Airport express to hell
Airport express to hell
I have an existing Windows XP (Home) wireless network with (1) a desktop connected via
Ethernet cable to the wireless router (Linksys WRT54G) and a laptop connected wirelessly. I
have WEP (128 bits) encryption on the network and have SSID broadcast disabled. Both
desktop and laptop are able to connect to the Internet. I have recently installed iTunes (current
version) on both the desktop and laptop and am able to share iTunes files installed on the
desktop with the laptop.
I just purchased an AirPort Express with the hopes of using it to stream music to my stereo
system. However, when I plug in the AirPort, the status light flashes yellow (which, from the
manual, I understand means that it cannot find the wireless network). I have tried the
following with no success (i.e., still flashes yellow): (a) moving the AirPort Express within a
few feet of the router, (b) enabling SSID broadcast on the router, and (c) disabling WEP
encryption on the router.
Question: If my computer is associated with a non-Apple wireless access point, can iTunes
send an AirTunes stream to the AirPort Express?
Answer: Yes, if AirPort Express has joined the network in client mode, or if it is connected
via wire to a LAN port on the non-Apple wireless access point.
AirPort Express: What is client mode?
When talking about a Wi-Fi network, a "client" is simply something that joins the network,
like your computer. A client could also be a wireless print server or wireless audio device.
AirPort Express can function as a full-fledged wireless access point, or it can join an existing
network just to offer its wireless print server and audio features. When AirPort Express does
that, it is in "client mode."
In client mode AirPort Express does not offer itself as a wireless access point or use its
Ethernet port. As a wireless client, AirPort Express is simply a destination for AirTunes and
print jobs. It can join both 802.11b and 802.11g networks, including those using security
features such as WEP and WPA-PSK.
You might try connecting to the Airport Express using an ethernet cable to get it set up
properly
MAC address
If you want to use your AirPort Express in client mode but unwittingly try adding it to a
network that is protected with an access control list (ACL), AirPort Express will flash its
status light amber once per second. This means that it wasn't able to join the network and get
an IP address.
The ACL is stored on the base station that is hosting the wireless network, and it contains the
MAC (media access control) address of each device that is allowed to join the network. To
use your AirPort Express as a wireless client, its MAC address must be added to the ACL.
AirPort Express has two MAC addresses, and both are listed on its case. The one labeled
"AirPort ID" is the MAC address for its wireless interface, and the one labeled "Ethernet ID"
is the one for its Ethernet port.
If you are the network administrator, you simply need to update your ACL using AirPort
Admin Utility so that it includes the "AirPort ID" of the AirPort Express. If not, speak with
the person who runs the network.
The Solution?
First, I changed the encryption of my home network to WPA-PSK (although this step may not
be necessary). Some articles I had seen suggested that AirPort didn't work with WEP and/or
you had to add a "$" before the WEP key while other articles said WPA was generally a better
"security system," so I decided to go with it, since as far as I'm aware I'm indifferent between
the two.
I then hooked up the AirPort to the router via Ethernet cable; I assume what this did is
essentially turn it into an unprotected / unencrypted wireless access point, as I at this point I
got the magical "steady green light" on the AirPort. Using my laptop, I connected to the "new
Apple network" created by the AirPort. Finally, I ran the AirPort Setup Assistant (not the
Admin Utility) and followed the instructions to add it to my existing wireless network (i.e.,
type in name of network, WPA key etc.), and voila! One thing I note is that once you move
the AirPort to its desired location, it takes a decent bit of time -- maybe up to 30 seconds -- for
it to find and hook up to the existing wireless network (i.e., you get a flashing yellow light
again for awhile), but it eventually gets there.
In hindsight (although I haven't tried this and hopefully will not have to), it may not be
necessary to actually hook the AirPort up the router to do this. I assume that, even though
there's no internet connection, my laptop would have "seen" the signal from the AirPort and I
could have connected to its "network". Although, of course, I would not have been able to get
onto the Internet using such connection, I might have been able to run AirPort Assistant to get
it to join my network. I'm sure you have a better idea of whether this would work or not.
