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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Networking > Airport Extreme vs Express

Airport Extreme vs Express
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MacShore
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May 31, 2010, 09:31 PM
 
Hi, I am getting a MacBook Pro and we have in our household a MacBook, 2 iphones, a pc and an ipad. My airport has died and I would like to know which airport I should get, the Extreme or the Express. We have high speed cable and one wifi printer we all use. I have read that the Extreme is much faster due to the dual band wifi especially if several are online at the same time, but others have said you only really need the Express and it doesn't make any difference for speed. We never have enough company where more than 10 people would be online so I don't have any issues with accessibility, but I would for speed. What is the real difference of each for home use? Thanks.
     
AKcrab
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May 31, 2010, 10:09 PM
 
Unless you have a very fast internet connection, you probably won't notice any difference while surfing the web. Where you would gain significant speed is doing file transfers on your network, sharing iPhoto libraries, Home Sharing in iTunes, or streaming to an AppleTV.

I would get the Extreme; the dual band and guest network options are a bonus, as is the USB port that you can plug a hard drive into.
     
ghporter
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Jun 1, 2010, 07:11 AM
 
This really doesn't belong with the iPhone/iPod threads. I'm moving it to the Networking forum.

It would be VERY odd that your "high speed cable" went fast enough that you'd need to worry about which AirPort device to get to take advantage of your connection. Even the fastest normally available service here in the States, "Optimum Online," only goes up to 15Mbps downstream.

IIRC, even the Express handles a number of clients simultaneously, so it's not likely that you'd overwhelm it. On the other hand, the dual band feature, the "guest network" feature, and the Gigabit wired router in the Extreme are very handy to have-I'm currently saving my pennies to get one myself.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Oisín
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Jun 1, 2010, 10:09 AM
 
^ Yes, the Express handles up to ten concurrent users.

As AKCrab said, surfing speed won’t be an issue, regardless of which router you choose. Transfer speed between machines will be faster on the Extreme, and slower but completely usable on the Express (note: this requires that your devices are 802.11n capable. If any of the machines are older and handle only 802.11b or 802.11g, they’ll be the bottleneck for transfers, and you won’t notice much, if any, difference between the Express and the Extreme anyway).

Apart from that, this is the very basic of what it boils down to (to me, anyway):

— If you want to hook up a hard drive to share wirelessly, the Extreme is the way to go.
— If you want to stream music wirelessly directly from iTunes to your speakers, the Express is the way to go.
     
Andy8
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Jun 1, 2010, 10:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
If you want to hook up a hard drive to share wirelessly, the Extreme is the way to go.
Can't the Express be used for hard drive sharing with its USB port also?
     
Oisín
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Jun 1, 2010, 11:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Andy8 View Post
Can't the Express be used for hard drive sharing with its USB port also?
Nope. The Express USB is only usable for printers, not hard drives. (At least according to the Wifi page on apple.com—I presume it’s updated and correct. Mine is an older version, but won’t work with a hard drive)
     
-Q-
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Jun 1, 2010, 11:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Andy8 View Post
Can't the Express be used for hard drive sharing with its USB port also?
No, just the extreme. The express can have a printer attached but doesn't support drive sharing.
     
wrambro
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Jun 2, 2010, 01:56 PM
 
Another thing to consider is coverage area. I get much better range out of my Extreme than I do either of my Expresses. So if you have a large area to cover, or if you have lots of obstruction between you and the router, the Extreme might be the way to go.
     
   
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