a very good product, but beware of using it with mavericks!
apple has stopped support for this device using osx mavericks. It will still function but you can't configure it. This is really really annoying as I bought it simply to use as an airplay receiver to connect to my speakers, I paid about £25 for it second hand which is a steal compared to the new airport express which is £80 for basically the exact same product in a new case (it doesn't even have any new features like wireless AC).
The 'old' airport express is visible to iOS devices and osx (not tested with windows) but when you try and set up the device you get the error 'device cannot be set up with this version of airport utility', and unfortunately you can't install the required version on a mavericks system. The only way to set the device up is to use leopard or snow leopard, so burn a USB key, boot into it and configure the router- once configured it will operate as usual with any mac and iOS device, and if you don't need to fiddle with the setting again then you can set and forget- if you do need to adjust anything then you have to boot into snow leopard again. For my router as I just use it for airplay I never needed to touch it again, it just works and I can stream to it no problem.
Streaming is quick and the connection rarely falters, there is a slightly 1/2 second delay which makes streaming audio from video impossible with standard players, make sure to use a player that can delay the video so it syncs with the audio.
I have no experience using the airport express as a router, or using printer sharing- I would make use of the hard drive sharing but that's not available on this product, the usb port is only for printer sharing.
A nice device, and you can save some cash by buying the 'older' model, but make sure that you're happy to do some tinkering with snow leopard, otherwise just pay the difference for the newer model.
I bought this product when I was at University halls of residence last year. The Internet was not accessible via hardwire and there was no wireless available! This was very frustrating because there was only one ethernet cable port in the room. I had no way of connecting my playstation and my laptop to the internet at the same time. My friend in a different halls of residence recommended that I buy one of these as I could pumo out my own wireless network in my room and also I could password protect it so that I could be the only user. I am so glad that I bought this as its got so many features that are helpful! I will now go into more detail about this product.
--- What can you do with it? ---
I first used it as a wireless port, it gives out a strong signal that is fast and always works. I still use this at home in my room because our wireless router doesn't send a good signal to my room, it allows me to have a fast connection to the internet. I also have my printer connected to it, this means that I can print wirelessly from anywhere at home. It doesnt take too long to set up, you need to install Bonjour which is a programme that allows you to set up the printer. The printer plugs into the airport and means I dont have to plug it into my laptop, whats better is that because I haave an airprint printer I can also print from my iphone and ipad! Most printers do not allow you to print from iphones and ipads, look into this before you connect your printer to avoid dissapointment.
You can also connect your speakers to this, the station has an aux cable hole where you can plug it from your stereo system. Its easy to set up and your itunes will see this when you open it and you can select to play via the stereo system instead of the speakers in your laptop/iphone or ipad! this is brilliant and you can play music all over your house. Its not what I bought it for, but its my favourite feature.
--- Cost? ---
I bought mine for £95, a quick search on google told me that you can now pick them up for around the £75 mark. They are expensive, but are really useful! because there made by apple you do expect them to be expensive, but be made to a high standard! I was happy to pay this price for it and I still am. Its gets a lot of use.
--- Is it easy to set up? ---
Very easy. It didn't take me long at all. There is a guided set up process that you are taken through! I had no problems. I was able to set up security and set up the printer very quickly. If you get stuck, apple has an online manual that helps and there are lots of forums which help give technical advice if your struggling. Most apple products are complicated, but explained well :)
--- What does it look like? ---
It is white and looks like a small rectangular box that plugs into the main power supply. The bottom contains three places to put cables in, you have an aux, usb and ethernet socket. It is very compact and fits nicely. I like the look of them. There is also a circle light on the front that tells you when your connected to the internet. If its green then your connected and if its red your not. Very simple design :)
--- OVERALL ---
I have had no problems with this and I am really happy with it. Its expensive but worth it. Another brilliant product by apple!
I will be giving this 5 stars.
Thanks for reading!
The Airport Express is a very compact wireless access point, which plugs straight into a mains socket. It's all white, has a USB port and even a 3.5mm audio socket (headphone socket). I have the 802.11g version, which a friend gave me but I believe it cost around £80 when new, before the Wireless N version came out. This may not even be available new to buy now as Apple sells the Wireless N version for £81 in store. Should be cheap on eBay though.
