13 Replies Latest reply: Apr 3, 2012 6:27 AM by Bob Timmons
Peter Dendrinos Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

Hello, I would like to extend the wireless netowrk in my home. Currently I am using a Time Capsule (tc) that is wired to my cable modem. All wireless devices in the home connect to the tc.

 

I have an Airport Express that I have configured to extend the wireless network, but I am not very satisfied with the preformance. there is a fair amount of signal dropoff between the tc and the express.

 

What I would like is the same or nearly the same signal strength throughout the house that I get from the tc.

 

HERE IS MY QUESTION, can I wire from the tc to an Airport Extreme located somewhere else in the house and extend the wireless network that way? If so I could run several wired Extremes around the house and create one large strong wireless network.

 

Is that likely to work?

 

Thanks for the input.

 

Pete

  • 1. Re: Wire from a TC to an Airport Extreme to extend wireless network
    Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (78,550 points)

    can I wire from the tc to an Airport Extreme located somewhere else in the house and extend the wireless network that way?

    Yes, this is by far the best way to provide more wireless coverage in any installation because you are not relying on a wireless connection between two or more wireless access points.

     

    If so I could run several wired Extremes around the house and create one large strong wireless network.

    That's correct. The trick here is to remember to configure each Extreme to "create a wireless network"  (not extend), using the same wireless network name, security setting and password. In addition, each Extreme must be configured in Bridge Mode to work correctly on the network.

     

    This is called a "roaming network". Apple's instructions to do this are here:

     

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4260

     

    We can provide additional assistance if you need it.

  • 2. Re: Wire from a TC to an Airport Extreme to extend wireless network
    Peter Dendrinos Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Very cool. Thank you. This looks like exactly what I want. I appreciate the help.

     

    I'm off to pick up a couple Extreme's. I'll let you know how the setup goes.

     

    Pete

  • 3. Re: Wire from a TC to an Airport Extreme to extend wireless network
    Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (78,550 points)

    Some additonal ideas for configuration of a network like this:

     

    Screen Shot 2012-04-01 at 10.42.14 AM.png

  • 4. Re: Wire from a TC to an Airport Extreme to extend wireless network
    Peter Dendrinos Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    This has been very interesting. I purchased and installed 2 Airport Extreme's. As soon as I selected them after airport utility saw them, they auto configured. They read the TC settings and configured themselves. I believe they are correctly configured for a roaming network. Everything appears to be one big network. I found a way to force the TC to only broadcast in 802.11n at either 2.4 or 5 and the extreme's self configured that way as well.

     

    So I have a TC running DHCP and NAT with a primary and a guest network, only broadcasting in 802.11n and 2 Airport Extreme's and a Airport Express hardwired off of it. Everything broadcasting the same SSID's.

     

    I think I am golden. Do you all see any problems with what I wound up with?

     

    Pete

  • 5. Re: Wire from a TC to an Airport Extreme to extend wireless network
    Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (78,550 points)

    So I have a TC running DHCP and NAT with a primary and a guest network, only broadcasting in 802.11n and 2 Airport Extreme's and a Airport Express hardwired off of it. Everything broadcasting the same SSID's.

     

    The fact that all access points are using the same SSID's does not necessarily mean that all routers are using the same Radio Mode settings.

     

    AirPort Utility might have picked this up....or it might not.

     

    If you configured the "main" TC operate at 802.11n only at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, then you will likely need to do the same with the 2 AirPort Extremes since they will probably still be broadcasting the factory default networks....unless you changed them.

     

    That would be 802.11a/n 5 GHz and 802.11n/g/b at 2.4 GHz.

     

    Since the Express is a single band device, you will need to choose either 802.1n only 5GHz...or....802.11n only 2.4 GHz for that device based on your needs and the capabilities of the devices that will be connecting to the Express.

     

    Would be interesed in your findings when you check this out. Did you use the Lion operating system on the computer that configured the network?

  • 6. Re: Wire from a TC to an Airport Extreme to extend wireless network
    WilliamNewMart Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

    Hi,

    I am going to attempt something near this thread. I have a 2009 TC just after a cable modem. I want to extend wifi range. So I have purchased an Apple TV and Airport Extreme and already have an iMac and PC on the other side of the house.

    I have ran cat 6 cables to the far room bt not everyone has them available so I want to put the AE at the end of one of the cat 6 and boost the radio waves on that side of the house.

    I started using the ATV today with just what I have, the TC and an Airport Express in the kitchen area.

    Reading this thread I think I have another question, is it possible to use the newer more powerful AE as primary and put the TC somewhere in the network and still keep it doing the timemachine auto back-ups?

    I know the older TC will downshift the network to the lowest speed using it, if that makes sense.

    So I wanted to use the newer AE because it is dual band with no down-shifting.

    Another thought I had was to connect an external HD to my MBP at the cable modem router room and use the TC at the iMac room ......anyone care to suggest or comment?

