AirPort Extreme 5.0.3 Firmware Update — Apple has released a 1 MB firmware update for the new AirPort Extreme Base Station, fixing a number of problems. Updated AirPort Extreme Base Stations should no longer spontaneously restart, there is now no known limit to the number of FTP connections that can be initiated through the base station, and most important, the AirPort Extreme Base Station should recover more gracefully when exposed to excessive 2.4 GHz radio interference (such as might come from a 2.4 GHz cordless phone, a microwave oven, or a Bluetooth device). Previously, the AirPort Extreme network could become unavailable and fail to recover when exposed to excessive interference. My co-author on The Wireless Networking Starter Kit, Glenn Fleishman, found that the firmware update also reduced the severity of the problems he’d found in his testing of review units from Apple.
This update coincides with a firmware update from Apple’s wireless chip partner, Broadcom. Since manufacturers such as Linksys use the Broadcom chips, look for firmware updates for other 802.11g gear as well. The important aspect of the Broadcom update is that it now has 802.11b Wi-Fi certification, meaning that all Broadcom-based devices darn well better work with all Wi-Fi-certified 802.11b devices. For more coverage of AirPort and AirPort Extreme issues, visit the weblog that Glenn maintains in conjunction with our book. You can also now download a PDF-based update about AirPort Extreme and 802.11g that rolls in even more changes since we published "AirPort Extreme: In the Key of G" in TidBITS-663). [ACE]