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Apple updates AirPort Express With 802.11n

post #1 of 60
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True to weekend rumors, Apple on Monday updated its AirPort Express mobile base station with 802.11n wireless technology, which delivers up to five times the performance and twice the range of the previous 802.11g model.

Priced at just $99, AirPort Express remains the world's smallest 802.11n-based mobile base station. It can be plugged directly into the wall for wireless Internet connectivity and USB printing at home or easily brought on the road for wireless freedom wherever there is an Internet connection. AirPort Express also features AirTunes, which works with iTunes to give users a simple and inexpensive way to wirelessly stream iTunes music from a PC or Mac to any room in the house.

"Apple is leading the way with a broad range of innovative 802.11n base stations for almost any wireless networking need," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "From the small and portable AirPort Express, to AirPort Extreme for workgroups of up to 50 users and the new Time Capsule for automated backups, Apple customers now have more great ways to extend their wireless networks with 802.11n."

AirPort Express features a single-piece, compact design weighing just 6.7 ounces, providing maximum portability. The device offers both PC and Mac users the ability to share a single DSL or cable broadband connection with up to 10 simultaneous users. Users can also share a printer wirelessly that is connected to the USB port. Apple's AirPort Utility software provides easy step-by-step instructions for setting up and configuring AirPort Express; and with its advanced security features, AirPort Express safeguards data on networked computers with support for Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2), 128-bit WEP encryption and a built-in firewall.

With the release of the updated AirPort Express on Monday, Apple now includes 802.11n as standard in its entire line of AirPort base stations and Mac notebooks as well as iMac, Apple TV and Time Capsule.

AirPort Express includes a built-in combination digital and analog audio connector allowing users to connect to a home stereo or powered speakers. iTunes automatically detects remote speakers and displays them in a simple pop-up list for the user to select. Once the remote speakers are selected, AirTunes wirelessly streams iTunes music from the computer to the AirPort Express base station.



Multiple AirPort Express base stations can be set up around a home, each connected to a set of powered speakers for a whole-home music experience. AirPort Express can also extend the range of an existing AirPort Extreme wireless network.

AirPort Express is available immediately through the Apple Store, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $99 (US).
post #2 of 60
Will this in any way reduce the (admittedly minor and completely tolerable) lag in AirTunes streaming?
post #3 of 60
The Express is the perfect thing to have in your travel bag. For all those hotel rooms that don't have wireless and put the little couch across the room from the CAT5, you can just set up your own wireless network (or those meeting rooms where the chairs next to the uplinks fill up first thing). Then you can use your Touch on the network as well. (My gadget pack for travel includes a touch, express, and the touch cables to hook it up to a composite TV so I can watch my movies on the hotel TV.)
post #4 of 60
Can you use the USB port for anything other than printing?
post #5 of 60
*Sigh* the Ethernet port is not gigabit. The same mistake they made with the Extreme-N and then later silently corrected.

Why put giga ports on their computers but only mega ports on their routers?
post #6 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

*Sigh* the Ethernet port is not gigabit. The same mistake they made with the Extreme-N and then later silently corrected.

Why put giga ports on their computers but only mega ports on their routers?

Well, until isp's start pushing out speeds over 100Mbps it's really not an issue with the Airport Express...
And if you intend to use the AIrport Express' ethernet port as a switch, you will still only transfer data at wireless-n speeds... which rarely, and i'll bet never goes over 100Mbps. (300Mbps being the theoretical max, 80Mbps being the 'actual' max).
So, while Airport Extreme would need gigabit ports for wiring 2 or more computers at 1Gbps, the Airport Express cannot physically wire 2 computers together... Gigabit would be a waste.
post #7 of 60
I know one of the benefits of n over g is the increased range. But is that increase realized when the computer used is still on b? I am hobbled with a TiBook and its awful range--I got it 2 weeks before g...

A separate question, is it possible/difficult to use an Express to extend the range of a non airport network? I got FIOS and their wireless router, but I only have coverage in half the house...
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post #8 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by zzcoop View Post

Will this in any way reduce the (admittedly minor and completely tolerable) lag in AirTunes streaming?

