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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Airport Express connected to a USB printer that I can't get rid of. Having that on the network will basically slow it down to G speeds, right, meaning I shouldn't bother with an upgrade to N, right?
 

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The printer will be plugged in a USB port?
I'm not an expert, but I don't think it will slow down.

My reasoning:
You send the document to the network, it is then passed to the printer, the printer responds by sending it to the network and the network passes the message to the computer. Since the printer never needs access to the wireless part it won't slow it down. This would only works if the printer is wired by USB to the network.

But you do not need to upgrade to N, that is your choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Actually, the need to upgrade to N is to be on the 5Ghz band, so that I don't have to deal with the interference from the 30 wireless networks in the vicinity. My Mac Mini won't be on the network wirelessly, because it's G and will slow down the network, and will be connected via enet.

But to my question: the USB printer is plugged into the Airport Express, which is connected wirelessly to the network. If you're right, and the device only connects (and slows down) when there is a document sent, then I'm not going to worry about it. But if it's there, and idle, will it still slow the network down? (for file transfers) . . .
 

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It shouldn't slow down the entire network especially if it is only active when transmitting a document. I'm sure that I'll be called out if I am wrong but, really, unless you are doing massive documents it shouldn't make that much of a difference even if it slows down the entire network.
 

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I guess I wasn't too clear, because it is wired it will not slow down, the information is passed from Computer to the Network (wireless at the speed of 802.11N) then the network passes it to the printer (wired at the speed of the printer (USB 1 or 2.0). A wired printer or device has no effect on the wireless speed.

if this were some futuristic wireless printer that ran on 802.11g, it would be slow, but seeing as 802.11N is either 5Ghz or 2.4Ghz, I can't guarantee lack of slow down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It shouldn't slow down the entire network especially if it is only active when transmitting a document
I don't know if the Airport Express is only active when printing a document. This is my question, essentially. I should note, however, thatthe specs state that when any G device is connected, the network slows down to G speeds to accomodate the slower device, rendering the N useless in terms of speed, and bringing it down to 2.4ghz.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I guess I wasn't too clear, because it is wired it will not slow down, the information is passed from Computer to the Network (wireless at the speed of 802.11N) then the network passes it to the printer (wired at the speed of the printer (USB 1 or 2.0). A wired printer or device has no effect on the wireless speed.

if this were some futuristic wireless printer that ran on 802.11g, it would be slow, but seeing as 802.11N is either 5Ghz or 2.4Ghz, I can't guarantee lack of slow down.
I still don't think you understand my situation. Currently, I am printing from one of two computers, a Mac Mini or a MacBook Pro. None of these are wired to the printer.

The printer is connected to a 802.11g Airport Express, so every time I send a job to the printer, it uses 802.11g wireless. But I have to have the 802.11g router/access point connected to the network at all times, and I'm wondering if the 802.11n extreme will slow down to 802.11g speeds all the time because of it.
 

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I still don't think you understand my situation. Currently, I am printing from one of two computers, a Mac Mini or a MacBook Pro. None of these are wired to the printer.

The printer is connected to a 802.11g Airport Express, so every time I send a job to the printer, it uses 802.11g wireless. But I have to have the 802.11g router/access point connected to the network at all times, and I'm wondering if the 802.11n extreme will slow down to 802.11g speeds all the time because of it.
That is a different story entirely, the printer has no effect on the speed of the network, since it is connected by a wire to the network, that is what I'm saying.

Your Mac Mini, and MacBook Pro are the issue here. This is because these are the wireless devices.
A Few Things before you read this, I do not have a Airport Express, but am knowledge of wireless networks (been using them for over 4 years), so it may not have this issue.
For the sake of argument, the mini has 802.11g(2.4Ghz, 54Mbps), and the MacBook Pro has 802.11n(2.4Ghz or 5Ghz support, 248Mbps). The network will probably* need to run in a mixed environment which means 2.4Ghz, and the mini will be slow but the macbook pro will not. The network should broadcast at 248Mbps and the mini will only be able to get 54Gbps. I do not believe that 802.11n can broadcast on both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz at the same time.

Again, the printer is plugged into the network, it does not effect the speed or frequency.

*I say probably because I have not had first hand expenrience with the latest 802.11n draft.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
hUussain,
While I appreciate your attempts to help, you clearly don't understand the situation or function of the Airport Express in my network. The printer is connected <B>wirelessly</B> to the network, through the Airport Express G device: it is in a closet, with no physical connection to the Mini or the MacBook Pro. The Aiport Express is not the router: the Airport Extreme will be the router.

