CNET reviews Apple AirPort Express Base Station: ‘Very Good’ plus offers unique iTunes streaming

“Apple’s AirPort Express Base Station has always been remarkable in that it is networking hardware that people actually seem to get excited about. Thanks to an update to the 802.11n wireless networking standard, this compact, easy-to-use device can now add increased wireless networking performance to its list of pros. It might not be as fast as some of the more robust 802.11n wireless devices, and at $99, it’s also on the pricier side of basic 802.11n routers. Still, for its portability and its integration with iTunes, we recommend it to anyone interested in setting up a wireless network on the go, or if you’re after some basic music streaming capability,” Rich Brown reports for CNET.

“Our testing shows that the AirPort Express is actually among the slowest 802.11n devices. Its speed is still plenty fast for streaming music or HD video, but even under the best conditions, at close range on a 5.0GHz 802.11n-only network, it hit 66Mbps, or just barely faster than the Time Capsule in slower 2.4GHz mode. If you have demanding networking tasks in mind, with many users all streaming various kinds of media at once, for example, you will likely want a more robust 802.11n product,” Brown reports.

You should consider AirPort Express “if you’re in the market for a new Wi-Fi router that offers portability, ease of use, and the unique ability to stream iTunes over your network,” Brown reports.

Full review here.


  1. Anyone else have issues with their Airport Express dropping stream? I will have full strength signal but I can’t connect to anything (“server not found”). Unplugging it and then plugging back in resets it and I am back up in about 10 seconds (no set up via Airport Utility needed). It’s just annoying and happens about every 2 days or so.

  2. I have the same problem my MPB. I’ve tried 2 routers and both drop streaming. It happened after upgrading to 10.4.11 and Safari 3. Sometimes it works fine for a day or so and then, like yesterday, I end up having to reboot if I’m away from the MPB for 10 minutes. Annoying. Apple Genius’s couldn’t figure it out.

  3. I’ve owned an Airport Express for close to 3 years now. Usually, it’s pretty reliable, but once in a blue moon, the Airport meter on my iBook will drop to zero strength. When that happens, I turn off the Airport on the iBook, unplug the Airport Express for 30 seconds and plug it back in.

    Although I can’t be sure, my guess is that it has something to do with interference from another wireless network nearby. Whenever I’ve had a problem, there’s been another network showing up in the Airport selection menu.

    Like I said, this doesn’t happen very often. In fact, I think it’s been well over six months since the last incident, so I wonder if some software update fixed the issue.


  4. >LordRobin wrote: Although I can’t be sure, my guess is that it has something to do with interference from another wireless network nearby. Whenever I’ve had a problem, there’s been another network showing up in the Airport selection menu.

    I had the same problem. AE should be designed to operate with other networks nearby. However, all sorts of things can cause interference (microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, radios, etc). That said, I trashed the AE for its big brother and all the problems disappeared.

    My feeling is the AE is a much lower quality product and not merely feature-diluted to differentiate it from the higher-priced Airport.

    I’ve had two other AE-using friend who’ve had the same experience. This is the older AE, hopefully the new version is a big upgrade.

  5. The Airport Express is the greatest little device since sliced bread. I use one at my office to stream music into the reception area from the receptionist’s iMac. I have another one at home that I use to stream music from my MacPro to my stereo system on the other side of the house. Never experienced the problems mentioned above, luckily, and I use the pre-“n” versions of the gadget.

  6. Mine used to drop the connection at times, but it hasn’t done it for a long, long time. It is now set up to extend the range of my network and stream music.

    Besides streaming music, the other great thing about it is throwing it in a suitcase and taking it on a trip. I travel overseas 4-6 times a year, and I don’t leave the house without it.

    Almost every hotel room now has an ethernet cable in it. Most have wireless as well (especially in America), but usually the signal is really weak.

    This little guy let’s me set up my own little network via the Ethernet cable in the room in about 10 seconds. I’m actually in China right now, at a hotel that does not have wireless… But I have it… Sweet.

  7. I bought the original version in 2004. It broke (does not power on) about a month ago, just in time for me to want to get this new one. Great timing Apple… Did you tell my old Airport Express to go to router heaven with some secret transmission???

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