5 Replies Latest reply: Jan 16, 2009 12:15 PM by varjak paw
mireck-ca Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
Could someone please explain (in simplified terms, if possible) what the Airport Express is used for? (I did not understand the description on the Apple Store website). I have a wireless computer and usually work in a place with internet access via a router. But sometimes the signal is weak (I am pretty far from the router) and sometimes it is not functioning at all. So it is not reliable and I am wondering what if anything the Airport Express would do for me. And I am generally just trying to learn more about Wi-Fi. Thanks for your help.

Windows Vista
  • varjak paw Level 10 Level 10 (169,815 points)
    The Airport Express is a router/wireless base station, similar in function to the one you have now. See:

    http://www.apple.com/airportexpress/

    Whether or not an AE would be better than the router/base station you have will depend on why it is you're having problems. If your current router is defective, replacing it would probably help. If, however, the signal is weak and dropping out because of the distance from the router and/or parts of your house (masonry, metal, etc.) blocking the signal, than another router may not be any improvement.
  • mireck-ca Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    I still need clarification on a couple of points -

    1. Is the AE plugged into the router to improve the signal, or into something in the location where you are trying to use a wireless device? I did read the description in that link and still do not understand how it works. It says that the AE enables you to access WiFi from a distance away - such as in the garage or in the garden. I was hoping that it would be a way to improve the WiFi access in my room, which is physically distant from the router in my apartment.

    2. The link also seems to say that if you are in a place which does not have wireless but does have an ethernet connection, then the AE enables you to somehow use your wireless device (such as an iPod Touch) and connect to this internet channel. Does it somehow plug into the ethernet outlet and transmit a signal to your wireless device?

    Thanks again for your help.
  • F Shippey Level 7 Level 7 (21,500 points)
    Simply put: You plug an ethernet cable (with Internet access) into the AE and it (the AE) becomes a wireless hot spot.
  • mireck-ca Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    I loved your simple answer. Thanks!
  • varjak paw Level 10 Level 10 (169,815 points)
    Is the AE plugged into the router to improve the signal, or into something in the location where you are trying to use a wireless device?

    No. It's a wireless base station and router in and of itself. It would replace your current router/base station.

    Does it somehow plug into the ethernet outlet and transmit a signal to your wireless device?

    Yes. That's what a wireless base station does, and what your current router/base station is doing.

    You might want to read up on how a wireless network is put together. This site seems to provide a good grounding:

    http://computer.howstuffworks.com/wireless-network.htm