AirPort Express: How to join an existing wireless network in client mode
If you want your AirPort Express to join an existing wireless network in client mode, you can
use either AirPort Setup Assistant or AirPort Admin Utility to do the deed. We'll show you
how for both.
Please note that the AirPort Setup Assistant steps in this article are geared toward those who
are setting up AirPort Express for the first time or after a "hard" reset. The steps for AirPort
Admin Utility can be used in any situation.
Before you begin, make sure that your AirPort software is up to date. You can download the
latest version for Mac or Windows from the AirPort Support page.
Using AirPort Setup Assistant
1. Plug AirPort Express into a power outlet.
2. On your computer, join the wireless network created by AirPort Express.
3. Open AirPort Setup Assistant. Mac users: Find it in /Applications/Utilities/. Windows
users: On the Start menu, point to All Programs and click AirPort.
4. When you see the Introduction screen, click Continue.
5. Select "Set up a new AirPort Base Station" and click Next.
6. When the AirPort Setup Assistant confirms that it has found your AirPort Express,
click Continue. (If your AirPort Express wasn't found, click Try Again.)
7. Select "Connect to my current wireless network."
8. Be sure that "Extend the range of my AirPort wireless network" is not selected (this
option is used only for WDS).
9. Click Next; AirPort Express Assistant will scan for your existing wireless network.
Once it finds it, click Next again.
10. Choose the correct network (there may only be one) from the Wireless Network
Name menu. If the wireless network is password protected, you will be prompted to
enter the password. Enter the password and then click Next to continue.
Note: If you have difficulty with your password, you can get help with joining a thirdparty WEP-protected network.
11. Enter the name of your AirPort Express.
Tip: If you don't know the name, it's what appears in iTunes as the name of your
AirTunes remote speakers.
12. Click Next.
13. Assign an administrator password for AirPort Express. This password can be different
from any network password, and is used for just changing settings on AirPort Express.
14. The Summary screen outlines the configuration options you've set. Optionally, you
can click Show Passwords to review the administrator and network passwords.
Finally, click Next to update AirPort Express with your settings.
Once AirPort Express has had a minute or so to restart, it should join the existing wireless
network, as indicated by its status light.
Using AirPort Admin Utility
1. Plug AirPort Express into a power outlet.
2. On your computer, join the wireless network created by AirPort Express.
3. Open AirPort Admin Utility. Mac users: Find it in /Applications/Utilities/. Windows
users: On the Start menu, point to All Programs and click AirPort.
4. After AirPort Admin Utility opens, the name of your AirPort Express appears in the
list. Select it, then click Configure.
5. Enter the administrator password if prompted.
6. Click the AirPort tab.
7. Enter a name for your AirPort Express in the Name field. (This name is how it will
appear in AirPort Admin Utility; it may be different from the AirTunes remote speaker
name mentioned in step 12. Note that AirPort Setup Assistant does not allow you to
differentiate these names, but AirPort Admin Utility does.)
8. If your AirPort Express does not already have an administrator password, click the
Change Password button to enter one. This password can be different from any
network password, and is used for just changing settings on AirPort Express.
9. In the same pane, under the AirPort Network heading, change the Wireless Mode from
"Create a Wireless Network (Home Router)" to "Join an Existing Wireless Network
(Wireless Client)."
10. Type the name of the wireless network you want to join in the Network Name field. If
you're using AirPort Admin Utility in Mac OS X, you may be able to choose the
network from a pop-up menu.
11. If the wireless network is password protected, you will need to enter the password
using one of the steps below. If it isn't password protected, skip to step 12.

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Mac users: Click Security Options, choose the level of password encryption
from the Wireless Security pop-up menu, then enter the password. When
finished, click OK.
Windows users: Click Wireless Security, choose the level of password
encryption from the Wireless Security menu, then click "Set WEP Password"
to enter the password. When finished, click OK.
Note: If you have difficulty with your password, you can get help with joining a third-party
WEP-protected network.
12. If desired, click the Music tab to enter the name that will appear in iTunes as your
AirTunes remote speakers. You can also enter a password to prevent others from
streaming music to your speakers.
13. Finally, click Update to send your new settings to AirPort Express.
Once AirPort Express has had a minute or so to restart, it should join the existing wireless
network, as indicated by its status light.
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