Apple Updates AirPort Utility and AirPort Base Station and Time Capsule Firmware
Apple released an update for the AirPort Utility that incorporates the very simplified user interface that first appeared in the company’s iOS app for managing AirPort based stations. The new AirPort Utility 6.0 now has a graphical outline of the wireless base stations discovered and how they relate to each other, rather than just providing a basic listing. Furthermore, the latest version works exclusively with modern AirPort Express Extreme and Time Capsule units supporting 802.11n.
It's been indicated that firmware updates are available for two of the devices and clicking on a device opens an iCal-like panel that enables users to perform a firmware update r edit the device’s configuration. The simplified interface of the AirPort Utility seems to be missing the former version’s ability to detail and graph wireless clients’ signal strength, list client systems’ hardware MAC addresses and DNS assignments, and log details of base station activity. It should be noted that the new interface is now aligned with its iOS app counterpart (below) and the reduction of information presented makes the overall interface much easier to navigate and more straightforward as well. A variety of settings pertaining to the internet connection, DNS and NAT settings, and other complexities are also organized in a more convenient fashion, making it easier for non-technical users to set up and configure Apple’s base stations.
Along with the new utility, Apple also released the updated 7.6.1 firmware for the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule that “fixes an issue with wireless performance and provides support for remote access to an AirPort disk or a Time Capsule hard drive with an iCloud account.
Apple also seemed to have released an update to AirPort Utility 5.6, which retains the appearance and all of the features of previous versions of the software. The 5.6 version required for configuring older 802.11g AirPort devices. It should be noted that it can’t be used to configure iCloud compatible “Back to My Mac” services for the newest AirPort devices, a task that requires the new software.
The company seems to have progressively advanced the state of the art in wireless networking steadily since its introduction of AirPort in 1999 and it’s expected to add support for the new 802.11c standard for Gigabit Wireless in its AirPort products later this year.