Updates to Base Firmware: (from the 12/20/2004 news page)
Matt sent a note that Apple has posted firmware updates for both the Airport Extreme and Express bases. Both note similar changes including a fix for some printer problems noted by readers here with the previous updates. Here's the info/link to the Airport Express update:
About the AirPort Express Firmware Update 6.1.1
- Hard reset behavior is improved. With this firmware version pressing and holding the reset button for more than 5 seconds will cause the LED to flash rapidly. This visual feedback lets you know you've held the button long enough to trigger a hard reset
- Improved reliability of WDS networks when using WPA security. If you had a WDS network secured by WDS and then removed any of the WDS nodes, this could cause a memory leak resulting in the need to reboot your WDS network
- Resolved an issue with inbound passive FTP to a port-mapped computer on the network
- Resolved an issue with certain printers which were no longer recognized by the base station after the 6.1 firmware update was installed. With the 6.1.1 firmware these printers are again recognized by the base station.
I welcome feedback from readers that apply these updates (especially those that had to revert to older firmware previously). Thanks!
This page has Airport Express owner feedback and Tips on using the new Apple base and AirTunes feature. (The bottom of the page also links to some Apple Knowledge base docs on the Airport Express.) I welcome other Airport Express owner feedback, especially those using the "AirTunes" feature and how range and signal strength compare to previous bases. Thanks.
Airport 4.1 Update (w/base firmware updates) (clip from the Nov. 15th news page) After appearing in software update in 10.3.6, I checked Apple's Airport/Expess page and it now shows links to both
Airport 4.1 for OS X and Airport 4.1 for Windows update download pages which have more info on the changes. (Note WPA support w/WDS networks and I'm sure Airport Express users will welcome the remote support.)
AirPort 4.1 for Mac OS X (12.4MB)
The AirPort 4.1 for Mac OS X 10.3 software supports all models of Apple
AirPort base stations including the AirPort Extreme and AirPort Express
What's new in AirPort 4.1:
Supports Keyspan Express Remote for use with AirTunes (AirPort Express
Support for WPA security on WDS networks
Ability to rename a USB printer connected to a base station
System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.3 or later."
After installing the update and rebooting the Airport setup assistance launches as there's also firmware updates included (v5.5 for Airport Extreme bases and v6.1 for Airport Express bases.)
User Reports: (most recent first)
I welcome other Airport Express owner feedback.
AirPort Express, Belkin 54g (F5D7230-4) and WDS:
Happy Holidays, Mike -
Thanks for this resource; it's been a tremendous help.
Following up on Belkin owner Chris' report (earlier report here below), I'd like to report success
in using the Belkin 54g as a bridge / range extender with the AX.
I had the AX (Airport Express) setup first and did the following:
1) In the Belkin's web interface
a. enabled the device as an AP-only (ensuring the IP is in the same
network as my AX)
b. ensured bridging was enabled
c. In the Wireless tab, set the SSID and Channel to be the same as the AX
c. (optional) on the Bridging tab, entered the MAC of my AX so it
and only it would be bridged by the Belkin
2) In the AirPort Express (AirPort Admin Utility)
a. In the WDS tab, enabled the AX to act as a base station
b. WDS tab, also allowed clients to access the base station
c. added (manually) the MAC of the Belkin
Applied changes and the Belkin is now extending the range of my AX network.
Cool thing about this model Belkin is that clients hardwired to one of
its 4 ports can also connect to the network. (Also, from 12.26 through
01.05.2005, you can get a rebate from Belkin that winds it up at $10
- in theory; just got it and will work to remember to put the rebate in
the mail ...).
Again, thanks for your site - this page and the DVD page (FAQ's DVD section I assume-Mike) have been invaluable.
Feedback on Airport Express 6.1.1 Firmware Update:
(added 12/23/2004 from 12/22 mail)
"I use a Linksys BEFW11S4 ver.2 wireless router; firmware
version:1.45.10, Apr 15 2004; 128WEP; linux, win2k and G3 iMac and
iBook hosts (AE setup is done on the iBook with OS X 10.3). To get the
AE to join that network, I used the procedure added to your page on
9/3/2004 (from Don K.). After the 10.3.7 update, the AE lost contact.
After updating AE firmware to 6.1.1 and resetting the AE, AAU was
painlessly able to get the AE on my existing network.
Your site was the only one to get me going in the meantime. Thanks.
(added 12/23/2004 from 12/20 mail)
"I updated two Airport Express units running in WPA WDS mode tonight
with the 6.1.1 updater and both units are working fine with my 15"
Powerbook. However, a Dell Windows XP Home laptop using the latest
Intel Proset drivers can no longer keep a reliable, authenticated
connection. Nothing has changed on the XP laptop to otherwise cause
these problems and it had been working just fine for months previously,
including through the 6.1 update.
Not sure what to do about this one... anyone have to revert to an older
Not that I have seen (info on how below). I don't own an Express but updated my Extreme base from 5.5 to 5.5.1 and a 802.11g card equipped XP system still works with it but I'm not running a WDS/WPA mode network. (Just a single AE base).
(NOTE: info below was from before the Airport Express 6.1.1 firmware update released on 12/20/2004)
More on Printer Problem Fixes/Tips and Reverting firmware:
(added 12/8/2004 from 12/7 email)
"Thanks to your site and Dr. Michael Beck for helping me get my wife's Brother printer 1240 rolling with Airport Express. Fortunately, Apple has made the firmware version 6.0 available at its website
(Note - That page was not online on Nov. 19th when some past reflash tips were posted here, but noted in the Nov. 22nd update notes below, they finally posted the 6.0 firmware, perhaps due to so many support calls/requests for it.-Mike)
Uploading version 6 to the Airport Express and using Dr. Beck's solution for finding the printer by using the following steps actually worked--but only after I had reinstalled firmware version 6.0 AND followed Dr. Beck's steps.
Version 6.0 permitted Rendevous to find the printer; but the drivers it found continued to stop the printer in mid-stream. Version 6.0 and Dr. Beck's steps let the printer roll.
- Open the "Printer Setup Utility".
- Delete the existing Brother printer from the list.
- Select Add Printer....
- Select "IP Printing" from the connect type drop down list.
- In "Printer Type" please select "Socket/HP Jet Direct".
- Enter the IP address of your Airport Station and select the Brother
Printer Model from the Printer Model drop down list.
- Type "LP" lowercase in the que name field.
Reports/Tips on Airtunes Sound Volume Fluctuations: I don't own an Airport Express but posting this as a FYI to see if anyone else has seen it or has a suggestion. (See below for other owner replies).
(added 12/1/2004) "Airport express volume modulation
I' m having a problem with my Airport Express. When I am playing music through it, the volume goes up and down. It is not instant, but slowly fades low to high volume back and forth. It happened before the latest firmware upgrade, and still does after.
The express is hooked up using
the optical connector, and the problem exists when streaming music from 4 different computers. I have tried every setting I could find, on
every setting. I was just wondering if anyone has had this same
problem, and possibly found a fix for it.
(Update - 12/6/2004. Adam wrote after seeing the follow-up replies below)
Thanks for the help on the site. It turns out that my receiver defaults
to "pro logic" when an optical cable is connected, even on the "CD"
input. I would have never bother to check had it not been for the
reader with the same issue.
Thanks again, Adam
Two other Airport express owners replied to the request for tips on this:
(from 12/2/2004 news page)
I just got one of these buggers and was noticing something kind of
similar to what was described. I'm only using an analog connection.
The receiver was set on surround mode, so the sound steering was causing it to sound strange, since it isn't a 5.1 signal. When I turned the surround off, it was normal. May not be the same problem, but it's worth a shot!
Another reader said a reset helped:
(from 12/2/2004 news page)
I had a similar issue and hard resetting the airport express and
reprogramming it solved it for me.
(FYI - A previous report below said that his energy saver settings (processor performance and HD sleep settings) were the cause of pausing and other performance problems.)
More on Reflashing Older Base Station Firmware (for those w/o access to a mac that hasn't been updated to Airport 4.1 - if you do just use that system's older airport admin utility to reflash the base back to v6.0. If you have an Airport Extreme base, just use the AirPort Extreme Firmware 5.4 Download. For Airport Express owners, I could not find an apple page (as of Nov. 19th) with v6.0 firmware so try the other methods if deleting/readding the printer does not help with printer problems.
*Update* As of Nov. 22nd, Apple has now posted a page with Airport Express v6.0 Firmware, so I'd try that first rather than the procedure below.)
Here is little manual how to downgrade Airport Express firmware 6.1:
(if you do not have access to a system which was not updated to Airport 4.1 - if you do, you can use the previous Airport admin to flash the base back to the older firmware - see previous report on doing that.)
- You have to see invisible files (I use Cocktail) (to set finder to show invisible files)
- You need Pacifist (http://www.charlessoft.com/)
- You need Airport Express software 4.0 (CD)
- In Pacifist open AirportSW.pkg from AirportCD Airport/Packages (invisible folder)
- In Pacifist find file
- Copy file APBinary4.dat from Pacifist to Desktop (or some other place in your hard drive)
- Rename file APBinary4.dat to APBinary4.bin
- Open Airport Admin Utility.
- Open your Base station Configure window
- Click Upload
- Select file APBinary4.bin to upload
- After base station reboot You should have firmware 6.0 and printer works again
- Juha H."
