Airport Extreme advice please

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ianrm57, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. ianrm57, Feb 5, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019

    ianrm57 macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2019
    The only Apple device I have is an iphone (which I love) I use a Yamaha amp which supports Airplay and it (the airplay part) works brilliantly.
    Looking to connect an Airport Extreme by ethernet to a sound system in the shed to use airplay. Might try it connected by wifi first, but I realise wired is always better.
    I would also set it as a wifi extender but my requirements as far as wifi are minimal and could easily live with out it or a minimal speed increase.
    Main concern is getting the Airplay to my sound system.
    Would there be any noticable advantage (sound and reliability wise) to paying top dollar for the latest AC model Airport Extreme or would an earlier model like maybe a A1301 3rd gen or later model work as well for a fraction of the price?
    Keep in mind I would be connecting to my router by ethernet cable, so wifi strength/bandwidth would be of little consequence.
    Please keep in mind I'm only connecting to a budget sound system in the shed.

    Thanks in advance for your advice.
  2. techwarrior macrumors 65816


    Jul 30, 2009
    Airport Extreme\Time Capsule don't support AirPlay per se. AP Express does offer AirPlay functionality.

    On the Express, there is a 3mm Aux\Toslink port. You can connect an optical\toslink cable to the Express and to a sound system with optical inputs and get good digital audio to the shed device. Extreme\TC don't have the audio port, they are simply designed to be routers, or Access Points.

    If the device in the shed supports AirPlay natively, you just need to get a network connection to that location. If all you are trying to do is get a network connection, Express may be a better way to go. Express can run in one of four modes, Router, Join, Extend, Roam. Extreme can only Route, Extend or Roam, but not Join.

    What do the four modes mean?
    • Routing is obvious, it uses a WAN Ethernet connection and LAN or WLAN to create a bridge to the internet.
    • Join can be thought of like the iPhone joining your WiFi, but the Ethernet port on the Express will also bridge the connection, giving ethernet connectivity in a remote location, and can also stream AirPlay audio to connected Aux\Toslink devices.
    • Extend is the least desirable mode, it uses the WiFi connection to connect to the main network, then splits the bandwidth allowing clients to connect to the same WiFi radio. The result is at least a 50% hit in bandwidth, which is particularly troublesome for the Express which has a limited capacity WiFi radio. Extend also puts a hit on the WiFi on the router if it is aggregating WiFi connections at the remote location.
    • Roam uses Ethernet to connect to the main network, then creates a WiFi signal for clients to connect to. If Join is not possible, this is the better route for a remote location.
    If the shed audio device is AirPlay capable, you just need to get a network connection to the shed. If it can use Ethernet, just run ethernet directly, or over power lines with adapters to the shed and plug the audio device into the Ethernet port. Or, use Express to Join the home network, then plug Ethernet into the LAN port on the Express.

    If the shed audio device can only connect via ethernet, and you don't want to buy Express, but also want WiFi at the remote location, Extreme connected to the main network via Ethernet (or using Powerline Adapters) is an option.

    If the audio device has optical\toslink port but no AirPlay (no WiFi\Ethernet), use AP Express to Join the network in the home, then AirPlay through the audio port.

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