Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
56,970
19,816


Apple earlier this year sent a "Network Adapter" to the FCC for approval, an unearthed filing has revealed, although suggestions that it could be an AirPort successor or other unannounced networking product for consumer use are likely wide of the mark.

airport_roundup.jpg
Consumer networking products from Apple's discontinued AirPort range

Whenever a company designs a device for use in the United States that uses radio frequencies like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, it must get FCC regulatory approval. According to documents shared by the FCC, Apple sent a "Network Adapter" with the model number A2657 to the agency on January 22, with the following description.
A2657 is a network adapter. It has an integral battery, two gigabit ethernet ports, USB-C connector and antenna. The device supports IEEE 802.11b/g/n radio, Bluetooth radio, and NFC. The network adapter comes with 32 GB memory storage and 1.5 GB RAM.

The device is intended to be connected to a host computer and receive its power through a USB-A port during normal use.
The documents suggest that the device runs "19F47" firmware, which matches an early internal version of iOS 15.5, suggesting it is powered by Apple silicon. The FCC tested the device by connecting it to an iMac, but other than that, no other details are given, and Apple has requested a non-disclosure agreement that runs until November 2022.

The filing doesn't include any images of the device either, but there are some telltale signs in the description that it is unlikely to relate to a forthcoming consumer product.

For one, the device appears to lack support for the 802.11ac wireless networking standard. Also known as Wi-Fi 5, 802.11ac was announced in 2014 and has been superseded by Wi-Fi 6, which is already supported in newer iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks.

Secondly, the device only uses the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi band, whereas most modern commercial routers and consumer Apple devices support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, with the 5GHz spectrum usually offering the best performance. For example, the discontinued sixth-generation AirPort Extreme base station operated on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio bands.

Lastly, the device is "intended to receive its power through a USB-A port during normal use." Apple has replaced USB-A with USB-C connectivity on all of its MacBooks and iMacs, and the idea that it would launch a consumer device with a legacy port as a primary connector is unrealistic.

Apple officially ended development on its AirPort line of products in 2018, and the company has since sold third-party routers. Apple has many FCC-certified devices that are solely intended for internal use, and this filing very likely relates to another device that falls into that category.

(Via 9to5Mac.)

Article Link: Apple's Mystery 'Network Adapter' Found in FCC Filing Likely for Internal Use Only
 
  • Sad
Reactions: LeadingHeat

JustinCymbal

Contributor
Mar 25, 2008
313
1,724
Boston, Massachusetts
It would be great to have Apple get back into making routers again

I was using the last version of the Airport Extreme up until last year when I replaced my 2 Airport Extremes with 3 eeros

I chose to replace my two Airport Extremes that I had with eeros because I wanted to have Apple’s HomeKit compatibility - Trying to buy all of my home accessories so that they are HomeKit compatible

MacRumors had a post on Friday that mentioned that Apple might release a new version of the HomePod either this year or in early 2023 so an Apple router would be a great addition to that especially if features like AirPlay work better over an Apple mesh Wi-Fi setup
 
Last edited:

MakeAppleAwesomeAgain

macrumors regular
Nov 21, 2016
157
1,555
Wherever
I'm still rocking two AirPort Extremes from 2013, and I won't be replacing them with another brand for a long time. The wireless signal is strong enough for my needs, and when one of them dies, I will replace them with a second-hand. I've had experiences with almost every wireless router brand, and this model is the most stable router I've ever used. I never had to reboot it.
 

Robert.Walter

macrumors 68020
Jul 10, 2012
2,391
3,045
It would be great to have Apple get back into making routers again

I was using the last version of the Airport Extreme up until last year when I replaced my 2 Airport Extremes with 3 eeros

I chose to replace my two Airport Extremes that I had with eeros because I wanted to have Apple’s HomeKit compatibility - Trying to buy all of my home accessories so that they are HomeKit compatible

MacRumors had a post on Friday that mentioned that Apple might release a new version of the HomePod either this year or in early 2023 so an Apple router would be a great addition to that especially if features like AirPlay work better over an Apple mesh Wi-Fi setup
I always wondered why Apple never made hardwired products like Mac mini, Apple TV and HomePod (and other hardwired HomeKit devices) act like network extenders or even a base station.

Ps I love my last gen Time Capsule (as much as my earlier gen TC) and last gen AP express. They have been very stable and reliable.
 

loby

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2010
1,510
1,078
I hope this is not just a "rumor". I replaced my whole network system with a mesh. Works ok (Meh)...but...

Still WANT another AirPort. They were the BEST router, especially the TimeCapsules!

Apple..if you take a survey and ask Apple users if they want another Airport...what do you think they would say?!?

You could make some more money...Tim...
 

rezwits

macrumors 6502a
Jul 10, 2007
798
401
Las Vegas
100% sounds like a caching engine. Probably for internal use to cache updates in service centre or for demos in store
Yep and iCloud and downloads, cache perhaps, or some possible space for a NODE? of some kind? dreaming of course! LOL
but as far as the 2.4gHz I would take 4 "Lanes" of 2.4gHz over 1 "Lane" or 2 "Lanes" of 5.0gHz!

Peace!!
 

elvisimprsntr

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2013
807
1,188
Florida
Given the specs it’s likely a Point of Sale device or badge access reader.


I seem to recall Apple designed one many years ago for their spaceship campus. It’s likely an upgraded access reader for their campus.


Apple will likely never enter the time capsule or airport market again. It’s a constantly changing technology, with a huge customer support expense, on a low margin appliance.
 
Last edited:

iamgalt

macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2012
285
911
the idea that it would launch a consumer device with a legacy port as a primary connector is unrealistic.
Have you seen the ten year old port on the bottom of the latest iPhones?

While I don't think this item is going to be a consumer product, it's not because of the presence of legacy ports. Apple uses old ports all the time.
 

kkclstuff

macrumors regular
Apr 18, 2015
218
156
NYC
sounds like an  in-house 'refurbished/trade-in/recycled' diagnostics tool for old/outdates models ..possibly a non- products diagnostics tool for software/hardware compatibility in the new ecosphere.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.