Airport Express or a non-Apple alternative?

Rubin421

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 24, 2004
43
0
New York
I justed moved to a new apartment, and we are getting broadband cable internet. I was thinking of buying an Airport Express base station to connect it to the router offered by the provider.

I know it is very easy to set up and everything, and it also works with PCs (our network will be made of 2 PCs and 2 Macs), but is there a better and/or cheaper non-Apple alternative out there?

With the educational discount, I'll get the AP express for $120 without tax...
 

liketom

macrumors 601
Apr 8, 2004
4,158
26
Lincoln,UK
Rubin421 said:
I justed moved to a new apartment, and we are getting broadband cable internet. I was thinking of buying an Airport Express base station to connect it to the router offered by the provider.

I know it is very easy to set up and everything, and it also works with PCs (our network will be made of 2 PCs and 2 Macs), but is there a better and/or cheaper non-Apple alternative out there?

With the educational discount, I'll get the AP express for $120 without tax...

go for the express , i just bought one and i am well pleased , i just plugged it in and it just worked withing like 10 sec well groovy and wireless usb printing is just plain cool
 

Rubin421

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 24, 2004
43
0
New York
It seems I can get a regular wireless access point at CompUSA for like 60 bucks though... So I guess my question was: why pay more? Are there any good reasons, besides USB printing and AirTunes?
 

liketom

macrumors 601
Apr 8, 2004
4,158
26
Lincoln,UK
Rubin421 said:
It seems I can get a regular wireless access point at CompUSA for like 60 bucks though... So I guess my question was: why pay more? Are there any good reasons, besides USB printing and AirTunes?
well for me i just wanted a access point that could share my internet and also play music to my hi-fi via wi-fi lol , and do wireless printing too ..so the question is what do you need it to do ? internet only ! if so then go the cheaper route
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,910
41
Andover, MA
I have the Express and a Linksys WRT54G. Got the Express for $99 (Thanksgiving sale), got the Linksys for $60 (rebate a few months ago). I love the Express, but the WRT54G is just as useful, and a readily-available hack allows for power output to be increased (more range) or decreased (more privacy).

I like them both - but the WRT54G is also a router, whereas the Express isn't.

No problems setting up either of them....

If it were me, I'd get the Express if you need the line out or USB printing, and the WRT54G otherwise.
 

jxyama

macrumors 68040
Apr 3, 2003
3,735
1
if you want AirTunes, get Airport Express. otherwise, save yourself some $$$ and get a cheaper router.

i had a wireless router, but upgraded to Airport Express because i had some apple store credit and wanted AirTunes.
 

patseguin

macrumors 68000
Aug 28, 2003
1,555
457
From what I understand, the Express is a router. It allows access for up to 5 computers. Correct me if I am wrong though...
 

jxyama

macrumors 68040
Apr 3, 2003
3,735
1
patseguin said:
From what I understand, the Express is a router. It allows access for up to 5 computers. Correct me if I am wrong though...
up to 10, i thought...

but it can only function as a wireless hub, i think that what the other poster meant? you can't share connection over wires.
 

liketom

macrumors 601
Apr 8, 2004
4,158
26
Lincoln,UK
patseguin said:
From what I understand, the Express is a router. It allows access for up to 5 computers. Correct me if I am wrong though...
AirPort Express with AirTunes is an incredible wireless product that allows you to play iTunes music over your wireless network to your home stereo or powered speakers. It also allows you to share both a broadband Internet connection for up to 10 users and a USB printer.
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,910
41
Andover, MA
patseguin said:
From what I understand, the Express is a router. It allows access for up to 5 computers. Correct me if I am wrong though...
Sorry - I meant that the WRT54G was also a wired router - four ports in the back in addition to the WAN port.
 

liketom

macrumors 601
Apr 8, 2004
4,158
26
Lincoln,UK
jsw said:
Sorry - I meant that the WRT54G was also a wired router - four ports in the back in addition to the WAN port.
i used to have a belkin wireless firewall router and that did the job ok , but it was clumsy and slow to configure mind you i was plugged into a PC at the time. i say get the cheaper one then WISH you bought the Express instead lol
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,910
41
Andover, MA
liketom said:
i say get the cheaper one then WISH you bought the Express instead lol...
Well, FWIW, the Linksys is as easy to use as the Express. Not as pretty, but with better range and same or better features.

