can someone please explain Airport Express for me?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by grooveattack, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. grooveattack macrumors 6502a

    Jan 9, 2008
    hi there
    i was looking into getting a base station but it seemed like overkill for what i need.
    Is the express just a small airport extreme?
    so i can just plug it in and away i go?
    i dont need it to work with an extreme do i?
    i just need it to give me wireless in my dorm room and kitchen ( next to each other, not big distance ) and to plug my speakers into.
    so.....can i do that?
    ( sorry, i know this is a very noob question but i have only just started to look at it and dont quite understand it yet! )

    oh and can i use it to extend the range on a non-apple router? i.e. a netgear router, or is it apple only?

    oh and another thing, looking on apple shop it says that you can connect a printer via USB, can i also plug a USB hard drive into it? my hard drive is mains powered, or cant it do that?
  2. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    The Express is pretty much a smaller version of the Extreme.

    For me, the two big differences between it and the Extreme are:

    1. It only has one network port on it, so you if you're using it as a wireless hub, you can't plug any wired computers into it (because the one network port would need to be connected to the network that you're making wireless).

    2. The USB port is only for printers. You can not share USB drives.

    It should work fine to give you wireless access in your dorm room/kitchen and allow you send music to your speakers.

    Don't know about extending the range of other networks. I thought that there was a Linksys hack that you could do to allow the Express to work with that, but I've never tried it personally.

    I'm not sure if you've seen it, but Apple's Swedish site is apparently showing that there's a new version of the Express about to come out that's been upgraded to handle 802.11n. I'm not sure if there are any other upgrades included (like being able to share a USB drive). You might want to keep your ears open on that.

    It's also great to travel with. You can save your settings into "Profiles", so if you wind up in a hotel that has wired Internet but no WiFi, you can give it generic settings with no worries of wiping out your home settings.
  3. Batt macrumors 65816


    Dec 17, 2007
    Syracuse, NY
    My entire wireless network consists of 2 Expresses, and one of them is only for AirTunes. Works great. Do it.
  4. grooveattack thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 9, 2008
    oh excellent...just what i want then! might just wait till Tuesday to see if this update comes out. thank you!
  5. theLimit macrumors 6502a


    Jan 30, 2007
    up tha holler, acrost tha crick
    The Airport Express truly is one of Apple's more versatile products. I use mine to extend the range of my wireless network as well as provide wired connections to the machines on the second floor of my house. I can't believe I waited so long to get one, I used to have a 100' Ethernet cable running out the window of one room and into another!
  6. ProMod macrumors 6502a

    Dec 29, 2005
    Can anyone tell me their experiences with the range of the Airport Express? I imagine it will improve with the imminent upgrade to 802.11n, and I am thinking of ditching my 802.11n Extreme when that upgrade occurs. My question is how the range of the Express fares when compared to the Extreme, and if it is any more reliable than the Extreme, which flakes out and disappears every couple days.
  7. grooveattack thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 9, 2008
    what improvements will 'n' have on the express? is it just range a signal strength/quality?
  8. westernmass macrumors 6502


    Dec 30, 2007
    Western Mass.
    interesting thanks for info. I have a 5 year old Linksys wireless router I think needs to be replaced. Gives me sparatic issues with the iPhone and wifes laptop. My question is about using this set up with a PC. I hope to in the next year get a MAC. Is the Airport Extreme something you buy specifically for PC or MAC or can be used with both. Meaning if I get it now for the PC and want to then use on the MAC will I be out of luck and need to bye a new one?
  9. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    I have a Time Capsule, but I'm sure you can use the Extreme for both (as it is the same as an Extreme in terms of the router part). You can use it with either platform or with a combination of both. I currently have a PC hardwired into it, and two laptops (one Mac, one PC) connecting via wireless N. It comes with AirPort Utility for both Mac and PC (so you can administer using either) and it works like a dream. Not too sure about Express (if that's what you had meant to ask) but from the product tech specs page, it seems that Windows users can at the very least access the wireless network.

    Edit: And no, you won't have to buy a new one. There's only one version (it's not either Mac or PC).
  10. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    It's faster, too. In the US, if you enable "wide channels", it can go up to 5x faster than g (assuming you've setup a "n"-only network that uses the 5ghz frequency, which both the Airport Extreme and Time Capsule allow you to do). Some countries don't allow this feature to work, so "n" speeds there are 2.5x faster.
  11. westernmass macrumors 6502


    Dec 30, 2007
    Western Mass.
    Thanks skorpien. Good to know and I think I will be looking into one later this week.
  12. Gentile macrumors regular


    Apr 29, 2007
    Can it only play music from iTunes wirelessly?

    How about the sound of a quicktime video playing on a mac?

    The sound from a Keynote presentation?
  13. McBag macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2008
    I used to have 2 Expresses (early 2006) in California: one hub and another one to extend the network/AirTunes. That covered almost the whole (large) house. But since I relocated to the UK in February I can't manage to make my remaining Express (my roommate got the other one :) work with my O2 wireless box.

    I miss it... I used Airfoil to stream non-iTunes audio.



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