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Author Topic: Airport Express - a decade or so of Hell  (Read 1548 times)
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JCC
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« on: April 06, 2013, 03:49:53 AM »

I am not sure this is really a call for help so much as it is a rant.

I own many Apple products, and I have been happy with most of them. My wife has an iMac and she loves it... I have had issues getting certain things to work for her consistently, but for the most part it's fine, and most importantly it makes here happy. We both have iPads (LOVE THEM). My wife has an iPhone 5. (She LOVES it!) I have owned 2 iPods (both great). My wife has owned three (She loves them). But there is one Apple product I have owned for close to a decade and it has brought me nearly nothing but frustration.... the Airport Express.

I use this thing for one purpose: to stream music from iTunes to a stereo. It has been 8-10 years of frustration. It's not like the thing simply refuses to work... Oh no, that would be simple. I would simply get rid of it. No, it will work, but it never works consistently. I have used this thing with multiple routers, streaming from multiple pcs, in multiple HOUSES, and for a while it works, but it will invariably fail (or work poorly) requiring me to set it up from scratch... AGAIN... which usually requires me to configure the damn thing about 4-10 times (EXACTLY THE SAME WAY EACH TIME) and then miraculously on the 9th or 10th time it works.... for a week or two. And then I am back at it again.

My WiFi network is just fine. I have a Wii, XBox 360, PS3, 2 iPads, my wife's iMac, my wife's iPhone, my Android phone, two Nintendo DSes, an iPod Touch... ALL of them connect with no problems... But the Airport Express has problems.

Perhaps despite the fact that EVERY OTHER FUCKING DEVICE connects to the WiFi without issue, MAYBE there is something wrong with my WiFi setup. FINE~! I have set it up to run via a straight ethernet cable connection to the router (MULTIPLE ROUTERS)... I STILL have problems with this piece of shit. It will work for a while.... and then it stops.

In my new house, I am back to trying to use this thing wirelessly. It is literally plugged in about 10 FEET from my router. I can connect to it, and configure it just fine with the Airport Utility... but try to stream music to it?! Surely you jest!

Google solutions for the Airport Express, and you will have approximately 1 billion hits of people complaining about the thing, with about 900 million foolproof (and totally different) solutions that ABSOLUTELY SOLVE THE PROBLEM. Except for me.

I haven't even begun to discuss the times where the damned thing actually DOES work, but depending on which PC you are streaming from, you get a periodic audio drop for a second every couple of minutes. I notice these drops tend to happen on post XP versions of Windows. (Although it sometimes happens with XP as well.) So far, my wife's iMac is the only PC I have owned since I bought the Express that has never had an audio drop out... when it works at all.

Anyway, I am really not trying to ask for help here, as there is no help for this thing. It was working fine a week or two ago, and I decided I would listen to some music late tonight after my wife went to bed, and of course the thing isn't working. LED light is GREEN, I can read it and update it with the Aiport utility, but I get about 1/10th of a second of audio, followed by many seconds of silence, repeat....

Thanks for letting me rant.... Go about your business.....
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-John

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gellar
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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2013, 05:55:55 PM »

It may be that I am a 99% Apple household, but I've never had any issues with either of my APXs.
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JCC
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2013, 06:11:22 PM »

I finally got AirPlay working again today, but now I am suffering from intermittent drops in audio. I usually can only fix that by installing an older version of iTunes.
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-John

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Misguided
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« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2013, 03:55:53 AM »

Quote from: JCC on April 06, 2013, 06:11:22 PM

I finally got AirPlay working again today, but now I am suffering from intermittent drops in audio. I usually can only fix that by installing an older version of iTunes.

Yeah, we have issues with audio dropping out on AirPlay as well. I have a couple of different airplay devices that we've tried and the behavior is the same. In our case, the wifi in the house is handled by a couple of airport base stations, which I think are the problem.
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JCC
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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2013, 04:05:57 AM »

Quote from: Misguided on April 07, 2013, 03:55:53 AM

Yeah, we have issues with audio dropping out on AirPlay as well. I have a couple of different airplay devices that we've tried and the behavior is the same. In our case, the wifi in the house is handled by a couple of airport base stations, which I think are the problem.

