Friday, November 30, 2007

AirPort Express on the Road

There are going to be places - hotels and houses - that won't have wifi. This wouldn't be a big deal if we were taking a laptop with us, but we're not. We're taking the Nokia n800 which uses either wifi to a network or bluetooth to a mobile with a data connection. Another reason for wifi being so important is that we also have a wifi phone (thanks to Pat in Cubic Telecom - keep an eye on these guys as they're extending their reach West across the Atlantic) . The costs of voip are so low in comparison to anything else, that it makes sense to offset the cost of internet connectivity by making it wirelessly available whereever we have it.

Enter Apple's AirPort Express. What's so good about it? Well, it's exactly the right piece in this jigsaw. I don't want a wireless router - where ever I'll be will at least have a dsl modem. Moreover, it's tiny. It has no cables - the electrical plug is part of the box itself:

You plug this little device into the wall, connect your dsl router with an ethernet cable, and watch the light turn green. Easy. It does a lot more than this - it's designed to work within an AirPort network which means all kinds of cool things - some of which I'll definitely use this for when we get back. For example, you can plug this into the wall near your stereo, and connect them to each other view the jack connection on the AirPort express. Next time you're using iTunes on any computer in the network, you can direct the signal out of whichever instance of AirPort express you want. You can similarly connect to any USB compatible printer. Moreover, you can harness a couple of separate AirPort Expresses together in one wireless network, extending the range of your network (this is something that I'll certainly be trying in our Cagliari apartment where the think concrete walls tend to block radio signals.)

1 comment:

Dave Mulligan said...

I'm taking a leaf out of your book and am planned to work from Spain for six or so weeks over the summer. I'm looking into what I need to get so that I can get online (WiFi router), be contactable (Skype WiFi phone), and get work done (Laptop). I'm planning to buy a laptop, 15" Dell XPS is top of my list at the moment. But I may (or may not) also need a wireless router. How do you find the Apple AirPort Express? Is it any good? I've read some reviews that complained about the WiFi signal strength. Does it come with international power adapters or are they extra? Its either get an AirPort Express for around 80 euro, or a DLink wireless router, which isn't nearly as small for 20 euro.