Airport Express w/ AirTunes vs Airport Extreme Base

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by mvelinder, Feb 17, 2006.

  1. mvelinder macrumors regular

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    Jan 13, 2006
    #1
    I'm looking into hooking up my home stereo system with my MacBook Pro that is on its way and had a few questions. Currently I do not have a wireless network so as part of the MacBook Pro purchase I was going to upgrade my network to a wireless one.

    The question comes in whether I should buy the Airport Express w/ AirTunes, the Airport Extreme Base Station or a run of the mill Best Buy wireless router. Would the Airport Express be any slower than the Aiport Extreme or the Best Buy equivalent?

    I'd need the station to be able to give enough juice to power up to 5 computers (3 PCs and 2 Macs). The Airport Express sounds much nicer for what I'd need it for, but I'm worried the middle guy won't be able to power a decent connection for this many machines.

    If anyone could shed some light on the issue, it'd be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. PharmD macrumors 6502

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    Aug 2, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    #2
    You should be fine with the Express, especially if you want the home stereo feature, since the Extreme does not have AirTunes. I believe the Express supports up to 10 comps.

    Personally, I have 3 comps hooked up to my Express (1 PC and 2 Macs) and all have been online without a hiccup. I simply have the base station plugged in within cord distance to my stereo and bingo, my music plays through the home theater.
     
  3. mvelinder thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Would it give off a big enough signal to cover a 3 floor townhouse of maybe 3,000 square feet at good speeds?
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    Some random comments....

    FIrst off it does not take more "power" to connect 10 computers or to conect 1. More power simply gives you more range. Both Apple routers allow you to turn the power up or down over the same range. BUT the basesation allows yo to hook up an optional antenna for greater range.

    The advange of the bigger apple router is that is has wired LAN ports. If you can possibly use wire do it. It is much faster and more reliable.

    The wireless gateway needs to connect to a modem wth a cable and to your stereo system with a cable too. AND it needs to be centrally located in the center of the house to ensure all the computers are within range.

    The express can also be used as a print server. This is very usfull but you will need a cable.

    There is a good chance that you can not find a locatin that is next to the stereo, printer modem and at the center of the house. You can use two Apple routers to expand the area of coverage. This is Apple's best feature: expandabillity. You might find you want two express units.

    Download the manuals from the Apple web site. The Apple product is _very_ flexible and can be used in many different modes.
     
  5. mvelinder thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    So realistically a bedroom in the upstairs with the Express in it wouldn't really reach the basement or other floors very well?
     
  6. echeck macrumors 68000

    echeck

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    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    #6
    Not likely, or the signal wouldn't be very strong. It says it has a range of 150 feet, but that range is diminished by things like walls.

    I think you would definitely do well with getting two wireless routers, either two Airport Expresses or an Airport Extreme and then an express next to your stereo. Two Expresses would be better (and cheaper).

    As far as the Express being a wireless print server, it is extremely handy, but you can get around it. I have an iBook that my wife roams with and a G5 PM as the main computer. I wanted to use airtunes so I moved the cable modem and Express over by the TV and hooked up airtunes to my receiver, but then I didn't have wireless printing for the iBook. To get around this I hooked the printer up to the G5 and shared it over the network, viola, wireless printing from the iBook. Granted the G5 has to be on to print, but I never shut it down anyway so it's not a problem.
     
  7. mvelinder thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 13, 2006
    #7
    Or would it be more cost effective to get a Linksys wireless router (or something equivalent) plus an Express? That would for sure cover the entire house as well as give me the Express features throughout the house, right?

    Would there be any problem using both?
     
  8. echeck macrumors 68000

    echeck

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    Apr 20, 2004
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    #8
    Yeah, that would work just fine, and you would save some cash. Can't beat that! :D
     
  9. mvelinder thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    Awesome, thanks for the help.
     
  10. mvelinder thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    Potential problem:
    Wouldn't I need to find a way to run an ethernet to the Airport Express from the wireless router or the modem?

    The Airport Express wouldn't be able to pick up that wireless signal on it's own would it?
     