Keyspan comments on Express Remote differences/Airport Express support (from the 11/17/2004 news page) In reply to an earlier reader question if the Keyspan Digital Media remote would work with
an Airport Express (updated w/airport 4.1/firmware 6.1) instead of the
Hi, Just saw the request for info regarding the AirPort Express and the Digital Media Remote. (an earlier reader report said the digital media remote didn't work.-Mike)
The Keyspan Express Remote is the only remote that will work with the AirPort Express. Internally, the Express Remote has hardware and firmware changes that specifically support the AirPort Express.
Also, These changes cannot be added to the Digital Media Remote.
Hope this helps!
More Printer feedback and a Tip: (so far only a very few reported printer problems, and one was from an 'unsupported' printer, although some were using supported printers they said. Try disconnecting/reconnecting the printer if you see problems. If you still have printing problems, try deleting the printer and adding it again.)
(added 11/19/2004 from 11/17 mail)
After installing the Airport 4.1 on my PowerBook and the 6.1 Airport Express Firmware update on my AP Express, I also got the "unable to establish connection with the printer" error. I got around this by deleting the listed printer in the Printer Setup Utility then adding the printer again. I did not have to disconnect then reconnect the printer to the APExpress. My printer is an HP DeskJet 935C.
Thanks for keeping up a great site. I always go to xlr8yourmac.com
second (after Apple.com) whenever I have a Mac question to be answered.
Although some never had a printing problem, several readers have said that worked (deleting the printer/adding it again).
(added 11/19/2004, from 11/17 mail)
"No problem updating the software and subsequent firmware update on my
Airport Express so far. It does seem to provide slightly better
reception to my PB 17". I connect my G4 PowerMac mirrored 867 dual and
the PB simultaneously on Comcast high speed Internet and print
wirelessly from both of them to a single Epson C80 printer.
I did notice that the Epson drivers for both the 900 and the C80 Epsons
no longer support the printer utility to clean out the jets or the
color adjustment from the computers. I now have to do this manually
from the printers themselves. I guess Epson will update their drivers
to make them fully functional at some point. This may be an Apple issue
on inkjet printers, however, rather than the print drivers themselves.
(When connected to my AE base, my epson r300 isn't 'seen' by the
Epson utilities, in fact i think the same is true of my Canon i900D IIRC and I suspect many others. I think their software just does not
look at other than a local USB port for the printer.-Mike)
I wonder if anyone else noticed this new limitation for either one of
(added 11/19/2004 from 11/16 mail)
I've got an airport extreme base station that I updated today. I ran into the printing problem mentioned on your page when trying to print to an HP Photosmart 7600. Using the Printer Setup utility to delete and recreate the printer solved the problem for me.
Best Regards, Derek
So far everyone that mentioned a printing problem that tried deleting/readding the printer said it helped.
I also experienced printing problems with the 6.1 Airport Express
firmware. In my case it solved itself by removing the printer and then
letting "Rendevouz" find it again. (even with os X updates, a common tip for usb device problems is to disconnect and then reconnect the printer or usb device.-Mike) I have an HP deskjet 5655.
Great site. Keep up the good work.
To clarify, he removed the printer (deleted it) and then added/redetected it to restore printing. (not just disconnecting/reconnecting the printer.)
Like some of your readers, I lost wireless printing after applying the
Airport Express firmware update.
I'm using a HP Deskjet 940c which is officially supported by Airport
Best regards, Johannes S.
(I asked if he tried disconnecting/reconnecting the printer.)
Yes I did. In fact the printer is recognized OK but each attempt to
print a document fails with a "unable to establish connection with the
The other tip to try for printing problems is to remove the printer (delete it) and then let "Rendevouz" redetect it. (Worked for the
Airport 4.1/Firmware update 6.1 Feedback/Tip on reverting firmware:
The reader that sent the original unsupported printer tip (below) wrote that the latest update broke
printing for this brother printer. He later wrote with a tip on how
he reverted the Airport Express firmware back to v6.0:
applying the update to my Airport Express has completely broken access
to my attached Brother HL-1240 printer. I have been using flawlessly
for weeks now with this AE before the update. It seems obvious that
the AE does not see the printer as it is not listed in the summary by
hitting command-1 when connected with the Admin Utility. It was
definitely seen in the summary before the update. (see his earlier report below)
I had it set up using IP Printing with lp as the cache and it was righteous with the current Brother drivers no GimP Print needed. I have reset the AE and tried starting up printer by cycling its power and plugging into the AE and starting up, no go. Also hot plugging, nothing makes the printer show in the summary. Airtunes works fine. Any idea how to revert the firmware?
(he later wrote)
I was able to get my Brother HL-1240 back up. Luckily I did all
updating etc from my iBook. I went to my Dual 2g and used the Airport
Admin (v4.0.1 the last I think) to upload default software. As I had
not updated the Airport Admin on this machine it uploaded v6.0. That
did it, printer back in the summary for the AE and printing is back
again wirelessly from an iBook G4, and a wired Dual 2g and a windows
box. The 6.1 version definitely doesn't see the printer. This pinter
is not officially supported but it was always able to see it on the USB
port, it just took the IP Printer settings and cache name resolved to
work but it worked. So I can't be sure if this is a printer problem or
a base problem. I have a Canon i960 here but don't know if it
supported or not as the official list seems to be missing from the
Apple site. This site http://www.efelix.co.uk/tech/1013.html says that it is. If I have time tomorrow maybe I'll reupdate and see what happens. I would think other readers will have comments on their
printers before I can get to it though. Thanks again for the rockin site.
Dr. Michael E. Beck, MD"
If you don't have access to a mac that was not updated to airport 4.1, then see this reflash guide above.
I welcome other feedback on this update. If any other owners that used the unsupported printer tip see a problem with the latest update, let me know. Thanks.
"I ran the Airport Assistant and it installed a new firmware update on
my Airport. Rock solid, appears a bit faster with page downloads... no
I had to launch Airport Admin Utility a second time to upload the new
firmware to my Airport Express. You merely need to select the WiFi
device for it to alert you that a firmware update is available. You
must click OK to actually upload the new firmware.
I cancelled out of the setup assistant on first reboot
after the update, but after realizing there was a firmware update
included I ran airport admin and updated my Airport Extreme base
(flashed ok first time, seems ok so far).
(added 11/16/2004 from 11/15 email)
Airport Software updated to 4.1 without any problem on my Powerbook and Dual 867mhz. It updated my Airport Express Base Station to firmware 6.1
I have no idea what is supposed to be improved. (see notes above)
It did run the Airport Setup Assistant on the restart after install.
(Note: reports below were before Airport 4.1/Firmware update 6.1 was released)
Feedback on Printing Tip:
Just wanted to drop a quick note to say that I found your page with Airport Express Feedback very useful today.... Just purchased an Airport Express and a new iBook G4 today. Installation was very straightforward and smooth, except that my Epson 880 would NOT print from the Airport Express.
Very frustrating and the manual and online documentation were very sparse. The guy I spoke to at Apple tech support gave some line about drivers even though what he said didn't make sense.
In the end, the note you posted from Dr. Michael E. Beck on 8/20/04 (see below) was
the key. I'm using OS 10.3.6 and while the manual says to select Rendevous as the communication type, selecting IP Printing was all it took to make everything work. And making sure Printing was enabled on the Airport Admin Utility, which also is not discussed in the documentation, and which defaults to being disabled.
Dunno if the IP Printing vs. Rendevous thing is obvious, but as a new Apple user, it wasn't to me. Anyway, if you still have Dr. Beck's email forward my thanks to him for saving me further time/frustration and thanks to you for reprinting his note.
Energy Saver Peformance Settings:
Mike, I have had a Airport Express for a while, and it worked great. Lately though I had noticed that my audio stream would pause and then 10 or so seconds reestablish the feed. In some cases I would have to relaunch iTunes to solve the problem. I thought it was a problem with the hardware but it was my energy saver settings.
I had Processor Performance set to "Automatic" and the option "Put the
hard drive to sleep when possible" selected. I changed the processor
setting to highest and deselected putting the hard drive to sleep.
Apparently this was what was causing the problem. Since changing those
settings I have had no problems.
I am running 10.3.6, Powerbook G4 1.25 1.5gigs Ram, 80 gig hard drive.
More comments on linksys WRt54G and WDS (from a reader mail, in reply to a older post below on Linksys firmware update adding WDS support)
I would like to confirm that the Linksys WRT54G router does require the latest firmware upgrade to work with WDS. I had followed the instructions on your site with the 2.02.x version of firmware - the AX light remained yellow after the final step. Immediately following the download and application of the 2.04.4 firware to the router, the AX light turned green without any reset or replug.
Thanks for the tips.
Airport Express Review: (9/24/2004) Bench Blaser sent
a review of Airport Express w/photos and setup
info as well as notes on using esp ghostscript and the hpijs printer drivers to share his HP Deskjet 3325.
"First thanks Mike for having this forum and for all who have
contributed. I was able to get my network up and running in a matter
of a few hours rather than a few days and save some money using the
Linksys WRT54G. (See previous reports/guides for 3rd party router/Airport Express WDS setups below-Mike) One amazing thing to note about the Airport Express
that is not widely publicized is that it can act as an access point
(its a receiver and its ethernet port can be used to distribute IP
addresses) as well. I just remember this not being clear in Apple's
initial advertising. (The day the Express was announced Apple dropped their previous entry-level Airport Extreme base, since the Express has more features and costs less-Mike) I see Eye TV is using this feature.
