Airport Express as Linksys WRT54-GL replacement?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Leshita, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. Leshita macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2010
    Hi guys,

    I am thinking of getting an Airport Express to replace my house's main network router right now. However, I am not sure if the Express version will provide all the functionality I need. I want to limit my budget right now, so I would like to stick with an Express if I can (I mean what additional functionality would I need from the Extreme?). :)

    I would like to place my the new Airport Express in our main entertainment area so that it will stream airtunes over to my receiver via optical out, and stream HD video through the ethernet to my PS3 (so the media will be streamed from my Mac Mini one room away via Wireless N). The wireless signal from the Airport Express will also need to be strong enough for a laptop in the 1st floor of the building (the AE will be on the second floor) as well as my Mac Mini.

    What do you guys think? Would the Express work for me?
  2. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    Not if you're using the Express as your main router as you state. The Express only has one Ethernet port, which is usually used to connect to the modem. You won't be able to connect your PS3 via Ethernet if that's the case.

    If you need additional LAN ports, you'll need the Extreme (or another more full featured router). Also, the range on the Extreme is better, it will allow more clients to connect, and is capable of simultaneous dual-band.
  3. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Note that you can pick up a refurb Airport Extreme for $129 from the Apple Online store.

  4. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Also note that the OP may multiply the AirPort Express's single LAN port by an order of magnitude with a hub or a switch.
  5. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    That is if OP is using the Express to connect to an existing WiFi network and extending said network via Ethernet. If the OP needs to connect the Express to a modem, there is no way that I know of to use a switch to do so and expand the LAN ports on the Express. Or am I just misinformed?
  6. Signal-11 macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    2nd Star to the Right

    Those WRT54-GLs, once upgraded with Open Firmware are very good routers. In fact, in a pure networking sense, they are much more capable than the high end of Apple's home networking products. OTOH, there are some Apple functions that you can only get with Apple gear, such as the Airtunes/play/print.

    For what you want to do, the Airport Express alone will probably not be sufficient. OTOH, you have a pretty good router with the WRT54GL. Though Apple says that the Express does not work with other routers, this is not true as it will work perfectly well with the WRT54GL in a variety of configurations. Between the two devices, you have more than enough hardware to do exactly what you want to do. There's a couple ways of doing this and there are several guides on the internet to help you out. Googling the search terms 'WRT54G' 'WDS' 'Airport Express' and DD-WRT will get you started.

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