Airport Express or a non-Apple alternative?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Rubin421, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. Rubin421 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    #1
    I justed moved to a new apartment, and we are getting broadband cable internet. I was thinking of buying an Airport Express base station to connect it to the router offered by the provider.

    I know it is very easy to set up and everything, and it also works with PCs (our network will be made of 2 PCs and 2 Macs), but is there a better and/or cheaper non-Apple alternative out there?

    With the educational discount, I'll get the AP express for $120 without tax...
     
  2. liketom macrumors 601

    liketom

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Location:
    Lincoln,UK
    #2

    go for the express , i just bought one and i am well pleased , i just plugged it in and it just worked withing like 10 sec well groovy and wireless usb printing is just plain cool
     
  3. Rubin421 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    #3
    It seems I can get a regular wireless access point at CompUSA for like 60 bucks though... So I guess my question was: why pay more? Are there any good reasons, besides USB printing and AirTunes?
     
  4. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #4
    No, aside from ease of set up (relative depending on your comfort level) and the Airtunes/wireless printing which you won't get with the cheaper options.

    I'm very happy with my Express tho for what it's worth.
     
  5. liketom macrumors 601

    liketom

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Location:
    Lincoln,UK
    #5
    well for me i just wanted a access point that could share my internet and also play music to my hi-fi via wi-fi lol , and do wireless printing too ..so the question is what do you need it to do ? internet only ! if so then go the cheaper route
     
  6. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #6
    I have the Express and a Linksys WRT54G. Got the Express for $99 (Thanksgiving sale), got the Linksys for $60 (rebate a few months ago). I love the Express, but the WRT54G is just as useful, and a readily-available hack allows for power output to be increased (more range) or decreased (more privacy).

    I like them both - but the WRT54G is also a router, whereas the Express isn't.

    No problems setting up either of them....

    If it were me, I'd get the Express if you need the line out or USB printing, and the WRT54G otherwise.
     
  7. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    #7
    if you want AirTunes, get Airport Express. otherwise, save yourself some $$$ and get a cheaper router.

    i had a wireless router, but upgraded to Airport Express because i had some apple store credit and wanted AirTunes.
     
  8. patseguin macrumors 65816

    patseguin

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2003
    #8
    From what I understand, the Express is a router. It allows access for up to 5 computers. Correct me if I am wrong though...
     
  9. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    #9
    up to 10, i thought...

    but it can only function as a wireless hub, i think that what the other poster meant? you can't share connection over wires.
     
  10. liketom macrumors 601

    liketom

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Location:
    Lincoln,UK
    #10
    AirPort Express with AirTunes is an incredible wireless product that allows you to play iTunes music over your wireless network to your home stereo or powered speakers. It also allows you to share both a broadband Internet connection for up to 10 users and a USB printer.
     
  11. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #11
    Sorry - I meant that the WRT54G was also a wired router - four ports in the back in addition to the WAN port.
     
  12. liketom macrumors 601

    liketom

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Location:
    Lincoln,UK
    #12
    i used to have a belkin wireless firewall router and that did the job ok , but it was clumsy and slow to configure mind you i was plugged into a PC at the time. i say get the cheaper one then WISH you bought the Express instead lol
     
  13. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #13
    Well, FWIW, the Linksys is as easy to use as the Express. Not as pretty, but with better range and same or better features.

    Mind you, I love the Express. But the WRT54G is a better deal if you don't want line-out or USB printing.
     
  14. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    #14
    i agree, express isn't the best wireless router out there for the money, unless you want the AirTunes feature. (which, i think, is a great feature. but it's not for everyone.)

    one thing i noticed is that since express has no broadcast antenna and tends to be plugged directly into the outlet (which is usually near the floor and directly on the wall), it doesn't have the best range.
     
  15. liketom macrumors 601

    liketom

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Location:
    Lincoln,UK
    #15
    your right .. USB printing is a sort of extra , not everyone would need this so yeah go for the cheaper option and save the cash for a new iPod instead
     
  16. McGuillicuddy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2004
    Location:
    Cambridge, UK
    #16
    I'll put another vote in for the WRT54G. I have one on the main floor and I use it two floors up with no reception problems whatsoever (without using the hack either). Setup was also dead easy - i was up and running in less than 15 minutes.
     
  17. Erendiox macrumors 6502a

    Erendiox

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    #17
    Definitely casting my vote for the airport. I haven't tried the WRT54G, but have heard so many stories of people having hell with wireless routers. Not only is the airport stylish and portable, but I plugged the thing in.... and it just worked. Was playing wireless XBOX live 20 min later :D . Ease of use like that is priceless to me. If you're willing to part with the extra money it's totally worth it IMO.
     
  18. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020

    jayscheuerle

    #18
    Airport Express was worthless to me...

    Brand new one, sitting in a box now. Replaced it with a $60 linksis job that works great. Big external antennas work better than stylish white boxes.

    I think it may have something to do with living in a South Philly row-home. Too many neighbors and too much electrical interference. I tried every trick I could find online to get a good signal, but AirTunes would crap out all the time–even when just 5 feet away...

    I plugged in the Linksis, restarted the computer and it automatically showed up in the Airport menu. Couldn't have been easier unless I didn't have to restart.

    On top of that, the range is a whole lot better.

    It's the first time I've ever been massively disappointed with an Apple product, where I thought that form took a serious front seat to function, which has always been an accusation against Apple, but I've never been on the receiving end.

    I do love my iBook and iPod though!

    If you want mine, make me an offer, otherwise I'll ebay it...
     
  19. TheMac19 macrumors regular

    TheMac19

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Location:
    Pitt
    #19
    I'm assuming that you've already opened your iBook and tried sniffing out available networks? These days most people I know in apartment buildings get "free" internet access courtesy of a neighbor's connection... In fact, I don't think any of my friends in NYC actually pay for access, aside from a one who knows the source of the signal, and buys it's owner a few beers every now and again.

    there's a great freeware program out there, MacStumbler, which is the perfect tool for sniffing out networks, and finding information about them. A few months ago i visited a friend in Philly, and found 7 available networks in his flat -- not including his own. Crazy.

    On the opposite side of the coin, I have an Airport Express and love it. It really comes in handy when traveling, and wireless printing is priceless once you're used to it! Unless range is a big issue for you, I'd definitely vote for the Airport Express. Previously I had a belkin router, which worked fine, but the APE is just so much handier to travel with, and it's out of the way when it's in use...
     
  20. Eldentistfuturo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    Houston
    #20
    where can i download the hack that makes the wrt45g have a higher output
     
  21. amoildani macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2004
    #21
    is there an alternate to the actual express card? I have it on my 12inch powerbook, and ive actually noticed in some of my classrooms i get no signal while the pc user in front of me is surfing the net....
    its really frustrating
     
  22. Rubin421 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    #22
    Try installing all the updates, and possibly switching on/off Interference Robustness...
    Also, in classrooms, sometimes it's only about where you are sitting.
     
  23. Rubin421 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    #23
    I'm in NYC, and there are like 7 or 8 wireless networks in the building as well. Still, it's kinda more reliable and secure to have your own...
     

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