Why an external antenna port costs $50

In their article on 802.11g, Adam Engst and Glenn Fleishman write that “Companies pay a separate fee for each [FCC] certification–which may account for part of why the cheaper AirPort Extreme Base Station doesn’t have an external antenna jack.” I had wondered about that—it seems to me that those who would be interested in the external antenna jack are most likely to be purchasers who have absolutely no interest in the built-in modem (and vice versa).

Also: “the FCC mandates that any wireless networking equipment that can take an antenna must feature a hard-to-find connector.” I find this amusing. I’m not sure why; I think it’s the idea of having to find a “hard-to-find” connector. Of course, I imagine they came up with their own connector, thus making it hard to find by virtue of its proprietariness. Also, if it sells well, doesn’t it suddenly become easy to find? Will they have to change connectors every six months? And if “devices can’t use [the USB] Mini-A receptacle”, why did they go to the trouble of creating such a detailed specification for one?

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