Apple has released AirPort 3.2 for AirPort Extreme and AirPort-enabled Macs running Mac OS X 10.3 Panther.

The release provides support for the Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) specification for the AirPort Extreme Base Station and AirPort Extreme client running Panther.

According to Apple's notes: "WPA increases the over-the-air data protection and access control on a wireless network, assuring users that their data will remain protected with a strong new encryption algorithm, as well as user authentication.”

It continues: "If you are using an AirPort-enabled computer with an AirPort Extreme Base Station, you will experience maximum data rates of 11Mbps. However with AirPort 3.2, you'll still enjoy significant benefits in wireless printer sharing and easy Base Station administration."

However, Apple notes that: "Use of Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) reduces the maximum number of network users. Computers with wireless cards that only support WEP (including AirPort) cannot join an AirPort network that has WPA enabled."

Also included in this release is version 5.2 of the AirPort Extreme Base Station firmware. The update is available via the OS X Software Update preference pane. More information is available here.