Keeping the Graphite Carrier outside the ABS:
Let me start with the following caveat: While the parts enclosed by the carrier are almost a fully functional Apple Airport Base Station, the enclosure plastics contain one vital part: the modem port. You can extract it by removing one screw to end up with the carrier and the modem port on a string. It's not pretty but it works!
For those of us that do not use the modem, the below set-up isn't the prettiest in the world but I can't think of a "cooler" setup to ensure long lived electronic components.
For a long time I didn't use the modem in the base station and thus elected to leave the carrier outside the base station and facing up like in the picture above. That way the electronics benefit from much better cooling than inside the Apple Airport Base Station (even with vent holes), which will prolong the life of all componentsin the carrier. From what I can tell, two of the three boards that interface the exterior ports in the plastics with the motherboard in the carrier are not necessary but probably contain useful fuses.
For those of you who want to use the extender antenna and don't need the modem, extracting the carrier from the base station and using it in the above configuration may be the best option. It saves you the hassle of drilling the exterior shell for the modem cable and avoids the need to remove some plastic lining inside as well.
Furthermore, the lack of marks, cuts or other visible abuse to the base station allows you to reassemble the base station without any trace of having opened it. Resale prices would thus be less affected. This would also allow a unethical customer to make a false warranty claim if the unit failed (opening the case voids it, remember?) without Apple being any wiser for it. Naturally, I don't endorse any illegal behavior. Besides, leaving the carrier out in the open might make it run so cool that it could last as long as my Mac SE has (12 years and counting).
The three status LEDs can be seen at the left edge of the carrier, and the Ethernet and power cable plug in at the right edge. Right of the larger capacitor you can see the power plug. Above, between the two small carrier edges with clips, is a small switch which is the reset button. Well, that's it. No expensive time consuming things to do although the Apple Airport Base Station doesn't look nearly as good as it does in its enclosure plastics.Click here to go to my discussion of Antenna choices