AirPlay dropouts are a symptom of wireless interference. Use 5 GHz to the greatest extent practicable, since it is less susceptible to wireless interference from competing wireless networks. The presence of intervening objects tends to affect 5 GHz more than 2.4 GHz though. So, you may need to position your wireless equipment closer to the Express.
To determine if wireless interference may be the cause, try downloading a utility such as iStumbler. This may show competing wireless networks in your area (networks that do not broadcast their SSID will not be displayed).
If iStumbler finds only one or two in your area, you may be able to mitigate the effects of wireless interference by choosing a different channel.
Recent AirPort firmware upgrades from Apple have tended to improve matters rather than make them worse. This was not always the case. When in doubt, make sure you are using the latest firmware.
You can improve the performance of your wireless network by considering a "roaming network". This requires purchasing one or more additional AirPort Base Stations and connecting them together with Ethernet cables.
John: thank you.
I have tried all of these, except for hard wiring the expresses, and iStumbler tells me there are a lot of networks in my city neighborhood. I suspect interference is the issue and I won't be able to make it work and can't go to Apple TV or use AirPlay for music. I was hoping there was an app that could evaluate my network and tell me what settings/configurations would make AirPlay work or tell me it can't be done.
I have 2 airport express and an AirPort Extreme (all 3 less than 2 years old and most up-to-date firmware) and they are near each other (first express is 10 ft away up one floor, the next is on the same floor and 15 ft away). I have changed channels, left at auto settings, tried 5ghz and 2.4ghz, turned on/off guest networks, extended/joined networks, moved things, etc. I have served music from my 3 year old iMac (hard wired to the extreme and wirelessly) and served up music from iPad and iPhones wirelessly. Same results.
The house is very old and running wire is not an option. That was the promise of wireless. I have tried a bridge that runs through the house electrical system. Unfortunately, being an old house, the electrical system option didn't work because throughput dropped significantly.
The wireless spectrum is one of the most limited natural resources of any
Give the prevalence of all sorts of wireless devices any proximity to neighbors is likely to be "noisy". It is unavoidable. This is the reason for using 5 GHz to the extent your equipment is capable of it - all your AirPort base stations are.
The vast majority of wireless devices still use 2.4 GHz. This plus the fact that the 5 GHz spectrum is much larger results in much less potential for interference from competing networks.
Assign the 5 GHz network a unique name, since Apple's default is to assign both 2.4 and 5 GHz wireless networks the same name which makes it difficult to ensure your devices connect to the desired one. Unless you tell your devices Expresses to join the 5 GHz network exclusively, they may join the more interference-prone 2.4 GHz network instead. The distances involved in your case are not excessive, which leads me to believe 5 GHz should mitigate your AirPlay dropouts.
Powerline adapters are very hit and miss. Identical units that work well in one house may not work at all in another, which makes recommendations impossible.
I finally resoved the constant drop-out after 3 frustrating days of fiddling around. (My model is the A1264)
Here is a good list of 12 steps to go through:
What solved it for me was step 10:turning off IPv6 (the others made no difference)
- Click Start / Control Panel
- Click 'Network and Sharing Center'
- Click 'Change Adaptor Settings'
- Right click your network adaptor and select 'Properties...'
- Untick 'Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6):
The unit now works great - let me know if this works for you