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Introduction

Apple AirPort Express

Apple AirPort Express
Summary 802.11g router with WPA and WDS bridging/repeating support. Supports wireless streaming of iTunes content to built-in analog / digital audio output.
Update 12/19/2004 - Corrected Ethernet bridging info
Pros • Compact all-in-one (including power supply) package
• Supports WPA-PSK
• Supports AP, routing, WDS bridging / repeating
• Built in USB print server and iTunes audio client
Cons • Relatively Expensive
• Doesn't support AP client mode for Ethernet port
• Can't attach higher-gain antennas
• No port or content filtering in routing mode

Given Apple's historical Mac OS-only focus, it's easy to forget that Apple was one of the first companies to jump into the consumer wireless networking market with its original 802.11b AirPort products. It was also among the first group of companies to join the draft-802.11g brigade when it introduced its AirPort Extreme line. But with the addition of its AirPort Express, Apple opted to support both Mac OS and Windows users from the start, and came up with an attractive product in looks, features and pricing.

My first impression of the Express was that it was more intended to be an accessory for iTunes junkies who wanted to listen to their digital tunes on something other than their computer. But while it handles those chores just fine, I found that it's a fine travel wireless router / AP in its own right and has even more tricks that it can do.

When a reader asked recently why I hadn't included Apple's AirPort Express in my Travel Router comparative review, I had to admit I had no good excuse. Actually, I did have an excuse, which was that I thought that getting review product from Apple was very difficult. But having no facts to back up this assumption, and readers to support, I fired off an email to an Apple.

Long story short, I quickly received not only an AirPort Express, but also a 12 inch iBook to review it with! Needless to say, I won't be making any further assumptions about Apple's willingness to supply products for review and want to thank the folks at Apple for being so responsive!

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