4 Replies Latest reply: Jun 14, 2013 10:09 PM by miremba
miremba Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hi guys.  I have a few devices that I want to hook up somehow but am not quite sure how to go about it.  I have some knowledge but when people provide highly technical responses, I sometimes get lost in it all so please go easy on me.    I've already read several threads and I think I've gotten myself completely turned around so I thought I would ask you fine people.


For what it's worth, I have the old style of Airport Express that does NOT have the ethernet output port though that woud help to simplify things a bit if I did.


I currently have an Airport Express, a USB hard drive, a PS3, a macbook and a printer (non-wireless).  I'd like to somehow get everything hooked up and playing well with each other.  Currently the Macbook and AE work together just fine as does the iPhone.  That's great. 


The PS3 connects to the AE wirelessly as well but I'd like to find a way to get the PS3 connected to the internet via ethernet cable instead to speed it up a bit though this isn't a life or death sort of situation at all.  I'm also not sure if doing so would make it so that my macbook couldn't stream to it wirelessly for movies and such.... ok... I've just answered my own question on that one.  Nevermind the PS3 part.  Wireless it is. 


Now, the trouble that I'm having is logistics about where things have to be in my apartment.  I have one cable outlet so the cable modem and airport express have to be in one particular corner.  There is not room to put the printer over there too so I can't connect the printer directly to the airport express.  I also know that I can't connect the hard drive to the AE directly (as much as I wish that were possible).  What is the simplest and most affordable way that I can somehow get the printer AND the hard drive to be available wirelessly on my network while not at all being in the same physical location of my apartment?  They'd need to be on the other side of the apartment.


I am ok with the idea of needing to add another device to handle the hard drive and printer (ie another wireless modem) though I don't know what would necessarily work with the existing AE well or what I should be looking for.


Thanks in advance for your help.

MacBook, Mac OS X (10.7.2)
  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10 (93,530 points)

    Here are some facts to consider:


    1) Hard drive


    The AirPort Express will not support a hard drive at its USB port. You need an AirPort Extreme for that type of functionality.


    2) PS3


    As you already know, in order to connect the PS3 using Ethernet, you will need the "new" AirPort Express with both a WAN and LAN port. The PS3 would connect to the LAN <-> port. An AirPort Extreme would work as well for this, as it provides 3 LAN ports.


    3) USB Printer


    The USB cable of the printer must connect to the USB port on the AirPort Express.


    If you cannot locate the printer close enough to the Express to be able to connect to it, you will not be able to use the printer that you have.


    In that case, consider a wireless printer to connect to the network wirelessly. Then, you can locate the printer anywhere you want as long as it is in range of the wireless signal.


    I have one cable outlet so the cable modem and airport express have to be in one particular corner.

    Leave the cable modem where it is. You can run an Ethernet cable any length that you need from the modem to the AirPort, so you can locate the AirPort anywhere the Ethernet cable will go. Cables come in 10 feet, 25 feet, 50 feet etc lengths in any color that you want.


    For example, my modem is in the garage. The AirPort is in my office about 60 feet away.


    Bottom line.....it sounds like you need an AirPort Extreme to handle the hard drive and the USB printer. You can use one of the 3 LAN ports to connect the PS3, and still have 2 available ports for future expansion.

  • miremba Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for your quick response Bob.  I mentioned that I knew the AE would not support the hard drive so that comes as no surprise to me.  Is it possible to add a wireless router (not Airport Express or Airport Extreme) to my existing Airport Express network that will support a hard drive to be connected?  I really do not want to have to drop $200 on an Airport Extreme just to have wireless access to a hard drive.  That seems like overkill given the high cost.


    I had thought about moving the Airport Express to another area of the room but there are two main issues with doing so. 1.) I do not want to have an ethernet cable running from one corner of my apartment to the other corner near whether the printer is.  My apartment is small so unfortunately the printer has to stay where it is as there's no where else for it to go.  There's also no way for me to hide the ethernet cable from sight which is another reason I'd rather not do it this way.   2.) I use Airtunes on a regular basis and the speakers are located in the corner where the tv and cable modem are located.  The speakers aren't moving from that spot so if I move the AE across the room over to the printer, I lose the functionality of Airtunes.  It seems trivial, I know but Airtunes is used at least three times a day with much happiness.


    If I did get an Airport Extreme, that would solve the majority of the problems except for it costing $200 and I would lose Airtunes.  I have no idea why Apple doesn't simply include airtunes in the extreme model after all these years but who am I to quesiton.   


    So I guess my requestion really is narrowed down to this:  can you add a non-Apple wireless router to an Airport Express that WILL support a USB hard drive and Printer?

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10 (93,530 points)
    If I did get an Airport Extreme, that would solve the majority of the problems except for it costing $200 and I would lose Airtunes.


    Why would you lose AirTunes?  You already have an AirPort Express. Use it for AirTunes along with the AirPort Extreme.



    can you add a non-Apple wireless router to an Airport Express that WILL support a USB hard drive and Printer?


    I cannot think of a product that would meet this requirement....and also be compatible wirelessly with the Apple Express, but maybe another user can help out here. If you get no response, try posting on a Linksys or Netgear support forum.

  • miremba Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Bob.  If the Airport Express is in one corner of the room with the printer and the speakers are in the corner with the Airport Extreme, I wouldn't be able to use Airtunes.  Unfortunately due to the way my apartment is laid out, the speaks and the printer must all stay where they are. 


    Thanks for your help though.  It is really appreciated.