Ummm, how does Airport wireless work exactly? - ehMac.ca
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 07:08 PM   #1
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Ummm, how does Airport wireless work exactly?

Ok, so I'm a bit slow with computers (especially Mac's since I'm new to them) but I'm hoping to have someone explain to me very simply exactly how wireless works.

Here's what I have in my home: We have cable with Cogeco and obviously an external modem for it. We only have 1 computer (a desktop PC) so I have no experience with networking or multiple computers, etc.

I will most likely be purchasing a MacBook and I know they come with the airport card already installed, so that's not an issue.

So here is where I'm a bit confused. Do I need to get a new modem from my cable company that has an antenna? (the one we have doesn't). Or do I just need to get the Airport Extreme base station (or the simple little Airport express wireless base)? And if I only need the Airport Extreme or the Airport Express, how exactly does my modem factor into everything? Do I have to unplug the DSL and the Ethernet from my modem and connect them to the base station? I feel like if I'm unplugging things from my modem, that the computer I'm currently on (the PC) won't work. A friend of mine says I need a router. Is the Airport Extreme and the Airport Express routers?

So I'm REALLY hoping that someone can put everything very simply for me because I'm really confused. I looked around online for a while but I couldn't find anything that made it absolutely crystal clear. Especially how my cable modem and the base station work together, etc.

Thanks guys!
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 09:45 PM   #2
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I have a Linux PC, a Mac Mini without wireless capability and a MacBook with wireless capability. I also have an Airport Express.

I am on Cogeco Cable and have the cable modem without an antenna.

But...

What else I have is a normal router. My Linux PC and the Mac Mini are connected to the router by ethernet cable, my Airport Express is also connected to the router by ethernet cable. The router is connected to the Cogeco modem with ethernet cable.

Therefore everything is wired except for my MacBook which connects wirelessly to the Airport Express which in turn is connected by wire to the router.

Too confusing?

Simpel answer - what you need is a router. Connect your PC to the router, connect your Cogeco modem to your router, connect your Airport Express to your router and your Mac laptop will work wirelessly.

Cheers
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 11:21 PM   #3
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You rock tilt! Now I know that I need Airport Express AND a router. Any advice on a router I should buy? I know nothing about them.

Thanks again!
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 11:56 PM   #4
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Depends

You COULD get a Linksys wrtg but that would more then likely drive you nuts , im fairly computer savvy and its a bit of a pain.

Just get the Airport Extreme , plug your ethernet cable from your router. Pop the cd into your macbook and your in business....apple...it just works .
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Old May 4th, 2007, 12:26 AM   #5
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Someone will correct me if I am wrong but you only need a wireless router.

cable mode----->router------> PC (wired port) + macbook (Wireless).
Ignore in the printers and entertainment consoles in the diagram below.



The airport express is a wireless router with the additional functionality of streaming itunes wirelessly to your stereo or powered speakers and a usb print server.

For a wireless router get apples airport extreme ($200) for greater speeds while sharing files on your local network, greater range, stronger signal and for future proofing. But if you are like most people ( surfing, chating, download music or movies etc) getting a wireless G router will be sufficient. Any of these routers will do, as can an airport express ($119). From that futureshop list I would recommend the D-Link wbr-1310 ($44) or the Linksys WRT54G ($69).

After setting everything up ensure to read the manual and setup the wireless security.

Cheers.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 01:05 AM   #6
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You need an Airport Extreme, or a similar wireless router. If you get in trouble, just go to any computer store and ask for a wireless router.

The Airport Express is not a router. It is a wireless bridge. A router is designed to reroute internet: you plug your cable modem into the wireless router, and you can then run lines off the router. A wireless router adds wireless capability in addition to wired routing.

The Airport Express only has one input: you can plug your cable modem into it and turn it into wireless. But you cannot plug a computer into the Airport Express. What the Express will do is extend the range of an existing wireless network, as well as stream iTunes and allow for wireless printing.

Good luck!
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Old May 4th, 2007, 04:13 AM   #7
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OK sorry to hijack this thread but i have a newb question too...

my PC is down in basement... so if we was to get a wireless router... would it reach upstairs... the lounge room is directly above the computer... or would i need to get say the Airport Express and place it at the top of the stairs to extend the wireless to upstairs???
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Old May 4th, 2007, 04:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NaturesPixel View Post
OK sorry to hijack this thread but i have a newb question too...

my PC is down in basement... so if we was to get a wireless router... would it reach upstairs... the lounge room is directly above the computer... or would i need to get say the Airport Express and place it at the top of the stairs to extend the wireless to upstairs???
all you need is a wireless card i will definelty reach the signal just make sure you have a 802.11G card
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Old May 4th, 2007, 05:45 AM   #9
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Ok, here we go addressing various points:

A. The Apple Airport Express Base Station is a router from the reviews that I've read.
B. You cable company's wireless router will probably be cheaper than any Apple wireless product and you will be able to get their tech support if you run into any problems.
C. The range of any wireless product will depend on what is between the router and the client. So, will it reach from the basement to the top floor? Maybe. Whether or not it is 802.11b or 802.11g does NOT matter. I don't know about 802.11n but I would steer clear of any 802.11n products until they hammer down the specification.

So, what would I suggest? Go and get a Linksys WRT54G wireless router. Why? Because, it's extremely popular and inexpensive so you will find lots of people using it and who can help u with it. I have one and it's a piece of cake to use. I currently have a mixed Linux/Mac/Windows network running off of mine and I can even print wirelessly to the networked Laserjet. That's incredible!

Software-wise, it can be upgraded via various firmware releases. Hardware-wise, it's about the same as any reasonable wireless router in that it has enough wired ports for most home setups along with wireless functionality.

Get the WRT54G, this applies to both the OP and naturespixels, set it up and then, if it doesn't work and none of us can help either one of you, go with an Apple product.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 08:44 AM   #10
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The Airport Express is a wireless router. The only problem is that all your computers need to be wireless.

If you dont need the wireless printing on airtunes I would get a Linksys wrt54g.
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