updated 09:45 pm EDT, Mon June 10, 2013
Compatible with 802.11n, does not add 'ac' capabilities
Apple has issued updates for the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule, releasing minor upgrades for the firmware (now at version 7.7.1) and AirPort Utility software (now at version 6.3) to add compatibility for the newly-announced, redesigned AirPort hardware that supports the forthcoming 802.11ac standard. The new standard, which uses the 5GHz bandwidth of 802.11n, is backward-compatible with earlier Wi-Fi but supports faster speed and greater range. The new MacBook Air is the first model to feature 802.11ac.
The updates do not give current AirPort hardware the ability to support 802.11ac -- sometimes referred to as "gigabit Internet" -- but the routers will continue to work with future Macs that have 802.11ac support since they are compatible with 802.11n and g. The firmware release also resolves a rare issue that may cause the hard drive in the Time Capsule, or a hard drive connected via USB to an AirPort device, to become unresponsive.
The update to AirPort Utility simply allows users to configure and manage the new AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule models that offer 802.11ac Wi-Fi, announced earlier on Monday and available now or very soon at Apple sales outlets. Both updates are available for all 802.11n-capable AirPort devices, including the Express and Extreme base stations along with the Time Capsule.
The AirPort Utility update comes in at 21.43MB and requires either the latest version of Lion (OS X 10.7.5) or the 10.8.3 or later version of Mountain Lion. The updates are available through Software Update or from Apple's Support Downloads page.