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Setting Up Full Wireless Coverage in the House

1517 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Dec 14, 2009 9:06 AM by Bob Timmons RSS
Testemonial MAC convert Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Dec 6, 2009 9:45 AM
I currently have 2 Airport Extremes, the main one is the newest version and the second one is the version just before the newest version, both 802.11n

The master is in one room connected to the internet. The second is in another room with printers connected to it. On the first floor of the house we get great signals. We have a walkout basement (which is more like a major living area (family room)) where the signal is very weak.

Question 1: What can I do to improve the signal to the basement with the equipment I have?

Question 2: If it is worth purchasing an Airport Express to extend the signal to the basement, would this work? If this would work, what would be the proper way to utilize the Express and what other advantages can I gain from it?
iMAC 20" and Macbook Pro 13" unibody, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,400 points)
    Welcome to the discussion area!

    Although you don't specifically mention it in your post, I will assume that you have the "second" AEBS configured to "extend a wireless network". Is that correct?

    Using a laptop in the area of the "second" AEBS, have you verified that you are actually connecting to that device? The way to check this is hold down the option key on your computer and keep holding while you click on the fan shaped Airport icon at the top of your screen. Among the details, you will see the MAC address of the device that the computer is connecting to. Compare this to the MAC address of the "second" AEBS. If they don't match, your computer is connecting to the "master" and we'll need to do some more checking.

    Please post back with your results.
    MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.2), Time Capsule, AirPort Express, iPhone
  • John Williams6 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 6, 2009 8:22 PM (in response to Bob Timmons)
    Bob....I have the same question, except I am contemplating buying a second AEBS to give me fuller coverage in my house. I currently have 5 Airport expresses scattered around the house, which does give me adequate coverage, but it has slowed the performance down considerably. I am about to add some Roku's around the house, so suspect I will want/need very strong performance. Should I buy a second AEBS, or do you recommend another solution?
    My installer wants me to switch to Linksys, which I would rather not do.
    Thanks,
    Johnny
    iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.2), AEBS-N
  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,400 points)
    Welcome to the discussions!

    The AEBS and AX have identical performance, so there is no reason to consider the AEBS unless you need to attach a hard drive to the USB port, which you cannot do with the AX.

    Can you provide some general details on your network now? Are you using "n" devices to "extend a wireless network" or do you have the network setup as a WDS configuration? Or, maybe (hopefully) you have all of the Express devices connected to your AEBS by ethernet?
    MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.2), Time Capsule, AirPort Express, iPhone
  • UKenGB Level 2 Level 2 (270 points)
    In my experience it is best to connect all the AirPort BaseStations to a wired 'backbone' rather than trying to extend a network wirelessly. That way each AirPort has the same full speed access and can provide the best connectivity to any wireless clients, such as Laptops, Rokus and even AirPorts Expresses being used just for AirTunes.

    I know it can be a pain with the wiring (it is cheap though), but once it's done you'll be pleased you did.
    MacPro, MacBook Pro, XServe, iPhone 3G, Mac OS X (10.6), 30" HD display
  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,400 points)
    How do I find the MAC address on the actual Airport Extreme and make sure I know which one I am getting?

    Open AirPort Utility and click on the device you want on the left. Look for the AirPort ID on the right. That number will appear when you hold down the option key and click on the AirPort icon at the top of your screen.

    Look for the AirPort ID of your others devices the same way. If you are closer to the remote device, the AirPort ID of that device should appear when you do the option-click as described above.

    If you are near a remote device and the AirPort ID of your main base station appears, then you will know that the remote device is not "extending" and will need to check your configuration settings again.
    MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.2), Time Capsule, AirPort Express, iPhone
  • UKenGB Level 2 Level 2 (270 points)
    Testemonial MAC convert wrote:
    Would you ind explaining this in more detail or if you have a diagram? I am still struggling with what to do.

    Just connect ALL the BaseStations to the wired network and set them to be 'bridged'. That way they will act as basic wireless access points for any devices that need to connect to your network.
    MacPro, MacBook Pro, XServe, iPhone 3G, Mac OS X (10.6), 30" HD display
  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,400 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 14, 2009 9:06 AM (in response to UKenGB)
    +Testemonial MAC convert wrote:+
    +Would you ind explaining this in more detail or if you have a diagram? I am still struggling with what to do.+

    +Just connect ALL the BaseStations to the wired network and set them to be 'bridged'. That way they will act as basic wireless access points for any devices that need to connect to your network.+

    I would add that you also need to use the same wireless network name, security and password as the main router. But, the channel settings for each device should be set as far apart as possible to minimize the chances of distortion.

    For more info on this, see page 42 in the Apple AirPort Networks Guide.
    MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.2), Time Capsule, AirPort Express, iPhone

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