I am wondering how works, e.g. I have this set-up:

  • MacBook Pro
  • Bose Home 300 Speaker (2.4GHz Wifi only)
  • Wifi modem-router 1 (Wifi5GHz)
  • Wifi router 2 (extended from 1 with an ethernet cable, Wifi2.4GHz)
  • subscription.

If the MBP is connected with Wifi5GHz and I play a song over AirPlay to the Bose Speaker, it works. I just want to know if –

  1. the song is downloaded to MBP -> uploaded to Router 1 -> sent to Router 2 -> sent to the Speaker.


  1. MBP sends a signal to the Router 1 -> the song is downloaded to Router 1 -> sent to Router 2 -> sent to the Speaker.

I found an unofficial wiki, but soon got tired to dig deep to take out what I'm looking for :(

  • 1
    Even if Router 1 supports Airplay option 2 is unlikely.
    – nohillside
    Commented Aug 29, 2022 at 19:26
  • 1
    Also, all that Router 1 and 2 see are IP packets, they have no clue about whether it is audio or something else.
    – nohillside
    Commented Aug 29, 2022 at 19:29

1 Answer 1


It is option 1 - in very rough terms of what actually happens.

Note that the song is not transferred as a whole - i.e. it is not so that the whole song is first downloaded, and then transferred to router 1, and then transferred to router 2 and then to the speaker. You're actually streaming the song so only small parts of the song are sent a time.

Note also that nothing is actually stored on routers 1 and 2. They're forwarding smaller packets of data - they're not processing the data as such, nor are they storing it for later.

Finally, you should note that your router are probably not (depending on your network configuration) even functioning as routers here. The data is sent from the MacBook Pro via WiFi to your "Router 1" (functioning as an access point), and then transferred via ethernet to "Router 2" (both device functioning as network switches) where it is again transferred via WiFi to your Bose speaker.

  • Okay, that helps :) So, it's actually taking twice the WiFI bandwidth (downloading from the Internet via the router & then again uploading to the local wifi network, to be sent to the AirPlay device. The advantage of course is that the middle devices (routers) do not need to do any processing of the audio (or video, when streaming to a TV) data. Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 3:59

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