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I am trying to use my Airport Express as an Airplay adapter (play to speakers through iOS device) connected to my existing (not-Airport-Extreme) wireless network. The Express is the kind that you plug into the wall - not the new model. In one sentence, I would like to connect my Express to my existing WiFi network and be able to Airplay to my attached speakers.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can definitely do this. The Airport Express can act as a wireless router, as a wireless bridge, a wireless access point, or in Wireless Distribution System mode as a repeater, or can join it strictly as a wireless client. For this, you want to set up the Airport in client mode.

Apple's site has instructions on this. Here's what it recommends:

Using AirPort Utility 6

  1. Connect an appropriate cable between the AirPort Express and the device it will serve.
  2. Plug the AirPort Express into a power outlet.
  3. After the AirPort Express starts up, select it in the AirPort Utility screen.
  4. If you are now repurposing the AirPort Express, first reset it from Base Station in the menu bar and select Restore Default Settings.
  5. After the AirPort Express completes the restore process, choose it from the Wi-Fi menu in the upper-left corner.
  6. Click the Other Options button.
  7. Select "Add to an existing network".
  8. CHoose the Wi-Fi network name from the Wireless Network Name menu that you wish to join and click next.
  9. Enter the password to this network if required.

Using AirPort Utility 5

  1. Connect an appropriate cable between the AirPort Express and the device it will serve.
  2. Plug the AirPort Express into a power outlet.
  3. After the AirPort Express starts up, select it from the Wi-Fi menu, and then use the Setup Assistant in AirPort Utility to set it up.
  4. If you are now repurposing the AirPort Express, first reset it from Base Station in the menu bar, by selecting Restore Default Settings.
  5. Select the AirPort Express in AirPort Utility, and then click Continue.
  6. Enter a name and password for the AirPort Express, and then click Continue.
  7. Select "I want AirPort Express to join my current network", and then click Continue.
  8. Select "Join my wireless network," and then click Continue.
  9. Select your Wi-Fi network name from Wireless Network Name drop-down menu, match the Wireless Security, and then click Continue.
  10. Click Update.
  11. Allow the AirPort Express to restart.
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I'm getting an 'An unknown error occurred.' –  Undo Feb 15 '13 at 17:39
    
What step are you getting the error, and are you using AirPort Utility 5 or 6? –  Alan Shutko Feb 15 '13 at 18:48
    
I figured it out. Works great now - I just forgot to mark you correct. The light is even solid green now! Thanks! –  Undo Feb 16 '13 at 1:39
    
For future Googlers, I was using AirPort Utility 6. Just keep trying. If some stars align it'll work eventually. Actually, I think I had my router password wrong. –  Undo Feb 16 '13 at 1:41
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