Configuring AirPort Express on a wired-only Ethernet network

Even though AirPort Express includes a fully-functional wireless access point, it's totally legit to use it on a wired-only network for its print server and music streaming features. When setting up for a wired-only environment, you could get a bit confused by the fact that AirPort Express Assistant refuses to hook you up. This is because AirPort Express Assistant will only connect wirelessly from a computer that has a wireless card. Don't worry -- you just need to use AirPort Admin Utility instead, as shown here.
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To set up your AirPort Express as a print server and AirTunes receiver on a wired network, follow these steps:

  1. Connect your AirPort Express by Ethernet to your network.
  2. Open the AirPort Admin Utility. On a Macintosh it's at /Applications/Utilities/. In Windows, it's at C:\\Programs\\AirPort\\Admin.
  3. Select the base station from the chooser (browser) window. Click on Configure to continue.

  4. Select the AirPort Tab. Next, provide a name for your base station and a name for your network. The network name is probably not as important to you, since you have a wired-only installation. However, the name you use here will become the default name for your AirTunes network.

  5. If you're concerned about other unauthorized wireless clients getting on your network, you can take two additional steps. Turn the Transmitter Power down to its minimal setting (10%), and give your network a security layer.

    Tip: This picture shows the Windows version, where the Transmitter Power is directly under the AirPort tab. On a Mac, you'd click the Wireless Options button to access Transmitter Power.

  6. Next, set the type of security you want to use. For this implementation, it is recommended that you use WPA for home/small office (Windows) or WPA-Personal (Macintosh).

  7. Now you need to turn off the router settings on your AirPort Express that provide DHCP and NAT capabilities to wireless clients. Select the Network tab. Be sure the checkbox for "Distribute IP addresses" is not checked (it is checked by default).

  8. Select the Music tab, and turn on the AirTunes feature.

    You will need to enter the name of the iTunes Speaker Name. On a Macintosh computer, this will take the name of the wireless network you have previously entered.
    Note: Selection of the "Enable AirTunes over Ethernet" checkbox shown above has no effect after following step 7 (which is recommended for most users), but it would be required if you chose not to follow step 7 for any reason. On the Macintosh you will find this checkbox by clicking the Base Station Options under the AirPort Tab. This checkbox is not selected by default.

  9. Now click Update. Your AirPort Express will now reset, and you are off an running with a streaming AirTunes network.
  10. To share a printer, you need only connect it to your AirPort Express. Here's some extra information for Macintosh and Windows XP.

Published Date: Oct 10, 2016