13 Replies Latest reply: Nov 25, 2012 5:22 AM by benjasmine
Schrodinger56 Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

I have a broadband wireless router in my house that serves an iMac, MBP, PC, Laptop, iPad and various iPod Touches.  All the machines etc are connected wirelessly to my wireless broadband router situated in the hallway of the house.

 

Can somebody explain in layman's terms how an Airport Express would benefit my setup?

 

Thanks

  • 1. Re: Confused as to purpose of AE.
    Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (48,245 points)

    One benefit of adding the AirPort Express to your current network configuration would be for streaming iTunes from any of your iTunes host devices to your audio system. Another would be to connect a USB printer to the Express and be able to share it out to network clients. In both cases, the Express would be configured to "join" the wireless network provided by your current wireless router.

  • 2. Re: Confused as to purpose of AE.
    Schrodinger56 Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    With respect to the iTunes aspect presumably the audio system would have to be able to wirelessly receive the music from e.g. iTunes on my iMac?

     

    So is the iTunes and Printer connectivity of AE the only benefits I personally would see from getting an AE?

     

    Thanks

  • 3. Re: Confused as to purpose of AE.
    Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (48,245 points)

    With respect to the iTunes aspect presumably the audio system would have to be able to wirelessly receive the music from e.g. iTunes on my iMac?

    No, not necessarily. You would have at least two options: 1) Connect an appropriate audio cable between the Express and the audio receiver, or 2) Connect by wireless using an AirPlay-ready receiver.

     

    The Express' audio port provides both optical digital or analog output. You can also use multiple AirPorts feeding multiple audio systems (dedicated audio receivers or self-powered speakers) to stream to multiple locations throughout your home.

     

    So is the iTunes and Printer connectivity of AE the only benefits I personally would see from getting an AE?

    Pretty much. Since your existing wireless router is not another Apple product, you would not be able to take advantage of the AirPort's "extend" a wireless network feature.

     

    The only other option would be that you could configure the Express as a wireless Ethernet bridge. In this configuration, a non-wireless client can connect to your wireless network without having a wireless adapter. For example, a HDTV that only offers an Ethernet port for network connectivity. You could connect an Ethernet cable between this TV and the Express. In turn the Express would be configured to join the existing wireless network. The end result is that the TV would then have network/Internet access just like any other wireless client.

  • 4. Re: Confused as to purpose of AE.
    Schrodinger56 Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    Tesserax wrote:

     

    Since your existing wireless router is not another Apple product, you would not be able to take advantage of the AirPort's "extend" a wireless network feature.

     

     

    That's interesting since most ISPs in the UK come with their own wireless broadband router that you have to use and make it awkward to use a different one in terms of configuration of the router etc it makes this facility rather redundant or at the very least very limited.

     

    For example my ISP won't providce any technical assistance should an issue arise with my broadband service if I'm using a different router to the one they supplied.

  • 5. Re: Confused as to purpose of AE.
    Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (48,245 points)

    That issue is not necessarily UK-centric. One option would be to reconfigure the ISP-provided wireless broadband router as a bridge so it is basically performing only as a broadband modem, and then, use the AirPort (or any other manufacturer's brand of wireless router) to replace the routing functions. With that done, you can add addtional routers or simple wireless access points to extend the wireless range.

  • 6. Re: Confused as to purpose of AE.
    Schrodinger56 Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    As Apple aren't an ISP provider (in the UK anyway) would you have to carry out this rather convoluted procedure for every ISP just to use an AE?

     

    Do Apple produce anything that you can just plug in your ADSL connector into and that will act as a broadband wireless router?

  • 7. Re: Confused as to purpose of AE.
    Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (48,245 points)

    I'm not sure that every ISP in the UK only offers combination modem/routers as their only option. Those offering just modems would work fine in most cases. Except, unless the ISP requires PPPoA for user authentication. While other vendor's routers may support this protocol, the AirPorts do not ... Only PPPoE.

     

    Unfortunately, no. The Airports are basically wireless Internet routers. However they would still require a dedicated Ethernet Broadband modem (cable, DSL, or Satellite for Internet access.

  • 8. Re: Confused as to purpose of AE.
    Schrodinger56 Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    I would suggest that given the surfeit of wireless devices on the market today (iPads, Tablets, mobile phones, iPods, TVs Playstations, XBoxes etc) it would be very rare if at all to find an ISP who didn't offer a  broadband wireless router as part of their equipement package rather than just a modem!  I can't think of many people wanting to trail yards of ethernet cable round their house when they want to use their laptop in their garden or go to the additional expense of buying a wireless adapter to attach to their ISP's router!

     

    However thank you for detailing the limitations of the AE.

  • 9. Re: Confused as to purpose of AE.
    Keith Doherty3 Level 4 Level 4 (1,735 points)

    Actually Schrodinger -with the exception of the BT Home Hub the “free” routers supplied by ADSL service providers (Using the telephone line) are generally pretty rubbish Wi-Fi units - the firmware is almost always out of date and the ISP rarely help or correctly tell you how to update it.

