Apple AirPort Base Station Hardware

A guided tour


The outside

This is the outside of the Base Station. The sticker on the bottom lists the unit serial number, and the MAC addresses on Ethernet and WaveLan interfaces. Not visible on this picture of the bottom is a small hole (off the top right in the picture). Sticking a paperclip through this hole actuates the reset-button.


The inside

This is what you see if you open it up by taking out the three screws on the bottom. If you choose an enlarged version, you'll see numbers on the picture on the right. They indicate:

  1. Plexiglass light guides to take the light from the LEDs in the inner box to the appropriate positions on the outer box
  2. Telephone line filter and RJ-11 connector
  3. Power filter and connector, with red-black wire to connect to same connector on inner box
  4. Ethernet filter and RJ-45 female, with wire to connect to female on inner box
  5. Contraption to convert pushing with paperclip in hole on bottom to push of reset on inner box
  6. LEDs on inner box
  7. Lucent WaveLan silver card


Base to go

This is what I have dubbed a "Base to go". I have one Base Station which I use when I travel around, and I used some gaffertape to tape the modem board with the RJ-11 to the unit. Since the Ethernet and power filtering is probably only there to meet some backward country's approval requirements, I left them off. The connectors plug right in, and everything is suddenly much smaller and more convenient than the big UFO.


Opening the inner box

If you then remove the WaveLan card and take off the little snaps around the outside edge of the box, you can open it up. Be careful not to damage the flimsy wire that goes to the phone-board.


The motherboard

This is the top of the motherboard that lies inside. The numbers on the picture indicate:

  1. Power connector
  2. Reset switch
  3. Ethernet connector
  4. PC-Card slot


Bottom of the motherboard, with and without the modem card. Notice that the protective plastic has a dutch modem approval sticker on it (even though ths unit was purchased in Germany). This is the real reason for European unity folks: devices are getting too small for all the approval stickers. The picture on the right isn't in focus, but it shows a 32 pin chip on the silk screen that wasn't soldered on, as well as the connector (40 pins) that connects the modem. The processor is some sort of 486 clone. I remember us looking at the motherboard in greater detail, but can't really remember much of the analysis.


The modem

The picture on the left shows the top of the modem, still on the motherboard, but with the insulating plastic covering removed. The picture on the right shows the bottom of the modem after it has been removed from the motherboard. The 40 pin connector is in plain view. Over SNMP, the unit reports that this modem is a "V.90 Modem: APPLE VERSION 0004". I'd like to know more about this modem and its command set, the 40 pin connector and anything else that's known about it.


And yes: it all went back together again.


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