Airport Express

by brian d foy

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Apple just announce the Airport Express: a tiny 802.11g base station that supports up to 10 clients and can act as a wireless-to-wireless (and some say wireless-to-wired) bridge.

And it is less than $US150.

I am right at the center of the market for this thing. I travel a lot and already lug around an Airport Base Station that I expect to get crushed and destroyed in some way.

My plans for re-configuring my home network have just gone down the drain. We wanted to share our printer through the airport, and I was going to pull some cables to put the airport nearer the center of our apartment, then pull some cables to network our printer with the Airport's extra ethernet port. Now, I am just going to get an Airport Express and use USB printer sharing.

No, I am going to get three Airport Express stations and put them in every room in the house so we can share even more things (why not get another printer since they are so cheap?), have excellent signal everywhere, and try out this AirTunes thing. No, wait, I need another one for travel, too.

This also revives some of the stuff I have done with my HandSpring Edge and it's 802.11 card. I can connect to my Macs through SSH and control various things through little languages I wrote (like my Polyglot::iTunes Perl module).

Could it get any better? How about an Airport that is actually inside the transformer brick on the AC power cord of my laptop? Or a combination iPod/Airport gizmo? How about a wireless remote control for iTunes? What if I could just plug this into an ethernet port and get power from that?

I wonder if anyone will use this as their sole base station.

Anyone want to buy some old 802.11b base stations?


2004-06-08 12:47:49
Why the wires?
The appeal to me is the ability to be wireless in hotels and other areas where I was previously tethered. Plugging it in as a power brick or ethernet kind of kills that idea. Maybe it would be nice to piggy off of the power adapter so that another outlet would not be needed for charging. I'm still keeping my base station so that it expands the network range.
2004-06-08 14:14:30
works with other 802.11b networks?
I did not read it, but I guess this works with other 802.11b gear similiar to the way the Extreme AirPort does. If so, I'll probably get one.
2004-06-08 14:19:47
Why the wires?
For me, I use the wires to get power. Even though I have a laptop, I almost always have it plugged into the wall. I was really only speculating on what could be better, not what would actually be better. :)
2004-06-08 14:22:52
works with other 802.11b networks?
The Apple specs says "AirPort Extreme and AirPort Express can extend the range only of an AirPort Extreme or AirPort Express wireless network."

I take that to mean it will not work with the 802.11b Airports, or any other brand name. I don't know if that is just a limitation on their statement of usability or a technical limitation (real or enforced).

2004-06-08 15:40:00
works with other 802.11b networks?
Hi !

As far as I understood Apple's documentation, the extension feature only works with the more recent AirPort products -- Extreme and Express. Indeed, the ability to add multiple base stations to a network without needing to wire them physically to the Ethernet network was added with the release of AirPort extreme.

I guess that AirPort Express would extend the range of an AirPort (snow or graphite) network, provided that it too is wired to the network...


2004-06-08 15:52:41
works with other 802.11b networks?
The Airport Extreme Basestation has always had the limitation that it can only bridge to other Airport Extreme networks so this is not a new restriction of the Express.

As far as I am aware all other functionality of the Express (like the Airport and Airport Extreme before it) will follow the standard specs, particularly as this appears to being sold to PC as well as Mac owners.

2004-06-08 16:45:46
Express as my base station
I will indeed be using this as my sole base station. I've been meaning to get one, but have been balking at the cost. But how can I resist $129? Especially when I can plug my printer into it and take it with me on the road. In fact, unless you're using an antenna, why would the average home user need anything more than the Express? Hell, for the price of one base station you can get two of them and hook up your stereo.
nathan strange
2004-06-08 20:56:27
ipod is perfect remote
A Wi-Fi equiped ipod would be the perfect remote control :)