The new Airport Extreme is a really cool gadget. I just picked mine up this morning and can’t wait to get it home and in-place on my wireless network. Unfortunately my network is a 802.11g network so I won’t really be able to take advantage of the new 802.11n speeds, but that’s okay, I plan on using it for the networked AirDisk feature (mostly streaming media).

You would think that since my network is “old” and this device is new they wouldn’t work together but don’t worry, it will work.

The only bad news is that to set up this new device on your wireless network you will need to start from scratch. My network consists of the older (UFO-looking) Airport Extreme which is now going to be replaced and an Airport Express. I will keep the Airport Express because it allows me to stream music from my computer to my stereo. So all together my new network will be made up of the new Airport Extreme and my older Airport Express unit.

Before you attempt any of this, you should be familiar with setting up wireless networks. If you didn’t setup your own wireless network, I would get the person who helped you do it before you attempt any of this!!! It may also be helpful that you write down your Airport’s network settings incase you cannot remember them, it’s likely that you will need to refer to them when you re-set up the network. You can reset the Airport Express by using a paper clip and pushing down on the little grey button on the bottom of the device. You can see the little grey button on the far right side of the Airport Express in the following image:

Hold that down while the Airport Express is plugged in, you’ll notice the light on the front of the unit flash quickly. This will reset the Express to factory defaults. I would unplug that unit from its power source (this should reduce any confusion later on).

Now plug in your new Airport Extreme and set it up. When setting it up be sure that you set it up so that it’s 802.11b/g compatible mode. This will let your older Airport Express work with it and also any computers on your network that aren’t using the new 802.11n standard work. Each client will connect with it’s fastest speed whether that be 802.11g, 802.11b or the new high speed 802.11n. Now to get your Airport Express talking with the the new Extreme you will setup WDS just as you did before. The PDF I have a link to at the end of this entry talks about how/what WDS is.

To make a long story short, you can still use your older Airport Express with the new Airport Extreme, you just need to make sure you set it up correctly by choose ‘802.11g/b compatible’ when setting up the new Extreme.

Designing Aiport Extreme 802.11n Networks
The iFelix unofficial Airport Extreme and Airport Express Printer Compatibility List

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