WiFi routers give computer users the ability to setup a small network without the need to connect wires from the computer to the router itself. This can be particularly useful if you have a small office or home office, and you don’t want the clutter of wires snaking around the place. This also lets you use your computer in other rooms of the house or in adjacent rooms in the office, as long as the signal can penetrate through the walls.
WiFi routers come in many brands and makes, including Netgear, Linksys, D-Link, Buffalo, and the like. One computer manufacturer that makes its own wireless routers is Apple. The Apple Airport Express is actually designed to be used by Apple computers for their Airport networking. In reality, “Airport” is just their branding. The Airport Express is actually a wireless router that subscribes to the 802.11g standard.
This means that computers other than your usual apple products can connect to the Airport Express, since it’s essentially a WiFi router. The answer is yes, and in some cases, no, as some computers might require a hotfix or patch before the connection will work.
- Follow the guide that comes with your Apple Airport Express in setting up the network. Give your router a meaningful name, and set up security such that users will need to enter a passphrase or password before being given access to the network.
- Power up the Airport Express. The light should turn from amber to green, indicating that the network is active.
- Power up your Windows computer and login as you normally would. You will be notified that a new wireless network has been detected. Click on the message. Connect your computer to the new network you have just made and enter the passphrase.
- If your system does not connect, this means your Windows XP has a bug that prevents it from properly logging in to wireless networks that run on the WPA2 security stack. You will need to download and install the Windows patch that fixes this issue.
- Open your Control Panel, and then open Windows Update. Have your computer check for new updates. Chances are, you have not yet installed hotfix KB893357, which is meant to patch Windows XP’s connectivity with WPA2. This can be directly downloaded at microsoft.com.
- Download and install the hotfix. Note that the website will require you undergo the Windows Genuine Advantage validation, which means it will not work for systems that are not running legitimate copies of Windows.
- You might have to restart your computer before the hotfix will take effect. After restarting, try logging into your computer, and then connecting to the network. Your computer should now be able to make a successful connection.
The Apple Airport Express is essentially an 802.11g WiFi adaptor that goes under its own brand. Given this, any user can connect using their device, unless your computer or device has trouble making connections using WPA2 as the security protocol.