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Apple updates AirPort utilities to reflect new bases, 802.11ac

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.

By Electronista Staff


  1. LenE

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-19-04

    The firmware update does not appear to be live yet. Confusingly, the release notes linked above say that this is for the 802.11ac-capable Airport Extreme, and then a paragraph later that it is for all 802.11n-capable base stations.

    Both of my 802.11n Airport Extremes are at 7.6.3, and reporting that they are on the latest firmware.

  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: 01-03-08

    Same as you, LenE...neither my Extreme nor Expresses are stating an update is available, staying at 7.6.3.

  1. nouser

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-29-12

    I'd also add that the Airport Utility v6.3 can't find any of my Airport Extreme base stations. There are now several report of this in the Apple support Discussion forum. I had to revert to v6.2 to make any changes to the network. Be sure to duplicate your existing Airport Utility and rename it prior to accepting the upgrade to v6.3

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