Where aeroplanes and jets take off and land. Or hover round in a holding pattern. Also a place where people spend time waiting to get on planes and jets; or if they've gotten off planes and jets, then waiting to get through immigration and customs so they can go pick up their luggage. People like rock stars and actors also seem to get photographed a lot there.

I love airports.

This is why: Everyone is going somewhere or doing something. There are no people without purpose. This is unique. Think about that for a second; it is so important that I will repeat it for you: No one without purpose. That is a rare thing. Everywhere in life we get frustrated by all these people seemingly without a function or a meaning. Wherever you go, there's bound to be someone there, who are not doing anything. People who are out of context. Who just seem to have dropped there from out of the sky. Not wanting to be there.

At an airport you never meet those people. People at airports are either

It's perfect little world. Yet no one loves it particularly much. Maybe we cannot handle the perfect things that are out there.

The Airport is the brand name for the wireless ethernet equipment used by Apple Macintosh computers (first found in the iBook but now every shipping Macintosh is "airport ready").

Airport uses the IEEE 802.11 Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) standard to broadcast and receive Ethernet packets. This means Airport is compatible with any computing using the same standard including Wintel machines using Lucent Orinoco/WaveLAN cards.

Computers equipped with Airport cards need to connect to either a Airport Basestation or another Airport equipped computer running the "Software Basestation" software. The range of the Airport card does vary on conditions but in practical tests I've managed to get a good signal and connection speeds at around 75'-100' from my G4 running Software Basestation.

Oddly enough some Airport Terminals are being equipped with Airport/IEEE802.11 basestations. I guess this means the Airports are Airport ready. Austin International Airport is just one of many airports with Airports installed.

Computer Conferences are also using Airport/IEEE802.11 basestations to provide internet access to their attendees. I first encountered Airport on this scale at the WWDC conference in San Jose in May 2000. Eighteen Airport Basestations were spread throughout San Jose Conference Centre (glued upside down to the ceiling) allowing everyone with an Airport equipped laptop to go online. It was a most effective demonstration of the Airport technology.

In the middle ages, the structure that best defined and captured the spirit of a city was its cathedral. Think for a moment of Chartres or Notre Dame de Paris--these were enormous building projects indirectly funded by the local population. After many years of construction, an edifice was in place that, in some respects, was that city.

These days we don't build cathedrals. These days we create elaborate and expensive airports to express the spirit and sensibilities of our cities. Airports are designed so that even on a half-hour layover you get some feeling of what the city is about. Anyone who's flown in or out of Las Vegas or Detroit can confirm that.

Airports are our new cathedrals.

The Apple AirPort Base Station is actually the equivalent to a stripped-down computer with a 56k modem, 10Mbps Ethernet Card, and a Lucent/Orinoco WaveLAN Silver PCMCIA card, all packed into a flying-saucer shaped case less than 1 foot in diameter.

The AirPort card available for Apple laptops and iMacs is simply a re-branded Lucent/Orinoco card that uses the computer's built-in antenna that is located around the screen.

The Lucent cards used are the same ones marketed for PC's.

This information was obtained from a Lucent representative at Networld+Interop Atlanta 2000. Verity of all above statements depends upon that individual's knowledge of their product.
A canonical list of the busiest airports in the world by annual passenger throughput, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Airports Council International...

  1. Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport
  2. Chicago O'Hare International Airport
  3. Los Angeles International Airport
  4. Heathrow, London
  5. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
  6. Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)
  7. Frankfurt Airport
  8. Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris
  9. San Francisco International Airport
  10. Denver International Airport
  11. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
  12. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
  13. Detroit Metro Wayne Airport
  14. Miami International Airport
  15. McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada
  16. Newark International Airport
  17. Incheon International Airport, Seoul
  18. Sky Harbor International Airport, Phoenix
  19. George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston, Texas
  20. John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City
  21. Gatwick Airport, London
  22. Lambert St. Louis International Airport
  23. Hong Kong International Airport (Chek Lap Kok)
  24. Orlando International Airport
  25. Barajas International Airport, Madrid
  26. Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Toronto
  27. Seattle Tacoma International Airport
  28. Logan International Airport, Boston, Massachusetts
  29. Bangkok International Airport
  30. Changi International Airport, Singapore
  31. New Tokyo International Airport (Narita)
  32. Orly Airport, Paris
  33. Leonardo da Vinci Airport (Fiumicino), Rome
  34. La Guardia Airport, New York City
  35. Philadelphia International Airport
Largest airport: King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh
Longest airport terminal: Kansai International Airport, Osaka
Most cargo: Memphis International Airport
Longest runway: Edwards Air Force Base, California
Only airport officially embargoed by the FAA: Lagos Mohammed International Airport

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