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]
Improve Apple Services with AirPort Base Stations
You can make iChat file transfers, iDisk, and Back to My Mac work better by turning on a setting with Apple AirPort base stations released starting in 2003. Launch AirPort Utility, select your base station, click Manual Setup, choose the Internet view, and click the NAT tab. Check the Enable NAT Port Mapping Protocol (NAT-PMP) box, and click Update. NAT-PMP lets your Mac OS X computer give Apple information to connect back into a network that's otherwise unreachable from the rest of the Internet. This speeds updates and makes connections work better for services run by Apple.