AirPort 3.1 Applies 802.11g Spec -- One week after the IEEE ratified the 802.11g specification for higher-speed wireless equipment, Apple has released AirPort 3.1 for Mac OS X, which updates Macs using AirPort Extreme (see "802.11g (AirPort Extreme) Ratified" in TidBITS-684). The update includes AirPort Extreme Firmware v5.1 (also available as a separate 2 MB download) to update AirPort Extreme Base Stations and AirPort Extreme cards. Along with implementing the final 802.11g spec, the update adds packet bursting, which improves throughput on 802.11g networks. Apple also slipped in a few other improvements: an AirPort Extreme Base Station can be set up as a "relay" device within a network containing multiple base stations, and networking speed is improved when interfering equipment (such as 2.4 GHz cordless phones and microwave ovens) is in the vicinity. Finally, Apple also released a beta version of AirPort Extreme Admin Utility for Windows XP and Windows 2000, something the company said was requested by many users in mixed computing environments. The AirPort 3.1 update requires Mac OS X 10.2.6 and later, and is available through Software Update or as a separate 7 MB download. [JLC]
Viewing Wi-Fi Details in Snow Leopard
In Snow Leopard, hold down the Option key before clicking the AirPort menu. Doing so reveals additional technical details including which standards, speeds, and frequencies you're using to connect, as well as what's in use by other networks. With the Option key held down and with a network already joined, the AirPort menu reveals seven pieces of information: the PHY Mode, the MAC (Media Access Control) address, the channel and band in use, the security method that's in use, the RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication) measurement, the transmit rate, and the MCS Index. In Leopard, some, but not all, of these details are revealed by Option-clicking the AirPort menu.