4 Ways to Use AirPort Express to Network Macs - dummies

4 Ways to Use AirPort Express to Network Macs

By Edward C. Baig

On the new Macs, the Airport Express looks kind of like the power adapter that might come with an older Apple laptop, right down to its built-in plug. But the rectangular, near-7-ounce AirPort Express device is a versatile little gadget. This portable hub has just four ports on its underbelly: two Ethernets (WAN and LAN), USB, and an analog/optical audio minijack.

If you plan on using AirPort Express as a router, plug the device into an AC outlet; then, using an Ethernet cable, connect the AirPort Express to your cable modem or DSL. You’ll use the same AirPort software as you do for the AirPort Extreme base station.

You’ll find no on–off button; status lights clue you in on how things are going. A steady green status light tells you that you’ve connected with no problem. Flashing amber means that the device is having trouble making a connection, and you may have to resort to other means, including taking the end of a straightened paper clip and holding down the Reset button for 10 seconds.

Here’s what you can accomplish with the newest AirPort Express:

  • Connect it to your cable modem or DSL, and use it as a wireless 802.11n router.

  • Use it as a wireless bridge to extend the range of an existing AirPort network to, say, your attic or backyard.

  • Connect a printer to the AirPort Express USB port to share that printer with any computer on the network.

  • Connect a cable from the broadband box in a hotel room, and roam around the room and surf wirelessly.