Airport Express/Airtunes

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by PrincessPeach, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. PrincessPeach macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    #1
    I'm looking for an excuse to buy an Airport Express.

    Ultimately the reason I want it is that I plan to do a lot of travelling abroad next summer and my only truly portable device is an iPhone. Which has no network port. Most of the hotels I'm planning on staying in will have free wired network connections but no wifi at all (I have asked) so I'm hoping that I can use the Express to get connected with my phone. I've checked online and found a few other people doing this too and I'm happy with setting it up, though any anecdotes about success/failure would be interesting to add to my mental list.

    Since it's not a cheap device I thought about using it at home when I'm not travelling, and came across the Airtunes feature. Ports permitting (have to check tonight) would this allow me to use my TV's built-in speakers to play my music in my living room or does it have to be a standalone? I only have some very tinny USB speakers with my computer so this could be a decent alternative to my current setup, which is streaming my library to my PS3. Any suggestions here again gratefully received.

    Final question - I'm not that knowledgeable about wifi. Is anything in the pipeline which would make an Airport Express upgrade in the next ten months likely, or should I be find on the current model? I'm happy with the spec as is, I just don't want to buy it then find out that some brand new wifi technology reaches the mainstream in a couple of months' time and renders my purchase completely out of date. If the only boosts are likely to be cosmetic/price then I will go ahead and buy now to give me plenty of time to get used to it and take it on test runs on trips.

    Thank you!
     
  2. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    #2
    You are correct with all your assumptions. You can use it to set up a wireless network for yourself with an otherwise wired-only connection, as you mention. Also, AirTunes will work as you believe, assuming you can connect a standard 3.5mm (mini-jack) cord to the device, although if (for example) your TV has only RCA inputs, I believe you can find an adapter.

    As for any potential upgrades in the near future, I'd say they're unlikely. Both the AirPort Extreme Base Station and the AirPort Express support 802.11n draft, the latest (almost-)standard, and that's not likely to change any time soon. (In fact, iPod/iPhone aren't even 802.11n devices...yet?) Cosmetically, I'd be surprised if they changed it much since they have barely changed it since its introduction and it's such a simple and small design I'm not sure what they could do. In any case, technologically you'll be fine--and you could probably even save yourself some money and get an older model if you're fine with just 802.11b/g.

    Good luck!
     
  3. PrincessPeach thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    #3
    Brilliant, thank you. I'll go shopping for one when my next paycheque comes in :)
     
  4. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    #4
    You're welcome! Hope you enjoy it--I have an AirPort Extreme Base Station and sometimes wish I had an Express, but only because of AirTunes. :D Oh, well...
     
  5. rayward macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #5
    You might want to search the forums about using the Express unit to set up a wifi network off a hotel ethernet connection. I remember reading that there may be some wrinkles, that differ from hotel to hotel, about logging in that necessitated plugging a laptop directly into the ethernet to set-up an account first (even though it's free) before swapping it out for the Express to get WiFi.

    I do know that you will have to re-program the Express unit to act as a wifi base station when you take it on the road, and reset it to streaming AirTunes when you get back. It won't switch tasks automatically, it has to be done using the Airport Utility.
     

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