Here at iState.TV, one of the technologies we are most excited about is mesh networking. For me, I view mesh networking as one of the most powerful tools in circumventing the controlled larger networks of, say, the ISPs that have protections granted to them by coercive enterprises, and thus obligations to them. Apple has released a new product, Mesh Wi-Fi systems, that could help individuals build mesh networks in their communities.
Apple has started selling a mesh Wi-Fi system from Linksys both on its website and in stores. The move is notable as Apple hasn’t updated its own Wi-Fi base station hardware since 2013 and doesn’t currently offer its own mesh Wi-Fi system.
The future of Apple’s networking hardware has long been unclear for that reason.
Bloomberg reported over a year ago that Apple disbanded its AirPort team and planned no future hardware releases. Since then we’ve seen no update to the AirPort hardware. AirPort Wi-Fi base stations are still being sold today and haven’t changed in price.
Apple has released sporadic firmware updates to the AirPort Express, Extreme, and Time Capsule as needed, most recently to address KRACK and Broadpwn vulnerabilities, but the companion app AirPort Utility hasn’t been optimized for the taller iPhone X display which was introduced in November.
When asked about the move to sell a third-party mesh system and the future of the AirPort line, an Apple spokesperson shared this with 9to5Mac:
People love our AirPort products and we continue to sell them. Connectivity is important in the home and we are giving customers yet another option that is well suited for larger homes.