     

    thanks for reading,

    WilliamNewMart

  • 7. Re: Wire from a TC to an Airport Extreme to extend wireless network
    Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (78,550 points)

    Reading this thread I think I have another question, is it possible to use the newer more powerful AE as primary and put the TC somewhere in the network and still keep it doing the timemachine auto back-ups?

    Yes

     

    I know the older TC will downshift the network to the lowest speed using it, if that makes sense.

    Not sure what this means. The TC is likely producing a compatible "n / g / b" wireless network. Faster "n" devices will connect at "n" speeds, while a "g" capable device will connect at "g" speeds. The "g" device will not pull down the speed of the "n" device significantly unless the "g" device happens to be hogging all the bandwidth on a heavy download, wireless backup, or something similar.

     

    Tales like "the network is only as fast as the slowest device on the network" don't ever seem to die. They sound good, even authoritative...but are not true.

  • 8. Re: Wire from a TC to an Airport Extreme to extend wireless network
    Peter Dendrinos Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Bob, the 2 extremes and the express did in fact have differant radio settings than the TC. I guess I looked at it too quickly. Anyway, I adjusted them to match the TC.

     

    I really appreciate your input.

     

    On a side note, the reason I have configured the radios to only broadcast in "n" is to test out the argument you mentioned in the next post to this thread. That is, a slower device can bring the whole thing slower. I am also testing out the logic I keep reading about with respect to radio frequency. That is that the 5GHz will carry more data and experience less interferiance than the 2.4GHz.

     

    At the moment I can't say I see any real differance between the two from a performance standpoint.  I am far from done testing this out though.

     

    Anyway, thanks again

  • 9. Re: Wire from a TC to an Airport Extreme to extend wireless network
    Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (78,550 points)

    If my Mac is connected at "n" speeds, while my old "g" iPhone is connected at the same time, I see no speed drop on the "n" connection at 2.4 GHz.

     

    The Mac connects at 130 Mbps while the iPhone is connected at 54 Mbps.

     

    If you do not have any devices that are limited to "g" speeds only, then it makes sense to configure the wireless network for "n" only operation.

     

    5 GHz is capable of providing higher throughput or speeds, but most folks forget...or are not aware....that 5 GHz signals are weaker than 2.4 GHz signals. So, they do not penetrate walls or other obstructions as effectively.

     

    What this really boils do to is that with 5 GHz....you almost have to have a line-of-sight relationship between the router and computer (or close to that) for 5 GHz to work well.

     

    If the 5 GHz signal has to pass through several walls, it is quite possible that a 2.4 GHz connection would yield a faster connection at that location.

  • 10. Re: Wire from a TC to an Airport Extreme to extend wireless network
    Peter Dendrinos Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Bob, any idea by what mechanism the "network" or the device (ie. phone, pad, laptop) decides which "antenna" to connect to.

     

    I would think that, for example if you wal around the house with your iPad, it would be switching automatically from one transmitter to another based on signal strength or some such thing. I don't think I am seeing that however.

     

    At the moment I am standing next to one of the extremes with my iPad, in 2.4GHz mode and I appear to be connected through the extreme that is upstairs and behind several walls.

     

    A least that's what airport utility says.

     

    Puzzling.

  • 11. Re: Wire from a TC to an Airport Extreme to extend wireless network
    Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (78,550 points)

    Mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad use a much simpler operating system and simplified antenna, so they will tend to "hang on" to the original device with which they connect.

     

    They will not "switch" seamlessly from one access point to another as they move around the house like a regular laptop would do.  It's a nature of the beast with the iOS operating system.

     

    If you want to connect to the closest access point from an iPhone or iPad, it might help to power down the device, wait a minute or two and then power back up.

  • 12. Re: Wire from a TC to an Airport Extreme to extend wireless network
    Peter Dendrinos Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Last night, I had 5 devices connected to 2 differnt extreme's in the basement and main floor, with nothing connected to the top floor extreme. I gathered the devices. (2 iphones, 2 ipads, 1 macbook pro) and moved them upstairs. They all switched over to the upstairs extreme, right away, on their own.

     

    Hmm, I guess I still don't get how this works. There appears to be inconsistency in the way things are being reported.

  • 13. Re: Wire from a TC to an Airport Extreme to extend wireless network
    Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (78,550 points)

    Note that I said that the devices "tend to hang on to the original network". I did not say that they will always do that no matter what.

     

    Sometimes, my mobile devices "switch" within a 5-10 seconds or so if I "walk" them very close to another access point. Other times, they take a few minutes to "find" the closer access point. And sometimes, depending on their relative location with the access point, they don't switch at all and hang on to the original access point.

     

    The operating systems of the mobile devices are not as sophisticated in their abilty to seek and switch to a different wireless access point.

     

    By your previous description, I assumed that the mobile devices were not switching acess points at all, which would have indicated that the original signal that they "saw" was still above the level that Apple engineers chose for an acceptable connection.

     

    My laptops always switch consistently and quickly from one access point to another as I walk them around the house. Once they get closer to another access point, they "switch".