundaries and shaping the technological landscape. As we embrace the latest advancements in wireless networking, let’s take a moment to appreciate the groundbreaking contribution of the AirPort Base Station 2nd gen—a true pioneer in the evolution of connectivity.
AirPort Base Station with Dual Ethernet Details
|November 13, 2001
|January 7, 2003
|6.9″ D x 3.2″ H
17.52 cm D x 8.12 cm H
|Wireless Data Range
|Up to 11 Mbps
|Radio Output Power
|15 dBm (nominal)
|WEP (40-bit encryption)
|2 – RJ-45
1 – RJ-11 for built-in 56k modem
|Power over Ethernet
Further Reading and References
- AirPort Base Station (Dual Ethernet): Technical Specifications – Apple Support
- Apple Announces Second Generation AirPort Wireless Networking – Apple Newsroom
- AirPort – Wikipedia
- Apple AirPort Base Station 2.0 review – CNET
- Setting Up the AirPort Base Station (PDF) – Apple Repair Manuals
- Apple Airport Wireless Base Stations – Northern Arizona University
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Last updated: January 29, 2024