Airport Utility for iOS is extremely powerful - if you have an Apple 802.11n network

Airport Utility for iOS is extremely powerful - if you have an Apple 802.11n network

Summary: The new Airport Utility is the iOS equivalent of the Mac OS X tool by the same name. it's super-compelling because iPhones and iPads are great for Wi-Fi troubleshooting in the field.

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This app falls squarely into the it's-about-time category.

Last week Apple released iOS 5 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod. Alongside it Apple also launched a handful of completely new iOS apps, including Trailers, Cards and Find My Friends. In the melee I overlooked a fourth new iOS app from Apple that might be the best of the lot: Airport Utility (App Store, free).

Just like its name implies, Airport Utility is the iOS equivalent of the Mac OS X utility of the same name. It's a compelling experience on an iPhone because it's actually better suited for use in the field than a laptop -- especially when troubleshooting problematic AirPort devices.

But that's also its biggest limitation, Airport Utility for iOS only works with Apple-branded AirPorts (or "access points"), specifically the AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and Time Capsule, and it doesn't support third-party access points from other manufacturers. (Hey, it was a big deal for Apple to change its beloved "AirPort" menu to "Wi-Fi" in Lion).

Another limitation is that Airport Utility for iOS only supports 802.11n devices. I verified this by testing 802.11n and 802.11g AirPort Express side-by-side and the app only picked up the 802.11n hardware. Planned obsolescence?

Airport Utility works as you'd expect: scanning the network its connected to and mapping the discovered Apple Wi-Fi hardware. From this graphical view you can change base station and network settings, or manage advanced features such as security modes, wireless channels, and more.

If you've got an Apple 802.11n network, this is a must-have app. Although I'm annoyed that it doesn't work with my 802.11g hardware from Apple.

Topics: Operating Systems, Apple, Mobile OS

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7 comments
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  • You did something wrong.. mine can edit b/g express

    It actually needs to be connected to the b/g express though at the time or you won't see it.. make sure you connect the iOS devise to the b/g access point in setting and it should work just fine.. it just sees the devices path to the internets and any airport devices on that path.. it not like the desktop version that show all airports on the network in devices path to the internet or not..<br><br>lots of uses, but I think the biggest use and the reason it is included is so at a hotel you don't have to depend on flaky hotel WiFi.. you can bring an express and an iOS device (no laptop necessary any more.. this is their goal for much of these updates) connect the express to ethernet can create you own WiFi network in your room.. that's what many people like Perlow do and now you can do it with only an iOS device.. also at home.. if you only have an iOS device you can manage your network without a computer.. that was their goal to make iOS devices not dependent on computer..
    doctorSpoc
  • &quot;Airport Utility...only works...AirPorts&quot;

    Maybe that's why they called it "Airport Utility." Just a guess.
    msalzberg
  • RE: Airport Utility for iOS is extremely powerful - if you have an Apple 802.11n network

    You know one of these eons maybe, just maybe, the industry will get over it's "my way's better than your way" attitude and start supporting whatever technology it finds wherever it finds it. The world will find itself far more "connected" and far better off BTW, if/when this ongoing industry tantrum comes to an end.
    QO
    • RE: Airport Utility for iOS is extremely powerful - if you have an Apple 802.11n network

      @QO

      Yes, if the myriad of router vendors standardised on an interface that was somewhat sensible then it would be possible for someone to build an App for an interface.

      Router interfaces are quite bad.

      Airport's interface makes some sense, it could be better and I think this App has work to be done.

      The other brands of router are nowhere near as intelligible, they may have a basic setup 'wizard', but once you get into anything slightly complex they ask questions in their own language, without much explanation to what the purpose of the fields are.

      I use Airport routers because the probability of getting a working setup is higher, especially if you are bridging a network. The other routers probably would have worked in some cases if the right combination of settings could be found, but that takes time and therefore costs money.

      So yes, when D-Link and Netgear and the others realise that their way for UI is in fact crap, and who wants to know what all 4 key slots are for anyway!!!

      Apple's Airport UI has small issues still, but it is way closer to right.
      richardw66
  • RE: Airport Utility for iOS is extremely powerful - if you have an Apple 802.11n network

    Jason - why would you expect Apple to build an application to manage network hardware built by other manufactures? Your point makes no sense to me. It would be just like complaining the Bank of America's application does not work with your Wells Fargo accounts. Waste of space.
    mahalotm
  • Question + THANK YOU: I was not aware of the App.

    Question: Have you or any fellow readers been able to change device names through this App? Specifically, a printer.

    You helped me implement a "missing link" for my home network.

    I tapped your App Store link and installed within seconds. Beautiful. Third Gen Time Capsule; Airport Extreme (used to expand range); and devices seen in seconds.

    Makes perfect sense given Apple's decision to make computers a "device."

    Warm regards to all.
    JavaClaws
  • RE: Airport Utility for iOS is extremely powerful - if you have an Apple 802.11n network

    Question: The app shows some connected devices (iphones, etc) as the actual device name, and some as IP address only. How can I change an iphone, or the network to show the device name?
    DNMakinson