After installing the Airport software from the included CD, plugging the Express into the mains, I connected it using a network cable to a computer. Unfortunately, it too me a while to be able to get the software to see the device. I had to do a number of hard resets (this restores the device to factory defaults) and restarts (by unplugging and plugging it back in) before being able to access the device with the Airport Utility.
It was so annoying to set up, I gave up for a few weeks before re-attempting. Granted, this was a second hand one, but most wireless devices shouldn't take this much effort after a successful hard reset to access and configure. Reviews I've read also confirm that it's a bit on the tricky side to set up if it doesn't behave. I did it on my Apple Macbook but I had also tried out the Airport Utility for Windows. I couldn't get along with the Windows version though as it didn't always work properly and didn't let me access the Airport devices (I also have an Airport Extreme).
Something pretty amazing about this little device is the number of uses it has. The main selling point is probably its ability to 'extend' an existing wireless network. This is ideal if you have a wireless router already but are unable to get a reliable signal at the other end of the house, if any. There are two ways to use the Express for this. One is to plug it nearer to the other end of the house (or at least to the middle) and then run a network cable from the Express back to the router. This means the Express is connected to your network and can act as a separate wireless access point and you'd have it nearer the far side of your house so with any luck, you get a wireless signal straight to the Express. However, running a cable like this isn't always practical.
The other way to do it is to extend and existing wireless network without the use of cables. With this, the Express will simply connect to the existing wireless network and you'll just see the one wireless access point as it's just extending the existing one. Unfortunately, there's a big 'but' with this setup and that is, you will require an Apple Airport Extreme wireless access point, as the Express can only extend an Apple network.
These cost around £80 new so they're not cheap. I had managed to set up an extended network so with my Airport Extreme in the hallway, and the Express in my room, I extended the network to my room forming one network with two receivers (so you just see the one Apple network name). It worked BUT (again), I found the speeds to be pathetically slow. I have an 8Mbit connection and typically download around 500KB/s upwards normally on wireless but with the extended Airport network that I had set up, I could only achieve 3Mbit speeds, which I was very unimpressed with (G version is supposedly capable of up to 54Mbit speeds). With this in mind, I went back to my usual wireless connection and undid the 'extend'. It took a good hour or two to get it all up and running, which included going through online resources and the user manual so it wasn't exactly easy. There are a few different configurations for the wireless so you may need to read up on it to pick the right one for you. They have a user manual but online resources on the Apple website explain things a bit better.
Reading up on the speed issue that I had experienced, others have had the same issue. For those who cannot get a connection, something is better than nothing but for me, it's pretty unacceptable. I've tried suggestions found online such as changing the wireless channel but this made no difference. Whether wireless G or wireless N using other wireless devices, I've found that I get consistently higher speeds than when using the Express as my access point in an extended network so the problem is with the Express. If you had a Wireless G version of the Airport Extreme, then it may give normal speeds.
**Update: The N version of this device doesn't have speed issues.
Now, the main reason I was given the Express is because I brought up that I wanted to set up a 'print server'. This is a device to share a non-network printer over a network. I have a Dymo label printer and find I have to keep unplugging it to plug into a different machine, depending on what machien I wanted to print from. A print server is the solution to this as it'd mean I wouldn't have to do this ever again. The Airport Express has a built-in USB port and is capable of this. Once I had the Express up and running, this was pretty straight forward to set up with the Airport software and it works great. I can now print to my Dymo label printer from more than one computer without unplugging the thing.
Lastly, the reason for the audio socket is so you can stream iTunes music from your computer to the Express and then output it to a speaker straight from the Express. I've personally, not used this but a friend does and has informed me that it works great.
- Lots of uses (stream music, print server, access point, extend wireless network) âEuro¨
- Compact and plugs straight into a mains socket
- Extended wireless gives slow speeds! **
- Extending wireless only works with an Apple Airport Extreme / Time Capsule Wireless Access Point
- Can be difficult to set up
**Update: The N version of this device doesn't have speed issues.
Overall, the Express has a good number of features but I wouldn't recommend it even if you got the Wireless N version. The premium price is what I'd expect from an Apple product but I can't justify paying the full price for it due to the slow speeds when using it as a wireless extender. It's also a lot more difficult to set up than anticipated. Setting up the extender mode is difficult and limited to Apple networks but setting up it up for other modes (print server and/or audio streaming) is easy and can work with any wireless network. The device however, is stable, and as a print server, it works but you can pick up a cheaper print server from a different manufacturer (granted they won't be as compact and sit on your mains socket). Unless you already have an Apple Airport Extreme and don't wish to change it and you need your wireless signal extended and don't mind a bit of a drop in speed, I'd look elsewhere. Maybe the N version hasn't got the speed issue? I would do some research before parting with your cash.
