Airport Express/AirTunes question with Verizon DSL...

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Fourbin, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. Fourbin macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA
    I use my Powerbook in the living room on my Verizon wireless network. Is it possible to stream music to my speakers and be on my Verizon wireless modem at the same time? Usually you have to be on the Airport Express' network to find it in iTunes. Is there a way to override this? If not, has anyone found a way to extend the network of a Verizon Westell Versalink wireless modem?

  2. Gee macrumors 65816

    Feb 27, 2004
    London, UK
    Easiest way, if the modem has some free ethernet ports, is to turn off its wireless feature, plug the express into one of those spare ethernet port, and connect to the internet wirelessly like that. That way, the airtunes and the internet are both accessed via the express, no changing.
  3. Sirolly macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2003
    Right now, you are thinking of your Westell Versalink as a wireless base station, your AirPort Express as a wireless base station, and your Powerbook as a client that must choose one or the other.

    But, the trick is to make both your Powerbook and your AirPort Express connect wirelessly to the Westell Versalink base station, both as clients. Then the Powerbook will see the AirPort Express "through" or "by way of" the Westell Versalink.

    These instructions might be easier if you temporarily attach the AirPort Express to your Powerbook with an Ethernet cable. That way, if you go through any trial and error, you will still be able to "see" the AirPort Express from the Powerbook, without having to do any awkward resets of the AirPort Express with the ol' pen point or unbent paper clip technique.

    In the AirPort Admin Utility, create a new profile from the menu in the lower left corner, with any name such as "Home Stereo." On the "AirPort" tab, change the "Wireless Mode" to "Join an Existing Wireless Node (Wireless Client)." For Network Name, enter the name (SID) given to your Westell Versalink. If you've enabled Wireless Security (WEP or WPA) on the Westell Versalink, click the Wireless Security button to enter the same password/key information you at some point entered on your Powerbook.

    On the "Internet" tab, it should read "Connect Using: Wireless Network." Below that, the right setting is probably "Configure: Using DHCP," unless you've done something advanced with the setup of your Westell Versalink. On the "Music" tab, verify that "Enable AirTunes on this Base Station" is checked.

    Click the "Update" button in the lower right corner. After 30 seconds, disconnect it from your Powerbook, unplug it from electricity, connect it to your stereo, and plug it back in to power. Get your Powerbook connected to the Internet through the Westell Versalink again (if you aren't), and within a minute or so you should also be able to see the AirPort Express in both the AirPort Admin Utility and in iTunes.

    If you take your AirPort Express "on the road" on occasion, you will want to switch back to your original profile in the AirPort Admin Utility before unplugging it for travel, and have a short Ethernet cable in your bag in case you forget to switch back to the original profile before you leave.

    With sufficient disposable income, you can link every speaker system, clock radio and USB printer in your home this way. With a Keyspan Express Remote, you can control the music without being in front of your Powerbook. Apple AirPort products are getting long in the tooth technologically, and they are priced sky high as wireless base stations go, but you can reduce the sticker shock a bit by checking the "Special Deals" page at the online Apple Store, asking at the counter of a retail Apple Store whether they have any returned or open box units in the back, or buying new or used units on eBay.

    Note: The AirPort Express connected to the stereo has to be "in range" of (close enough to) the Westell Versalink's wireless network. If you can reach the Westell Versalink on a Powerbook from the location of the stereo, the AirPort Express is probably fine too. But it's not enough for just the Powerbook to "see" both the Westell Versalink and the AirPort Express when it's located halfway between the two. The AirPort Express and Westell Versalink have to be able to see each other, independent of the Powerbook.

    These instructions allow you to use AirTunes via the Westell Versalink, but they won't extend the range of the Westell Versalink's Internet connection through the AirPort Express. That is, in this arrangement, the AirPort Express won't serve as a WDS, a relay, a repeater or an Internet access point for the Westell Versalink.

    If you have further secured your Westell Versalink by restricting connections to just your Powerbook or a small group of computers, you will have to add the MAC address of the AirPort Express to the Westell Versalink's MAC Filter Table. The AirPort MAC Address is displayed in the "Base Station Chooser" window of the AirPort Admin Utility. Depending on the version, you might be able to reach the Westell Versalink's MAC Filter Table through your Web browser at "", or at "" and choosing "Configuration -> Wireless" and scrolling to the very bottom of the page.
  4. the Helix macrumors regular

    the Helix

    Sep 16, 2003
    thanks man!

    Awesome answer. It helped me out as well!

  5. Fourbin thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA
    Great! Thank you.
    Is there any possible way to extend the network of the Westell with the Airport though?

  6. Sirolly macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2003
    Heh. Hey, I did my part! Now it's your turn! :)

    I did some hunting on this last year, but found little more than tales of frustration.

    The upshot seemed to be that the WDS standard for extending the wireless network range was never fully nailed down. Apple only seems to officially support WDS bridging between its own AirPort products. People have had some luck getting other routers that have wireless networking chips made by Broadcom inside -- such as Linksys and Buffalo devices -- to achieve WDS with Apple AirPort base stations. But apparently Westell Versalink routers have Texas Instruments chips inside.

    The top links here would give you some hope...

    ...but the top links here begin to dash it:

    If you can unearth some more recent success stories, let me know. But I suspect most people decided it wasn't worth the trouble, versus the ever-declining cost of buying a replacement DSL router that supports WDS, or buying a second WDS-compatible base station, plugging it into an Ethernet port of the Westell Versalink as Gee describes above, and extending the network off of that.

    Without so much as an external stub antenna, the Airport Express doesn't do a particularly impressive job of extending the wireless range to begin with -- you tend to have to put it closer to the source base station than other devices. And then from that point, its own range doesn't extend as far as competing devices. But its audio capability, USB port and compact design make it a nice curiosity.

    Likewise, Verizon's router... gives you more or less what you paid for it. :)

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