I plan to connect the Mini via ethernet (so the G wireless in this device is moot), the MBP is an N device, the Airport Extreme is an N device, so the only G device is the Airport Express, which is there only to support the printer. However, in order to connect to the network, which will be run by the Airport Extreme, I will have to, at least initially, run it in a mixed 2.4/5 environment. My question remains whether or not the Airport Extreme will run in at 5GHz, and switch into 2.4/5 only when the printer sends a job. My sense is that it will not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
hUussain,
While I appreciate your attempts to help, you clearly don't understand the situation or function of the Airport Express in my network. The printer is connected <B>wirelessly</B> to the network, through the Airport Express G device: it is in a closet, with no physical connection to the Mini or the MacBook Pro. The Aiport Express is not the router: the Airport Extreme will be the router.

I plan to connect the Mini via ethernet (so the G wireless in this device is moot), the MBP is an N device, the Airport Extreme is an N device, so the only G device is the Airport Express, which is there only to support the printer. However, in order to connect to the network, which will be run by the Airport Extreme, I will have to, at least initially, run it in a mixed 2.4/5 environment. My question remains whether or not the Airport Extreme will run in at 5GHz, and switch into 2.4/5 only when the printer sends a job. My sense is that it will not.
 

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I do not know if the following will work, but it is an idea that may help.

Run the Express as a WDS extension to the Wireless N router. I'm not sure, but I think that will let you do full Wireless N between the MBP and the N router, and then the router will do the conversion to G for the Express/printer. Hopefully that won't cause any slow down between the MBP and the Wireless N router.
 

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Ok, I looked at Apple's website and their info is pretty thin. Typical of Apple since they don't expect you to ask more detailed questions than necessary...it just works. Anyways, I went on over to the Linksys site and had a look at their N router and it turns out that it is capable of talking to N wireless products at their respective speeds while at the same time being able to talk to a,b,g products at their respective speeds.

Linksys.com – Products/Wireless/Basic Networking/Broadband Routers/Wireless-N (draft 802.11n)/WRT150N

But unlike other speed-enhanced technologies, Wireless-N can dynamically enable this double-speed mode for Wireless-N devices, while still connecting to other wireless devices at their respective fastest speeds.
So, while earlier technologies were dragged down to the lowest denominator on the network, that is not the case with Wireless-N.
 

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I'm not sure of the answer to your original question, though I suspect that the Express will need to be in constant communication with the Extreme (and not just when it's printing).

But I think that you have a few options here:
  1. Why not just plug the printer into the new Extreme? It has the same printer sharing function as the Express.
  2. If you're going to connect the Mini via Ethernet, you could connect the printer to the Mini and share it out. The downside is that you'd need to leave the Mini turned on.
  3. Finally, you could run two parallel networks, based on the diagrams in this discussion. This will give you much more flexibility (and it's what I'm planning on setting up here when I have the time!)
 

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The network will probably* need to run in a mixed environment which means 2.4Ghz.
I'm quoting myself, because I did cover it in my post, you could have also swapped Mac Mini with Printer.

As I said a G will run at 54Mbps, and the N at 248Mbps, printer should not slow down the MacBook Pro, but I doubt it will broadcast with 2 frequencies.
 

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Airport Base Stations do indeed broadcast on multiple frequencies. Many people use older and new computers and peripherals, connected to a wireless network. This isn't where slowdowns occur.
It is 2.4 OR 5Ghz not both.

I've bolded what setting you would use.
AirPort Extreme Maual said:
Choosing the Radio Mode
Choose “802.11n (802.11b/g compatible)” from the Radio Mode pop-up menu if computers with 802.11n, 802.11g, or 802.11b wireless cards will join the network. Each client computer will connect to the network and transmit network traffic at the highest possible speed.
Choose “802.11n only (2.4 GHz)” if only computers with 802.11n compatible wireless cards will join the network in the 2.4 GHz frequency range.
Choose “802.11n (802.11a compatible)” if computers with 802.11n and 802.11a wireless cards will join the network in the 5 GHz frequency range. Computers with 802.11g or 802.11b wireless cards will not be able to join this network.
Choose “802.11n only (5 GHz)” if computers with 802.11n wireless cards will join the network. The transmission rate of the network will be at 802.11n speed. Computers with 802.11g, 802.11b, and 802.11a wireless cards will not be able to join this network.
Note: If you don’t want to use an 802.11n radio mode,.
http://manuals.info.apple.com/en/Designing_AirPort_Networks_Using_AirPort_Utility.pdf
The Macbook Pro would send it at it's maximum speed(248Mbps) and the printer will only get it at it's maximum speed (54Mbps).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
In response to crawford, my constraints are due to space. The printer can't be moved. The Mini can't be moved. The router can't be moved, and hence, the Airport Extreme can't be moved. The MacBook Pro is already wireless. And the other connected device, an xBox 360 (ethernet) can't be moved.

Option #3 seems workable, actually . . . I may consider it . . . but I think I'll just head into the Apple Store and ask. I also think that the Airport Express still needs to be in contact with the base station at all times.
 
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