Advice on wifi extender

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by lcmiller461, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. lcmiller461 macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2012
    I am using an Airport Express and need to expand my coverage. I'd like an extender that will allow me to connect my printer and my external hard drive. Any suggestions?
  2. emac82 macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2007
    NB, Canada
    I have the Airport Extreme Base Station, and it works really well. Though it only has 1 USB Port, does your printer have the option to connect through Ethernet? If so, then that should work...

    It's a bit pricy, but I'm sure you can find a deal somewhere..I bought mine for $99 CAD, when a local retailer was going out of business they were selling certain items 50% off...
  3. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    You can connect the printer OR an external hard drive but not both unless you use a powered USB hub. I'm pretty sure the AEBS supports external USB devices but the AE does not. For what you're thinking of spending on an AE or AEBS, you can get a network printer these days. I like Brother laser printers. I don't like anybody's inkjets, especially HP. If you need Airprint, there is software (Printopia) that can make any network printer work as an Airprint printer so your iOS devices can print.
  4. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2011

    I extend my local network using another AirPort Extreme. It has been working excellently!

    You can connect your printer (with USB or network connectivity) and a mobile HD (with USB connectivity) to an AirPort Extreme (if both have USB connectivity, you then need a USB hub). Would you like to consider using a Time Capsule to extend your network so that you have a HD accessible on the network?
  5. lcmiller461 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2012
    It does, although I would still need 2 usb ports. But I could do as r0K suggested and get a powered hub.

    I know, and I would really love to have one, but I already have 3 (yes 3!) printers. The one I use the most is a large format, so replacing it is really not an option. (btw, I concur with your opinion on inkjet vs laser.)

    I have thought of that, but I already have the external hard drive. Actually it's still in the box, so if I can still return it I could go with the Time Capsule. I haven't even looked at them since I was set on going the other way. Hmmm....

    I'm guessing from your replies that I need to stay with an Apple product? I've read where others have used different brands with various levels of success.
  6. reebzor macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    You don't need a powered hub if the devices have external power. So a Printer and a Desktop harddrive would work fine with a non-powered hub. A portable harddrive with no external power would require a powered hub

    I have a printer and 3 externals connected to a $6 non-powered hub.
  7. lcmiller461 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2012
    Good to know, because it is a desktop hard drive.

    I was just looking at the prices for the airport extreme and the time capsules. The refurbished extreme is $129, refurbished 1T and 2T time capsules are $209 and $249 respectively.

    So I guess what I'm narrowing down to is either:
    getting the extreme at $129 and keeping my external hard drive, or
    getting the 2T capsule and taking back my hard drive.

    I would probably end up paying about the same amount, and getting the same amount of space.

    So, my next question is, if I'm not considering space, and I don't need automatic backup (I have an off-site service that I would keep), is there a difference in performance between the extreme and the time capsule?

    Both offer 802.11n Wi-Fi access
    Both offer simultaneous dual-band support

    Any thoughts? Anyone had experience using both?
  8. cbott macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2012
    I'm using a Linksys RE1000 ($80) range extender for my network. If you printer has ethernet, this would would but it wouldn't help with your external hard drive.

    As for your question, I have clients with each and both seem the same as far as network reliability, range, and speed. If you are going to keep your offsite backup solution than I would get the referb'ed extreme and keep the external hdd.
  9. jwm2 macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2012
    I dunno, i have a hard time recommending linksys routers or extenders these days. They just aren't as reliable as they used to be. If you don't mind running wireless g instead of n then i'd recommend the older 54g routers with dd-wrt firmware as those are very stable and will do anything you could ever hope a router to do.
  10. Amazing Iceman macrumors 68040

    Amazing Iceman

    Nov 8, 2008
    Florida, U.S.A.
    And don't forget to install Bonjour on your Windows PCs if you have any, so these can see your shared devices.
    Instead of Printopia you may want to consider AirPrintActivator; it's a free app and it works great!
  11. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    For clarification, the AirPort Express USB port is only for a printer. You can't use a hard drive with it. The AirPort Extreme does support a printer or hard drive via the USB port.

    Uses for the USB port of Time Capsule, AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express
  12. lcmiller461 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2012
    I think this is the way I'm leaning. Thank you all for your advice. It's been extremely helpful. This morning I was frustrated about the situation, this afternoon I am ready to place an order. Wow! :D

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