Yesterday Apple released AirPort Utility 6.0 along with an update to the older Version 5.x of the same program. The new tool offers an updated and intuitive interface for managing your Wi-Fi network, but it also is missing some key features that, while not necessarily beneficial to most home users, might frustrate IT professionals and network administrators.
After installing the utility and exploring its features, MacFixIt reader Joshua O. wrote in regarding a number of these he found:
I've been surprised that no one has commented on the massive loss of functionality in the new Airport Utility. While the layout is simpler and options are laid out much more logically and with respect to their importance, a huge number of settings are just flat-out gone.
Joshua has a first-generation Time Capsule and noted the following options from prior versions of AirPort Utility are now missing in the latest version:
- Time Server settings
- Contact Name/Location
- Status Light settings
- Allow this network to be extended
- Multicast rate
- Transmit power
- WPA group key timeout
- MAC address access control
- DHCP Client ID
- DHCP Message
- LDAP Server
- Controls to Disconnect All Users
- Airport Disk Guest Access
- Workgroup/WINS Server
- All Syslog options
- All SNMP settings
- All Log and Statistic options
- All IPV6 settings
In addition to those that Joshua found, Richard Gaywood from The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) recently wrote a summary of the missing features he found, including many of those that Joshua noted here but adding a few others such as no wide-channels options, and missing LDAP settings, in addition to some relatively inadequate settings such as the port-mapping list only showing a couple of lines.
As both Joshua and Richard describe, many of these options are esoteric and most will not cause much difference to home users; however, if you are an IT professional or someone who enjoys fine-tuning or adjusting network properties, then you may find the new AirPort Utility somewhat lacking or frustrating to deal with.
Luckily Apple issued both version 5.6 and version 6.0 of its AirPort Utility at the same time, so people with needs for the missing features should still be able to configure them with the older utility. It may be that the new utility just has not adopted these features yet, and they may appear in future releases, but for now despite its more pleasant layout, the tool has some significant drawbacks.