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Author Topic: airport express vs. airport extreme for LS9  (Read 7192 times)

David Parker

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airport express vs. airport extreme for LS9
« on: February 11, 2013, 04:00:31 pm »

is the airport extreme and upgrade from the airport express for using an ipad to run an LS9 remotely? Does the extreme have more range and better connectivity, or is the difference in capabilities that would not be used in this application?
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Luke Geis

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Re: airport express vs. airport extreme for LS9
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2013, 07:35:11 pm »

Well....... Between the two for your application both are about equal. The extreme can run both 2.4ghz and 5ghz at the same time, but that is kinda a non issue. The express runs on either 2.4ghz, or 5ghz., but not both. Yamaha suggests running a router at 5ghz, so running both bands simultaneously may have zero gain? The express has limited in's and out's, but for practical purposes you only need the main WAN connection because everything else can connect via wireless anyway. You can only connect one thing at a time to the desk anyway so having a computer and an ipad on the network via wireless works well. Having the computer connected directly to the router may be more robust and fast, but I have had zero issues with the PC connection via wireless.

As for range they should both be about the same? I would guess the extreme has a little more range due to dual band and slightly stronger antenna's. They state that it has a 20dbm antenna. That should get you 150' or more? I have an Intellinet access point that runs in the 2.4ghz band and states that it's antenna power is 14dbm. It's good for about 100' without direct line of sight. I don't usually set F.O.H up 100' from the stage so it has never been an issue for me. I chose my router more because it fits in my doghouse. I have a +9dbu antenna to use if I need a little more range, but have never needed it.

I would say it comes down to what you want to spend. I think the express would do great, but you may feel differently. The express will run 5ghz and has the basic connections you need. As for range the extreme should win, but I have used a nice 5ghz router before and the range was about the same as my cheap access point YMMV of course. I would say if you have the money get the extreme simply because it has more features and will work for something else later. If money is a big issue, get the express, it will perform well too.
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Mark McFarlane

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Re: airport express vs. airport extreme for LS9
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2013, 02:17:09 pm »

A thought: If you have (or plan to buy) multiple ethernet-connectable devices for your rack (wireless mics, DSP,..) then the extra ports on the Extreme may be more convenient than adding a switch, but the Express is nice and tiny.
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Mark McFarlane
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Brian Jojade

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Re: airport express vs. airport extreme for LS9
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2013, 11:48:33 pm »

http://www.apple.com/wifi/

This lists a summary of differences between the hardware.  The wireless hardware on the latest airport express is on par with the extreme.  The old version could do 2ghz or 5ghz, but the new one can do both.  Not that it really matters.  The reason to pick 5Ghz is more because there are less devices using that band, and the odds of interference are lower.  The downside of 5Ghz is shorter range and less ability to penetrate objects, such as walls and bodies.

In my tests, range of the two is nearly identical, although in some cases was marginally better with the Extreme.  It was close enough that i would call it a tie.

The Extreme has gigabit connections. For purposes of remote control of your board, it won't make a bit of difference.  The small size of the express and the built in power supply makes it a great choice.

If using the express with an iPad for wireless control, I've found that using WEP can cause latency issues that tend to piss off the app.  Hiding the network, and enabling MAC address control works great.
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Brian Jojade

David Parker

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Re: airport express vs. airport extreme for LS9
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2013, 08:21:16 am »

http://www.apple.com/wifi/

This lists a summary of differences between the hardware.  The wireless hardware on the latest airport express is on par with the extreme.  The old version could do 2ghz or 5ghz, but the new one can do both.  Not that it really matters.  The reason to pick 5Ghz is more because there are less devices using that band, and the odds of interference are lower.  The downside of 5Ghz is shorter range and less ability to penetrate objects, such as walls and bodies.

In my tests, range of the two is nearly identical, although in some cases was marginally better with the Extreme.  It was close enough that i would call it a tie.

The Extreme has gigabit connections. For purposes of remote control of your board, it won't make a bit of difference.  The small size of the express and the built in power supply makes it a great choice.