     

    Oh and you are NOT obligated to use the equipment supplied by the ISP at all.

     

    Many of the problems that customers contact their call centres (Frequently at premium call rates) are about service interruption / stalling /slow speeds and dire latency issues (that's the time between you asking the servers to search for a site via the DNS and it downloading) are direct result of these firmware issues and crap routers (normally obsolete versions).

     

    Now what you can do is retain the ISP router, launch the JAVA control panel in your web browser and in the settings TURN OFF the WI-FI broadcast facility, (Leaving it just as the modem).

    Now sling a Ethernet cable to a Apple Time Capsule/Air Port Extreme/Express and have that create the Wi-Fi network with dual frequency bands 2.4 GHZ  (Good for distance/range) and 5 GHZ  (Better for maintaining speeds and capacity - for instance video/on line gaming streams).

     

    Further you can then extend the area with further Airport Expresses for those blind spots, introduce networked USB printers accessible to any PC/Mac/iOS or indeed Android device. Use the audio plugs to connect to H-Fi equipment.

     

    In the case of a Time Capsule all your devices would also be able to automatically back up to it via Wi-Fi (Subject to space limitations).

  • 10. Re: Confused as to purpose of AE.
    Schrodinger56 Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    Keith Doherty3 wrote:

     

    Actually Schrodinger -with the exception of the BT Home Hub the “free” routers supplied by ADSL service providers (Using the telephone line) are generally pretty rubbish Wi-Fi units - the firmware is almost always out of date and the ISP rarely help or correctly tell you how to update it.

     

    Oh and you are NOT obligated to use the equipment supplied by the ISP at all.

     

    Many of the problems that customers contact their call centres (Frequently at premium call rates) are about service interruption / stalling /slow speeds and dire latency issues (that's the time between you asking the servers to search for a site via the DNS and it downloading) are direct result of these firmware issues and crap routers (normally obsolete versions).

     

    Now what you can do is retain the ISP router, launch the JAVA control panel in your web browser and in the settings TURN OFF the WI-FI broadcast facility, (Leaving it just as the modem).

    Now sling a Ethernet cable to a Apple Time Capsule/Air Port Extreme/Express and have that create the Wi-Fi network with dual frequency bands 2.4 GHZ  (Good for distance/range) and 5 GHZ  (Better for maintaining speeds and capacity - for instance video/on line gaming streams).

     

    Further you can then extend the area with further Airport Expresses for those blind spots, introduce networked USB printers accessible to any PC/Mac/iOS or indeed Android device. Use the audio plugs to connect to H-Fi equipment.

     

    In the case of a Time Capsule all your devices would also be able to automatically back up to it via Wi-Fi (Subject to space limitations).

     

     

    Your comments regarding the wireless routers supplied by ISPs and endorsment of the BT Home Hub is of course moot.   Although this didn't help BT did it http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15154020

     

    Also for interest I can call my ISP on a free number for any support enquiries.  Others are also free and some are an 0845 number which is the cost of a local call NOT a premium rate number.

     

    Your other suggestions as how to configure a AE etc are noted.

  • 11. Re: Confused as to purpose of AE.
    Keith Doherty3 Level 4 Level 4 (1,735 points)

    Not actually endorsing the Home Hub from personal use.

     

    Personally I benefit from Virgin Cable within M25 with consistant download sppeds of 50 Meg and uploads of just under 5 Meg combined with Apple Wi-Fi

     

    And if your are satisfied with a relativey simple WiFi network achieved with most/many ADSL combined modem/routers then you need not spend anything extra.

     

    I would however not recommend any Netgear router- they are historically poor partners with Apple products.

     

    Better going with Linksys - they are the brand of world leaders in networking solutons CISCO !

  • 12. Re: Confused as to purpose of AE.
    Schrodinger56 Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    I looked into VM but when I found out that they imposed download limits during peak times and if you exceeded those limts they cut your download speed in half for a few hours as punishment I decided I was far better off where I was with a reliable 15Mb/sec. 

     

    Also I had a peak at their broadband user forums and wasn't impressed by what I saw with respect to peoples' issues with VM!!

     

     

    Anyway it's all sorted now so thanks for your help.  However being a bit of a novice at "networking" I was looking for something I could just take out of the box plug in and off I go, something akin to what I have now.

  • 13. Re: Confused as to purpose of AE.
    benjasmine Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Sorry for jumping in... but I'm also somewhat confused about the usages and limitations of AE.

     

    Can I use AE just for the purpose of making both my USB printer and external hard drive wireless? (I know only Extreme supports hard drive.)

     

    I currently have a Linksys router and I'm pretty happy with it. I'm not looking to replace it with an AE. Also, I use PCs only. The only Apple products I have are iPhone and iPad. Would Extreme do what I want in my setup? Or is there a better alternative?

     

    And, correct me if I'm wrong, based on what I read so far, I assume neither Express/Extreme would be able to extend my Linksys router's wireless range. It would have been a nice additional feature, but that's not my main concern.

     

    Thanks!