Home > Uncategorized > Serious geekery ahead with the Airport Express and AirTunes.

Serious geekery ahead with the Airport Express and AirTunes.

I managed to get my hands on another Airport Express this weekend and proceeded to start doing some testing on it. My ultimate goal was to stream the iTunes music stored on my server down in the basement to the speakers I have set up next to the living room TV.

Here's the setup:

Downstairs in the basement:
An Airport Express basestation
A Snow Airport basestation
A Linksys BEFSR41 4-port Cable/DSL router
A beige G3/333 running Mac OS X Server 10.3.5 with my iTunes collection stored on it.

Upstairs in the living room:
An Airport Express basestation
A pair of Altec Lansing desktop speakers attached to the sound-out port on the upstairs Airport Express

The problem: Getting the server to see and talk to the upstairs speakers.

What fixed it: The Airport Express Assistant at first led me down the wrong path. From the way it worked, I'd thought that I needed to set up a completely different wireless network from the what I'd had set up before using the Snow. So I set up a new one, where the basement Airport Express acted as its own router and provided an internet connection to the upstairs basestation using a different IP range (10.0.1.x) than the 192.168.x.x setup that the Linksys router was providing the other Macs on my network. The problem that was causing was that AirTunes only works on its own subnet. So, if you change the IP range, AirTunes running on the 10.0.1.x network won't be able to talk to the Macs on the 192.168.x.x network.

The answer, it turned out, was pretty simple. I didn't have to have the basement Airport Express set up as a router, I just had to have it pass on the internet connection by acting as a bridge to the other Airport Express. That's the way my other Snow Airport works, where it has its own IP address and only acts as a bridge between my wireless clients and my wired router. So I changed my setup on the basement Airport Express to match the settings on the Snow Airport. Next, I reset the upstairs Airport Express and once again had it match the settings on the Snow. Next thing I know, the speaker selecter drop-down appeared on the server's iTunes window and I was able to stream to the upstairs speakers. As a bonus, I was able to consolidate my wireless networks back to one network, and I was able to make it a closed network like I had before (which, according to the Airport Express Assistant, I wasn't able to do.)

If you didn't understand a word of this, that's OK. I mainly wrote this so I wouldn't forget how I did it, and also to serve as a guide to someone if they are stuck and turning to Google.

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