Airport Extreme or Express? + Storage? confused...

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by spiritlevel, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. spiritlevel macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007
    I am finally jumping on the wifi bandwagon at home - I know my macs pretty well but please bear with me as I am a complete noob at this wireless stuff...

    1) I currently have a broadband modem that came with my BT broadband account - am I right I do not need to change this - just add an airport extreme/express to it?

    2) - what should I be considering when I am choosing between express/extreme? is extreme just longer range? I live in a 2 bed flat on 1 floor..

    3) i would like to add some storage to this airport so I can store my itunes music on it and have it accessible to my laptop when I come in the house with it - I see airport extreme has a usb port - but is this USB2? if only usb1 then that would be very slow - what's the best way of adding wireless network storage (something like a firewire/usb2 drive like the drobo) to my wireless network?

    4) - I am thinking about getting an apple tv - does extreme/express decision make any difference in this regard?

    5) - If I want to run itunes through my main stereo - do I need to get a separate airport express for that? (Stereo and broadband modem are in different rooms in the flat) and does my laptop then work as itunes server, sending music from the storage attached to the airport extreme, to the express attached to the stereo?

    6) - I see many people use a mac mini in systems like this - what are the advantages of having a separate mac mini added to the system to act as a media server as opposed to just using my laptop?

    7) - If am am attaching media storage to a wifi network - how do I make sure it is secure?

    Sorry for all the questions - but as I said I am a novice at this...thanks
  2. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    1. Yes
    2. Sounds like a small place. Express might do it
    3. USB2 but usb speed is limited by processor speed.
    4. No
    5. Yes
    6. Some people like their Tv hooked up all the time without connecting their laptop to it. Mac Mini has more capabilities than Apple TV.
    7. WPA2 network with SEcURE LONG password is unhackable at this time.

    More info:
  3. spiritlevel thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007
    thanks for your reply consultant!

    to clarify regarding 2 & 5 - can I use 2 x express (1 attached to modem, the other to stereo) or would I need 1 extreme + 1 express for this

    regarding 3 - sorry - the processor speed of what? my laptop? eg if I connect a drobo to airport extreme via usb2, are you saying that the read/write speeds of my storage will be affected by the processor speed of the wireless device (laptop) I am using to control it?

    regarding 6 - still a bit confused about this - are you saying that the mac mini REPLACES the apple TV in this situation? - is the mac mini then attached to the TV directly? - I was thinking that the apple TV would be attached to the tv - the mac mini would be elsewhere and movies would stream wirelessly from itunes on the mac mini to the apple tv... - but from what you are saying it seems the apple tv is redundant if I get the mac mini...

    thanks again!
  4. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    FWIW, the USB port on the Express only supports printing.
    The USB port on the Extreme supports external USB drives + printing.
  5. spiritlevel thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007

    Also - Am I right that the wireless on the mac mini is only g - not n yet? would that slow my whole wireless network down if I added one then?
  6. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    Correct and correct.

    There are def. some advantages of using the mini instead of the AppleTV, ... check out the AppleTV forum for some on-going posts about that.

    I think everyone's guess is that the mini will be updated somewhat soon, and that update will undoubtedly include 802.11n, so if you do decide on a mini, I'd hold out until the updates ones come out...
  7. spiritlevel thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007
    OK - so I have just realised my broadband modem (BT Voyager 200) has only one 10/100 ethernet port - so a few more questions....

    I have decided on the airport extreme - it has four gigabit ethernet ports...

    My wife has a work laptop that currently connects directly to the modem via ethernet... it cannot connect wirelessly


    1) In my new setup mu extreme will be the "hub" and my modem and my wife's PC will connect to the ethernet ports on that - correct?

    2) My wife's PC will be using the extreme purely as an ethernet router to connect to the modem and will not be using the wireless at all - any potential problems with that?

    3) My modem ethernet is only 10/100 - will this create a bottleneck and slow down my internet connectivity on an "n" wireless network? would a modem with gigabit ethernet give me faster internet?

  8. spiritlevel thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007
    thanks aristobrat
  9. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    Correct. Modem goes into the WAN port and your wife's PC will use one of the LAN ports.

    None that I can think of.

    If your internet speed is faster than 100mbps, then your modem's ethernet port would be a bottleneck. If your internet speed is slower than 100mbps (which is probably the case), the ethernet port shouldn't be an issue.
  10. spiritlevel thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007
    sorry - one more thing...

    When I attach a disk to my extreme, I want to use this for 2 things - media storage (videos, songs, photos etc) + time machine backup of my laptop. I need separate partitions for this? or can I just stick files on the disk as normal and time machine will use whatever space is left? and what about if I had another computer to backup?

    In other words, if I can just use one partition for everything, what does the directory on the drive look like - would it be for example - 1 folder containing TM backup of mac 1, one folder containing TM backup of mac 2 and 1 folder containing media files?

    so if I had a drobo working in say Raid 5 mode - I could have a system that is protected from single drive failure and used both as media storage and backup for multiple macs??

  11. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    As Time Machine will continue to back up to a volume until that volume is 100% full, I'd recommend giving it its own space.

    It might be worth reading up on using Time Machine wirelessly without a Time Capsule. At one point, there were a few things you had to do to get that working. Not sure if that's still the case.
  12. spiritlevel thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007
    thanks again aristobrat - you have been a great help

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