Apple has confirmed it will be charging Mac users a fee to enable support for the new 'n' wireless networking standard.

The fee will actually be just $1.99, rather than the $5 that has been previously reported.

The company launched its new AirPort Extreme Base Station at Macworld Expo last week. This new base station offers support for the new (and as yet unfinalised) 802.11n wireless standard.

In comparison to the last-gen AirPort Extreme, it offers five times the performance and twice the range, and also lets users connect a USB hard drive to deliver a network storage solution.

The product ships with a software install CD, on which new software to enable 802.11n support on Macs equipped with such capacity is supplied. However, if a user doesn't buy a new AirPort Extreme they will have to purchase the software separately for $2 in order to access 'n' networks where they exist.

Apple has been quietly shipping Macs that support the standard for the last few months. Macs which can support it include all Intel Core 2 Duo and Intel Xeon Macs except the entry 17-inch iMac with 1.83 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor.

Apple spokesperson Lynn Fox explained why the charge is being levied: "The fee for the software is required in order for Apple to comply with generally accepted accounting principles for revenue recognition, which generally require that we charge for significant feature enhancements, such as 802.11n, when added to previously purchased products."