Walking in to a Apple premium reseller's store today I was told that there is no difference range-wise between Express (the June 2012 model) and Extreme.

True story?

Where can I get more detailed specs on the models? Apple's site isn't exactly thorough…

  • 1
    they both have approx the same max power radio output, so I would guess that means they are approx equivalent in range
    – Jason
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 0:12
  • I agree--as long as they use the same antennas.
    – ephsmith
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 1:25
  • 1
    You can take a look at the Extreme antennas here: ifixit.com/Teardown/Airport-Extreme-802-11n-Teardown/438/1 Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 2:35
  • I get better range from my new AirPort Express than I do from a 6 month old - latest generation Time Capsule when I get more than two walls away from the transmitter or more than 100 feet out in the open. It's a very slight difference, so my experience seems to agree with what you were told.
    – bmike
    Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 14:20
  • @bmike Good knowledge. I'll get me one of those Express then! :)
    – yusf
    Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 15:34

4 Answers 4


The Wireless specs are the same.

The Features of each one, however, are not. Here's a few differences:

  • Packaging (obviously)
  • USB connection: On Express, only printers work. On Extreme, Printers and External HDDs.
  • Airport Extreme is able to create two wireless networks (one regular, one guest). Apple site states it has a guest network.
  • Airport Express has a P2 connector for AirPlay audio.
  • Guest networking only on Extreme? According to apple.com/wifi it's on both. :S
    – yusf
    Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 13:15
  • Guess I was a bit off. Need to play around a bit more with my gadget. Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 14:07

I can say there is not noticeable difference between the two when it comes to signal strength and wireless performance when transferring between two wireless devices.

But concerning the spec. there is one serious gotcha with the Express, it has no Gb Port. The WAN and LAN ports are both 10/100Mbps ports. This means that if you have a 300Mbps Wireless connection to the Airport Express your real access to the network will be limited by the wired connection.

This can have a negative impact on large file transfers and Time Machine backups.

The power supply of the Express is built-in while with the extreme you need to make room for the power supply where it will be installed.

Subjectively the Express seems to be slightly better at dispatching WiFi through the floor bellow it.


It is True, as the technical specs are the same.

With the old Express models, what really made the difference was that while those had to be plugged into the electrical socket, Extremes could be placed in a much higher level, widely increasing their range.

  • Can't you use an extension cord to achieve the same thing with the airport express?
    – houbysoft
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 13:38
  • Well, of course, but I was talking of the devices as they are. With no add-ons for busting their range, such as power cords or antennas.
    – Thecafremo
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 13:43
  • The new Express model is obviously connected with a cable in between. images.apple.com/airportexpress/specs/images/specs_hero.jpg
    – yusf
    Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 13:17
  • Where would you plug in that antenna?
    – yusf
    Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 13:18
  • You're right. I'll edit my answer.
    – Thecafremo
    Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 13:27


LAN ports of both Airport Express and Airport Extreme are the same in speed, 1GMbps.

  • 2
    Nope, Airport Extreme has Gigabit Ethernet where Airport Express has 100 MBPS Ethernet. Commented May 7, 2013 at 6:25

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