Thanks for reading.
**Update: The N version of this device doesn't have speed issues.
I recently got one of these to stream music wirelessly between rooms in my home. I've been searching for a reasonably cheap solution to create a multi room system for some time and i think this is the solution.
The AirPort Express is essentially a wireless router with a twist. Not only can you use it as you would a normal router (extend a wireless network, share internet connection, etc) but you can also stream music wirelessly from iTunes via the stereo jack connection on the AirPort. You can also use this to make a printer wireless by plugging it into the USB port on the device.
The AirPort express is easy to set up, i'm using it with a Windows PC and it has connected with ease to my existing wireless network. It plugs directly into the power socket to make it discreet, however this means that you need a power source close to your printer or speakers/stereo to be able to full utilise its benefits without excessive cabling!
I havent used the wireless printing facility yet as i have a wireless printer already but i have this attached to a Bose Portable sound dock speaker in my kitchen and can stream music wirelessly from my itunes. itunes picked up the AirPort Express automatically as 'Air Tunes' speakers, when you select the speakers within itunes the music streams wirelessly to the AirPort Express and attached speakers. The real beauty of this is that you can control it all from your ipod/iphone by downloading the Apple Remote app from the Appstore. THe sound quality is excellent (although that will largely be dependent on your speakers), there has been no distortion or interruption of the music so far.
Overall, for £79 i'm very pleased with this and will probably get a couple more to link up to speakers in other parts of the house. The only downside is that the computer needs to be on to stream the music.
Yet another apparently expensive wireless product from Apple... with a twist.
AirPort Express is a mini wireless (and wired) access point with the added bonus of being able to share audio from iTunes and a printer (via it's USB port.)
Installing and setting up this device couldn't be simpler (I only have Macs so I can't speak for the PC setup process.) Power it up and plug it into your network using the RJ45 socket, let the AirPort Utility find it and you're pretty much away.
As wireless access point it is fine, does the job without hassle, but as with some other Apple products it has more than one trick to play. You can plug in a printer to the USB port and share it across your entire network, quite handy if you have more than one computer or laptop. You can also use the RJ45 socket as a standard network port, handy for gaming or using internet enabled devices (such as a blu ray player which I use it for.)
The real party trick is the AirTunes function. Once you've set it up, fire up iTunes and tell it to look for wireless speakers, select your AirPort Express from the list and you can use the audio jack for streaming music from your iTunes library. I have this plugged into an amp in my front room streaming the audio from my iMac in the cellar wirelessly, it's impressive (especially coupled with the iPod Touch's Remote app controlling my iMac's playback.) There are also a couple of third party applications that allow you to use the AirPort Express with more than just iTunes (Rogue Amoeba's AirFoil is one.)
The main downside to this unit is the size and the amount of heat it produces. After sustained periods of use it gets very hot to the touch and probably shouldn't be kept in a confined space. The size of this thing makes keeping it well ventilated sort of difficult, but not impossible, using a third party power lead (the plug comes off allowing for international sockets so a longer lead could be used instead of the plug provided) would ensure the unit could be stored flat and out of the way.
AirPort Express with AirTunes is simply the most innovative product I have seen for years. It has three main purposes:
1. To allow you to stream your iTunes library around your house and listen to your iTunes via your home stereo.
2. To act as an Internet access point, or router, allowing you to share your broadband connection.
3. To put your printer on your wireless network.
It can also extend your existing wireless network, i.e. it is a repeater.
The quality of the music streamed is excellent and I cannot distinguish it from a CD. The installation is very easy although the user manual is not the best I have ever seen. The product looks very cool and will crave attention from visitors to your home. The product does not require any power cables, although I found this to be annoying as my power outlet is too far away from my stereo, so the cable which links the AirPort Express to the Stereo has proven to be too short.
Overall, if you want to free your iTunes library this is the product for your and is available for an excellent price.