After having a few problems with the Airport Express, usually resolved by unplugging it and plugging it back in again, I took the plunge and upgraded the firmware to version 6.3
I was having issues with it failing too often. Though most of my Mac hardware and the iPad run off my 802.11n Airport Extreme, I still have some hardware that can only use 802.11g and that is what I was using the Airport Express for. The iPhone is one example, but as it has 3G it was less noticable when the Express failed and the wifi didn’t work. However my Canon printer also connected to the 802.11g Express network and when the Express fell over, no one was able to print!
I generally don’t upgrade unless there are security issues or as in this case I am having problems with the hardware. The upgrade went fine and it would appear after a few days now to have solved the issue. The Express has stayed up without falling over, so I am keen to see if this will continue.
If it keeps falling over then I may need to get a new one, of course it would have to be the AirPort Express 802.11n model.
Both the iPhone 4 and the iPad can connect to the faster 802.11n networks, but it is not as clear cut as that.
Whilst the iPad can connect to a 5GHz 802.11n wireless network the iPhone 4 can only connect to an 802.11n wireless networking using 2.4GHz.
Whilst that is much faster than connecting to an 802.11g network one reason for having a 5GHz is to avoid the often crowded 2.4GHz spectrum as the rest of the world has discovered the advantages of wireless networking.
So if you if you only have a single 802.11n wireless network you will need to ensure it is either running at 2.4GHz or add a new network just for the iPhone, which is a little bit over the top.
I can see myself adding a 2.4GHz 802.11n network for my new iPhone 4 in the main so I can stream video over my network using the AirVideo App.
Apple have updated the AirPort Extreme Base Station and Time Capsule, which are now offering simultaneous 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz dual-band networking “for optimal performance, range and compatibility.” The new models also offer the ability to set up a secondary Internet-only Wi-Fi network to allow family and friends to access the Internet without giving them the password to the primary network or allowing them access to networked drives and other peripherals. Finally, Time Capsule offers MobileMe members the ability to access files on their device’s hard drive over the Internet from anywhere.
Interestingly my (older) 802.11g Airport Extreme stalled today. No 802.11g client could pick it up and even though it is plugged into the LAN port of the 802.11n Airport Extreme, the Airport Utility could not “see” it.
So unplugged it, left it for about ten seconds, and switched it back on again, no worries.
This is an occassional problem, which is in the main just annoying, but I wonder what the underlying problem is (if any) and if the base station will one day just stop working for good!