I fly over 100,000 miles a year and I live in hotels. I have found a couple of items that help my life be easier on the road. I wanted to share some of these items and hopefully they will make your life easier. Today, let me introduce you to one of my favorite travel tech items: the Apple Airport Express. I don’t know what I would do without it! This is a very compact wireless router. Some of you may be thinking, “Well, l I already have a broadband card, why should I get one of these?” Let me explain. I have the EVDO Sprint Broadband Card too, but this requires a great cell signal to work well. At some airports there is so much interference you can’t get a signal, as well as in some big city hotels- the concrete and steel and all of that make it are nearly impossible. Plus, I need a fast Internet for huge files, video conferencing, downloading iTunes, and watching movies or TV on Hulu or through a Slingbox. The broadband card often can’t get the speeds you need to accomplish what you want. That is where the Airport Express comes in.
The Apple Airport Express is incredible! For me being connected is really important, and this is the way to go. I have used it in hotels, hospitals, churches, and different speaking venues. Someone will usually have an Internet cable that they will let you plug it into. It is also useful when there are multiple Internet users with you. When I travel overseas, I usually have a couple of people along. There is the guy who is always in a room next to me, and on a separate floor are one or two assistants that help run the speaking engagement. Internet in Asia is about $10 a day, and we all need it, so my assistant plugs in the Express, and all of us can share one internet connection wirelessly. Right there is a savings of $30-$40 a day. I am not tethered to an Ethernet cable: I can roam my room. I like sitting on the bed and working and surfing. I don’t want to be tied to a desk. Sometimes rooms just get stuffy so I open the door and go to the hallway. Or when I stay in a hotel with an ocean-view veranda I love to sit there in the mornings and work and surf and drink coffee. I can also use my Blackberry and make international calls through my Wifi at no extra charge. I will have to review that another time.
The Express creates a wireless network for all of us. We can exchange files, videos, and even share music or video conference. We also connect a small portable printer to it and all of us can print wirelessly. I will be the reviewing the portable printer another time.
Here are the pros:
- Small and Compact. It measures 3 x 1.1 x 3.7 inches; 6.7 ounces. There are no other electrical cables needed. The electrical prongs are part of the Express and they fold into it so they won’t break.
- Easy To Set Up. It comes with Apple’s intuitive software that helps you set it up wirelessly or via Ethernet cable and it supports OS X or Windows.
- Latest encryption for security. The Express uses WPA2 and what is nice is that the included software makes this also easy to setup.
- Print Wirelessly. The Express comes with a USB port to connect a printer.
- Share Hard Drive. The Express comes with a USB port so you can attach an external Hard Drive and share that Hard Drive on the network created by Express.
- Stream Music. The Express has 3.5 mm jack that you can connect to a sound system. This is great if you have a presentation with sound. Also, your iPhone can remotely control your iTunes.
- Creates a network for up to 10 people. Even without a broadband connection you can connect up to 10 people to share files and collaborate.
I have one con:
Cost. The newest one is $99 but you can pick up an 802.1G for $60. If you don’t need N, then G will be more than sufficient.
Last word. If you are not an Apple fan and would rather stick to a Linksys product, I would recommend the Linksys WTR54GS. The only issue with this is that it looks like it has been discontinued. You may be able to find on eBay.