Ok, so on with this report. First let me say that I a Mac user and not
an Windows XP expert at all, but I do have one XP pro system and help
my friends out very rarely with theirs. (After this last experience, I
do love my Mac even more). So there is some large percentage of people
using Windows XP and iTunes that are experiencing a skipping problem
when playing iTunes as I was. It is clearly not a majority of people,
but it is certainly higher than 15% given the number of posts on the
discussion boards both in the iTunes for windows area and the Airport
Express area. People are blaming XP home, others XP Pro, others SP2
upgrade, and others iTunes and/or Airport Express. Note the iTunes
skipping problem occurs WITHOUT an Airport Express although it can
start up after adding an AE. (FYI - the related links below includes this Apple kbase doc on AirTunes audio stream drops or cuts out which mentions for macs to install the 8-31-2004 Airport card update and includes other troubleshooting tips.-Mike)
Yes, this issue seems to be at least a 2
headed monster. Without going into all the gory problem solving
details (3 full days worth) the problem seems to be between how XP
handles computing power and how either iTunes or the AE stream music to
the audio board in a windows machine.
ANSWER: Change the "Priority" of the iTunes application in the "Task Manager". How do you do this? Right Click in an open space on that bar at the bottom next to the Start Menu. In that contextual menu will be "Task Manager" and select that. (Note: Make sure iTunes is running of course. Also see the reader tip below for changing QT for Windows setting.-Mike) In the Task Manager, click on the "Process" tab. Highlight
iTunes and right click that. There will be a 'priority' option.
Select High or Real Time. I know Real Time made all my skipping issues
disappear both on playback on my local speaker and with my Airport
Express. On thing to note, the priority option does not 'stick' with
the application. This means if you quit iTunes or reboot, you will
have to change the Priority again in the Task Manager. Good luck
Also as a general rule, trimming the number of processes running in XP can also help performance (start/run/msconfig is an easy way to disable a lot of typical startup items and even processes in Windows. This will stick between reboots and is easy to re-enable/revert back if you need to.)
A reader also sent a tip in reply to the above report:
"(alternative to setting ITunes priority in XP to "real-time" to avoid audio dropouts)
A solution that may or may not help is to change the QuickTime output from DirectSound to WaveOut. This has a HUGE effect on the iTunes performance. Generally, the QuickTime default is WaveOut, but many people with performance-related problems in Windows (me included) noticed that their settings was "DirectSound" instead.
You can change it by going into QuickTime-preferences in the Control Panel, and select Sound Out.
I don't think this will have any effect on streaming to an AE, but Doug mentioned that "the iTunes skipping problem occurs WITHOUT an Airport Express although it can start up after adding an AE", so it might be worth a try.
"Mike, after some time off, I came back and was able to use the Airport Express in my Linksys WRT54G wireless network. Recent Apple Discussions (discussions.info.apple.com) helped clarify a few items. (Thanks to Daniel Noblett's notes.) Here is what I did to make it work.
(Note - for other Linksys (and Belkin) WDS setup guides/info, see
previous reports below)
Plug in, reset (push button with paperclip for >5 seconds), and attach the Airport Express (AX) to an Ethernet port on my (Linksys) WRT54G.
Run Airport Admin Utility (AAU) - make sure it's the latest version - installed from the CD that came with the AX. My WRT54G gave the AX an IP address (it's set to use DHCP). The default AX password is "public" (no quotes).
From Safari, go to 192.168.1.1 and log into the WRT54G (default login is blank, and password is "admin"), and display the channel (11), SSID, wireless MAC address (which differs by one hex digit from the LAN and WAN MAC addresses), in the format: 00:0c:41:5f:19:6e. I'm using WEP 128, so I copy the WEP key, too.
Then, in AAU:
Airport (tab) - select Create a Wireless Network, enter the SSID (from the WRT54G) as the Network Name, set the channel to match (channel 11). Click Security and enter "$" followed by my WEP key. Enter it again in the Verify box.
Next click on Internet (tab) - select Connect Using Airport (WDS), type in the wireless MAC address from the WRT54G, and then check Allow Wireless Clients. (I want to allow them but have not yet tested this.)
Click Network (tab) - and uncheck Distribute IP Addresses.
Click the WDS (tab) - and check Enable This Base Station as WDS, and select Remote Base Station. Check Allow Wireless Clients. Again, confirm that the MAC address is filled in with the wireless MAC address of the WRT54G.
Click Music (tab) - and check Enable Airtunes on this Base Station. Give a name to the location where the AX will be deployed (near my home theater room), like "Home Theater."
Now click on Update to load this configuration into the AX.
The Ethernet cable from the WRT54G port is then disconnected, and I unplug the AX, move it near my destination (room with home theater/stereo, 70 feet away and upstairs). After a minute, the AX resets and light stays green. This is good!
I cable the audio connector on the AX into my audio receiver (front input). Back at the Macintosh, I run iTunes, and at the bottom of the window, click on the drop-down, and change Computer to Home Theater. Next, select and run my favorite play list. No drop outs, just good music.
Only thing I'm not 100% positive of is whether this means that WRT54G firmware 2.04.4 support of WDS is involved.
Next I plan to test remote USB printer and wireless PC in the area of the AX.
PS --- see enclosed 8/18/2004 e-mail from Linksys tech support reconfirming that the WRT54G (presumably with firmware version 2.04.4?) supports WDS. I never used the Sveasoft or other 3rd party firmware for the WRT54G. (see his previous comments on this below - his copy of the linksys)
(copy of Linksys TS mail follows)
Subject: Support Request
Dear Mr. Don K.
Thank you for contacting Linksys Technical Support.
With regards to your Email, Linksys WRT54G router supports WDS.
It should work with WRE54G Linksys wireless Expander.
And if you're trying to access the router's set-up screen,
you have to open it using a web browser. Make sure that your
computer is connected directly thru the router, then open a
web browser and type in 192.168.1.1, and use the default
password "admin". If you can't access the IP address, try
to hard reset the router, follow the steps on how to reset
- Press and hold the reset button for 30 sec., after that
- Unplug the power keep holding down the reset button for another 30 sec.
- Then, plug back the power keep holding down the reset button for 30sec., after that
- Release the reset button.
For more in formation please visit our knowledge base at
If you have further questions, please contact us at
(800) 326-7114 or send us an Email at email@example.com,
so that we may further assist you.
Hope that helps.
Another Report on WDS setup with 3rd party Routers:
There's several past reports here on setting up WDS with a Linksys 54G, but this is the first one from a Belkin router owner:
Mike, I'm not sure if this information is out there and I have just overlooked it, but I wanted to report that I have successfully set up a WDS network with an Airport Express and both the Belkin 54G (F5D7230-4) and Belkin 125HSM (F5D7231-4) routers. (there's several reports/guides here below from Linksys WRT54G owners) I have tested the Belkin's as both the Base station and the WDS Access points and they work perfectly out of the box. No need for the firmware hack like the Linksys requires.
I have been using Belkin access points for a while because I haven't found another brand of inexpensive wireless routers that have a check box to turn off the router features and have it function as an access point. Also, these routers offer WDS. These features make setting up the Belkin connections to the AX a breeze. Just make sure to set the SSID and Channel to the same thing on the Base station and the Access Points and make sure you set up the WDS tab to enable the wireless bridge with the WLAN MAC address and that you do the same on the Belkin.
Just to test things out I set up me network as follows:
Setting up the WEP is a bit more difficult than it should be, since Apple doesn't include the ability to enter the 128-bit Key in Hex, only as a "password". Using the Airport Admin Utility, set up the WEP password under Security on the AirPort tab of the Configure Base station Window. (If you don't already have WEP enabled, you can setup the Airport base first using string and the use the airport base 'show network equivalent password' to see the hex key.) (At this time I guess I should point out that I am doing this all with the Windows client as I am at my office and don't have a Mac here. The utility seems to look the same as the one I used on my Mac last night, but I haven't actually compared them. There may be some differences.) Once that is set up, go to the Base Station menu and choose Equivalent Network Password. That gives you the Hex key you have to enter in the Belkin. Everything else is pretty standard setup stuff.
I am not planning on doing a complete how to with screen shots since the setup is not that different than the Linksys or the Buffalo and there are several complete tutorials out there for that. (there are some past guides here below) If you would like more information let me know and I'll be happy to do what I can to help out.
Three other things I should have included are:
1. I also tested a configuration with the Airport Express as the Base Station and the 125HSM as the Access Point. It worked equally well, however you have to live with the "simplification" that Apple has done to cut down on configuration complexity. There are several places where The Airport Admin Utility gives you a list to choose from instead of just allowing you to enter a value. An example of this is the IP address field for the DHCP server. My company has set aside a Class C for VPN users that does not conflict with any of the addresses on our corporate network, but the AX does not let me use that because it has a set range of IPs you can choose from for the DHCP server. Also it lets you configure the number of DHCP addresses, but doesn't let you set the start of the pool, so if the AX address is 192.168.1.1, the pool starts at 192.168.1.2. This is annoying to me (and probably only me) because I have always had my DHCP pool set to start at 200 and used the lower IP addresses !
for any static IP servers or printers that I have. Besides that, it worked well.
