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Difference b/t Airport Express & AirPort Extreme Base Station

Posted on 2009-05-14
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Last Modified: 2013-11-24
My friend just bought a MacBook and wants to set up Wifi access in his apartment. He knows nothing about technology, so he is enlisting my help. I'm mainly a PC guy and have very limited experience w/ Macs.

On the Apple website, I see there are 2 main options for setting up Wifi. There is an "AirPort Extreme Base Station" for $179 and a "AirPort Express Base Station with 802.11n and AirTunes" for $99.

My inclination would be to have him buy the AP Express since it's less expensive. Any compelling reason to have him buy the more expensive AP Extreme?

He also has an HP OfficeJet J6480 Printer that is currently connected via USB cable, but he would prefer to be able to use that wirelessly.

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:anuneznyc
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strung earned 150 total points
ID: 24387027
The Airport Extreme is basically a wireless router with a four port Gigbit switch and a built in USB port for sharing printers and external drives.  

The Airport Express is really intended as a repeater for an AIrport Extreme station, or to channel iTunes to speakers. It has only one ethernet port and is not intended to connect a wired network to wireless.

The latest Extreme, by the way, is dual band and can support separate 802.11N and 802.11b/g networks.
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by:strung
ID: 24387046
You will find a comparison here:  http://www.apple.com/wifi/
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by:Ugo Mena
Ugo Mena earned 150 total points
ID: 24387161
the biggest differences bt the Extreme and the Express are that the Extreme has a built in 3 port switch to allow both wired and wireless LAN connections, can share both a printer and a hard drive via USB, and also works simultaneously on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

The Express cannot share a USB connected drive, and cannot make any wired connections to your LAN, only wireless 2.4Ghz (not dual band).

If your friend does not need to make any wired connections to the Wifi access point, and only needs to connect his printer and maybe some speakers, then the Express is the way to go.

There are more differences with regard to if/how you can extend your wireless network too, but I think that may be beyond the scope of this question...
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by:strung
ID: 24387261
That is probably a more accurate summary than mine except that then newest Express support 5 GHz now as well. The difference is that the Extreme will support 2.4 and 5 Ghz simultaneously, but the Express will support one or the other (but not both at once).
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 24404461
Thanks Guys. Since he will want to connect this to his wired AP, I suppose he will need the Extreme router. Thanks for the clarification.
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by:anuneznyc
ID: 31581521
Thanks.
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