Airport Express Question...

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by tjwett, Aug 4, 2005.

  1. tjwett macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #1
    Currently the setup is:

    Cable Modem-->Airport Extreme Base Station-->Power Mac G5, with the G5 connected via ethernet from the built-in switch on the Base Station. There is no Airport Extreme Card in the G5. The Base Station is there for the occasional times when I bring a laptop home from work to service or borrow for a project. So there is no music being kept on any portables in the house.

    I would like to stream music from the G5 to a few rooms in the house and was thinking I could just add Airport Express units to these rooms (connected to the stereos, of course) and stream from the G5 out to the Expresses via the Airport Extreme Base Station that it is wired to.

    And Is there any point in having the Basestation at all at this point? I figure I could sell it and use the money to buy both an Extreme card for the G5 and an Express unit and be covered. Is this possible, assuming the modem is connected directly to at least one of the Express units?
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #2
    Yeah, that should be fine. The only limitation of the Express is that you can only have 10 users on at any one time and there is no second ethernet port.

    It sounds like that shouldn't matter though. :)
     
  3. liketom macrumors 601

    liketom

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Location:
    Lincoln,UK
    #3

    The base station is a better signal then any Airport Express - but yes you are right you could just do away with it and get an AE card for the G5

    i would keep the base - lovely bit of kit IMO
     
  4. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
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    #4

    Really? They have exactly the same specs according to Apple but I've always suspected the Express would be slightly better.
     
  5. liketom macrumors 601

    liketom

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Location:
    Lincoln,UK
    #5

    sure the base has better signal - question where would you put a Airport base station ? and where do you have to put a Airport Express ?

    answer - base = anywhere you like
    AE = plug socket in the wall l
     
  6. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #6

    Good point. Oh well, I still think they should do something to make the Extreme more competitive. Sure they're great, but they're pretty pricey for no huge benefit over an Express.
     
  7. tjwett thread starter macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #7
    Thanks so much folks. I think the signal difference between the two is due to the fact that you can optionally add an external signal antenna to the Extreme and not to the Express. Even though I could sell the Extreme and save, I think I will keep it and simply add the Express to the home.

    For one, the Extreme was a gift from my girlfriend (slipped my mind) and she would surely notice it missing and thusly be bummed out. Also, I think I do prefer having the desktop on a wired connection for speed purposes. We have crazy fast service here and I upload large files pretty often and it makes a big difference to take advantage of the fast upload from the ISP. Plus it looks like a spaceship, and that never gets old.

    So, I guess my only questions are now performance related. How well does the Express work? Audio/Signal dropouts common? How does it do when the source is streaming radio from iTunes rather than files from the Library? This is a huge one for me. Although I have a monstrous iTunes library 99% of my iTunes usage is in the form of streaming radio. I have scripts set to play ambient music when I'm sleeping and it switches to Jazz in the morning to wake me up as the volume gradually raises, it's a pretty cool alarm clock. Does the Express have any issues with switching songs, or getting confused/dropping signal if iTunes is spending time switching stations and controlling volume etc? Thanks again for any info! :)
     
  8. liketom macrumors 601

    liketom

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Location:
    Lincoln,UK
    #8
    yep i think your right

    airport base should be upped in speed on the next round of updates in january 125g or more maybe
     
  9. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #9

    It depends on the encryption you use on the wireless network. I'm in a pretty non-tech-savvy city at the moment and have no problems with WEP which is arguably the lamest of the encryption types. There is no dropout for me and streaming from the internet gives the same results as streaming from the library.

    The drop outs seem to occur if you use a stronger encryption type (WPA predominantly), although the problems seem to mainly be that the time between start up and playing is laggy. Once it's going, it's usually fine. :)
     
  10. liketom macrumors 601

    liketom

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Location:
    Lincoln,UK
    #10
    airtunes stream very well - and there is a hack to make quicktime and garageband stream to airport exrpress which i find very good
     
  11. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #11
    I don't have any dropouts using WPA but it does take longer to connect. 5-10 seconds rather than 2-3 with WEP
     
  12. tjwett thread starter macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #12
    Interesting, thanks. This Base Station is set to only serve computers with specific manually entered MAC addresses, I wonder how it will like that. A little lag is no problem, no need for real-time or even close-to-real-time. In fact, I'd prefer it used the largest buffer possible in order to ensure solid streaming to the Express.
     
  13. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #13

    It'll be fine. It should get pretty much zero lag/dropouts, assuming adequate reception of course. :p

    The dropouts on WPA are pretty rare, as Applespider's example shows, but it is more likely to occur than the same circumstances on a WEP network.
     
  14. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
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    #14
    It's fine with access lists - just remember to add your Express's MAC address to the list. ;)

    Buffer-wise, I've just reduced my buffer size as part of Mitthrawnuruodo's suggestions for saving HD space and still no drops so far.
     
  15. tjwett thread starter macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #15
    great, thanks for the info folks. i look forward to filling my house with weird music. :)
     
  16. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816

    kalisphoenix

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    #16
    I agree with what others have said. I bought an Airport Express soon after I bought my first iBook and absolutely loved the thing. I got an iMac G3 and used the Express to give the iMac wireless (I have a WRT54G router, which can be made to run WAP or wtfever that acronym is that allows the Express to act as a wireless bridge). The audio was excellent, the configuration was easy, and so on. Great little device. I sold it once I had no more use for it, and got a good price for it.
     
  17. MacHarne macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2005
    Location:
    Virginia, U.S.A.
    #17
    tjwett, to give an example of streaming radio performance with an APE, I use listen to KCRW Music frequently from iTunes. I've noticed no more drop outs from using that source than I have with regular, hard drive-based music. And even the number of drop outs for regular music is very rare - one or two per week, from my experience. I think it was mentioned, but remember to grab an Airport Extreme card for the PM G5 since the APEs have just one ethernet-in connection.
     

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