confused about Airport Express

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by nina, Jun 10, 2004.

  1. nina macrumors member

    May 27, 2004
    Hi there!

    I'm really interested in the new Airport Express station that Apple released, but I'm very confused about its capabilities. Maybe you guys can clear some stuff up for me?

    I currently have a 4-port wired router connected to a cable modem. 3 of these wired ethernet connections are taken by Windows PCs. Could I connect the last ethernet port to the Airport Express station and have my new (soon to arrive) 12" Powerbook join this network and share the internet/files with the other 3 PCs wirelessly? The labels on the Airport Express ports under "Tech Specs" on Apple's site states that the ethernet port is an "intelligent port for connecting to DSL or cable modems or a local network" - this is what I want, right?

    What's confusing me is the WAN/LAN designation, I guess. Airport Express only has WAN, whereas Aiport Extreme base stations have both WAN and LAN. I thought that the only WAN port on my wired router was for the cable modem input.

    If the little Airport Express station can accomplish what I want, I'll put in an order for one as soon as I can - the price is perfect, and the music output is just an added bonus!

    Thanks for the help!
  2. realityisterror macrumors 65816


    Aug 30, 2003
    Snellville, GA
    from what i've understood, you should be able to do this with no problem...

  3. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    I think the think that has everyone confused is that the ethernet port on the Express can be used as either a WAN or a LAN port depending on the setup you have. If you use it as a LAN port you can use the Express as a base station, albeit one that can't give you wired access, only wireless. If, however, you use the Express as an extension of your existing wireless network supposedly the Express can act as a wireless -> wired converter, and the ethernet port becomes a LAN port. (The wireless signal coming to the Express acts as the WAN at that point.) Very confusing, and I'm sure we won't know everything for sure until some of us get these things in our hands and play around, but there is a lot of promise for flexibility in networking with this device. Heck, I may need to get two of these...
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Yeah, just to try to rephrase what mactastic said, its sorta like a port on a router that's marked WAN is like an "IN" port. A port marked LAN is like an "OUT."

    So the cable has to go from the OUT of one router (the one "closer" from the source of the network, that is the cable modem or whatever) to the IN of the one farther from the source.

    So if you have two routers (say a wired one which you plug into your cable modem and a wireless one which you plug into your wired one), the signal goes:

    Cable modem --cable--> WAN port of wired router
    LAN / numbered port of wired router --cable--> WAN port of wireless router / Airport

    If you had a third router you wanted to connect to the Airport Extreme, it would go:

    LAN port of AE --cable--> WAN port of third router

    But only that last thing is the thing you cannot do with the Express.
  5. nina thread starter macrumors member

    May 27, 2004

    thanks, guys! This is EXACTLY what I needed to know!

    I'm still going to wait until these land in customers' hands, and when it's confirmed that the Airport Express can do this, I'll grab one RIGHT AWAY :p

    Thanks again!
  6. titaniumducky macrumors 6502a


    Nov 22, 2003
    This will work perfectly for you. However, you can get a normal wireless router for about $20-$40 (to replace your current wired one). Check eBay for the best prices.

    Make sure it's wireless and has four port wired (again, can be had for $20-$40).

    If you really want the Airport Express for the music streaming, though, it will do just what you want.

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