Apple Now Selling Linksys Velop Mesh Wi-Fi System But Will Continue Offering AirPort Line

Apple recently began selling the Linksys Velop Mesh Wi-Fi System both online and in its retail stores, marking the first router the company has offered aside from its own rather outdated AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express, and AirPort Time Capsule.

Apple has not updated the AirPort Time Capsule or the AirPort Extreme since June of 2013, and it's been even longer since the AirPort Express was last updated -- 2012. A late 2016 rumor even suggested Apple had stopped development on its line of AirPort base stations entirely, disbanding its AirPort team and moving engineers to other projects.

Two Node Linksys Velop System

Though Apple has not updated the AirPort line in years and is now selling a third-party WiFi system, the company appears to be planning to continue to offer AirPort options for the foreseeable future. In a statement provided to 9to5Mac, an Apple spokesperson said the Linksys Velop is an option being provided to people with larger homes alongside the AirPort.
People love our AirPort products and we continue to sell them. Connectivity is important in the home and we are giving customers yet another option that is well suited for larger homes.
While Apple is continuing to offer its AirPort base stations for now, the devices won't last forever sans update. Given Apple's move to sell a third-party Wi-Fi product, it's looking like the company does not have plans to update the lineup going forward.

The AirPort base stations provide several unique benefits that are not available with third-party options like built-in Time Machine backup support in the Time Capsule and AirPlay functionality for the AirPort Express. It's possible Apple has plans to incorporate these features and Wi-Fi networking functionality into a future product, but if so, there are no rumors suggesting that's the case at this point.

Apple's AirPort lineup

The Linksys Velop that Apple is offering is designed to create a tri-band high-range mesh network able to provide a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout the home, putting an end to areas where Wi-Fi signal is weak. The Velop consists of multiple Nodes used to create an extended Wi-Fi network. Each of the Nodes is able to increase Wi-Fi range by up to 2,000 square feet, and because it increases range wirelessly, there are no wires to deal with.

Apple sells the Velop in two configurations, with either two or three nodes, for $349 or $499.

Related Roundup: AirPort

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Apple Releases Firmware Update 7.7.9 and 7.6.9 for AirPort Base Stations

Apple today released new firmware updates for its Wi-Fi base stations, including the AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule. The 7.7.9 update is available for 802.11ac base stations, while the 7.6.9 update is available for 802.11n base stations.

Release notes for the update were not provided by Apple, but it is likely that this firmware update fixes the KRACK Wi-Fi vulnerabilities that affected many modern Wi-Fi networks and devices.

The KRACK vulnerability had the potential to allow attackers to exploit weaknesses in the WPA2 protocol to decrypt network traffic to sniff out credit card numbers, usernames, passwords, photos, and other sensitive information. Apple released KRACK security updates for other devices earlier this year.

The new firmware updates can be installed using the AirPort Utility app for iOS or macOS.

Apple has allegedly stopped development on its AirPort wireless routers in 2016, and to our knowledge, the company does not plan to produce another product in the AirPort family in the near future.

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AirPort Routers Ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction as Apple Halts Further Development

Apple ranks highest in customer satisfaction among wireless router manufacturers, according to a new study released by J.D. Power today.

The accolade comes just nine days after a report said Apple has ceased development of its AirPort routers and reassigned engineers working on the products to other teams. Apple continues to sell the AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule, last released in 2013, but future updates appear unlikely.

Apple beat out all other wireless router vendors with a score of 876, based on a 1,000-point scale, followed by ASUS at 860, D-Link at 856, and TP-Link at 854. Apple was the only company to receive a 5-star Power Circle consumer rating, which places it "among the best" according to J.D. Power.

The report, based on responses from 3,037 consumers, measured overall satisfaction across 10 factors, listed in order of importance: Wi-Fi range; reliability; speed of upload/download; restore connection easily; security capabilities; price; ease of use; variety of features; intuitive user interface; and customer service.

Related Roundup: AirPort
Tag: J.D. Power

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