another airport extreme vs. express question

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by ragamoffyn, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. ragamoffyn macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2011
    Hi, all. My 4-year-old Airport Extreme seems to be failing, so I'm looking at getting either a new Extreme or switching to the cheaper Express. I think I understand the main differences between them, but I'm not sure which would be better for my needs. Here are my specs:

    • 2-bedroom apartment
    • cable internet with (I think) a download speed of 12.5MB/sec
    • 2 users, one with a new iMac, one with a 4-year-old PC laptop
    • nothing else connected to my current router except for a printer

    I had been thinking that the Express would be fine for my needs, but then I read about the dual-channel thingy in the Extreme. Am I correct that with the Extreme, I could set up two connections: a faster one between the Extreme and the newer modem in the iMac, and a slower one between the Extreme and the older modem in the PC? But with the Express, there would be some sort of mixed old/new network that would slow down the connection to the iMac compared to the Extreme?

    Obviously, I'm not terribly familiar with these issues...

    Thanks for any help.
  2. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    there are 2 main types of wi-fi out right now G and N.
    to make things a bit more confusing N can use one of 2 frequencies, 2.4 which is what G uses, or 5. the 2.4 is called "G compatible" on the apple devices.

    My laptop, (macbook pro) is about 3 1/2 years old, and it has N, so your older windows machine may also.

    N-5 is faster than N-2.4 which is faster than G.

    A G device can connect to a N-2.4, but will not go any faster than G speeds, your N devices on the same network will run a bit slower than on an all N network, but from what i've heard they won't drop all the way to G speeds.

    2.4 (G or N) has a better chance of finding interference, most people's wi-fi is here, plus a lot of cordless phones and baby monitors work here. Microwave ovens also operate at this frequency. but a lot of times a channel change on your router will fix that.

    all that being said, G is 11Mb/s, not much less than your internet. so the main place you'll see speed gains is file transfers on your network from one computer to another.
    (also keep in mind these numbers are "perfect world" and you'll never see them in real life, and your wireless network is probably already faster than your connection.).

    so basically, an express would be fine for you.

    another thing to keep in mind with all this, MB and Mb are not the same when comparing speeds or sizes.
    a MB (megabyte) is 8 times the size of a Mb (megabit)
    most manufacturers use Mb so the number is bigger and seems more impressive.

    and the card in your computer is a "network interface card" or nic not a modem.

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