Apple updates AirPort Express With 802.11n

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
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).
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 59
    zzcoopzzcoop Posts: 28member
    Will this in any way reduce the (admittedly minor and completely tolerable) lag in AirTunes streaming?
  • Reply 2 of 59
    boogabooga Posts: 1,082member
    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.)
  • Reply 3 of 59
    nacnudnacnud Posts: 20member
    Can you use the USB port for anything other than printing?
  • Reply 4 of 59
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member
    *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?
  • Reply 5 of 59
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 59
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 2,006member
    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...
  • Reply 7 of 59
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 59
    boogabooga Posts: 1,082member
    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 )
  • Reply 9 of 59
    nchianchia Posts: 124member
    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?
  • Reply 10 of 59
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    This is perfect for a traveler who in unfortunate to travel to areas that don't have WiFi in the hotel. Ordering now...
  • Reply 11 of 59
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 59
    nace33nace33 Posts: 94member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 59
    Really, am I the only one who notices the question mark in the title? It bugs me.
  • Reply 14 of 59
    umijinumijin Posts: 133member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 59
    umijinumijin Posts: 133member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 59
    wtbardwtbard Posts: 42member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 59
    djpadzdjpadz Posts: 37member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 59
    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.



    (??)
  • Reply 19 of 59
    nacnudnacnud Posts: 20member
    Use Airfoil for system sounds, it can also turn any PC (windows) or Mac into remote speakers.
  • Reply 20 of 59
    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.
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