AirPort Express 802.11n Explained

AirPort Express
Source: stereophile.com – AirPort Express

The Apple AirPort Express 802.11n (1st Generation Enhanced) served as an audio receiver within the AirPort Express series, developed and distributed by Apple between 2008 and 2012. It boasted enhanced performance and extended range compared to its predecessors. Launched on March 17, 2008, this base station started at $99.

Apple revolutionized its AirPort Express mobile base station by integrating 802.11n technology, promising fivefold performance improvement and double the range of earlier models. Priced affordably at $99, the AirPort Express became renowned as the smallest 802.11n-based mobile base station worldwide.

Its compact design facilitated direct wall installation for seamless wireless Internet access and USB printing at home, or easy portability for on-the-go wireless connectivity wherever an Internet connection was available. One of its notable features, AirTunes, seamlessly integrated with iTunes, enabling users to effortlessly stream iTunes music wirelessly from their PC or Mac to any room in their residence.

Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, lauded the innovation, stating, “Apple is leading the way with a broad range of innovative 802.11n base stations for almost any wireless networking need.” The AirPort Express, with its compact design weighing merely 6.7 ounces, catered to users seeking maximum portability.

It allowed both PC and Mac users to share a single DSL or cable broadband connection with up to 10 simultaneous users, as well as wirelessly share a printer connected to its USB port. Setting up and configuring the AirPort Express was made simple through Apple’s AirPort Utility software, accompanied by advanced security features including support for Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2), 128-bit WEP encryption, and a built-in firewall.

The AirPort Express also boasted a built-in combination of digital and analog audio connectors, facilitating connection to a home stereo or powered speakers. Through iTunes, users could seamlessly stream music to remote speakers detected automatically by the software. Multiple AirPort Express base stations could be strategically placed around a home, each connected to powered speakers, offering a whole-home music experience. Furthermore, the AirPort Express could extend the range of an existing AirPort Extreme wireless network.

As a slimmed-down version of the AirPort Extreme base station, the AirPort Express prioritized AirTunes support. Notable for its faster 802.11n draft specification, operation in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and compact form factor, it supported up to 10 connections but lacked a modem and a second RJ-45 Ethernet port, featuring instead an analog/optical digital audio port.

The discontinuation of the AirPort Express occurred on June 11, 2012. As of today, the AirPort Express 802.11n celebrates its 16-year anniversary since its release.

AirPort Express 1st Generation
Source: freney.net – AirPort Express 1st Generation

AirPort Express 802.11n Details

IntroducedMarch 17, 2008 – 16 years ago
DiscontinuedJune 11, 2012 – 11 years ago
Time on the Market50 months (4 years)
Model NumberA1264
Order NumberMB321LL/A
Original Price$99
Weight6.7 oz.
189 Grams
Dimensions3.7″ D x 2.95″ H x 1.12″ W
9.39 cm D x 7.49 cm H x 2.84 cm W

Wireless Specs

Wireless Data RangeUnknown
CompatibilityWi-Fi (802.11a/b/g and draft 802.11n)
Frequency2.4 GHz
5 GHz
Radio Output Power20 dBm (nominal)
SecurityWPA
WPA2
WEP (40-bit or 128-bit encryption)
Capacity10 users
MIMIO Config2×2:2
Supported ProtocolsNAT
DHCP
PPPoE
VPN Passthrough (IPSec, PPTP, and L2TP)
DNS Proxy
SNMP
IPv6 (6to4 and manual tunnels)

Connections

Ports1 – Ethernet 10/100BASE-T
1 – USB
1 – 3.5 mm mini-audio jack for analog or optical digital sound
StorageNone
AirPlayYes (Stream iTunes to external speakers)
Power over EthernetNo

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Further Reading and References

Disclaimer: The data presented in this article is under continuous development and has been manually collected from various sources based on their availability. The author of this article may revise this dataset as additional research is conducted and reviewed. Please note that the information is provided “as is” and “as available” without express or implied warranties. The author cannot be held responsible for any omissions, inaccuracies, or errors in the published information. Any warranties relating to this information are hereby disclaimed.