No... that's a side effect of how they implemented the whole airtunes thing.
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post #9 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

I know one of the benefits of n over g is the increased range. But is that increase realized when the computer used is still on b? I am hobbled with a TiBook and its awful range--I got it 2 weeks before g...

A separate question, is it possible/difficult to use an Express to extend the range of a non airport network? I got FIOS and their wireless router, but I only have coverage in half the house...

This was exactly my situation, and exactly what I use it for when not travelling. You have two options:
1. The preferred option is to run CAT5 across the house and attach the Express to it. Then just give it the same name (SSID) as the other router on a different channel and clients will automatically switch back and forth to the strongest router.
2. If running CAT5 isn't an option, you can put the Express in a place in the middle of the house where it's still in range of the original base station and use it as an extender. You'll lose half your wireless bandwidth in this process but it will double your range. For this your main router has to support WDS and be compatible, so it can be complicated to get right. (Or, you could shut off the wireless on the FiOS router and buy two expresses )
post #10 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

With the release of the updated AirPort Express on Monday, Apple now includes 802.11n as standard in its entire line of AirPort base stations and Mac notebooks as well as iMac, Apple TV and Time Capsule.

What about the Mac mini?
post #11 of 60
This is perfect for a traveler who in unfortunate to travel to areas that don't have WiFi in the hotel. Ordering now...
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post #12 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by broadbean View Post

What about the Mac mini?

AppleInsider reported that dead 9 months ago...they've been ignoring it ever since and hoping it goes away.
post #13 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post

Well, until isp's start pushing out speeds over 100Mbps it's really not an issue with the Airport Express...
And if you intend to use the AIrport Express' ethernet port as a switch, you will still only transfer data at wireless-n speeds... which rarely, and i'll bet never goes over 100Mbps. (300Mbps being the theoretical max, 80Mbps being the 'actual' max).
So, while Airport Extreme would need gigabit ports for wiring 2 or more computers at 1Gbps, the Airport Express cannot physically wire 2 computers together... Gigabit would be a waste.

If you have a Gigabit network that is put together with a Gigabit switch and then you could plug the Airport Express into that Network to create a wireless 802.11n network, then a gigabit port on the Airport Express would not be a waste.
post #14 of 60
Really, am I the only one who notices the question mark in the title? It bugs me.
post #15 of 60
So, will this version not get its AirTunes wireless signal disrupted by my microwave oven, like the first version?

If not, I'm saving my money.
post #16 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This is perfect for a traveler who in unfortunate to travel to areas that don't have WiFi in the hotel. Ordering now...

Just get the older version for half the price if all you need it for is hotel use.
post #17 of 60
Can PCs see a USB printer attached to the Express (i.e. can you share a printer with both PC and Mac when using the Express)? Thanks.
post #18 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

This was exactly my situation, and exactly what I use it for when not travelling. You have two options:
1. The preferred option is to run CAT5 across the house and attach the Express to it. Then just give it the same name (SSID) as the other router on a different channel and clients will automatically switch back and forth to the strongest router.

Be careful when you do this... Having two access points on the same SSID really works best when both SSIDs are on the same network. Giving your AE the same SSID as your other router will cause roaming between the two routers to fail, since the AE can't act as a bridge (it can only route). That means that if your home network is, for example, on the 192.168.1 net, and your AE's wireless segment is 192.168.2, your machine will get "lost" if it switches access points.

The better option (if you can), is to use the AE as a relay. It'd really be nice if Apple would allow the AE to bridge.
post #19 of 60
I think I know the answer already, but:

Can the Express be used for any audio output (besides just iTunes)?

If not, I'm disappointed. There are lots of circumstances where external speakers are beneficial, such as iMovie, Garageband, Pandora, games, etc.

(??)
post #20 of 60
Use Airfoil for system sounds, it can also turn any PC (windows) or Mac into remote speakers.
post #21 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

I know one of the benefits of n over g is the increased range. But is that increase realized when the computer used is still on b? I am hobbled with a TiBook and its awful range--I got it 2 weeks before g...

