AirPort Express w/ AirPort card

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by absurdio, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. absurdio macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2003
    RI, Chi, and/or NY.
    True, people are only now starting to get their AExps, but I've already heard a couple of reports of them not working well (or at all, in some cases) with regular AirPort cards (not AirPort Extreme). Is this true?
    On the AExp part of the Apple site, the tech specs section reads:

    "System Requirements
    For Macintosh Users
    A Macintosh computer with an AirPort Extreme Card or AirPort Card"

    That sounds promising, but the reports to the contrary have me worried. So those of you fortunate enough to have already received your AExps, do they work with the regular AirPort card?

    For a follow up question: can I get an AirPort Extreme Card? I've got the last generation of 15" TiBook - the best you could get before the aluminums came out. When I ordered it, there was no option for an AExt card that I remember ... otherwise I'm sure I would have gotten it. Regardless, it shipped with the regular AirPort Card, and I'm wondering if I'd be able (should I absolutely have to) to upgrade to an AExt Card. Thanks.
  2. johnkrz macrumors member

    Jun 30, 2004
    yes they do

    i got my express and it works fine. i even set it up with a normal airport card. i luv the express a cheap way to extend the extremes signal. works like a charm. i am planning to get at least 1 more if not 2.
  3. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    The Airport Extreme Card will not work on your TiBook. It's a shame that Apple chose to change the connectors from PCMCIA to mini-PCI when they went from Airport to Extreme. I have an older iBook that only accepts Airport. I would have sprung for the more expensive Extreme if it worked with older equipment.

    If you truly want 802.11g speeds, you may want to look into using a PC Card (aka PCMCIA) wireless adapter. There are some that work with Macs. The downside is that they all have bulky antennas that stick out from the PC Card slot.
  4. bonk macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2003
    I am having issues streaming music from an original airport card. I have a G5 (with an AE card), and an older G4 with an original airport card. I have an airport base station, and I just added an express to use airtunes. the G5 plays music fine, but there are definitely drops when the G4 is playing. I have not unhooked the AEBS to see if the express works as a standalone with the G4, so I cant say if any other functionality other than airtunes is impacted.

    also, I now have my epson inkjet hooked up to the express. it prints fine (and in fact it works as a shared printer available to both computers again, which it had stopped doing a while back), but I've lost access to some of my printer utility controls - like the head cleaning and ink level check.

    I wonder issues relating to the original airport cards can be fixed by software. seems like if they bumped up the buffer in airtunes that it should work fine. are there any settings in the airport controls that may effect this too?
  5. bonk macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2003
    right - the extreme card will not work in your tibook - they are physically different sizes (found that out the hard way myself with my old G4 tower). good suggestion with the PC card. is there any similar solution for desktops? are there PCI 802.11g cards that are mac friendly?
  6. absurdio thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2003
    RI, Chi, and/or NY.
    I went and played around with the iTunes preferences to see what there was after you suggested that. I'm not sure it's relevant, but under the "Advanced" tab, there is an option for "Streaming Buffer Size." It doesn't mention AirTunes (though I am running itunes 4.6), but perhaps that streaming buffer size also applies to music you're streaming to the airport extreme (?)

    Anyway, if you wanted to give that a shot, I'd be curious to see if it works. *crosses fingers*
  7. bonk macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2003

    I'd guess that this only refers to incoming streams of itunes radio stations, but I'll give this a shot when I get to work today.
  8. spitfirejd macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2004
    Magnolia, Delaware, USA
    working good

    My Ti Powerbook is working great with AE Express. Of course, it only works at 802.11b speeds, but I only use it to surf and e-mail while wireless. It would be nice if you could use AE cards, but unfortunately they are not backwards compatible.

    BTW, I've heard a lot of people complain about the range of the Ti Powerbook's antennas, but I can not only get a good signal from anywhere in my 2200 sq ft two-story house (and the AE Exp is located in a corner room upstairs, on the floor :eek: ), but I can get a decent signal halfway down my driveway! It's a little slower with the weaker signal, but still much faster than dial-up (I'm using a cable modem).
  9. bonk macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2003
    appears my guess was correct. I changed the buffer size to large, but I'm still getting major drops. someone in the other thread suggested that this problem may be more about the CPU than the AEx - can this really be true? I just cant believe that a G4/350 would not be able to handle this. sure it's old and slow, but streaming music seems pretty low power. I used to edit 300Mb photoshop files on that guy for pete's sake!

    this is all throwing a monkeywrench into my plans of setting up a network at home - where I have a G3/300 imac. if my G4 cant handle it, the imac surely cant.


    I'm still betting that we'll get a patch that allows buffer control on outgoing streams - seems to obvious not to happen.
  10. bonk macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2003
    checked out the apple discussion forum. lots of people having this issue.

    so I tried switching my AEBS to 'b only' (the express is set to extend) and now it works 100% fine! you suck apple! how could you release this like this? forced to use the lowest tech/least common denomenator? was that really such a hard issue to fix? I know nothing about how this stuff works, but it seems like that should have been REALLY simple to work out. I think I'm more upset now than I was when I was getting drops. sheesh.

    [no longer a newbie! woot!]
  11. absurdio thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2003
    RI, Chi, and/or NY.
    I posted this quote in the other forum from the Tech Specs on AExp : "It also works with the 802.11b wireless protocol, so if you have a Mac equipped with the older AirPort Card or a 802.11b Wi-Fi-compliant Windows PC, AirPort Express works with these, as well." I really want to believe that it works ... and it doesn't seem like so complicated a device that the original AirPort cards shouldn't be able to handle it... Hopefully with all this initial backlash, Apple will focus on working out the bugs with AExp w/ original airport.

    which computer were you using when you did that? was that with the g3/300 imac? That would be good news... But does that mean that you're not getting drops even when using just an airport card? That'd be great. I have no base station, so that wouldn't be an issue for me...

    c'mon, apple, don't let us down.
  12. bonk macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2003
    no - I have the express running off of a G4/350 and a G5 2x2. the answer is YES - you CAN use an express with an 802.11b card, but you must make your ENTIRE network 802.11b. so now I'm limited to using my G5 as if it had an original card, and my extreme base station as if it were an original base station. not cute.
  13. loveshismac macrumors member

    Nov 21, 2001
    I have setup my express with my original airport. Works great!
    I can use it with my 667mhz titanium w/ original airport no prob and my 12" aluminum PB w/ an extreme card.

    I have noticed drop offs but if you read the manual for your xpress you will see that where you place it, especially if connected to your stereo is very important.

    I moved it to the side of my entertainment center away from the other stereo cords and no more drop offs.

    Also if your cordless phone is on and anywhere near it while streaming music you will hear it drop off.

    hope that helps
  14. absurdio thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2003
    RI, Chi, and/or NY.
    I'd heard this before...particularly with respect to newer and better phones. The only cordless phones we have are a couple years old and 900MHz, so those might interfere less than others (?)

    couldn't be happier to hear it!

    Also glad to hear it. That's no problem for those of us living back in the TiBook days...heh. =)

    Anyway, that's all very good news. Great to hear. Thanks, guys.

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