The New Apple Airport Extreme – Why The Peculiar Design

A colleague was looking the new design of the Apple Airport Extreme and he asked me why it was designed this peculiar way rather than the usual slick and slim box.

AirPort Extreme

I took a quick at the specifications and caught the keywords – Beamforming.

Beamforming is an advance wireless technology. Put simply, it enhances wireless performance significantly by having antenna arrays i.e. group of antennas. I first encountered this technology when I was using WiMAX deployment years back. With beamforming and we could achieve extremely stable non-Line Of Sight wireless connections. Subsequently, the technology started to appear in consumer devices in the form of MIMO. I didn’t dive deep into those, but I think the common ones were 3 antenna systems. The WiMAX systems I worked with had 8 antennas.

For Apple, I couldn’t find information on the number of antennas they have on the array, but I read somewhere that it’s an array of 6 antennas. From the looks of the new design, I think it’s highly likely to be true. I guess we can continue to expect Apple to come out quality engineering to improve product usability and experience. 

*Update : Confirmed by iFixit, there are 6 antennas in the device. Read it from iFixit. But that also means that the array is not the direct influence on the new design. :)

6 antenna array

Author: yibi

YiBi's numb :) YiBi writes about anything. Technology, Gossips, Rubbish YiBi's a half f%#k geek :P

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