If your computer can only read "b", then it will not realize any faster speeds (g or n) and will throttle down to "b" when you use it.
post #22 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by djpadz View Post

Be careful when you do this... Having two access points on the same SSID really works best when both SSIDs are on the same network. Giving your AE the same SSID as your other router will cause roaming between the two routers to fail, since the AE can't act as a bridge (it can only route). That means that if your home network is, for example, on the 192.168.1 net, and your AE's wireless segment is 192.168.2, your machine will get "lost" if it switches access points.

The better option (if you can), is to use the AE as a relay. It'd really be nice if Apple would allow the AE to bridge.

As long as the AE is on the same network and not acting as a DHCP server, there's no problems. It just forwards all the requests back. On the contrary to your statement, running cable and matching SSIDs is the much better option-- you get twice the bandwidth and much better range (since the nodes don't have to be within range of each other). As someone who's done it both ways with this exact configuration, I'd say if you can run the cables try it.
post #23 of 60
i like how the picture shows it inconveniently covering up an extra socket.

haha.
post #24 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by wtbard View Post

Can PCs see a USB printer attached to the Express (i.e. can you share a printer with both PC and Mac when using the Express)? Thanks.

I'm told this works, mostly, depending on the printer and drivers, etc. As much as setting up a printer for Windows ever "works" very well.
post #25 of 60
This is awesome, now I can wirelessly connect to my mac mini at...

...oh wait.

No USB/time machine on either airport?

No gigabit ethernet?

The update is better than nothing but hard to get excited about considering what they still left out.
post #26 of 60
I have three words for you:

Multifunction Printer Support.


Yet again Apple disappoints on this product. If you are one of the millions that has bought a printer that also copies, scans, etc., you are out of luck with this product.

There is absolutely no indication from the information we have that this will be wirelessly supported. Look carefully at the pictures on the website and the printers they connect are the simple vanilla kind. If you want to scan, you are going to have to unplug it from the Express and plug it into your computer.

When will Apple understand that a huge part of their customer base has MFPs?? They don't have it on the base station either.

Oh well...
post #27 of 60
pretty sure MPF support is a function of the device drivers not of the network device.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ulmelqlo View Post

I have three words for you:

Multifunction Printer Support.


Yet again Apple disappoints on this product. If you are one of the millions that has bought a printer that also copies, scans, etc., you are out of luck with this product.

There is absolutely no indication from the information we have that this will be wirelessly supported. Look carefully at the pictures on the website and the printers they connect are the simple vanilla kind. If you want to scan, you are going to have to unplug it from the Express and plug it into your computer.

When will Apple understand that a huge part of their customer base has MFPs?? They don't have it on the base station either.

Oh well...
post #28 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackaninny View Post

pretty sure MPF support is a function of the device drivers not of the network device.

This may be true, but the problem is that if you are going to use wireless printing capabilities as one of your main selling points, then you should have a disclaimer that some of the core functionalities of millions of MFPs are not going to work. Plus there are other networking solutions that, even on a brand by brand basis, have worked out support for scanning for example.

I'm sure Apple could probably get together with HP and the three other major printer manufacturers and work the driver issues out.
post #29 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackaninny View Post

pretty sure MPF support is a function of the device drivers not of the network device.

I'm not sure if there is an open standard for scanning and faxing over the LAN. I happen to have a networked MFP that doesn't offer network scanning & faxing on Macs. I don't reall mind that though. I generally avoid MFPs whenever I can.
post #30 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

This was exactly my situation, and exactly what I use it for when not travelling. You have two options:
1. The preferred option is to run CAT5 across the house and attach the Express to it. Then just give it the same name (SSID) as the other router on a different channel and clients will automatically switch back and forth to the strongest router.

