Airport Extreme vs. Airport Express

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by duckhuntgangsta, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. duckhuntgangsta macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2011
    What is the difference between Airport Extreme vs. Airport Express? I read the description on both and it wasn't very clear.

    I need a router but the Extreme seems to be a ridiculous amount to pay for a router despite it's solid reviews and sleek design. Am I missing something? The express seems reasonable but not sure if it meets my needs.

    Not harping on Apple. I love my Mac, iPhone, and I'll be getting an iPad & Apple TV soon. Those are all worth the money to me, just not sure about the Airports.


  2. TjeuV macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2011
    Express is used to extend a network

  3. marzer, Apr 7, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012

    marzer macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    Both the extreme and express are wifi routers. The extreme has more capabilities, such as ethernet ports and can have a printer or harddrive hooked to it. In fact using a usb hub you can hook multiple drives or ptinters to it. The extreme can extend an existing network but will not provide airplay functionality.

    The express can act as a router or extend an exisitng network, but will also act as an airplay node for iTunes. It has a usb port but only for connecting a printer and cannot be extended with a hub.

    Another point is wifi bands, extreme operates on 5 and 2.4 ghz simultaneously which provides significant throughput advantages. The express can operate on one or the other but not both simultaneously.

    For selection it comes down to your needs and price tolerance. The express is a simple and cheap wifi router if your needs are simple and the area its covering not particulary large. If it suits your needs the airplay function is very handy.

    The extreme has more capability for connecting: simultaneous bands, ethernet ports and usb expansion. With a drive connected it can be used as a remote time machine host for backups. But of course costs more.
  4. DaveTheRave macrumors 6502a

    May 22, 2003
    I have an Extreme and its great, no complaints at all. From what I've read the Extreme is generally "better" than the Express in terms of tech specs. However the Express beats the Extreme in portability and the Express also has Airtunes/Airplay functionality, which for some reason is missing in the Extreme.

    The Extreme is a bit heavy, but not a big deal because its not meant to be moved around. Just set it and forget it. I read somewhere the Extreme has 3 antennas inside. I thought I read somewhere that the Express only has 1. So you'd think that the Extreme has better range than the Express but I can't confirm that anywhere. The Apple website doesn't go into specifics, only saying that Express is good for small homes and apartments and the Extreme is good for homes and businesses.
  5. kylera macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2010
    Another feature the Express has which isn't widely advertised since it is minor is the ability to connect devices that have no wireless wirelessly.

    As for the Extreme and its priciness, I do agree that it is on the expensive side. However, having owned one for a year and not having to fix it or redo it during that year, I think that lack of going on the fritz makes it worth the price. I had a different router before that, but I had to keep it close to reset it every now amd then, causing not only me, but others in my house annoyance. Not anymore with the Extreme.
  6. Medic278, Apr 8, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012

    Medic278 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2012
    New York
    I currently have the Express and couldn't be happier. I think its great, my issue was my router supplied by my ISP didn't really have a powerful signal and I needed one because I like to work my deck or my balcony when the weather is nice. I picked up the Express 2 days ago, it took about 45 seconds to install and get up and running and works great. The extreme is useful if your running a lot off your router, for example, your Macs, iPods/iPhones, iPad, Video games etc etc then I would go extreme, but if all you want it for is a Mac or two then express is the way to go its cheaper and very capable and will make you happy.
  7. bilh39 macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2014
    Airport Extreme vs. Airport Express

    Thank you who posted clear answers to this perplexing question.

    One wonders why Apple does not give this information on its Apple Store web site
  8. smellalot macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2011
    They do:
  9. michsunshine macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2014
    Would AirPort Extreme solve my problem?

    I currently use Airport Express with my new Imac. I changed over from a windows computer and a Linkyss router. I also use a Verizon Network Extender that requires an Ethernet port. It is not working with my Airport Express. The Verizon Extender increases my cellular signal from one bar to five bars in my home, so I need it to work. Here is the link explaining the set up for my Verizon Extender.

    Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.
  10. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    Make a new thread next time so you can get the right help. Did you connect the extender via Ethernet to the Express?
  11. mneblett macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2008
    If you are running your ISP's cable into the Express (i.e., in WAN mode), you cannot use the second Ethernet port as a LAN port for the range extender. See here: (note the comment that WAN and LAN cannot be used simultaneously).

    If you want to stay Apple, you need to have an Airport Exreteme or a Time Capsule, both of which have several Ethernet LAN ports in addition to a single WAN port.
  12. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    The second generation AirPort Express has both a WAN and a LAN port.
  13. michsunshine macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2014
    I have a blue light for my power and also for my wan on my network extender, talking to Verizon now to see if we can get a blue light for system and gps, then I will be all set. So I do not think its an apple issue as much as we are trying to connect it direct to my cable modem now and its doing the same thing. Will keep you advised.
  14. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    Which Express do you have and are you running a Double NAT config?
  15. michsunshine macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2014
    I have AirPort Express 802.11n (2nd Generation)

    I think all Verizon was trying to do was see if my Network Extender would work connected direct to my modem, which so far it has not. This would tell them if maybe my extender is defective or if I had an issue with my router. They said the Extender shoul work off my router also.
  16. mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    You can use both the Express or Extreme as your main router.
    That being said the Express has some limitations.

    One being it only has 1 ethernet input and 1 ethernet output.
    Extreme has 1 input and 3 outputs.

    Express handles up to 802.11n WiFi speeds.
    Extreme handles up to 802.11ac WiFi speeds.

    The extreme also has much stronger antennas to better cover your household with WiFi goodness.

    IMHO, the Express would be a good router in a small setting, think college dorm or small apartment.
    Extreme would be better suited to cover the square footage of a 1,300+ sq ft home.
  17. michsunshine macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2014
    Thanks for all the good help. I just purchased a AirPort Extreme and plugged my Verizon Network Extender into it and everything works fine. I needed an additional Ethernet port which the Express did not have.
  18. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    I am glad you came up with a solution. Keep in mind that if you are ever short on Ethernet ports, you can simply add an unmanaged switch to the LAN port.
  19. tejota1911 macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2006
    You made a good choice. The Airport Extreme is way better than the Express. 802.11ac, Range, LAN ports, etc.
  20. windowpain macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2008
    After a lot of thinking over which to buy, either the express of the extreme, I just got myself a refurb of the new tower extremes.
    It was replacing an older n extreme (1st gen draft n, no simultaneous dual band) and I must say I am very very impressed.

    If anyone is on the fence I would plump down the extra money and get the extreme.

    I have a very strong signal which is blazingly fast, about 126Mbps. Might even be faster at quieter times of the day.
    The ac wifi makes a lot of difference. My unscientific estimates are that it is at least twice as fast.

    I am lucky living in Japan but I would imagine it is fast enough that the bottle neck will be most people's ISP.
    I thought I had a 100Mbps line, but apparently it is a 1Gbps. Never would have noticed without having a new router.

    Set up is a breeze and if it is anything like my older one, I probably won't have to touch it again until I replace it in another 8 years. Awesome routers, they really are. Well worth the money.

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