The AirPort Extreme was a wireless base station that combined the functions of a router, network switch, wireless access point, Network-Attached Storage (NAS), and other functions. The AirPort Extreme Base Station Generation 2 was released in 2007 with a white, rounded-rectangle design that was similar to the look of the first-generation Mac mini and original Apple TV.
The The AirPort Extreme Base Station measured 6.5 inches square, 1.3 inches tall, and weighed 1.66 pounds. It supported 802.11a/b/g and Draft 802.11n2 wireless network protocols. Ports included one Gigabit Ethernet WAN port (for connecting a DSL or cable modem), three Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports (for connecting computers or network devices), and one USB port (for connecting a USB printer or USB external hard drive).
The AirPort Extreme was a wireless networking base station that combined the functions of a network router and wireless access point. When the Extreme model of this device was released, the “extreme” modifier denoted its increased Wi-Fi speed from 802.11a/b to the faster 802.11g Wi-Fi standard, a major speed difference at the time.
The AirPort Extreme base station model retained the form factor as the original AirPort base station in shape, but the AirPort Extreme was cast in opaque white plastic, used a mirrored Apple logo, and moved the ports to the bottom of the device. The shape was sometimes referred to as the “flying saucer.” Not only was it shaped like a flying saucer, a 1999 TV commercial that introduced the original AirPort showed it behaving like a UFO.
The original AirPort Extreme Base Station could provide wireless access to up to 50 Macs or PCs simultaneously, although performance was noticeably affected as connections exceeded about 12 connected devices. This version was also notable to include a 56K dial-up modem that allowed homes without broadband Internet to have wireless Internet.