Airport Express to Connect to City-wide WiFi

There is a city-sponsored wifi connection to the internet where I live.

I currently use dialup for my access to the internet, so the wifi most likely will be a lot faster if it works at all for me.

I have never used wifi in any form, so I would like to find out about hardware and software requirements, and also about how to be as secure as possible in connecting to this wifi.

I have a Quicksilver Mac, 867 MHz with OS 10.5.8.

This computer was built in late 2002, and is "Airport Ready", that is it will take an airport card, but does not now have it.

Some folks have claimed that the Apple Airport Express will connect to the city-sponsored wifi, being used *instead* of that airport card - something about "client mode". The people at the Apple on-line store say that the airport card is necessary and that the Airport Express is just a wireless router.

Any info, including where to get more info would be appreciated.


--- Joe

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Most likely.

The easiest/best approach is to get an Airport card, this will allow you to connect to any or all wifi hotspots as desired without needing external dongles and cables.

An Airport Express *might* do the trick, but it depends somewhat on the wifi network (at least in my experience it can act as a client in most wifi networks, but I had trouble in at least one place when I was traveling with one)

I'd also guess that an Airport Express will cost more, although I haven't researched it lately.

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How did you get the Airport Express to work as a client? I'm willing to bet that the particular WiFi network I'm planning to try will work okay, IF the Airport Express is capable of "client mode".

My general idea is to use ethernet from my Quicksilver Mac to the Airport Express and then to have the Airport Express serve the same purpose as the Airport Card, without having an Airport Card installed in my Mac. Would this work at all?

What computer and OS did you use with the Airport Express, and how was it all connected - ethernet from your computer to the Airport Express?

The reason I'm so interested in things other than the Airport Card is that in order to try for better reception, the Airport Card would require me to move the entire 40 pounds+ computer. Compared to, I'm guessing, just using a long enough ethernet cable to move the 1 or 2 pound Airport Express around.

Thanks for the info.

--- Joe

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pick join existing network in the setup.

the current 802.11n model is.

more than likely.

exactly. you can put the airport express in a window and then run a cable to the computer. it's also only 7 ounces.

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In talking with "tech support" people at a couple of vendors, doing it this way requires me to know some technical details about the particular equipment being used to create this city-wide wifi. Also, have you actually joined one of these widespread networks this way? How exactly did you do it, equipment and cables wise? Did you have to do a new setup for *each particular* existing network that you wanted to join? How did you obtain the necessary info to set up for any particular network that you wished to be a client of?

The info that some of these tech people are giving me is that it *might* be able to do it, but it's doing it the hard way. I sure wish I could look over the shoulder of someone who has successfully done it. So far, I am even handicapped by not being familiar with some of the terminology.

I have looked over a bunch of FAQs on the apple web site, but none seem to come close to asking about the stuff I would like to do. Most are about stuff with people's own LANs and how to stream music wirelessly to their speakers - sheesh!

Please give details of what type of computer hardware and software you used to get success, and what type of network that you joined in "client mode".


--- Joe

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You typically need to know the SSID (name of the network) and encryption key (if any)

In general, the Airport Express will be able to detect the security method being used (if any), encryption method being used (if any), channel, network mode, etc.

Typically large networks like this use an identical configuration across multiple access points, so you can "roam" between individual access points. Once you set up at one location, it "just works"

The network operator provides the information.

Why are you focusing on the Airport Express rather than an Airport card?

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In my local area the neighboring city just announced they were going to do the same thing. They are calling it WiFi but in digging deeper it appears that they are going to use some sort of 3g or 4g wireless in order to utilize the cellular antenna's and facilities already in place.

You really need to contact the people driving the install in your area and find out if they are using the traditional WiFi like in a coffee shop or are they going city wide wireless using cellular frequencies.

Try calling people at your City Hall and keep asking until you get to the correct department that has the information you need.

Only then would I consider purchasing any equipment in order to access the new service.

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You might not have seen the original poster's followup but bascially he's got miserable reception where his desktop sits, but he could run the Airport Express (or any similar unit) to his window and it would pick up a much better signal there.

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danny burstein

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Neill Massello

Late 2002 and 867 MHz, not this one?

Anyway. Airport cards, the only ones that will fit into your Airport Ready Quicksilver's Airport slot are no longer made and the used ones you can buy are expensive. Here's one solution for that:

Possible? See below. Anyway, also expensive.

Cheaper, and greater choice would be a Game Adapter, that bridges your Ethernet card and the wireless network.

Here are a few - old, and probably outdated - models:

Belkin F5D7330 Wireless Ethernet Bridge.

D-Link DWL-G700AP, in Repeater Mode.

D-Link DWL-G730AP Pocket Router, in Client Mode.

ASUS WL-330gE Portable Wireless Access Point, in Client Mode.

But you get the idea? Look for something similar. Many Access Points can be configured to bridge Ethernet and wirelass networks "the other way".

Reply to
Axel Hammerschmidt


That was true for the original AirPort Express. However the later

802.11n version (MB321LL/A) can be configured by the AirPort to do what you want. I've used one to provide WiFi access to a local network, from a computer that only had Ethernet capability.

Reference Page 25 of the AirPort Express Setup Guide, "Connecting to an Existing Wireless Network". (Actually it says you can do it, but not exactly how!)


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