Airport Express - Airtunes functionality question

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Xenious, Jun 12, 2004.

  1. Xenious macrumors 6502a

    Mar 22, 2004
    Texas, USA
    Ok, I've read the threads and previews and articles, but I still have a question specifically on how the Airtunes piece works.

    Does airtunes use iTunes 4.6 to talk direct wirelessly to the Airport Express unit _or_ does it use TCP/IP over your LAN (wired/wireless) to talk to the IP address of the Airport Express unit?

    I would imagine that the communications from the computer running iTunes 4.6 would be tcp/ip based and talk to the Airport Express unit via any (possibly same subnet) network agnostic of the physical medium (prob with some variance of Rendezvous). I'm confused by the fact most of what I read says the computer storing the files and running iTunes needs a wireless adapter. Why would itunes care or know the physical medium as long as it finds the ip address of the Airport Extreme (prob via a broadcast request on the subnet)?

    No one may know until we get the units in our hands, but I'm interested on any speculation or thoughts.
  2. varmit macrumors 68000


    Aug 5, 2003
    its a basic base station

    So it will probably be assigned an address, and function like a normal wireless router but with an audio jack to be used to play music from iTunes.

    The network jack on it is for plugging into the internet, not into a local net. So cable modem or hotel wired jack would go into the express, then gives wireless out. That is the deal with the hotel thing, take it with you to make wired hotels wireless for yourself.
  3. Xenious thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 22, 2004
    Texas, USA
    Right I got that part. My real question is will this path between my computer and the Airport Express work...

    Computer->ethernet cable->Linksys wireless router->wireless->Airport Express ?
  4. varmit macrumors 68000


    Aug 5, 2003
    Um, read a little bit more into what I say, not just what I say.

    Computer -> Airport Express (then onto a wired internet if you want, such as the hotel example.) So its Computer wireless to Express.

    I'm sure there is multiple functions too, being a repeater for example.
  5. Xenious thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 22, 2004
    Texas, USA
    Specifically for Airtunes. I understand how every thing else works.

    So "can my computer with no wireless adapter send Airtunes audio through my wired network out my existing wireless access point to the airport express then out its audio port"?
  6. RBMaraman macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2002
    Prospect, KY
    According to Apple, no.

    Here is my setup: Cable Modem -> Linksys Wireless Router with 4-Port Switch. My brothers iMac is connected by ethernet cable to one of the switches on the router and my iBook and my Mom's Dell laptop run wirelessly.

    I thought I could just buy an Airport Express and repeat the wireless signal to make it work. I called Apple and they told me the repeat feature only works between Airport Extreme basestations and Aiport Expresses. So, for you and I to get the Airport Express to work we have 2 options.

    1. Get rid of the Linksys router and get an Airport Extreme basestation and an Airport Express.
    2. Or get two Airport Expresses.

    Bottom line, for Airport express to stream audio to a room other than the one that contains your cable modem and router, you must have an Aiport Express and either another Aiport Express or an Aiport Extreme basestation.

    The setup must be like this: Cable Modem -> Aiport Extreme Basestation or Aiports Express -> Wireless signal -> Wireless Signal received and repeated at Airport Express. According to Apple, third party products (ie Linksys routers, D-Link routers, etc.) will not communicate with the Airport Express.

    I hope someone can either prove this wrong or come up with some kind of hack.
  7. dermeister macrumors 6502


    Jan 19, 2003
    I too have been looking for an answer to the "will airport express work with my 3rd party router or is Apple forcing me to get an airport extreme"... Good to finally read something so down to the point about it! It really pisses me off though, because now I'll probably have to sell my MS wireless G router and buy an airport extreme... what really pisses me off is that there is probably no actual technical reason for this, and Apple is probably restricting the express to routers that identify themselves as an airport extreme.
  8. osprey76 macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    To use AirTunres, all you need to do is connect to the Airport Express directly. However, if you use wireless for your internet connection I suppose you'd have to choose one or the other, which isn't ideal.

    Also, the specs on Apple's page explicitly state the Airport Express Ethernet port can be used for a LAN or a WAN. This is different than the AE base station which has a dedicated port for each and they are not reconfigurable.
  9. Xenious thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 22, 2004
    Texas, USA
    I think there are two discussions going on here that got merged into one.

    Discussion topic 1:
    Can a wired computer going through a non-Apple wireless base station use the AirTunes feature on an Airport Express?

    Discussion topic 2:
    Can the Airport Express extend an existing non-Apple wireless network's wireless range (acting as a repeater)?

    So far it looks like the answer is "no" to both questions, but then I ask...

    On topic 1: If it's not using an IP address to talk to the Airport Express then how is it working? (Because IP traffic should find the IP address assigned to the airport express from my DHCP server. Unless the AirTunes functionality depends on either direct communication??)

    On topic 2: It's my opinion that the Airport Express can extend any network that conforms to the WDS standard (see page 38 for more info on WDS - ). In fact a seperate "preview" article (lost the link) talked about configuring it with another brand of wireless access point which supported WDS.

    Of course we will all know when someone gets on in their hands and can test.
  10. chales macrumors newbie


    Jul 23, 2002
    Bay Area, CA
    You get what you pay for...

    What you have pointed out for topic 2 is correct. Most other basestations do not include the WDS standard which makes bridging two wireless base stations very difficult. Many people are angry at Apple's pricing of the Base station but you get more features like the USB printing and WDS by buying a AEBS than by buying a cheaper linksys or microsoft wireless router.
  11. vbarcelona macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2004
    I got my Airtunes to work with my Linksys Wireless G Router

    After hours of trying to sync it. I finally realized that I not only had to put in the Ethernet ID into my filter list, but also the Airport ID. After that everything seemed to work fine. Also I also noticed that the airport would only be recognized when I would change frequencies on the Linksys router.

    Hope this helps out!

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