2. The Belkin 125HSM router offers NO benefit in this setup. You have to disable the HSM mode to enable WDS so it is essentially the 54G version. If anyone is planning on using this setup, go with whichever one is cheaper. I got the 54G version for $29 after rebate and the 125HSM was $59 after rebate.
3. The true Access Point version of these routers (F5D7130) should work as well, but only if the AX is the Base Station. However, I have not tested it so make no promises.
Thanks for the great site!
Tip for Airport Express and Unsupported Printers: (*Note* - see his later report above that the Airport 4.1 update/v6.1 firmware update broke printing for his brother printer. Included in that report dated 11/16/2004 is how he flashed the base back to firmware v6.0.)
I have labored days trying to get my old Brother HL-1240 laser to work with my new Airport Express base. It is not listed as compatible. I am using an original Graphite Base and running a rev1 Dual 2ghz and the latest driver from Brother. 10.3.5 and all current updates. I used info on the Brother support site for the Airport Extreme Base and other Brother printers. I found their instructions lacking one crucial step for the Express and maybe the latest Airport Extreme software and base (can't test don't have an Extreme). In my desperation I tried Gimp and tons of permutations to get this to fly until I read something in the small print for GIMP.
- Open the "Printer Setup Utility".
- Delete the existing Brother printer from the list.
- Select Add Printer....
- Select "IP Printing" from the connect type drop down list.
- In "Printer Type" please select "Socket/HP Jet Direct".
- Enter the IP address of your Airport Station and select the Brother Printer Model from the Printer Model drop down list.
- (I am adding step 7) type "LP" lowercase in the que name field.
After doing the above it prints no problems from the G5 and a new 12" iBook 1ghz with extreme card. There is a CUPS driver list in the drop down list for Brother as well as other makers. This trick may work for any laser with a CUPS driver in the list.
I did try Gimp print drivers but you have to use th HP Laserjet II Gimp driver with this printer and can only get 300dpi as a choice in Print Settings in the print window drop down. Using the stock Brother driver in the drop down gives you 600dpi, says Brother toning method, and seems to be essentially the same driver and settings available with it attached to any mac by USB.
My ibook doesn't have any GIMP stuff loaded so it doesn't seem to be necessary to use this non-postscript (it is PCL-something I think 2) printer with the Express.
I hope this spares someone the hours I wasted on this. Thanks, for your all your help!
Dr. Michael E. Beck, MD"
Thanks for taking the time to send this.
Airport Express/Airtunes setup w/Windows XP Service Pack2/Firewalls:
I was happy to read your site before my Airport Express arrived. The AE
would be the only Apple device on my network.
I had the following problems but eventually got it to work. I thought you might like to hear some of the solutions and things to look out for.
First, my home network configuration uses Linksys 54G
WAN/wireless/wired/firewall support. (some other reader guides
below also had a Linksys 802.11g base in their configs) There are several PCs that are wired only and one PC that is wireless only. All PCs run XP Pro with the new (service pack 2 w/new security updates) SP2 (significant in a minute.) In addition, all PCs run Trend Micro's PC Cillan virus protection and firewall.
PCs also run iTunes 4.6 and share music libraries over the internal LAN.
(really cool BTW... Works great)
I wanted to install Airtunes for my stereo. I use all Lossless encoding for highest quality. AX looks like a perfect solution. I don't care about WAN or USB particularly in this location.
I took it all out of the box and plugged it in the way the little book says. Indicator light went to solid yellow.
I loaded the Apple CD in a wired computer... As it comes up, a windows
message says something like "for best results, allow Windows to manage
wireless connections. This computer is not allowed to manage wireless
connections" Unfortunately, everyplace I find in the Windows wireless
stuff has "allow Windows to manage wireless connections" checked. The
message and Help doesn't give hints about where to find the switches that would make it happy.
I closed the dialog box to find the Apple Wizard still "working". However, the Apple wizard doesn't see the AX anywhere. Pressing "Rescan" button does
nothing. Same result on both wired or wireless XP machines. I cannot
configure the AX unless I can see it. No number of AX resets or power
interuptions would make the AX happy.
Using the Apple AX Windows Admin Utility for Windows gave the same results.
Using the Wireless PC, I found the AX access point in the Windows Wireless Site manager. The Admin Utility still didn't see the AX...even after I connected to the AX using the password "public". Weird...Windows could see the AX but the Admin Utility could not.
The admin utility Rescan button doesn't work but the "Other" button asks for a Network address in the form of XXX.YYY.XXX.YYY. I don't know what the number is because I can't "see" it.
Frustrated, I decided to see if I could reach it over Ethernet. I hardwired an Ethernet cable to the AX. Light is still yellow but after about 2 minutes, it turned green. Interesting. I wondered what it was doing that was making it so happy. Since the Linksys is running DHCP, I Ping'd around at the network address until I got an answer (this can be done since you kinda know what the Linksys DHCP range is going to be.)
Running the Admin utility with that net address and "public" password
worked. I joined the AX to my current Linksys wireless network with the WEP Key from my Linksys. The Admin utility worked as the PDF instruction file said it would. But the "speaker selector button" did not show up on any of the iTunes copies around the network.
Being totally lost now, I drove to work, got an iBook and launched the Apple AX Wizard from CD. Everything worked fine. I could surf the internet over the AX to Linksys wireless link. The Airtunes worked great from the Apple iBook. Way Cool!! But, the Speaker Button still didn't show up in any PC.
Knowing that the AX was configured well, I began to dig around on the wired PC until I found a couple things. Using the Admin Utility now, the PC found the AX in about a 45 seconds. I could now configure the AX from the PC (I can't explain that though it might have been enabled when I turned off SMNP at the AX. My network doesn't use SNMP for anything.)
Eventually, I found that the layered firewalls installed on the PCs were in the way of the AX. Eventually, I found that if I turned off the PC Cillan firewall, the Speaker button shows up on the PC iTunes copies all over the house. A beautiful thing. (NOTE: see the "Related Articles" links below for an Apple kbase doc on this same issue - i.e. ports used
must be open and may not be with some firewalls)
Summary: the individual PC firewalls must allow certain penetrations for the AX to stream Airtunes. My main home hardware firewall at the Linksys to DSL interface is my first and main line of defense to the internet (it doesn't need to know about the AX since it is inside my firewall.) Then, you must give the Apple AX Admin utility permission to penetrate the XP SP2 firewall. XP made it easy and asked me if I wanted to do it when I ran the utility the
The Trend Micro firewall was, however, very silent on the subject. There seems to be no documentation from Apple on which port to allow. I had to actually defeat the firewall completely to get it to work. If anyone knows the port number to allow, the Trend Micro firewall could be specifically fixed without being completely disabled.
In the end, if the firewalls were not there, the Apple Admin Utility would have probably worked the first time on the PC. "Why so many firewalls?", you say?...well, with wireless Access Points inside my hardware firewall, I think it is better to be safe than sorry if someone really can crack the encryption over the RF links. The XP2 firewall is new for me this week. Interesting improvements in overall security from Microsoft but once again, tersely documented.
I get very good coverage from the AX on wireless connections... Much better than the original 54g Linksys Access Point I had. I stream Airtunes beautifully to the stereo... from a wired machine to the Linksys to the AX over wireless...simultaneous with lots of Ethernet traffic for printing, surfing, etc.
The Airport Express is a great product save for some of the, shall we say, terse technical explanations in trouble shooting sections.
President and CEO
Microsoft also has a doc on their site about WinXP SP2 and how it
affects some programs that try to access the web. (Includes a long list
of affected programs in several categories and security config tips).
Programs that may behave differently in Windows XP Service Pack 2
Reader Note on Linksys WRT54G v2 Firmware Update
A reader replied to the reports here (below) on using Sveasoft firmware with linksys routers to setup WDS networks with Airport Express with a note that Linksys' recent firmware update for the WRT54G v2 router may support WDS per a Linksys Tech Support person's comment. (so far no
reports that it actually does support WDS though.)
I just on-line chatted with Mark G. at Linksys tech support. He confirmed (I repeated the question) that the latest firmware just released for the WRT54G, version 2.04.4, supports WDS. This is not stated in the Linksys firmware version history txt file for 2.04.4 at http://www.linksys.com/download/vertxt/wrt54g_ver.txt
This feature should allow a Linksys version of code to operate with an Airport Express configured as a remote client (WDS). If true, there would no longer be a need for the Sveasoft hack (firmware).
Won't be able to try it until tomorrow, but perhaps others will have feedback first.
Regards, Don K
(he later wrote)
One note: As of version 2.02.2, the firmware will work in version 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 WRT54G hardware. The links on the firmware update pages for the various hardware versions all take you to the same download,
BTW, I have been running version 1.42 firmware for a long time, and it's been a very stable wifi B/G router and 10/100 switch, supporting my B&W Mac and network printers on switched Ethernet connections, and various wireless systems as well. Linksys/cisco makes the GLP source code (it's a Linux system) available for all firmware versions on the Linksys site, too. http://www.linksys.com/support/gpl.asp
(just after 11PM he wrote)
I just downloaded and installed the 2.04.4 firmware. No router problems. Others report it's a stable and good release (wireless was weak on the previous version).
I cannot see how you "turn on" WDS. It's late and I'm tired. I'll look tomorrow. Please publish any other results on this. Could just be a bad reply from Linksys tech support. If so, sorry. Version Tracker has no substantive comments yet (including mine!).