If using the express with an iPad for wireless control, I've found that using WEP can cause latency issues that tend to piss off the app.  Hiding the network, and enabling MAC address control works great.

thanks, that's what I was looking for!
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Mark McFarlane

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Re: airport express vs. airport extreme for LS9
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2013, 09:07:58 am »

...
If using the express with an iPad for wireless control, I've found that using WEP can cause latency issues that tend to piss off the app.  Hiding the network, and enabling MAC address control works great.

That's very interesting Brian.  I'm curious to hear more about your 'WEP-induced latency testing'.
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Mark McFarlane
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Brian Jojade

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Re: airport express vs. airport extreme for LS9
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2013, 02:01:37 pm »

That's very interesting Brian.  I'm curious to hear more about your 'WEP-induced latency testing'.

I didn't take the time to do any numbers testing on the current hardware. Any time you do encryption of data, you will introduce latency in the system.  Back when I did test this (a long, long time ago) You could see a 30-50% drop in throughput on a connection when WEP was enabled.  WPA2 is supposed to be better, but still will add latency.

In the case with an LS9, an Airport Express, with default security configuration, and an iPad 2, it would not hold a stable connection to the board for more than a couple minutes. These were the only devices on the network, in an unpopulated building, so interference wasn't likely the culprit.  It's possible that going in and tweaking the exact settings may have helped enough to get it to work, but I didn't have the time.  Hiding the SSID and adding MAC filtering will provide enough security for most practical purposes.  There's not any really sensitive data being transmitted, so encryption isn't required.

I also had issues with a Presonus board and the same configuration, although not as bad.  The connection was fairly stable, but would still lock up occasionally when encryption was enabled.  Turn that off, and the app was happy as a clam, rock solid.  This is why I came to the conclusion that the latency introduced by encryption is what was throwing off the apps.  Most likely as the hardware was renegotiating the encryption phase, there was enough lag to throw it into a tizzy.
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Brian Jojade

Mark McFarlane

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Re: airport express vs. airport extreme for LS9
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2013, 03:27:48 pm »

I didn't take the time to do any numbers testing on the current hardware. ...  This is why I came to the conclusion that the latency introduced by encryption is what was throwing off the apps.  Most likely as the hardware was renegotiating the encryption phase, there was enough lag to throw it into a tizzy.

Thanks Brian.  I'm using another access point today but I have a spare Airport Express I want to try out just to save space. When I try it out I'll go the MAC Address route, currently I hide the SSID and encrypt but entering MAC addresses isn't that big a deal (unless you have people walking in with iPhones that you want to connect...).
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Mark McFarlane
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Luke Geis

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Re: airport express vs. airport extreme for LS9
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2013, 11:39:03 pm »

I use wep encryption and hidden ssid. I will say that latency is ok. It's definitely not a show hindering amount of latency anyway. My biggest concern has always been stability. That being said, I went to DHCP server on my router. This in essence resolves all the stability issues, in trade of a minor performance cut. Still the latency is not enough to worry during a show. I think the above point was that encryption can introduce problems. May be worth testing further.

I know before going to a dhcp server, stability was non existent between my ls9 and Ipad. I have always hid my ssid and used wep 10 key encryption. I didn't try it without wep, but it would be interesting to see if going back to the standard static address settings would make a difference in stability? My guess is no? I haven't tried mac address filtering, but it sounds basically like it's stable, I wonder if it outperforms the dhcp server in terms of latency performance?
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Scott Wagner

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Re: airport express vs. airport extreme for LS9
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2013, 08:32:17 am »

I haven't tried mac address filtering, but it sounds basically like it's stable, I wonder if it outperforms the dhcp server in terms of latency performance?
Yes.  It has to.  MAC address filtering is one of the most secure ways to do this.  It means that your device (and only your device) can connect.

All processes add latency to the network connection - DHCP server, encryption, etc.  On big boy routers this is a non-issue as they have the horsepower to keep up.  On home networking devices, it certainly makes a difference.  Simplicity is always the correct answer.
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Scott Wagner
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