  11. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

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    Nov 7, 2003
    #11
    yeah, Airport Express can login into an existing wireless network. However, I would recommend an griffin airbase for an airport express. it pretty cheap to buy and lets to stand the airport express up right which increases the signal reception and transmission of the device if it not plugged into the wall.

    http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/xpressstand/index.php
     
  12. mvelinder thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    So an Airport Express would be able to log into the wireless connection coming from the router on a different floor just fine? No ethernet plugs required to find the signal?

    Also, would I really notice that much of a boost in speeds with the base if I'd have a wireless router on one floor plus an Airport Express both giving signals?
     
  13. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

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    Nov 7, 2003
    #13
    To answer you first question correctly I'll break it up into two question.
    Yes, an airport express can login as a client in a wireless network, no ethernet plugs.

    To address the different floor part; it would depend on your house and the location that it is in. For example, if it is near copper piping you are going to get a poor signal. I cannot say a 100% it is going to work. Some people houses are difficult to get a wireless network working do to the materials of the house or interferences from other things on the 2.4 ghz band, such as wireless phones and neighbors wireless routers etc. However, omni directional antennas and directional antennas and wireless repeaters can help resolve some of these issues.

    You can use an airport express to "extend" a wireless network as apple calls it. The rest of the world calls this a wireless repeater. Repeater do extend the range of a wifi network. This functionality only officially works with Apple branded routers and Buffalo a 100% of the time (Buffalo technology is in the airport express). That being said, if you search the forums some people have gotten a certain model of linksys router to work with the airport express as a repeater. I'd do your research on this before you jumped in. You can however buy repeaters that will work for different brands of router, generally buying one of the same brand and reading the box would reveal if it works with particular router you have. there is no set standard on consumer wireless repeaters so everyone has something a bit different.
     
  14. senseibiz macrumors regular

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    Feb 8, 2002
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    #14
    I personally have the extreme base station.. I have 1 pc,3 macs and my xbox 360 connected to it. I also have 2 airport express.. I is connected to my bose stereo and the other to my tivo...
    everything is connected wirelessly...
    I have not had a problem in a couple of years.... I recomend it..

    Sensei
     
  15. mvelinder thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    This setup was an option... but it called for almost $500 of equipment.

    I was hoping on not spending over $200.
     
  16. mvelinder thread starter macrumors regular

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    #16
    But would I need the Express to act as a repeater in the house? Would a typical Linksys wireless router give me enough coverage to give a signal to the entire house without depending on the Express to "extend" it? Then I wouldn't have to worry about the connection speeds, even if the Express didn't give me more range. This is all assuming that a Linksys router would give me a big enough range to even let my Express find the signal. Maybe I'm overthinking all of this...
     
  17. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

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    Nov 7, 2003
    #17
    Consumer routers are designed to give coverage in a typical house, you can buy other things like antennas and repeater to solve coverage issues. First, off you want an affirmative answer weather or not it is going to work in your situation the answer is yes probably, but there is no way to tell unless you try it. i would try it with the design you want, but if it doesn't work just make adjustments.
     
  18. mvelinder thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 13, 2006
    #18
    One last thing... I would need a separate Airport for each radio I wanted to play music over right?

    I was going to do a home stereo system of mine for sure but wanted to know if I could get a kitchen stereo working too, or would I need a seperate Airpot for that one?
     
  19. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

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    Nov 7, 2003
    #19
    you need a mini-stereo to rca adaptor or a TOSlink (optical cable) with mini-stereo adaptor. the receiver must have a optical or rca in to play back the audio.

    this is a self serving plug, but I got what you for you are looking for mini-stereo to RCA on ebay. http://www.papacow.com. Some of the auction might say iPod cable, but they will work for both.
     
  20. mvelinder thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 13, 2006
    #20
    I actually already have one of those... but only 3' worth. What exactly would I use it for though? You lost me...
     
  21. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

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    #21
    plug your airport express into your stereo...
     
  22. mvelinder thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 13, 2006
    #22
    Looks like I'm set then... thanks for the help.
     

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