airport express? For travel use only

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by jakeacc, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. macrumors regular

    Jan 28, 2008
    At home, my cable company provided me with a wireless G router. It works fine, but its a little slow in streaming videos to my xbox 360. Good enough, though.

    I travel a lot and stay in hotels a lot. Some hotels provide wireless, but some only have a wired ethernet connection. I am mainly looking to buy a portable router that I can connect to hotel internet connections and make my room wireless. (this past weekend, I shared a room with 3 friends, and we had to take turns plugging our laptops into the wired connection)

    I'm assuming "AirPort Express Base Station with AirTunes" is what I want to get, yes? I just plug it into the wall, and plug the ethernet cable into the Airport Express, and my friends and i will be able to use it wirelessly? Do I need to create a password/key everytime i go to a new hotel or plug into a new connection?

    For just surfing the web, the Airport only running at G and not N won't make a difference, will it?

    If I plug it in at my apt (which already has a cable modem/router), can I use it for its Airtunes feature? Does it have to be physically plugged into my cable modem or other router? Or just plugged into a wall?

    The next time I'll be traveling is in April. I'll probably wait until then to buy it (if this is what i should be buying), but I heard that they might be discontinuing it. (probably to promote their other wireless products)
    Time Capsule and AppleTV aren't meant for traveling, correct? They don't look like very compact.

    I've probably asked 20 questions in a row, but if you guys can answer any of them, it would help a lot. Thanks.
  2. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2007
    The Airport Express will suit your needs perfectly.

    11g will be enough for surfing the web, most connections will be slower than the Express anyway (and even if the connection on rare occasions is faster, 11g is plenty for surfing the web).

    You won't need to reconfigure the password/key for the wireless Airport Express network every time.

    You can use the Airtunes feature without plugging it into your router at home. The Express can join your home network for Airtunes and printing. (Extending the network it is another more complicated story though.)
  3. thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 28, 2008
    Does the Airport Express have a power cord? Or does the unit plug directly into the wall? While it is nice not having to carry around a power cord in my laptop bag, some hotels ethernet cables are really short and stuck to the wall. There is a chance that the cable is too short to reach the AC outlet, right? I guess I could bring an extension cord, just in case.

    And so there is a headphone jack on the Airport express? So I could actually plug in headphones into it? (not that I would want to)

    Is there a list of printers that support the wireless printing with Airport? I have a cheap-ass HP deskjet printer.
  4. macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2008
    Holocene Epoch
    ??? The Airport Express plugs directly into the wall socket (with the fold away plug similar to other Apple powerbricks). To extend it you'll need either an extension cord (120v) or an Ethernet cable long enough to reach the RJ45 socket.

    If the hotel Ethernet cable has been hardwired into the wall plate its possible that you might need an Ethernet f/f "gender changer" connector (with two RJ45 jacks, you've probably seen something similar for phone jacks which use the smaller RJ11 connectors) to extend the length.
  5. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2007
    Well, there is a line out on the Express. Should work for headphones.

    There are lists of printers, but not very complete lists. Check for your printer or try Google to search for "Airport Express" and your specific printer model number. HP seems to be pretty well supported though.
  6. thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 28, 2008
    Thanks for the feedback. Two last questions, I promise:

    1. Some people said to buy the airport express NOW since it being discontinued. Others are saying to wait because a new airport express is going to be released with better features. I don't know who to believe. And thoughts?

    2. Someone posted this question before, but never got a direct answer. A lot of free hotel internet, requires you to open your browser (that has the hotel Internet policy) and click on the "Agree to Terms" type button. If I'm plugging my airport express to the ethernet cable instead of my laptop, how does that process work? If I turn on my laptop, will i still get that screen on my browser? Or do I have to make a wired connection with my laptop first, click on the "agree" button, unplug laptop, then plug in airport? Just curious on how the process works.
  7. TEG
    macrumors 604


    Jan 21, 2002
    Langley, Washington
    1) The Airport Express will probabily stay the same for the forseeable future.
    2) The first computer to try to access the Internet through the router will see the policy screen (make sure you have it configured to use NAT otherwise the hotel may have a problem with your connection and kick you off).

    Additionally, unless your home provider provided you with an Airport BS for your router, your Express will only work for AirTunes if wired to the router. The Express uses the same power connection as the laptops AC converters, allowing you to connect the 2m lead that comes with your laptop to connect it to the wall, or you can use the supplied duckend connector.

    As for speed, 802.11b is faster than nearly any internet connection available, so g and n are overkill. Yes you can use headphones on the Airport Express, or you can use a toslink connection for optical connection to a stereo. The USB port is handy for charging a phone, a Nindendo DS/GBA, or for one of those USB lights, it cannot (yet) be used for AirDisk.

    You can get the quite cheep on eBay or here in the MarketPlace. They are also common on the 'special deals' section of the Apple Store.

  8. macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2008
    Lincoln, NE
    Will the Airport EXTREME base station suit those same needs perfectly?

    I'm wondering if it's feasible to bring my AEBS over to my parents house every once in a while since they don't have a wireless router.
  9. thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 28, 2008
    The Airport Extreme wont fit my needs perfectly as my main use for it would be when I travel and am in hotels. The Extreme isnt as portable as the Express.
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2007
    Depends on the size of your bag and your definition on "feasible". I wouldn't recommend it. The Express is self-contained and about the size of the Extreme's power brick...
  11. thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 28, 2008
    Good thing I waited. Looks like I can get the airport express now with wireless-N connectivity.

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