Is AirPort Express going to be better than my Belkin router?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Chrispy, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. Chrispy macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Location:
    Avon, IN
    #1
    I hear a lot of hype around Apple's airport routers but I was curious if Airport routers really are better than other brands. I am having a nightmare of a time with my belkin router... it won't let me set passwords for my wireless connection as I just get an error when trying to connect. Also, sometimes it just drops its connection to the internet all together and has to be rest GRRR. If I got an Airport Express router would I have better luck? Are they really worth the extra money? Thanks all!
     
  2. Kardashian macrumors 68020

    Kardashian

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Location:
    Britain.
    #2
    Airport itself isn't a modem (as far as I know).

    There are 3 types:

    1. Airport Express - its simply a router - you plug in your own modem/modem router combo to access the net
    2. Airport Extreme - same as above, without AirTunes
    3. Airport Extreme with Modem - its a modem and router in one.

    Therefore, you will still need to use your Belkin with Opt. 1 and 2... I think
     
  3. Chrispy thread starter macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Location:
    Avon, IN
    #3
    Hm, I'm confused. So if I have a cable modem then what do I need to buy to get online... like what would be the Belkin's replacement as the router? Would whatever that may be work better than most routers out there?
     
  4. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #4
    I have four AirPort Expresses and a Linksys Vonage router - and I've used numerous other routers in the past.

    The AP Expresses are absolutely easier to use to connect securely to a Mac. It's cake. On the other hand, I find them to be much less easily configured for port forwarding than the Linksys routers are. I've never used a Belkin and so can't comment on that.

    So... if you just want easy, secure connections, the AP Expresses are great - as is the ability to hang a USB printer and/or a stereo off of them.

    If you want to work a bit harder to get secure connections, I'd very much recommend the Linksys WRT54G, which costs less than half as much and is in many ways a better router with a better interface (nice web browser access), but which doesn't have the printer or stereo connections. My AP Expresses are in visible areas, and my wife won't tolerate "ugly" routers there, but, if that weren't the case, I'd probably have gone with the WRT54G more often.

    Edit: if you have a cable modem, you have what you need to connect to the internet; you just need a router to handle the connections. Any router will do.
     
  5. Kardashian macrumors 68020

    Kardashian

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Location:
    Britain.
    #5
    I'm not sure how things work in the US, but here in the UK you can either get a broadband modem (Connects via ONE Ethernet port, or USB) or broadband Router.

    The router is like the Belkin that you have, allowed connection over a network, as well as to the internet - and more often than not - to other machines.

    AirPort express is simply a box that incorporates Wi-Fi, USB and AirTunes. Your own router/broadband modem plugs into the AirPort express, 'adapting' your router to become wireless. It also allows you to stream music, and wireless printing.

    The AirPort Extreme base station allows connections to more computers at a time, and at a wider range - I believe. However, you still connect your own source (broadband router, or broadband modem - the base simply 'beams' the signal out)

    However, you can order AirPort Extreme with a built in modem - allowing you a wireless internet connection, as well as network, all from the base - without connecting additional modems/routers, as it has one already built in.

    I'm 95% sure thats correct. But AirPort Express does not have a router/modem built in - 100%
     
  6. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #6
    The AP Express does route, just wirelessly. You can send traffic to different IPs based on the ports. It's just not as easy to set up as with a Linksys (or, likely, others as well). You can certainly exist with just a cable modem and an AirPort Express... unless you need wired connections. Then, the AirPort Extreme has single outbound Ethernet port you can use by itself (if you have just one computer) or with a switch (if you have more). The Extreme's modem is a phone modem, so it's useless in a broadband setup. Almost no consumer (non-business/education user) has any real justification for getting the Extreme... it just costs too much for what it provides.

    If you only need wireless connectivity, you can get by with just the Airport Express. If not, you'll be better off with a Linksys WRT54G (or similar) and spending a bit of time getting the wireless security to work (not too difficult... just another few minutes).

    Of course, I assume you need wireless at all. Do you? Or will a wired connection work just fine?
     
  7. Chrispy thread starter macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Location:
    Avon, IN
    #7
    The biggest problem I have right now is I can only get WPA passwording to work and not WEP. This is a problem because my DS Lite will only work with WEP passwords. Does the Linksys router that was suggested above work with WEP on OSX?
     
  8. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #8
    I had a WRT54G and fried it (my fault, not its fault), and I did WEP with it. However, I used a firmware hack, so I'm not sure if it works natively. Hopefully, someone else here can verify that it does. My current Linksys is a Vonage one, and the firmware is not the same. However, it supports WEP natively.

    Edit: see here for how I got it set up; however, I'm not sure if it was actually on the WRT54G or I'd misspoke and it was on the newer Linksys. Should work the same, though.
     
  9. benthewraith macrumors 68040

    benthewraith

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #9
    Just out of curiosity, is it 48/64 bit WEP, or 128 bit WEP? Is it ASCII or Hexidecimal?

    Honestly, if you're not worried about people connecting, just use it open.
     
  10. Chrispy thread starter macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Location:
    Avon, IN
    #10
    It lets me choose 64, 128, or ASCII but none of them seem to work for some reason. I would just leave it open but I'm in an apartment complex so that makes me kind of uneasy. Thanks for all the help so far everyone :)
     
  11. REDSRT4 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
  12. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #12
    See the attached pic in my linked post above - Apple's definition of how many bits are in play differs from that of Linksys, and possibly Belkin.
     

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