For the first time, I traveled with my new Apple Airport Express device, for a few nights at the beautiful Renaissance Parc 55 hotel in San Francisco. And the unit worked wonderfully! The biggest issue I noticed is that the hotel wireless network, Wayport, expects to be hooked up directly to a laptop, so the very first day when I signed up for the service required me to physically hook my Apple PowerBook into the Ethernet jack.
But once it was all up and working, I have to say that all the pleasures and freedom of highspeed wireless networking in my office are easily duplicated – and even more appreciated – in a hotel room. No longer was I tied to the modem by a 3′ blue leash, but could relax on an armchair, watch the Olympics, and know that my Apple Airport Express unit was serving up a fast Internet connection.
I realize that San Francisco is more high-tech oriented than most cities, but it was surprising to occasionally see other wireless networks pop up in my hotel room. I am still unsure whether they were other Apple Airport Express units or just laptops that were set up – perhaps without the owner’s knowledge – to act as a wireless base station. Since I didn’t set up a password on my Airport Express in the hotel room, it was quite possible that other hotel guests were using my Internet connection too. If so, good luck to them!
In the end, I remain highly impressed with the Apple Airport Express as a highly portable wireless base station unit for travel. There are a few tweaks I’d like to make in the next generation unit (including the ability for the power plug to pull out an inch or two so that it could plug snugly into the power outlet located on the base of the desk lamp) but, again, kudos to Apple for a job very well done.
Whether you’re a Mac or PC user, if you travel and have a WiFi capable laptop, you owe it to yourself to have an Apple Airport Express in your computer bag. It’s money well spent.