Here are two ways to determine the AirPort Extreme Base Station's generation: 1) On the bottom of the AirPort Extreme there is a label with the Extreme's model number. 2) By using the AirPort Utility.
In the first option, here are correlations between generation, model number, & part number:
- 1st generation: A1143 MA073LL/A
- 2nd generation: A1143 MB053LL/A
- 3rd generation: A1301 MB763LL/A
- 4th generation: A1354 MC340LL/A
- 5th generation: A1408 MD031LL/A
Got any tips how to improve the wireless service within my house?
Before running out and getting a 5th gen model (unless that's you intent anyways ) I would suggest that we try a few things to help improve your extended network's performance.
It is important to understand that each extending base station can only extend the Extreme's wireless network with the same bandwidth that it receives it ... so placement of the extending stations is very important. Please check out the following AirPort User Tip for details on best base station placement for maximum bandwidth performance.
The other area to look at is Wi-Fi interference. There are two basic kinds: 1) Other Wi-Fi networks operating in the nearby vicinity, and 2) The building construction materials used between base station locations.
In the first area, you may find that just by changing the radio channel that your extended network is operating on could just be the trick needed to improve overall bandwidth performance. I suggest you perform a simple site survey, using utilities like iStumbler, or AirRadar to determine potential areas of interference, and then, try to either eliminate or significantly reduce them where possible. What you want to look for are Wi-Fis with the strongest signal values and which channels they are operating on, and then, only change your network's channel if they are superimposed over each other. Another excellent application is: WiFi Explorer (for Macs) or inSSIDer (for Macs or PCs) to get a "visual" view of competing networks.
The second item will be a bit more difficult to remedy other than changing the placement of each of the base stations.