Airport Express work with iPhone+iPad+notebook?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Lukeksk, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. Lukeksk macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2008
    I'm seriously considering buying the iPad wifi. Without a LAN port, I was wondering how I would be able to connect the iPad to the internet when I'm travelling. Then I read up about portable routers and lo and behold, the Apple Airport Express was mentioned.

    So, would this set up work in a hotel?

    1. I plug the Airport Express to the hotel high-speed internet via LAN cable
    2. I connect my work notebook (much loathed Lenovo Thinkpad running WindowsXP Pro) using wifi to the internet via the Airport Express
    3. I connect my iPhone to the internet via the Airport Express (using wifi of course)
    4. I connect my iPad to the internet via the Airport Express (using wifi)

    If the above will work, is setting up Airport Express to the hotel high-speed internet via LAN cable an easy or hard exercise?

    Thanks for all advice.
  2. tonyburkhart macrumors regular


    Jan 24, 2010
    It should work that way.

    It depends on the hotel and how they setup their wired LAN access.

    Some hotels have a sign on for single devices and some have an open DHCP connection. Totally dependent on a case by case basis.

    What hotel chains do you frequent?
  3. Lukeksk thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2008
    The hotel chains I get slotted into so far are:

    1. Sheraton (Starwood)
    2. Intercontinental/Crowne Plaza
    3. Swissotel
    4. Marriott
    5. Hyatt

    Seems to me the above hotels' wired LAN internet connection work pretty much similar. If not, does it mean that if I connect my notebook, iPhone and iPad to the Airport Express Base Station, I would be charged 3 separate internet sessions?
  4. SDub90 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2009
    Long Island
    It really depends on how they have it setup.

    In most cases you should be able to just setup a router - it'll see it as a single device.

    Worst case if you have to register your devices, just have your laptop setup and share the connection (connect your other devices to the PC over wifi and share its ethernet connection).
  5. mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    the last 2 hotels we stayed at , Hyatt and Mariott, both had tmobile wireless. No ethernet in room.

    The airport express is very easy to setup. I have an Airport extreme base station and 2 express on far ends of the house to extend the signal and it would be easy even for you to use this.
  6. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I have stayed in many hotels and used my AE to connect both a Macbook and iPhone (wifi). IN each case, all I do is plug the ethernet cable from the wall into the AE and plug in the AE... after a minute or two I get a green light on the AE and it just works.

    In some cases I get a hotel splash screen upon opening Safari. Just click to accept terms or pay and away you go. Never had a problem.

    What I have noticed is once I get through this splash screen on the Macbook, the iPhone wifi does show the splash screen, so I assume the hotel's provider is authenticating from the AE's mac address.
  7. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I do this all the time, and I never have a problem authenticating all of my devices through a single router. I had been using a Linksys travel router which is not discontinued. Now I am using an Airport Express. I also stay in the same type of hotels that you mentioned.

    Very occasionally, the initial login procedure will run some type of agent on your machine, which presumably will check your local MAC address. I travel a lot, and have not seen this happen in many years. You can tell because usually there will be a small extra browser window that will pop open that gives instructions to not close it.

    The solution seems to be to use the "MAC address clone" feature of most routers to set the MAC address of your router to the same MAC address of the first device that you use to log in. In my case, that is my work computer. Once the authentication is over... the router just stays connected and the hotel has no idea that you are using multiple devices. Once again... this extra inconvenience is extremely rare, and generally avoided by using the MAC clone feature.

    I will probably change the MAC address clone feature to match my iPad, since I will likely travel with it during both personal and business trips.

  8. Lukeksk thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2008
    Based on all the positive replies, I went ahead to buy the AE. I had some problems initially getting it to work as I wasn't sure of the different options in the setup wizard. Finally I tried using all the defaults, and then it work. My work computer could connect to the internet and my iPhone could also. As stated by some responses, the hotel internet service would ask for each connecting device to login to the internet but then I noticed that the time to expiry for the internet service was based on the first connection. So I am relieved I am not charged for 2 internet connections.

    However, I had trouble trying to connect to the company VPN from my work computer. I kept getting something like "proxy could not work". In the end, I just relied on my Blackberry for work related emails.

    Anyone can shed any light on any settings I must use to ensure I can access the company VPN from my notebook with this AE setup+notebook+iPhone?

    Thanks all for the great tips.
  9. Lukeksk thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2008
    But in recent travel to Australia and staying at Intercontinental/Crowne Plaza hotels (they are the same hotel chain), BE VERY CAREFUL about using Airport Express as router for multiple devices. I was charged 3 times everyday because their system detected multiple devices connected to the internet. And now I have to stomach the charges personally (which is more than enough to buy another new iPad!!!) :mad:

    I did not have this problem when I was staying at an Intercontinental Hotel in Seoul and a JW Marriott Hotel in Beijing just a week before Australia.

    So any tricks to avoid these hefty charges in future?

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