Mind you, I love the Express. But the WRT54G is a better deal if you don't want line-out or USB printing.
 

jxyama

macrumors 68040
Apr 3, 2003
3,735
1
jsw said:
Well, FWIW, the Linksys is as easy to use as the Express. Not as pretty, but with better range and same or better features.

Mind you, I love the Express. But the WRT54G is a better deal if you don't want line-out or USB printing.
i agree, express isn't the best wireless router out there for the money, unless you want the AirTunes feature. (which, i think, is a great feature. but it's not for everyone.)

one thing i noticed is that since express has no broadcast antenna and tends to be plugged directly into the outlet (which is usually near the floor and directly on the wall), it doesn't have the best range.
 

liketom

macrumors 601
Apr 8, 2004
4,158
26
Lincoln,UK
jsw said:
Well, FWIW, the Linksys is as easy to use as the Express. Not as pretty, but with better range and same or better features.

Mind you, I love the Express. But the WRT54G is a better deal if you don't want line-out or USB printing.
your right .. USB printing is a sort of extra , not everyone would need this so yeah go for the cheaper option and save the cash for a new iPod instead
 

McGuillicuddy

macrumors newbie
Nov 25, 2004
26
0
Cambridge, UK
I'll put another vote in for the WRT54G. I have one on the main floor and I use it two floors up with no reception problems whatsoever (without using the hack either). Setup was also dead easy - i was up and running in less than 15 minutes.
 

Erendiox

macrumors 6502a
Oct 15, 2004
706
12
Brooklyn NY
Definitely casting my vote for the airport. I haven't tried the WRT54G, but have heard so many stories of people having hell with wireless routers. Not only is the airport stylish and portable, but I plugged the thing in.... and it just worked. Was playing wireless XBOX live 20 min later :D . Ease of use like that is priceless to me. If you're willing to part with the extra money it's totally worth it IMO.
 
Airport Express was worthless to me...

Brand new one, sitting in a box now. Replaced it with a $60 linksis job that works great. Big external antennas work better than stylish white boxes.

I think it may have something to do with living in a South Philly row-home. Too many neighbors and too much electrical interference. I tried every trick I could find online to get a good signal, but AirTunes would crap out all the time–even when just 5 feet away...

I plugged in the Linksis, restarted the computer and it automatically showed up in the Airport menu. Couldn't have been easier unless I didn't have to restart.

On top of that, the range is a whole lot better.

It's the first time I've ever been massively disappointed with an Apple product, where I thought that form took a serious front seat to function, which has always been an accusation against Apple, but I've never been on the receiving end.

I do love my iBook and iPod though!

If you want mine, make me an offer, otherwise I'll ebay it...
 

TheMac19

macrumors regular
May 13, 2004
171
0
Pitt
Rubin421 said:
I justed moved to a new apartment, and we are getting broadband cable internet. I was thinking of buying an Airport Express base station to connect it to the router offered by the provider.
.
I'm assuming that you've already opened your iBook and tried sniffing out available networks? These days most people I know in apartment buildings get "free" internet access courtesy of a neighbor's connection... In fact, I don't think any of my friends in NYC actually pay for access, aside from a one who knows the source of the signal, and buys it's owner a few beers every now and again.

there's a great freeware program out there, MacStumbler, which is the perfect tool for sniffing out networks, and finding information about them. A few months ago i visited a friend in Philly, and found 7 available networks in his flat -- not including his own. Crazy.

On the opposite side of the coin, I have an Airport Express and love it. It really comes in handy when traveling, and wireless printing is priceless once you're used to it! Unless range is a big issue for you, I'd definitely vote for the Airport Express. Previously I had a belkin router, which worked fine, but the APE is just so much handier to travel with, and it's out of the way when it's in use...
 

amoildani

macrumors member
Apr 20, 2004
48
0
is there an alternate to the actual express card? I have it on my 12inch powerbook, and ive actually noticed in some of my classrooms i get no signal while the pc user in front of me is surfing the net....
its really frustrating
 

Rubin421

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 24, 2004
43
0
New York
Try installing all the updates, and possibly switching on/off Interference Robustness...
Also, in classrooms, sometimes it's only about where you are sitting.
 

Rubin421

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 24, 2004
43
0
New York
In fact, I don't think any of my friends in NYC actually pay for access, aside from a one who knows the source of the signal, and buys it's owner a few beers every now and again.

...

A few months ago i visited a friend in Philly, and found 7 available networks in his flat -- not including his own. Crazy.
I'm in NYC, and there are like 7 or 8 wireless networks in the building as well. Still, it's kinda more reliable and secure to have your own...
 
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