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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Apple AirPort Extreme Model A1143, use our service manual.

  1. Apple AirPort Extreme Model A1143 Teardown, Apple AirPort Extreme Model A1143 Teardown: step 1, image 1 of 1
    • We got our new Airport Extreme 802.11n today. We decided to deviate from our standard modus operandi and run some benchmarks before we took it apart. (I know, I know-- our screwdrivers were lonely for a while.) This image is a sneak-peek to get your appetite whetted.

    • The new base station is amazing. We achieved a 10x performance boost, and a 3x usable range increase (significantly better than Apple's 5x/2x claims). Actual benchmarks are on the next page.

  2. Apple AirPort Extreme Model A1143 Teardown: step 2, image 1 of 1
    • Included: Base station, the famous $1.99 install CD, smallish power brick, and a manual. No USB or ethernet cables.

    • Our office is a little bit spread out-- we have two snow 802.11g base stations and two Airport Express units. We may be able to replace them all with just one new base station!

  3. Apple AirPort Extreme Model A1143 Teardown: step 3, image 1 of 1
    • From bottom up: Mac Mini, new base station, old base station.

    • The base station is the exact same footprint as the Mac Mini, and slightly more than half as tall.

    • The device feels very sturdy, and weighs a bit more (1.70 pounds) than the old base stations (1.22 pounds).

  4. Apple AirPort Extreme Model A1143 Teardown: step 4, image 1 of 1
    • This is the infamous 802.11n Sarbanes-Oxley mandated $1.99 802.11n enabler.

    • These benchmarks are crude, but should give you a rough idea. All benchmarks were performed with a MacBook Pro 15" Core 2 Duo, a 'snow' 802.11g Airport Extreme Base Station, and the new 802.11n Airport Extreme Base Station.

    • We ran all the benchmarks at least three times, and we're presenting you with average numbers. Your mileage will vary significantly, particularly with distance-- our base stations were inside, but the building wasn't big enough so we had to go outside to get 300 feet away.

    • This graph shows transfer speeds at 5, 100, and 300 feet for both base stations. The graph is not linear or particularly to scale.

  5. Apple AirPort Extreme Model A1143 Teardown: step 6, image 1 of 1
    • We transferred two 35MB quicktime files (70 MB total). The first location was 5 feet from the base station. With the G base station, we had a reported comm quality of 56, and with the N base station the commQuality was 76. To get the commQuality, run the command `/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/ Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/ Resources/airport -I`.

    • At 5 feet, N was giving me a whopping 9 MB/s! (It averaged at 7.8 MB/s.) I'm accustomed to keeping an ethernet cable at my desk to plug in when I need to make large transfers. With 802.11n, I'll be able to get rid of the extra cable.

    • At 300 feet (with a building in the way), we were still getting 500 KB/s. We got tired of walking and stopped. I suspect you could still get signal at twice that.

  6. Apple AirPort Extreme Model A1143 Teardown: step 7, image 1 of 1
    • There is a rubber pad covering the bottom attached by an adhesive. To get into the base station, you have to peel the pad off.

    • There are five Phillips #0 screws underneath the pad you need to remove.

    • The numbers on the bottom are: FCC ID BCGA1143, IC: 579C-A1143, Model Number A1143.

  7. Apple AirPort Extreme Model A1143 Teardown: step 8, image 1 of 1
    • Lift the perforated plastic cover out.

  8. Apple AirPort Extreme Model A1143 Teardown: step 9, image 1 of 1
    • Lift the guts of the base station out of the casing.

    • There are two large blocks of aluminum on the upper case that Apple is using as heat sinks. The upper case alone is .9 lbs-- over half the weight!

    • There are three antennas mounted internally: one on front (white cable), left (grey cable), and right (black cable). They all have standard antenna conectors on them.

  9. Apple AirPort Extreme Model A1143 Teardown: step 10, image 1 of 1
    • This is the top of the logic board. Interesting things: 3V (clock?) battery, two Samsung memory chips, and imprinted Apple part #820-1942-A. The processor is covered by a heat sink.

    • Here's a hi-res photo of the top of the logic board.

  10. Apple AirPort Extreme Model A1143 Teardown: step 11, image 1 of 1
    • This is the bottom of the logic board. Not much to see here--something large covered by another heat sink. At the top right is a plastic cover over the LED. Four ethernet ports, one USB port, a power jack, and a reset button. The Apple part number on the airport card is 603-9396-A.

    • Here's a <a href="/Guide/200/images_large/airport_logic_bottom.jpg">hi-res</a> photo of the bottom of the logic board.

  11. Apple AirPort Extreme Model A1143 Teardown: step 12, image 1 of 1
    • Shameless plug:

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Member since: 09/24/09

1 Reputation

636 Guides authored


my dog tour up my airport extreme wires how can i fix it please help.

natalie - Reply

try heat shrinks

Victor Korogod -

My 3rd gen extreme stopped working... No LED indication at all. Tried factory reset, no joy. No LED light illuminates, although It appears the power supply does push juice to the unit somehow, because only indication I have that there still may be life in it is that all LAN inputs blink in unison. Any thoughts? Reparable? Or BER (beyond economical repair)? Unit gave no indication of performance degradation before it stooped working.

Tim Traaen - Reply

i have a ipod and a mac mini and airport extreme

Victor Korogod - Reply

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