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AirPort Express: How to join an existing Wi-Fi network in client mode

Learn how to join an existing Wi-Fi network in client mode.

Some Ethernet-enabled devices, such as game consoles and printers, as well as some compatible USB printers, don't have a built-in Wi-Fi interface. If you would like these devices to connect to your network over Wi-Fi, you can use an AirPort Express to act as the bridge.

Additionally, client mode can be used for AirPlay music streaming from a computer running iTunes to a sound system.

Simply connect the appropriate cable (Ethernet cable between the device and the AirPort Express, USB cable from a compatible USB printer, or audio cable for music streaming), and configure the AirPort Express for client mode using AirPort Utlity.

Notes

  • In client mode, the AirPort Express is used exclusively by the device to which it is physically connected. It won't extend the range of the Wi-Fi network, meaning that other devices, such as computers, cannot connect to it wirelessly.
  • While in client mode, AirPort Express with 802.11n will be able to use the Ethernet port to pass Wi-Fi traffic to a device connected to the Ethernet port. However, the original AirPort Express 802.11g doesn't support this feature and will disable the Ethernet port. Only compatible USB printers or audio devices are supported.
  • To use any of these features, you will also need the appropriate Ethernet, audio, or USB cable to connect the device to the AirPort Express.

Before you begin, make sure that your AirPort software is up-to-date. You can download the latest version for Mac or Windows from the AirPort Support page.

Using AirPort Utility 6

  1. Connect an appropriate cable between the AirPort Express and the device it will serve.
  2. Plug the AirPort Express into a power outlet.
  3. After the AirPort Express starts up, select it in the AirPort Utility screen.
  4. If you are now repurposing the AirPort Express, first reset it from Base Station in the menu bar and select Restore Default Settings.
  5. After the AirPort Express completes the restore process, choose it from the Wi-Fi menu in the upper-left corner.
  6. Click the Other Options button.
  7. Select "Add to an existing network".
  8. Choose the Wi-Fi network name from the Wireless Network Name menu that you wish to join and click next.
  9. Enter the password to this network if required.

Using AirPort Utility 5

  1. Connect an appropriate cable between the AirPort Express and the device it will serve.
  2. Plug the AirPort Express into a power outlet.
  3. After the AirPort Express starts up, select it from the Wi-Fi menu, and then use the Setup Assistant in AirPort Utility to set it up.
  4. If you are now repurposing the AirPort Express, first reset it from Base Station in the menu bar, by selecting Restore Default Settings.
  5. Select the AirPort Express in AirPort Utility, and then click Continue.
  6. Enter a name and password for the AirPort Express, and then click Continue.
  7. Select "I want AirPort Express to join my current network", and then click Continue.
  8. Select "Join my wireless network," and then click Continue.
  9. Select your Wi-Fi network name from Wireless Network Name drop-down menu, match the Wireless Security, and then click Continue.
  10. Click Update.
  11. Allow the AirPort Express to restart.

After the AirPort Express has restarted it should automatically join the existing Wi-Fi network, as indicated by its status light.

Additional Information

Note: You can manually download AirPort Utility and AirPort Base Station firmware from AirPort - Support - Downloads.

Last Modified: Jun 17, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Jun 17, 2014
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