I tend to blame the drops on AirPlay itself (the protocol) more than the actual devices. As I said earlier, I tend to have better luck with (much) older versions of iTunes running on XP with not having these. I know at one point streaming to an Airport Express connected via ethernet cable (wireless disabled) I still got periodic audio drops. Ridiculous. I know the fidelity is superior to Blutooth streaming, but man it sure is finicky.

The only PC in the house that hasn't had the audio drops is my wife's Mac... although that's a limited sample size as we have had it for less than a year and haven't used it much for streaming. I know from years of reading apple forums on the Airport Express that the Mac is not immune to the drops...

Ironically, last night's failure, seemed to finally be fixed today by my rebooting my main streaming PC. Of course last night I couldn't stream from a different PC either, and it streamed OK today without a reboot... Sigh... that is how my adventures with Air Play have gone lo these many years...
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-John

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Dante Rising
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2013, 06:46:06 AM »

Why did I come here and read this? 20 minutes ago I ordered a 5th generation Airport Extreme from Apple, after reading about 500 glowing reviews from Amazon and Anandtech. I currently have a D-Link router which I need to reset about once a month, and it chokes fairly easily/disconnects during Amazon movie streaming.

It also has a problem running music from my itouch to my Samsung DAE750 via airplay. The connection becomes unstable whenever something else in the house uses the wireless connection simultaneously.

I'm hoping the Apple Airport Extreme is made of sterner stuff than your experience with the Express. I've been impressed with every Apple product I've owned- iTouch, iPad, iPhone. I plan on grabbing a Macbook Pro with the Haswell refresh.
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th'FOOL
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2013, 03:14:02 PM »

Quote from: Dante Rising on April 08, 2013, 06:46:06 AM

I'm hoping the Apple Airport Extreme is made of sterner stuff than your experience with the Express.

It absolutely is. Will never use another wireless router again.
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Mike Dunn
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Biyobi
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« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2013, 05:32:25 PM »

The Airports are pretty good in general and have excellent signal strength.  The one thing I absolutely detest is having to use Apple's software to interact with them.  Give me a nice, easy to use web-based interface!
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gellar
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« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2013, 06:30:59 PM »

Quote from: Biyobi on April 08, 2013, 05:32:25 PM

The Airports are pretty good in general and have excellent signal strength.  The one thing I absolutely detest is having to use Apple's software to interact with them.  Give me a nice, easy to use web-based interface!

I have no problem with the interface... I just hate how often it asks me to update the software.
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Misguided
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2013, 04:33:31 PM »

Quote from: th'FOOL on April 08, 2013, 03:14:02 PM

Quote from: Dante Rising on April 08, 2013, 06:46:06 AM

I'm hoping the Apple Airport Extreme is made of sterner stuff than your experience with the Express.

It absolutely is. Will never use another wireless router again.

Is that based off the 2011 version or an earlier one? Any idea what changed, if anything, with the most recent generation? I'd invest the money in new ones if I thought they would perform better than the previous gen. Otoh,those are nearly 2 years old and probably due to be replaced soon.

We have 2 fourth gen extremes (one is actually a time capsule). The backup function of the time capsule has always been a pain in the ass to get to work properly and the need to reset it is relatively frequent (because it goes ballistic like it is moving massive data...like a DOS attack or something). I've probably owned hardware from 3 or 4 different generations of airport hardware and they have all been "ok".
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th'FOOL
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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2013, 06:23:23 PM »

I bought mine in 2010, not the time capsule version. It has been solid as a rock, I think I've had to reboot it only a handful of times since I've plugged it in.

I generally avoid the time machine stuff on my macs, and didn't opt to get the time capsule for that reason.
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Mike Dunn
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