Apple Releases AirPort Base Station Firmware Update 7.8.1

Apple today released a new AirPort Base Station Firmware Update for the Airport Express, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule.

According to Apple, the new 7.8.1 update "improves the security of your base station" and is recommend for all Apple 802.11n Wi-Fi Base Stations. This update is for 802.11n Base Stations and not the 802.11ac models, which are already running 7.9.1 firmware.


There are no details on what security fixes are included, but owners of these devices should download and install the update using the AirPort Utility app for iOS devices.

Apple discontinued its entire AirPort wireless router lineup in April 2018 and no longer offers these devices for sale.

Apple promised to continue offering service and parts for AirPort Base stations for the next five years, which includes firmware updates to address security issues.



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13 weeks ago
They are really nice pieces of equipment, and pretty simple to work with. It's too bad Apple decided to drop them, some of the features like Back to your Mac were just stellar (and that's being dropped too, sigh). At least they will keep up with the security updates, maybe one day they will find a reason to make them again.
Rating: 24 Votes
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13 weeks ago
I still think Apple could come out with new ones; they could come up with their own mesh router system. It’s not like no one would buy it.
Rating: 23 Votes
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13 weeks ago
i really wish they stuck with their routers. the could make a smart home compatible one now))
seriously though, apple routers are the best i've used.
Rating: 17 Votes
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13 weeks ago

The pictures are a bit misleading as they show the 802.11ac AirPort devices which don't seem to be part of this update. The 802.11ac AirPort devices already got 7.9.1:

https://www.macrumors.com/2019/05/30/airport-base-station-firmware-7-9-1/


Thanks! I've swapped the image for a different one, sorry for the confusion. Also clarified further in the article that the update is for the 802.11n models and not the 802.11ac models.
Rating: 11 Votes
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13 weeks ago
If we look closely at Apple's hardware releases in the last several years, it's possible to interpret their strategy and understand why Apple got out of the router game.

The answer is that each Apple device is its own piece of a mesh network. Every Apple device recognizes Apple devices around it and seamlessly creates a network of all devices logged into the same Apple ID and known Apple ID's.

The reliability of transferring files via AirDrop has gotten to a point where it really does just work. iCloud puts storage in the cloud where any device can access it, even outside of a traditional local network. Printers connect directly to each device, without having to configure them manually. These functions constitute the majority of uses for a home network.

The obvious piece that's missing is of course internet access. iPhones connect to the internet directly via LTE and can even get other devices online like Macs and iPads. But LTE data is expensive and Macs and AppleTVs consume large amounts of data. This is where 5G will come in. Speeds are expected to exceed terrestrial internet and available bandwidth will enable ISP's to charge the same for wireless data as they do for traditional internet — with the added benefit that it's much cheaper to deploy 5G infrastructure than it is optical cabling under city streets and on poles.

Some people will probably say that this isn't viable for offices. Commercial networks were never AirPort's focus. IT departments didn't buy a bunch of AirPort to build networks. It was always primarily a consumer device. We have to see this from a consumer perspective and so for consumers, a direct internet connection via a 5G chip built into each device makes far more sense than configuring WiFi networks at home.

Mesh networks are experiencing a bit of a moment now but I don't think that will last as 5G is deployed and people start relying on their future iPhone's 5G connection when data prices drop to the price of traditional home internet prices. Apple wasn't looking at the short term when they decided to abandon AirPort. They're thinking ahead. I fully expect Macs and even AppleTV's to come with built in 5G chips in the coming years and for Watches and iPads to come with cellular chips standard.
Rating: 8 Votes
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13 weeks ago
Wow! I have to admit I was surprised to see this update for my rather old "Mac Mini"-style 802.11n Airport Extreme... AND an old single-band Airport Express we keep around for streaming music while we do dishes!

Must be a pretty serious vulnerability - that hardware is all a decade old.
Rating: 8 Votes
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13 weeks ago
The pictures are a bit misleading as they show the 802.11ac AirPort devices which don't seem to be part of this update. The 802.11ac AirPort devices already got 7.9.1:

https://www.macrumors.com/2019/05/30/airport-base-station-firmware-7-9-1/
Rating: 8 Votes
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13 weeks ago

i really wish they stuck with their routers. the could make a smart home compatible one now))
seriously though, apple routers are the best i've used.


Maybe Apple's solution should be to make a mesh system, but include it with HomePod - so you buy the mesh and get HomePod, or conversely, you buy HomePod and get mesh.

Either way it wouldn't be a lot of extra electronics or design to go in there.
Rating: 8 Votes
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13 weeks ago
Nice to know that iOS13 will support SMB which means will be able to access file system in Airport devices via “Files” app
Rating: 7 Votes
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13 weeks ago
With the advancements they've made with iCloud (from photos to files to shared folders), it's shocking and frustrating that they don't want to own and protect such a critical part of the sync process / user experience. Holding onto my 2013 APE for dear life.
Rating: 6 Votes
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