Airport Express

Apple's new Airport ExpressThe Airport Express I ordered last month arrived yesterday.

After 2+ hours of fiddling, googling, plugging and unplugging, I’ve finally got Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs streaming from my Powerbook’s iTunes, to my Onkyo receiver and Cambridge Soundworks speakers.

The problem was to get my $60 Netgear router to recognize the AX —as the documentation makes no promises of connecting to a third-party wireless router, (on a side note, I’ve never understood the pricing of the original Airport Extreme—at $200, what advantages could this model possibly offer over any other IEEE 802.11g router?). Expecting it to plug-in and work, like all my Apple gear, I became increasingly frustrated with that blinking amber light (which tells you there is a problem, but provides no other details).

After searching around in vain, I stumbled across this thread on the Apple forums: AX: Switching between Client and Network ?—and cjb65 points out that all you have to do is place a “$” before the 128-bit WEP key, when you set up the network… and pow! it works… Although, I’ve yet to get it to extend the range of my primary network. The AX is merely acting as a “client” now.

It sounds good, however, there are some “cons” to report:

  • AX bypasses my Volume Logic iTunes plugin, (which normally improves the quality of playback quite a bit). I’m not too happy about that, though perhaps this will be ironed out in the future.
  • I wish that the AX streamed all audio to my stereo, not merely music from iTunes.

Still, now that is streaming well enough, I’m impressed. I can’t wait to take it on the road, and use it as a portable wireless network. Now, if only my cell phone could browse the web…

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