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Apple updates AirPort Express at WWDC

Though it definitely lacks the "Wow!" factor of the new MacBook Air and Pro line-up, Apple today also updated the AirPort Express - its compact version of the AirPort Extreme base station.

The AirPort Express's updated specs include simultaneous 2.4- and 5-GHz bands, support for legacy 802.11 b and g devices, a 10/100 Fast Ethernet WAN port and a 10/100 Fast Ethernet LAN port.

The previous AirPort Express is selectable dual-band; the 2.4- and 5-GHz bands cannot run concurrently. In addition, the previous model has only one Fast Ethernet port for the WAN connection. But the new AirPort Express allows users to establish an Internet connection and connect one network device to Apple's router to take advantage of the 100 Mb/s speed. The power supply is also now built-in.

The new AirPort Express retains the one USB 2.0 port, which only supports a printer, as well as a 3.5-mm audio minijack for analogue or optical digital sound.

Bundled features include WPA2 and WPA2 Enterprise-level encryption, MAC address filtering, NAT firewall, and setting access control based on a schedule. The AirPort Express supports the AirPort Utility app used to manage Apple base stations and networks and supports Bonjour for Windows, a network discovery protocol.

The updated AirPort Express is shipping now for $99 (£79). It is the lower-end device on Apple's base station line-up of networking devices, which include the fuller-featured AirPort Extreme and Apple's router/NAS hybrid, Time Capsule.

The announcement was made in conjunction with Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC)