Apple’s all-New Airport Express

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Although not part of the official WWDC announcement, Apple quietly announced an overdue update to the AirPort Express, a Wi-Fi base station that, besides acting as a wireless Internet access point, offers several other useful features. Setng up a new Wi-Fi network is no longer the technical feat it used to be, thanks to an easy to use built-in setup assistant in iOS, and an Airport utility available in OS X. Once a network is set up, the utilities allow for managing and monitoring the unit from an iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, or a Mac.

The main feature that has been inherited from the AirPort Extreme is dual-band 802.11n support, allowing iPads and Macs to connect over a 5 GHz network, while the iPhone can connect simultaneously over 2.4 GHz. It’s also possible to use the unit to extend the range of an existing AirPort or Time Capsule based network for longer range Wi-Fi. The box features LAN and WAN Ethernet connectors, a USB port and Apple’s analog/optical audio connector.

As already mentioned, the AirPort Express can provide additional functions. Utilizing AirPlay, music from iTunes libraries on any computer, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch can be beamed wirelessly to the base station. Simply connect the AirPort Express to a powered speaker and a whole-house music experience is created. Connecting a USB printer to the USB port on the rear of the unit delivers wireless printing, allowing everyone in a household to access a central printer.

For safe and secure Internet access, the base station includes a built-in firewall that is automatically turned on, creating a barrier between the network and the Internet. With the guest-networking feature, a separate Wi-Fi network can be set up just for guests. The AirPort Express is also compatible with devices using the 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n specifications. Finally, for situations where wired communication is required, the 10/100BASE-T Ethernet LAN port can be used to connect to a desktop computer. If additional ports are needed, an Ethernet hub can be attached.

Wireless Protocols IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n 
Compatibilty Interoperable with 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n-enabled Mac computers, iOS devices, Apple TV, Windows-based PCs, and other Wi-Fi devices
NAT, DHCP, PPPoE, VPN Passthrough (IPSec, PPTP, and L2TP), DNS Proxy, SNMP, IPv6 (6to4 and manual tunnels) 
Frequency Bands Simultaneous dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz 
Radio Output Power 20.5 dBm maximum (varies by country) 
Interfaces 802.11n wireless
10/100BASE-T Ethernet WAN port for connecting a DSL modem, cable modem, or Ethernet network
10/100BASE-T Ethernet LAN port for connecting a computer, Ethernet hub, or networked printer
USB 2.0 port for connecting a USB printer 
3.5-mm audio mini jack for analog or optical digital sound
Built-in power supply 
Security Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2)
WPA/WPA2 Enterprise2
Wireless security (WEP) configurable for 40-bit and 128-bit encryption
MAC address filtering
NAT firewall
802.1X, PEAP, LEAP, TTLS, TLS, FAST
Time-based access control 
Users Over 50
Channels Channels 1-11, 36-48, and 149-165 approved for use in the United States and Canada
Channels 1-13, 36-64, and 100-140 approved for use in Europe and Japan
Channels 1-13, 36-64, and 149-165 approved for use in Australia, Hong Kong, and New Zealand 
Agency Approvals FCC Part 15 Class B, Canada RSS-210, EN 300-328, EN 301-489, EN 301 893, ARIB STD-T66, RCR STD-T33, AS/NZS 4268: 2003, UL 60950, CSA-C22.2 No. 60950
Elecrical/Environmental Requirements 100-240 V AC, 50/60 Hz; input current: 0.2 A
Operating temperature: 32 to 95°F (0 to 35°C)
Storage temperature: -13 to 140°F (-25 to 60°C)
Relative humidity (operating): 20% to 90%, non-condensing
Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 feet
Maximum storage altitude: 15,000 feet 
System Requirements Mac
Setup and Administration
From an iOS device:
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 5 or later and the AirPort Utility app
From a Mac:
OS X Lion 10.7.3 or later and AirPort Utility 6.1
OS X 10.5.7 or later and AirPort Utility 5.6.1
Wireless Device Access
Any Wi-Fi-enabled device that uses the 802.11a/b/g/n specification
Shared Printing with a USB Printer
USB printer
OS X 10.2.7 or later

PC
Setup and Administration
From an iOS device:
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 5 or later and the AirPort Utility app
From a PC:
Windows 7 or later and AirPort Utility 5.6.1
Wireless Device Access
Any Wi-Fi-enabled device that uses the 802.11a/b/g/n specification
Shared Printing with a USB Printer
A USB printer
Windows XP (SP3), Vista (SP1), Windows 7 
Dimensions 3.9 x 3.9 x 0.9" (98 x 98 x 23 mm) 
Weight 8.5 oz (240 g)

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I own an Airport Express.  The new one continues to have the same design flaw (in my opinion) like the previous generation, it can sustain 600Mbps wirelessly but the Ethernet port can do up to 100Mbps.  Why not provide an 1Gbps Ethernet port ?

Hello -

Apple has not offered any reasons behind offering what is commonly known as the Fast Ethernet port on their Airport devices.  Perhaps the next iteration of this product will provide the elusive 802.3z Gigabit Ethernet Standard.

The only probable explanation (in my opinion) is that Airport Express is designed exclusively for wireless use, and although the fast Ethernet port would be a nice addition, most of the users will not need it or use it, and therefore it would probably be an unjustified cost for Apple to add this feature. My two cents...

Is the WAN port on the back of the Airport express only intended for connecting to a wireless router? My router is in the basement but my audio equipment is in my living room, however i do have a Ethernet plug that is wired to the router. Can i use the Ethernet cable to connect via the WAN port? Can the new Airport Express play apple lossless files effectively over a WiFi connection? If I connect the Airport Express directly via Ethernet port will that improve the playback of apple lossless format files?

Can the Airport Express be used for printing from an iPad or iphone to a non-airplay compatible wireless printer? I hate to throw away a perfectly good printer.

Thanks. 

Any version available for 10.8?

THe 10.8 airport utility sucks. I cannot see the internal ip addresses of my wired clients.

I have the airport express router set up in my house, but I need to connect my sony pc to it.....what do I need to do this?