I had previously checked Linksys' site and found the WRT54G - Wireless-G Broadband Router v2 firmware page that has the 2.04.4 (8/4/2004) firmware download.
I don't own a linksys router personally and some have reported problems with later firmware with some router models, so for those that are already using the Sveasoft firmware for WDS without any problems, I'd personally leave well enough alone. ("If it ain't broke - don't fix it" comes to mind.) However if anyone tries this firmware update and confirms WDS support, let me know. Thanks.
"Mike, I wanted to offer one additional viewpoint on setting up the Airport Express (AX). I've read all your reports and browsed the Apple discussion board to learn all that I could. I then bought my AX and configured to be a remote station (e.g., it could act as a bridge to relay signals between a wireless client and another wireless station). I bought the Linksys WRT54G wireless router that's hackable to add WDS (mentioned in other posts). (see below for note on non-linksys firmware update) I immediately applied the free patch to the router and it worked great. At only $79 in most stores, I highly recommended this option over a $200+ Apple base station.
Configuring the AX to work with the Linksys took a little trial and
error, but it all worked in the end. Here are the key issues folks
1. Make sure you enter the correct MAC address for your wireless
router into the AX configuration screen. This is easy to mess up,
because most routers have both a wireless MAC address and a wired LAN
MAC address. The AX needs to know the wireless MAC address for your
2. It's important to understand the difference between "Create a
Network" and "Join Existing Network." Joining a network means becoming
a node on an existing network (i.e., another wireless client). Creating
a network means forming another network cell, either connected to the
first network or independent. If you choose "Create a Network" and use
a single network name and password for all wireless devices, then the AX
will extend the existing network. (called automatic roaming) If you select Create a Network but use a different name and password for the AX, then the two networks will be independent.
3. If you configure the AX incorrectly and lose the ability to see
it on the network, simply push the reset button for 5 seconds while the
AX is on, and it will revert to the original settings so you can start
4. While you need a wireless-enabled Mac to use the Setup
Assistant, you don't need a wireless Mac to use the Airport Admin
Utility. You can do everything the Assistant does (and more) using the
Airport Admin Utility. I did all my AX configuration from a
non-wireless Mac connected to my Linksys via a cable.
5. The AX has surprisingly good range, almost equal to my Linksys
with dual external antennas. The internal AX antenna is somewhat
directional. Best reception seems to come from the side printed with
the Apple logo.
6. When you have the AX and another station overlapping in range,
your wireless device (e.g., a Powerbook) will stay locked on to the
first station it sees until the signal from that station is completely
gone, even when another station with a stronger signal is detected. In
other words, this is not a very "smart" system. I have not found an
easy way to force my Powerbook to switch to the closer, stronger signal
I hope this info helps someone.
"Greetings. I figured I'd lend my experience setting up the Airport
Express and a Linksys WRT54G router with WDS. One catch is that I did
not have access to a wireless-equipped computer, so I couldn't use the
Airport Express Assistant.
My 2nd floor network config is like this: Cable Modem -> Linksys
WRT54G -> Mac and Windows desktops
First of all, you will need the updated firmware for the Linksys
WRT54G. I used the Sveasoft Satori (firmware) version 4.0, available from http://www.linksysinfo.org. Upload the new firmware to the Linksys,
then go to the Wireless tab. My basic settings are AP, Mixed, any
network name (just remember it), channel 11, Enable broadcast.
Security should be WEP, 128 bits 26 hex digits. (if using WEP (not very secure) see Apple's kbase doc on PW selection linked below, WPA security not supported in WDS mode *until* Airport 4.1/Firmware v6.1 released late Nov. 14th, 2004.-Mike) Type in a passphrase
and generate the four keys. Then, copy one of the generated keys to
Go to the WDS tab (which is only available if you have the new firmware
properly installed). Enter the MAC address of the Airport Express
(plug it in to the network if you don't know it) in the top line and
choose LAN type. Lazy WDS and WDS subnet should be turned off.
Contrary to some other articles (there's one on ArsTechnica), you can
leave the Firewall option and the Block Anonymous Requests option
enabled under Security.
Go to the Status tab and the Wireless sub-tab. Write down the WIRELESS
MAC address of the Linksys router.
We're done with the Linksys for now. To set up the Airport Express, I
used a crossover ethernet cable and plugged my G4 directly into it.
Then I ran the Airport Admin Utility (off the Airport Express CD).
Configure the AXP. Under the AirPort tab, be sure to choose "Create a
Wireless Network" and use the same name that you typed in the Linksys.
Click Change Wireless Security and choose 128-bit WEP. Then, in the
password boxes, type a "$" and then paste in the key you generated from
the Linksys router. Choose Channel 11.
Under the WDS tab, choose to set it up as a "Remote Base Station".
Type in the WIRELESS (not the LAN) MAC address from your Linksys router
that you wrote down from before as the Main Airport ID. Under the
Network tab, disable the Distribute Network Addresses option. Under
the Internet tab it should say Connect Using Airport WDS, and have the
MAC address you just typed in.
Save the changes and the Airport should be set to go! Be sure to
enable "AirTunes over Ethernet" if you want it.
Now, I also wanted to configure Xbox Live because my 1st floor network
has the Airport Express, an Xbox, and a Gamecube. I kept getting all
sorts of errors from the Xbox Live config saying that my MTU and ICMP
wouldn't work, even though I knew that was incorrect (they state that
the WRT54G is a supported router!) So what I did was this: I
configured the Linksys' DMZ (under Apps and Gaming) to point to the
Airport Express' IP and then forwarded the ports required by Xbox Live
(UDP port 88, UDP and TCP port 3074) to the Xbox's IP address and
everything worked like a charm.
Good luck in your endeavor - I am basking in the beauty of Xbox Live
and AirTunes. :)
"Set up on my mac fine but every time my mac wakes from sleep I am told
that I have the wrong password. Clicking the network name in the
airport menu item connects instantly without requiring a new password.
This is the same when starting up.
I have a belkin 802.11G PCI card in my mum's PC that can see the
airport network but the airport express assistant for windows tells me
'there was a problem accessing the wireless subsystem' so I can't
connect to the internet via airport express on the PC. (if you're using WEP, see apple's kbase doc (linked below) on selecting a compatible PW for
non-mac systems. Also if using WPA, make sure the PC's card supports it
- for some cards there's an update in XP for WPA support.)
To top things off I have just tried to connectto my airport network
with my powerbook and have found that the Airport express unit has died
overnight. None of the reset procedures have worked. Apple service is
going to arrange a replacement but how long will that take? I already
had to wait an extra month to get it.
2nd report on an early failure.
Hi. Just got my Airport Express today and i was super happy to get
home and start setting it up.
Out of the box it worked perfectly. i have an ibook, a pc laptop, and
a pc desktop. All have wireless connection. I won't be getting dsl
until Monday so i only set it up for printing right now. It was a snap
to set up on all the computers.
instead of inserting the cd and setting up the airport express i
decided to try what happens from right outside the box. Finding the
printer on all computers were a breeze. No real setup required. For
the mac, rendezvous... for the pc... follow instructions in book, type
in tcp/ip address and done! All three computers setup in less than 5
minutes. (I think the CD includes a later version of the Airport Admin utility though)
As far as range goes i was a little disappointed. my room is about 15,
20 feet away and i get 75% signal strength. outside... 40 to 50 feet
away i go down to about 20%. I do have a house full of walls and such.
I'm hoping that's the problem and not my airport.
(I've always wondered how it compares to the original AE base or other bases w/ext. antennas. When I saw the size (and lower position typically than a std base) I wondered if range would be as good as a std Base.)
i found that my printer options aren't as good anymore. On the pc it's
almost good... i can at least check how much ink is left but not with
my mac. I hope it's just a driver thing that can be fixed. (I'm using an Airport Extreme base (original model) and my Epson R300 utilities can't see the printer if connected to the base's USB port. I think the same is true for some other printer's utilities. works fine otherwise though and the R300 has ink level readout on the LCD.-Mike)
Will update once i hopefully get a cable for airtunes and my dsl.
thanks for the great site!
Mike, Until yesterday I had been using 3 Buffalo WBR-G54 routers w/WDS for streaming between 2x ReplayTV 45XX's and 1x DVArchive Mac. The Buffalos took a little initial tweaking to get just right, but they now stream and provide wireless access perfectly well for my two Powerbooks, two Desktop Macs and one PC.
Additionally, I have been looking for a good way to stream music from a
sizable library on my Mac to my Living Room. The Airport Express seemed
like a good choice, and once I found out it can act as a bridge via
WDS, I figured I would sub out a Buffalo unit with the AEX.
My Airport Express (AEX) arrived yesterday, and I gave it a go.
My setup was as follows:
BASEMENT: Cable Modem -> (Cat 5) WBR-G54 (SSID "One" ) -> (802.11g) G5
LIVING ROOM: (WDS to "BASEMENT") WBR-G54 (SSID "Two") -> RTV
BED ROOM: (WDS to "BASEMENT") WBR-G54 (SSID "Three") -> RTV
I wanted it to be:
BASEMENT: Cable Modem -> (Cat 5) WBR-G54 (SSID "One" ) -> (802.11g) G5
LIVING ROOM: (WDS to "BASEMENT") Airport Express (SSID "Two") -> RTV
BED ROOM: (WDS to "BASEMENT") WBR-G54 (SSID "Three") -> RTV
So I plugged in the AEX and went through the "Setup Assistant"
configuration, but it was not geared toward using an AEX in a non-Apple
environment, so I tried the Airport Admin to tweak things. Still, I
could not get the AEX to relay the signal. I searched the Apple boards
and found this excellent tutorial:
The trick, apparently, is to set the channel to "1" and the SSID to be
the same as the "Main" station ("One", in my case). After this was set
up, I forced a Net Connect and the RTVs successfully connected, and
tested the IVS connections, both worked.
