Is Airport Express signal supposed to go thru walls?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Wie Gehts, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. Wie Gehts macrumors 6502

    Mar 22, 2007
    I just instslled an airport express. That was 10 minutes and working as compared to 2 full days of hair pulling and finally returning a linksys router.

    Anyway, I'm curious as to how far, and what through, this wireless signal goes.

    Right now I'm about 12 feet away from the express which is plugged into a wall socket in the living room and I'm along and behind that wall in an alcove space.

    I'm listeneing to a radio station in iTunes through the express into my stereo and I'm getting some quick dropouts but no rebuffering.
    Are these things more 'line of sight' or is my computer in a bad spot?

    I looked in the airport admin utility and theres a bunch of options for setting signal strength and whatnot but I not sure about messing with those.

  2. Schroedinger macrumors regular


    Feb 12, 2004
    Baltimore, MD
    You're using radio signals, so it depends on what is between. Obviously signal strength drops with distance, but also keep in mind that radio won't penetrate metal and can be distorted by EM interference by devices in the path, especially things like microwaves.

    Your cellphone also is using radio, so if you have sense of where that works you'll have a good sense of where in your house radio can penetrate.
  3. Santa Rosa macrumors 65816

    Santa Rosa

    Aug 22, 2007
    What type of brick your house is made of also determines how good the signal will be, but in general the airport in the right place should manage to provide signal to most of an average size house.

    Just keep using it and see what happens, it should work perfectly!!! :)
  4. Wie Gehts thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 22, 2007
    Thanks guys.

    Actually,right now I would move the computer over a few feet to be in line of sight buy I got a bunch of crap plugged into the macbook at the moment.

    I'm in a condo apartment and I have no idea what the walls are made of except that the place in general is shoddily constructed ;)
  5. Str8edgepunker macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2001
    Philadelphia, PA
    In my apartment it has walls made of solid concrete because it was built sometime in the 50's. I'm about 15 to 20 feet away from my router and it really decreases the signal going through the walls. So the connection distance really does depend on the wall and floor/ceiling construction.
  6. Wie Gehts thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 22, 2007
    hmmmmm, a bit after I posted I was to listening to a couple of stations and didn't notice any glitches for about an hour more I listened.
    I do scan about another 6-8 wireless networks nearby. Maybe there can be interference with other users networks <shrugs>

    ahhhh, computers ;)
  7. dal20402 macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2006
    Heh... try living in an apartment building full of MIT geeks. :)

    I can consistently see 30 networks, scattered through all channels... (my record is 41 :eek:) Wireless performance in my apartment is fine when no one else is online (midday, 3 a.m.) but gets very bad very fast during the evening hours, when everyone gets online, if I'm not in the same room with my Linksys WRT54G. I can't stream AirTunes audio to either of my AirPort Expresses during the evening without occasional dropouts. The rest of the time, streaming to both of them simultaneously is no problem.
  8. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO

    Not really. Cell phones, depending on your provider, operate on 850 MHz or 1900 MHz. Wireless routers are 2.4 GHz (2400 MHz). Lower frequencies typically penetrate walls better. So there's going to be a huge difference between what a cell phone (especially if it's 850, which would likely be at&t and Verizon) and a wireless router will penetrate.

    That said, I've yet to have a wireless router in my home that didn't cover the entire house and penetration shouldn't be much of an issue in a small to medium sized home. The area is typically so small that the power output is enough to get through all the walls in the home. If there are problems, there's either something wrong with the router, the walls are built pretty damn well (really thick, concrete or metal or something), or there's interference. 2.4 GHz cordless phones and microwave ovens are 2 things that can really screw up a wireless network when they're in use.

    Oh, and another thing, is your airport express in an outlet that's hidden behind a couch, desk, file cabinet, bed, etc? Or is it out in the open. Because if it's like all of the electrical outlets that are oh so conveniently placed in my room, it's behind a bunch of crap that might be blocking the signal
  9. Wie Gehts thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 22, 2007

    Aaaarrrghhhh..... I went apoplectic for 2 days trying to get that friggin thing to work! :eek:

    I got the express up and running in 10 minutes.

    My iTunes stream was a bit glitchy the first hour buy seemed to be okay afterwards. UFO's? :)

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