Airport Express

Apple continues to find a way to make new technology just a little bit better. Their new Airport Express is a unique "swiss army knife" for doing nearly anything wireless. The device plugs directly into the wall and is just slightly bigger than a standard "wall wart" plug. So what can it do? Well, it can act as a firewall/router for an entire network by plugging right into a cable or DSL modem. Or, if you have an existing network, it can simply act as an 802.11g wireless access point. It has full support for WEP, and even better, WPA encryption for securing your wireless network. It can also join an existing Apple WDS wireless network as a repeater. Several users have also reported that they can use the device as a wireless bridge for connecting a wired Ethernet device to a wireless network. It also has a USB port for a printer and acts as a wired or wireless print server. Lastly, and probably most cool is the AirTunes feature. A headphone-style jack outputs audio streamed over the network from any computer running iTunes 4.6. With a small adapter, the outlet can also be connected to an optical audio cable as well. A new drop-down appears in iTunes allowing you to select where the audio should be sent: to an Airport Express or the local computer speakers. The damage isn't too bad either, it is only $129, which is just a bit more expensive than a plain 'ol 802.11g router.