Well, I am using my Airport basestation with software 1.3 to connect three macs and a PC to a DSL line via a router. So the router gives the DSL connection to the Airport (the old one had no WAN port) and then routes it to the Macs and PCs. The DSL throughput is great! I really gives you 90 k/sek sometimes on the net when only one Mac/PC is using the line.
In the "ethernet" throughput is OK. My Quicksilver serves the files for the network and mostly, FTP connections to my Mac come close to 8 mbit.
I'm definitely not impressed with the range with my TiBook, but part of it may be that my base station is tucked away in a corner in my basement, though my mom's computer gets good range almost everywhere. I'm sure there is room for improvement with the airport range in the tibook.
My experience is that sadly, the range varies from day to day in my network. My father sometimes has 4 of 5 rings on his cube and the next two days, he gets no signal at all! He is only about 20 metres away from the station and we tried EVERYTHING to make it more stable - nothing worked. Even Apple couldn't help me, they told me that "there might be an unpredictable source of interference in your neighbourhoo". That's sad. Also, one day I have perfectly low pings, the next day they are awful. Some of this MIGHT also have to do with my ISP, but not the variying signal strength of the Airport station. For 300 bucks, I expected a bit more. I have seen Orinoco PC base station transmitting over 50 metres a FULL signal....
My AirPort is on the 2nd floor in the back of the house. I can go outside with my iBook and cross the yard and the 4 lane street and still have atleast 1 or 2 bars strong. This isn't a short distance, eather.
Make sure you don't have your base station next to something that may cause interfearance, like a heater or airconditioner or freezer or any other electrical stuff. Also, if you think you may have some type of "neighborhood" interfearance, which I doubt, try changing the settings in the airport base station configurator, there's a whole setting for that. Can't recall it off of the top of my head since I don't use Airport on my iMac.
But I think the problem is probably the location of your base station.
I checked every electrical device with the Apple guy and he told me that it's not a problem. I have my station in the kitchen, but my microwave is turned off and not connected to the power output when I am not using it, BUT I have a freezer in the kitchen...the Apple guy said that's not a problem...do you know more about this? I will try to turn the freezer of for some time, if it helps, I finally may have found the source of the interference!!!
I have a 2.4Ghz cordless phone and when ever I am on the portable handset, my airport does not work. So maybe you guys are getting interference from a neighbor? I get pretty poor range with my powerbook as well.
Yes, the Airport cards are the same technologie as the Lucent cards, just with the Airport sign on it. In fact, open an Airport base station and you will be suprised what you find in there, believe me (allthough IIRC you void your warranty).
BTW: The mentioned Mac if my father also had more problems under X than under 9.x with Airport. We now made some changes in the positioning of the station and the cube and know everything works great! 4 of 5 points under X and he lifes in another house than me (and the station), about ten meters away from me.
The Airport basestations and cards use the 2.4GHz frequency, which is an open frequency for anyone to use without a license. Because of this, many companies choose this frequency for their products, such as cordless phones, wireless microphones, Airport(IEEE 802.11b), etc. These devices also use the same frequency as microwave ovens(think of that next time you use a 2.4GHz cordless phone ).
Any time someone near you uses something like the above devices, it's going to increase the interference, and decrease or kill your airport speed.
The most likely reason for PCs with PCMCIA cards getting better range, is because they have an external antenna, where as the Apple portables contain an antenna inside the screen. With the iBook, it shouldn't make too much difference, but with the Powerbook G4, the titanium enclosure must have some affect on the signal strength.