AirPort 2.0 base stations, which use the 802.11b networking standard, now include a built-in firewall, along with stronger 128-bit encryption for added security, and the ability for up to 50 computers to share a single base station.
"Apple has consistently led the industry in 802.11 wireless networking," Philip Schiller, Apple's vice president of worldwide product marketing, said in a statement.
The AirPort 2.0 software is available for download from Apple's Web site in versions for the Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X operating systems and can add AOL support to existing AirPort base stations and 128-bit encryption to AirPort cards.
The technology is also built into new base stations and cards. Apple's new base station adds a second Ethernet port to allow a wired connection to other computers. AirPort cards are priced at $99, while the base station sells for $299.
Apple has been a leading advocate of the wireless technology since CEO Steve Jobs first showed an iBook running wirelessly in July 1999. Apple now includes an AirPort antenna in all new Macs.