It was now:
BASEMENT: Cable Modem -> (Cat 5) WBR-G54 (SSID "One" ) -> (802.11g) G5
LIVING ROOM: (WDS to "BASEMENT") Airport Express (SSID "One") -> RTV
BED ROOM: (WDS to "BASEMENT") WBR-G54 (SSID "Three") -> RTV
I put away my mental tool-box and lay down to watch a streamed episode of Stargate. About 10 seconds in I received a "Video Unavailable" screen, and then it kicked back in. This repeated over and over. It reminded me of trying to stream over 802.11b. I went around the house and confirmed that all of my 802.11b devices (I have 2) were shut down. I rebooted the whole network and tried again. Same thing.
I reopened my mental tool-box and thought the whole mess through. Since
the Basement and Living Room were both the same SSID, I thought that
maybe there was a problem relaying the RTV streaming through the
BASEMENT unit. I changed the whole way of thinking and started over.
What I tried next:
BASEMENT: Cable Modem -> (Cat 5) WBR-G54 (SSID "One" ) -> (802.11g) G5
LIVING ROOM: (WDS to "BASEMENT") Airport Express (SSID "One") -> RTV
BED ROOM: (WDS to "LIVING ROOM") WBR-G54 (SSID "Three") -> RTV
So, now the BED ROOM and BASEMENT were talking to each other directly
via WDS. I tried RTV streaming and music streaming, and all seems to be
well. There is a bit of latency in the Bed Room internet connection,
but is is manageable.
Also, I seem to be able to stream music via 802.11b devices just fine,
so apparently there is enough bandwidth in 11mbps for music.
Automatic Roaming Tip: (in reply to a reader's comments
in a 7/22 dated report below that was manually switching between two bases/networks)
"Check out apple's article:
("Using WDS to create a network from mutliple base stations", one of the Kbase docs in the related links at the bottom of the page here)
search for roaming.
If you create both networks with the same name then automatic roaming is enabled and the laptop autoselects the station
with the best signal. No manual switching required.
Hi Mike, I received my Airport express last Friday. It was delivered by a very nice young lady (not our usual postman). I must remember to order from the Apple store more often :)
Set-up was initially a little frustrating, since I also got the error
saying I don't have a wireless card installed on my G4 desktop, so I
couldn't use the Set-up Assistant.
The posts by other users here helped point me in the right direction.
The only other machine I had to hand was a PC laptop running Win 2K pro
with an SMC wireless card. I read on Apples' site that the Set-up
assistant was not compatible with Win 2K and the only option was the
Admin utility. I was dubious about being able to get the AE working for
I got the software installed on the PC, connected the AE to the PCs'
ethernet port and plugged it in. I then hit the "configure" button on
the admin utility and this took me to a tabbed panel with various
options. One of these was to set-up the AE to join an existing network,
and I chose this. On the "Music" panel I also checked streaming via
Ethernet as well as Wireless. I don't know if this made a difference or
not. Strictly speaking I guess it shouldn't be necessary, since I only
intended to use it streaming wirelessly.
The AE light showed permanent green, so I disconnected it from the PC
and connected the audio cable to the HiFi in my living room. After a
few seconds it showed green again, so things were looking good.
On the Mac I now had my living room speakers showing as an option in
iTunes, so all looked to be set for go.
Now my adsl modem is one of those that doesn't have an Ethernet port.
Just the USB port and the connection to the phone line. This means I
cannot share my internet connection using the usual "Sharing Panel" in
System Prefs. Instead I make use of a program called BrickHouse (firewall GUI)
BrickHouse allows me to share my connection with other machines using
my Linksys WRT54G wireless router attached to the G4. For this I use
the Internet Sharing, IP gateway panel and choose the PPP (pppo)
Finally I tried streaming music to my HiFi from my G4 Mac, which is in
another room on the other side of my apartment. It worked; but the
music would stop after a few minutes and stay stopped. I could also
stream from the PC laptop I used to set the AE up, which was closer to
the HiFi in the living room. This was better; but the music would stop
and restart every few minutes.
At this point I was thinking it must be a range problem since the AE
was at the back of the HiFi cabinet plugged into an outlet on the
floor. I planned on rearranging it, and perhaps buying an extension
Before doing that though, I tried one more thing. I changed the IP
sharing option within BrickHouse from PPP to eth0, which is the
Ethernet option that corresponds to my WRT54G.
Voila!!! Flawless music streaming without any interruptions and without
having to change the position of anything.
This doesn't allow me to share my Internet with other machines, so I
have to choose between the two options depending on whether I want to
stream music or use other machines to access the net. This arrangement
works out fine for me.
Perhaps I could have set up the AE just as easily using the admin
utility on the G4; but I don't recall seeing the same options when I
had the AE hooked up to the G4.
If anyone is having problems with interrupted music streaming you may
want to try this. If you don't need to use a program like BrickHouse to
share your Internet connection, it might work just by changing the
sharing method to Ethernet in the regular sharing panel.
Hope it helps,
Regards, Geoff A.
Controlling Airtunes via Bluetooth Some have complained the Airport Express doesn't include a remote, but (as I suspect any mac owner with a bluetooth phone or PDA already knows), Matthew sent a link to a thread on using Salling Clicker software as a bluetooth remote for Airport Express.
(added 8/4/2004, from a mail dated 7/23)
Can extended range also mean increased signal strength? I've just added an Airport Express on the opposite side of my house, just down the hall from my original Airport basestation. From the location of the Airport Express, I get good reception with my Ti Powerbook, but just around the corner from it the reception drops off substantially,
sometimes entirely. I was hoping the Airport Express would provide for a much stronger signal where I usually work, but it doesn't seem to. During the installation of the Airport Express, before I extend my existing wireless network with it,
I get 4 bars of signal strength communicating with the Airport Express
directly. Using the Airport Express to extend my existing wireless network reduces the signal strength down to what it is without using the Airport Express at all.
Am I asking too much of the Airport Express? Any other ideas on how to
increase signal strength in a particular location?
Although you'd think having a base nearer the machine would help, I wonder if the AE antenna is really as good as other bases (some have ext. antennas and in my experience have better range). But materials/walls, etc. can also reduce or even block signals
and the Ti Powerbooks had poorer reception compared to other
macs (and are very directional - rotating the PB can change
signal levels due to antenna positions).
I used a PCcard
802.11 card (wavelan card, natively compatible with airport
as the original Airport cards were the same chipset) in my PB Ti at times which had better reception than the builtin airport. (but if there's some materials/walls that are affecting the base signal, that won't help.) There are also some Airport 3.1 and later 802.11g
(broadcom chip based) cards but I think you need to remove the
airport card to use them (you do with Airport Extreme macs,
not tried one in an older Airport card PB which I sold last year.)
FAQ's networking section has reports on 802.11g Airport 3.1 and later compatible cards.
(added 7/26/2004, from a 7/17 email)
Mike, I received my Airport Express base station yesterday and promptly hooked it up to (1) extend my existing Airport Extreme network and (2) to allow my wife to stream songs from her iBook (800 MHz G3) to our stereo.
Installation was straightforward, though I would have
preferred more explicit direction on which installer to use from the
installation CD. I guess I got it right, because after rebooting the
iBook I was able to quickly configure the unit. Initially, I tried
streaming tunes from the iBook to the Express 20 feet away but got
I then tried streaming from a Powerbook G4, and
there were no dropouts. I was very concerned because it occurred to me
that I hadn't checked to see if the Express is compatible with
non-Extreme Airport cards. The iBook has the old version of Airport.
The powerbook has the new version. After digging around the
instructions a bit, I found that the old technology is supported and
there can be a problem if large furniture blocks the signal. Indeed, I
had it behind the entertainment center. So, I attached a cord to the
Express and pulled it out away from the entertainment center. From
then on, there have been no dropouts from my wife's iBook.
strange I noticed is that she can control the volume from her iBook,
while I can't from my powerbook. I didn't run the installer on the
powerbook, so maybe a slightly more recent update to iTunes was put on
the iBook. As for the other function--extending the range of my
network, it seems to be doing the job. I couldn't get a steady signal
from my downstairs Extreme base station to my upstairs powerbook G4 to
save my life. Now, I typically get three bars. Not great, but it will
Also, I have a G5 connected via ethernet to my Extreme
basestation. When I start up iTunes, the little menu with the option
to stream to the Express shows up. So, it looks like everything is
working as designed. Couldn't ask for more, especially considering the
very reasonable price.
"Just got my Airport Express yesterday morning. I currently have a Dual-Ethernet Airport Base Station (Snow), so I cannot use the WDS feature to extend my Airport network. However, I configured my network with the Airport Express "Creating" a new wireless network, wired via ethernet back to my Base Station (see figure)
I left "DHCP" for the configuration under the "Internet" tab so it got
its IP address from the Base Station NAT/DHCP server. I un-checked "distribute IP addresses", under the "Network" tab, so
that it didn't re-assign IP addresses.