I like this option, but my house is almost 200 years old. I want to own it for a while before I start poking holes in it. I could probably get to the attic rather easily, but that might not help me on the far side of the first floor where the most egregious dead zone covers the family room.
Quote:
2. If running CAT5 isn't an option, you can put the Express in a place in the middle of the house where it's still in range of the original base station and use it as an extender. You'll lose half your wireless bandwidth in this process but it will double your range. For this your main router has to support WDS and be compatible, so it can be complicated to get right. (Or, you could shut off the wireless on the FiOS router and buy two expresses )

I guess I have to call Verizon to find out if my router supports WDS, then. I don't see how to replace the Verizon router because it is one and the same with the modem (or whatever you call it when it is receiving fiber optics) and it is supplied by coax.
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post #31 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achiever View Post

If your computer can only read "b", then it will not realize any faster speeds (g or n) and will throttle down to "b" when you use it.

Actually, that part of the question was about range--not speed. I would believe you if you said that throttling down to "b" speed also led to "b" range, but I'm not sure that that is what you are saying...
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post #32 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by ulmelqlo View Post

This may be true, but the problem is that if you are going to use wireless printing capabilities as one of your main selling points, then you should have a disclaimer that some of the core functionalities of millions of MFPs are not going to work. Plus there are other networking solutions that, even on a brand by brand basis, have worked out support for scanning for example.

I'm sure Apple could probably get together with HP and the three other major printer manufacturers and work the driver issues out.

well i believe printing is not a problem - at least i have not usually had a problem setting these MFP devices up to print. scanning, copying and other functions are usually were the issue is and that is NOT what apple is advertising.

this issue belongs squarely with the device manufacturers to support mac users - if they can write the drivers for windows computers they surely can do so for os x.
post #33 of 60
The modem that they install with FiOS lets you turn off just the wireless via the admin controls. The installer should have given you the admin password, but otherwise you might have to call customer support and have them tell you how to reset it. That's what I ended up doing in my house-- I have an old UFO Apple base station on one side and the Express on the other side of the house.
post #34 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

The modem that they install with FiOS lets you turn off just the wireless via the admin controls. The installer should have given you the admin password, but otherwise you might have to call customer support and have them tell you how to reset it. That's what I ended up doing in my house-- I have an old UFO Apple base station on one side and the Express on the other side of the house.

Oh, cool. I didn't think of that. I will see what documentation I have from the install, thanks!
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post #35 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by umijin View Post

Just get the older version for half the price if all you need it for is hotel use.

Excellent point. I have no use for that speed for traveling. Though the 5GHz spectrum would be nice, but I don't foresee that as an issue. Thanks.
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post #36 of 60
Airport Express can bridge (at least the old one would). I used it all the time mounted with a more direct view of the access point than I could get with the laptop. Bridged from a Netgear router if memory serves me correctly.

Setting up the two access points with the same SSID is a real pain-- it screws up routes on the clients constantly as one switches in and out of favor. Bridging works much better.
post #37 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by broadbean View Post

What about the Mac mini?

What about it?

You are expecting an update?

For the past 2 years, Apple has only updated the Mac mini in the fall.
post #38 of 60
Pity the UK Apple Store is still selling the old version or I would order one today!
post #39 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by ulmelqlo View Post

This may be true, but the problem is that if you are going to use wireless printing capabilities as one of your main selling points, then you should have a disclaimer that some of the core functionalities of millions of MFPs are not going to work. Plus there are other networking solutions that, even on a brand by brand basis, have worked out support for scanning for example.

I'm sure Apple could probably get together with HP and the three other major printer manufacturers and work the driver issues out.

Buy a Printer that has wireless built-in.

The Brother HL-5280DW has both 100BT and 802.11g. The data stream carries the packets across the network. The dumb device [three-in-one] determines what to do with it. It's your PPD that isn't working correctly.

If you're using your ethernet port off the Wireless access point to go to the printer and you can use a standard RJ45 enabled printer without the scanner/fax built-in then it's definitely a device driver issue.

If you can low-level ping your printer then it's still your device driver.

If you can't ping the IP address of your printer than I would check our ip address range set for your network and make sure they are on the same subnet.
post #40 of 60
Forgive my ignorance but can these be used as wireless adapters for gaming consoles such as X-Box 360 and Nintendo Gamecube? Would you need any drivers for these to work as such?
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