After another session of “not working” I have replaced my aging Airport Express. Though I would like to have replaced it with a new model, I used one that I had got for AirTunes but in the end found wasn’t needed. So it was still sealed, as I hadn’t got around to opening it, or selling it on eBay.
Configuring it was pretty simple using Apple’s Airport Utility, though did forget to put it into Bridge Mode so at first it didn’t work.
Bridge Mode was necessary as my Airport Extreme is the router on my network, which broadcasts at 5GHz 802.11n. I use the Airport Express in 802.11b/g mode for legacy and mobile devices. As the Airport Extreme acts as the DHCP router, adding a second router on the network would mean that devices could connect to the wifi, but wouldn’t be able to access the internet or “connect” with other devices on my network.
The reason for two wireless networks is that the 802.11n network can work at the full 300Mbps speed, whilst legacy and mobile devices will work just fine on a slower network. If I had a single wireless network it would be “slow” for all devices. This usually isn’t too much of a problem, however I do stream video across my network, and when I use to do this in the past (with standard definition video) on an 802.11g network, I found that due to network congestion I would get buffering which was annoying. With 802.11n I can stream high definition video easily across the network to my Apple TV or my iPad. It also works well in moving large files across the network.
802.11n also makes much more sense when using FTTC (fibre) for internet with its higher speeds.
The main problem I was having with the old Airport Express was that it just stopped working and “vanishing” from the network. As a result it would need to be power cycled to get it working again.
So far so good.