I now have two networks available under the Airport pull-down menu in
the menu bar and I can select whichever one gives me the best signal. I
was concerned that it would "interrupt" my connection when switching
between the two networks, but it didn't! (Note - see the later tip above for "Automatic Roaming" - i.e. use the same network name for both bases) I started downloading a large
file while connected to one airport network, then walked into the other
room where the signal strength started to degrade, switched over to the
other airport network, and the file just kept downloading along.
It works seamlessly between networks when I have my Powerbook setup for
DHCP or for Manual IP addressing (using a 10.0.1.2xx address to be
outside of the NAT range from my Airport Base Station).
Hope this helps with any one trying to extend their home Airport
network without needing to upgrade to Airport Extreme for the WDS
More Feedback/Tips on Setup and Streaming via Ethernet
"In response to the writer who couldn't use his Dual 1.25 G4 without an
AirPort card (Bill's report from 7/16 below) to play AirTunes:
I have the same machine, connected to my network via ethernet. I have
an AirPort Extreme base station as my router on the network.
When I installed the AirPort Express software and restarted, I received
a message that I didn't have an AirPort card in the G4 and the only
option was to quit. So I used my Pismo PowerBook (with original AirPort
card) to configure the AirPort Express to join the wireless network I
already have. After that, my G4 without a wireless card can play
AirTunes via ethernet > AirPort Express Base Station > AirPort Extreme without a problem.
In answer to your user who could not stream music from the wire (ethernet) based
MAC which went through an Asante router. First and foremost it works, I
am streaming music from my Original B& W G3 right now... in this
specific case make sure he has reset the Airport Express (Note: as mentioned in his report last Friday I suggested he try a hard reset and he wrote that didn't help - his Airport Express apparently had an infant failure, so he can't try the tips on Enabling AirTunes over Ethernet until it's replaced.-Mike), in general:
- Launch the 'Airport Admin Utility' on either machine (wired or
wireless) (Make sure you install Airport Admin v4.0 software)
- Under the Airport tab click on the 'Base Station Options...' button
- Activate the following option:
a) Enable Airtunes over Ethernet
b) If you also want to use the USB printer port click 'Enable Remote Printer Access'
- Click OK and enjoy...
The next issue users will run into will depend if on how he/she manages
their music, in my case I manage my music on one machine a stream to
the other. When I first plugged in the Airport I was no longer able to
see the library on both machines. This occurs because in its default
configuration the Airport Express acts as a router itself and iTunes
since the early days does not allow streaming of music across subnets.
To resolve the issue do the following:
- Launch the 'Airport Admin Utility' on either machine (wired or
- Click on the Internet tab and copy down the following:
a) IP address:
b) Subnet mask:
c) Router address:
- Change the Configure from DHCP to Manual
- Enter the values you have copied down
- Click the 'Update' button
- Wait for Airport Express to reconfigure itself
- Click on the Network tab
- If not checked: check (on) Distribute IP addresses
- Click the radio button Share a Range of IP addresses (using only
- Enter the range of address that Airport will be allowed to assign
to your wireless computers*
*If your Router address was X.Y.Z.254
Your beginning address would be X.Y.Z.100
Your ending address would be X.Y.Z.200
- Click the 'Update' button
This will allow for up to 100 computers to connect (far greater than
the 10 that actually can)
"My Airport express works flawlessly... I am using it to stream music from my office setup to my stereo system in my living room that pipes music throughout my home and pool area.
It additionally has extended my wireless range for my Aluminum PB to up to 3 times what it was! money well spent!
"Hey guys, great site, keep up the great work.
I ordered my Airport Express early (6/4/04) and it shipped from Taiwan
7/14/04, got here 7/16/04. Unfortunately, I had to get to work and
couldn't hook it up right away, but I brought it with me to look at.
Too busy at work to even read the instructions. Came home, and the
setup was like amazingly easy.
I plugged in a Cat5 cable from an open LAN port on my Linksys WRT54G
wireless router (which is hooked up to my DSL modem via its WAN port)
and plugged a 1/8" to RCA cable from the Airport Express to my
Amplifier. I then plugged the Airport Express into an empty socket on
the power strip and it booted up within a couple of seconds. I could
connect wirelessly with the Airport Express right away (I probably
could have streamed audio to the amp via iTunes as well at that point I
suspect, but didn't try it yet). Browsing the internet worked well
Initially the Airport Admin utility couldn't work with the Airport
Express until I'd installed the 4.0 version that came on the CD-Rom
with the Airport Express unit. Once the Airport Admin 4.0 was
installed (requires a reboot), I was able to configure the Airport
Express's more detailed settings. Note that the Airport Express Setup
Utility/Wizard came up automatically after rebooting and walked you
through the initial basic setup (naming the Airport Express, setting
Passwords, WPA, etc). The Music streaming as well as the Wireless
internet access worked flawlessly after a brief reboot of the Airport
I also tried streaming music to the Amplifier via a wireless connection
from my Laptop to my WRT54G to the Airport Express to my Amp:
Laptop )))))))))))) WRT54G <----(Cat5)-----> Airport Express ==(Audio Cable)==>
By turning on the following setting on the Airport Express via the
Airport Administration tool: AirPort options, under "Base Station Options", check the "Enable AirTunes over Ethernet" option.
There are a lot of options to mess around with. I had tried to force an
IP range for the Airport Express to be part of my Linksys WRT54G's rage
(192.168.1.xxx) however this seemed to screw up internet access, so
I've left it with the default IP range of 10.0.1.xxx that the Airport
Express defaults to. I can co-exist with my WRT54G's network and even
access the router's config pages just fine. Will have to play around
with static IP's later.
Good signal strength despite it being behind an Amplifier and a bunch
of stereo equipment. Going to put it on an extension cord and move it
to a more forward position to better cover the living room. Boot ups
from restarts and cold starts for the Airport Express are around 10
Streaming to the Airport Express (via Apple's Lossless compression
scheme of course) sounds great. iTunes CPU usage on a 667 MHz TiBook
(1GB RAM, Gigabit ethernet model) is around 8-16% and isn't causing the
laptop fan to spin up at all even while browsing and typing this
e-mail. No glitches or hiccups on simultaneous web browsing nor am I
noticing any delay with my internet access while streaming to the
Overall, I'm VERY happy with this thing. A very nice piece of
hardware, hard to believe there is so much power in such a small
package. Haven't even hooked up the USB printer yet (have a networked
My only regret is that I didn't get 2-3 right from the start. I'm
gonna get a whole lot more mileage out of iTunes now I suspect.
P.S. BTW, I forgot to mention that my venerable TiBook has a mere
Airport Card 802.11b ie. only topping out at 11 Mbps and not 802.11g
which would be even more comfortable in terms of bandwidth. Good
"In regards to Bill H.'s problem (no wireless card in Bill's MDD mac used for Airtunes - see report below), I have the same setup: a B&W400 hooked up to an original Airport base station, transmitting music successfully to my Airport Express. (I also have an X10 remote working with Indigo, which is quite lovely).
I had iTunes 4.6 installed, but discovered that
I needed to be running OS X 10.3 instead of 10.2. I already had
installed it on another partition, so I was good to go there. When
setting up the Airport Express with the AE Assistant, choose "Connect
to my current wireless network" but do not choose "extend the range of
my airport wireless network". I've set this up to work with both the
Airport and a Linksys wireless router talking to the A.E. with no
problems. So I think that once you have the AE configured from the
laptop, you should be able to get the G4 tower to work with it....
"Since adding two AirPort Expresses to my network (had an AirPort
Extreme already, the one with USB and antenna port and modem)
old-fashioned AppleTalk doesn't seem to work with my wired HP LaserJet
4m printer. Printer Setup Utility does not even show it at all when
trying to create a new printer, and when trying to print to the printer
(which has been set up previously before the AirPort Expresses) results
in a "Printer not responding" error.
Had the same result when I tried it at work using a wired Xerox 4520
laser printer. Both of those printers work with AppleTalk over
Anyone else have a problem like this?
"My system: Sawtooth PM, upgraded to dual 800. PB 550 with airport
card. Dlink 614+ wireless base station router.
Got my Airport Express (AE) on Friday and was excited to get it all up
and working when I got home. I purchased it for the express purpose of
Airtunes and to hopefully use as a bridge for my ps2.
Started off with a bit of a problem with the assistant on my mac that
has the wired connection to the wireless router. Got the assistant
installed, and when I went to run it (after a reboot) I got the error
message 'This computer does not have an Airport Card installed' and
then only gave me the option to quit. (Bill mentioned this also in his report last Friday - he also had no wireless card in his MDD.) At this point, I would have been
completely hung if I didn't have access to my wifes Powerbook with the
Airport card. Installed the assistant on her machine, rebooted, ran
the software and it worked fine and let me use if for Airtunes from
either computer, wireless and wired.
Now you have the choice of joining an exsisting network in client mode
or using it to extend your network. Client mode means its just gonna
be used as an Airtunes and or printserver device. (see Apple kbase docs linked at bottom of this page for more info) Extending the
network lets it act as a wireless bridge and or wireless relay/repeater
to give you more wireless coverage. But I was sad to learn that you
CAN't utilize the AE as a wireless bridge unless my main wireless
router was either another AE, or Airport Extreme Base Station. This
has to deal with the ability to use Wireless Distribution System (WDS).
