How The Airport Express Works

April 4th, 2009


So if I have this right, my Airport Express/iTunes combo:

  • Takes a compressed music file from iTunes and converts whatever music file format that is into Apple Lossless.
  • iTunes then discovers and connects via Bonjour mDNS autodiscovery to the IP address of the wireless router.
  • iTunes streams that Apple Lossless file from the client machine to the wireless router over 802.11n via some proprietary protocol (but presumably some form of UDP traffic).
  • The Airport Express takes those 1s and 0s and turns the Apple Lossless file back into music.
  • That music is sent as bursts of light via fiber optic cable to my stereo.
  • Those bursts of light are reassembled by the stereo and sent to the amplifier, which fluctuates between a positive charge and a negative charge on the red wire and vibrates the speaker cone.
  • The speaker cone vibrations move the air and those vibrations are recieved by the cochlea in my inner ear.
  • Those signals received by the cochlea then are translated into bio-electric signals which are transmitted to my brain and interpreted as music.

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

~Jeff

2 Responses to “How The Airport Express Works”

  1. Topher says:

    Wow, and I thought making babies was complex.

  2. Joshua says:

    Can you unpack that last step there? Something’s missing.