Buffering Problems When Streaming Audio in AirPort Express

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Apple's AirPort Express wireless base station broadcasts a wireless signal that enables audio streaming to your entertainment system or computer. Audio buffering problems, including tracks that skip or cut out during playback, might indicate an issue with the equipment or the way you've set it up. Changing device settings or the environment can solve the problem.

AirPort Firmware

  • Apple releases periodic updates to the AirPort Express firmware. Installing the latest firmware version allows AirPort Express to communicate smoothly with the Internet and your computer. Outdated firmware can cause the device to behave strangely or slow down Internet streaming, which can cause the audio to stall or play erratically. To install the latest updates, choose Software Update from the Apple menu and follow the prompts.

Internet Speed

  • Internet speed has a significant impact on your computer's ability to stream audio. Slow connections can cause buffering problems when you try to play audio online. The speeds published by your Internet service provider are maximum limits ava lable under ideal test conditions. To test your actual speeds, go to a speed check website. A download speed lower than 5 MB per second may cause audio buffering problems.

Wireless Signal

  • Wireless interference is a common problem in many households because it comes from a variety of sources. Brick walls, metal objects like refrigerators, large aquariums or cement can all degrade the wireless signal. Devices that emit radio frequencies such as microwaves, game controllers and cordless phones can also cause problems. For best performance, change the wireless channel and move the AirPort Express base station to a central location at least 6 feet away from materials and devices that might impede the signal.

Device Settings

  • AirPort Express and computer configuration might impact audio streaming. Change the Internet Protocol version 6 -- IPV6 -- setting to the "off" position in the Apple System Preferences menu. Sleep mode can also cause audio problems; if audio buffering slows after your computer goes to sleep, go to the Sound panel in the System Preferences pane and switch to Internal Speakers and right back to AirPort Express.

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