So my wireless bridge option was out, so I had the AE join the network
so I could relay my iTunes music to the living room. This works great.
Absolute problem free when playing from my PowerMac out through my
router. And it should be noted that this is even at 802.11b speeds.
However, I did have problems when playing from the Powerbook. iTunes
would see the Airport fine, and let me play to the Living Room option,
but the music would cut out for a couple of seconds after every 5 or 6
seconds of play. Now I thought this could be because the Powerbook is
too old and slow to convert to Apple Lossless codec on the fly and keep
up with the streaming. So I converted an AAC file to Apple Lossless
and tried playing that, with the same result. Few seconds of music, a
couple of silence. So I don't know what the deal is on that. I may
try making a new network just between the AE and the Powerbook just to
try and narrow down the reason for the bad Airtunes performance from
Hope this info is helpful.
"I got my AExpress on Friday and connected it via my iBook and B&W G3.
Works great and setup is very simple. Was able to setup on both a
Airport card (iBook) and via a 3rd party (802.11g) PCI card on my G3 without problems. I can no longer can live without it after only 3 days. May buy one more for another room of my house and outdoors when I need stereo for a party. If you like music...you must purchase an APE!!!!
Super job Apple...remember, If you make...we will buy it! Think about
Video/video recorderHD,,,VPod and video streaming feature and do not
forget.. we want a full featured mini-pocket-computer...a New Newton
NN-PDA. We have money we want to buy innovation...defined as: Apple
This owner reported he couldn't stream music to the Airport Express via an ethernet connection to another Graphite base (no wireless card in the source system) and mentions an apparent infant failure of the Express. (See later reports above w/tips on using Airport Admin to enabled Airtunes over Ethernet option.)
I received mine yesterday. I was planning to use it to stream music from my G4 1.25 Dual through my Asante Router out through a Graphite Basestation. Now I know that in order to use the Airport Express to extend my wireless network I have to have an Airport Extreme, or another Airport Express. However, I had the impression that the Graphite would stream music to the Airport Express. I never got to find out. After installing the software and re-booting Airport Express' set-up software said I could not proceed because my computer was not set up for wireless networking.
I called Apple Support and learned that without a wireless card in my G4 1.25GHz (MDD) desktop iTunes 4.6 would not stream music to the Airport Express. We never got around to discussing whether the Graphite would support music streaming if I installed a wireless card in the G4 1.25GHz desktop.
At this point I was sunk all around because the Airport Express died within five minutes of being plugged-in I unplugged it and plugged it back in thinking it might re-boot. I did get a brief green blinking light when plugging back in but then the indicator light goes dead.
(It may not help but I asked if he had tried the "Hard Reset" (holding the reset button in for 5 sec.) mentioned in Resetting AirPort Express.)
Yes, I did. All I get is two blinks green, and then nothing.
So my plan "B" to try using my 1.25GHz 17" Powerbook to stream music died along with my Airport Express.
I remain curious why Apple would not let music stream from a ethernet cable connected computer that was on a network with an Apple basestation? The Apple support person was very patient, and very helpful. Many kudos to him and Apple on that point.
I found I just couldn't let the origin of this requirement go. So asked him more questions regarding the wireless network host requirement. It was his opinion that Apple believed that most people would be streaming from a computer with a wireless connection and that is why Apple designed Airport Express streaming to work that way. I fail to see the logic of this requirement. Perhaps it is really a technical one? I wonder if the support person was misinformed regarding this wireless requirement? I guess I'll never know because I'm sending it back and getting a refund. Perhaps someday I'll give Airport Express another try. Probably need to buy at least two of them and retire the old Graphite.
I received my Airport Express today. Setting up was easy and attaching
a printer was a breeze. I do have a complaint about the security
limitation when wanting to use Airport Express to extend a wireless
network. I'm using an Airport Extreme on one floor and there are parts
of the house where the signal does not carry. I was hoping to use
Airport Express to extend the network but Airport Express will only
extend the network if you are using WEP security. If you are using WPA
security, you are out of luck. (*Update* - see the Airport 4.1 update/6.1 firmware update info above (released Nov. 14th, 2004) which says it's added WPA support for WDS networks-Mike)
I don't recall reading about this limitation when I ordered. There is
no mention of this on Apple's website where it describes in detail how
to set up a wireless distribution system: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=107454
("Using WDS to create a network from Multiple Base Stations", included in the linked Apple kbase docs below)
I read about this limitation on page 23 of the Airport Express Setup
Guide which is included with the Airport Express. It reads:
network is protected by either a WPA Personal or WPA Enterprise
password, you can't set up a Wireless Distribution System. If you want
to set up a WDS you must choose either the 128-bit WEP or Not Enabled
(Note - this info was from before the airport 4.1 update)
I read in a number of sources that WEP is not a very secure method.
Does anyone know why WDS does not support WPA?
Alan S. sent a note on why there's no WPA support in WDS mode, saying the simplest explanation was found in a FAQ at http://www.tomsnetworking.com/FAQ-32-Security-16.php.
(see the "Do any products support Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) over a WDS bridged connection?" question and answer.) Basically it says that WDS uses MAC addresses to communicate and WPA encrypts the MAC addresses. (Update - Airport 4.1 released 11/14/2004 claims to add WPA support w/WDS networks.)
I don't own an Express and have only a single base (AE) in my house.
And since some of my older systems don't support WPA, I use other
common security measures like MAC address filtering (entering each
network card MAC address in the base), closed network (don't
broadcast the network name) and 128bit WEP (which is supported by all the clients). WEP isn't very secure (articles on cracking it years ago on the net). Nothing is 100% secure though.
Apple mentions in a kbase doc on AirPort Express client mode that in client mode it can joint networks with WPA-PSK security enabled.
Besides using AirTunes (which is cool). I setup the Airport Express as
a relay to my main Airport Extreme, and this allowed a computer in my
house that gets 1 bar, to go to 4 bars. Very cool!
Yes, page 23 states you cannot use WPA Personal or WPA Enterprise with
WDS, you have to use 128-bit WEP or no security. (FYI - the 11/14/2004 released airport 4.1/firmware update claims to have added WPA support for WDS networks-Mike)
Also, tried running the installer CD on Windows and the installer looks
the same on Windows as it does on Mac.
(The related links at the bottom of the page include Apple kbase docs
on setup for windows also.)
"Hey Mike, Got mine today straight from Taiwan. From unpack to music was about 8 minutes.
I use a Linksys WRT54G combo WLAN/switch/router as my primary
wireless network, so I had the Express be a device on that network.
Fired up iTunes on my wireless PowerBook G4 and without fail, "Living
Room" showed up as a speaker option. Selected a song and it played
without a hitch. Tried iTunes from a wired Dual G4 tower and it also
found it and played fine. Finally, even the wired Windows XP box with
iTunes found the Express and was able to use it flawlessly.
The iTunes volume control is a tad sluggish, but there is an option to disable it and just let you use the volume control on your speakers. My setup is connected to a Pioneer receiver.
I haven't done any benchmarking, but in the PowerBook + Express config,
I was actually connecting to iTunes on the G4 tower via the WLAN and
then using the WLAN Express speakers. I saw no bandwidth or congestion
issues even when surfing, e-mailing or file transferring on the
PowerBook while the music was playing.
I just wish that the Express speakers showed up as an actual audio
output device so that programs like VLC and RealPlayer could use it.
"Hi Mike, Just letting you know I received my Airport Express today, too. Setup was very easy with the assistant, and I seem to be getting about the same range as my Airport Extreme Base Station here in my house. (I was curious if the range would be equivalent to the previous model)
I used it to extend my network from the upper corner of the house where the cable modem is, to the lower opposite corner, and I was able to see my network from my neighbor's house (about 75 ft from the location of the Airport Express). (I asked about signal strength)
I plugged in a Epson Stylus Color 900 and a set of Yamaha speakers and I plan on using it as a wireless bridge for my ReplayTV. (I'll let you know how that goes, but I'm not anticipating any issues).
(I currently use an Epson R300M shared via my Airport Extreme base - works well except the Epson printer utility doesn't find the printer if it's attached to the base instead of the computer's USB port. I wish Epson would update the utility so it's Rendevous aware. He later wrote)
The Epson printer utility doesn't "see" the SC900 either, as I had to
plug it into the powerbook to check the clogged print heads. I thought
it was just that my printer was too old. (it's still the fastest inkjet
printer I've seen). (the fastest photo printer I've seen (actual HQ print tests, not mfr claimed specs) is the Canon i960. Its printhead has 3072 nozzles and is very fast, with excellent quality.)
I posted some pictures in case anyone's interested in seeing the cool packaging.
(I asked if he had tried "AirTunes")
I have a set of Yamaha speakers plugged into the Airport Express,
But when I first told iTunes to play through it, I got a cute little
message, as I'd forgotten to turn on the speakers.
There is a note to disable iTunes volume control for remote speakers.
When I didn't have it checked, the music was very low in volume, but
when I checked it, I could control the volume better from the speakers.
All in all, this thing is awesome! I've got lots of clients to show
this off to.
Mac Technologist & Consultant
I welcome other Airport Express owner feedback, especially those using the "AirTunes" feature and how range and signal strength compare to previous bases. Thanks.
For more info on the Apple's Airport Express, see http://www.apple.com/airportexpress/.
Here's some Apple Knowledge Base docs on the Express also: