I may or may not have touched on my home network previously... but being in the position I'm in, let's just say that I'm rather controlling when it comes to my computer stuff at home. I want things to be simple, functional and dependable.
Previously I've been using an Apple Airport Express. It certainly fits the "simple" property. You just plug the brick into the wall and plug in the network cable and it works. Of course, being me, there is still a bit of configuration to be done, but that's really about it.', 'Lately Jen and I have been looking at ways to setup Time Machine on our Macbooks to get the backups to kick in. I had tried sharing a drive off my Windows PC and it would work sometimes but was definitely not reliable. We scrapped the idea. I have since changed my drive setup on the Windows PC and no longer need the 500 GB external hard drive for that.
Figured this was as good of a time as any to jump into another network upgrade. I could have went for 2 in 1 and just bought Apple's Time Capsule... but why pay extra $ for the storage when I already have a perfectly good USB drive? So the obvious answer was an Airport Extreme Base Station... with it's USB port, I could easily plug in that USB drive, share it, and set Time Machine to backup the systems on that drive.
All while upgrading my network! Truly a win-win situation if there ever was one.
So now my network is setup like this... Airport Extreme in the second bedroom as the router/file server. Airport Express in the "master" bedroom for AirTunes (to a set of bookshelf speakers) and extending the wireless network. Another Airport Express in the living room doing the same thing - AirTunes to my receiver and extending the initial wireless network.
But wait! There's more. I have a previous generation Airport Express (pre 802.11n) in the dining room sharing a printer. Figured the slower, non-n ApEx would be best for the printer duties... it handles them well. The setup was cake on my Windows desktop and both of the Macbooks.
I hate to sound like a fanboy... but Apple definitely makes it easy. Did I mention we have 5 iPods in the house between the two of us? 🙂