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I acquired an airport express to extend my cable modems wireless signal, BUT having difficulty getting set up.

584 Views 2 Replies Latest reply: Dec 3, 2012 10:12 AM by Bob Timmons RSS
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Dec 3, 2012 8:45 AM

Having trouble getting set up.  I'm trying to set up airport express to extend my existing wireless network, so i can get a better signal for my iPad at the other end of the house.  I can get a green light on the airport device , but signal is still weak.  How do I tell if apple express has been properly set up.  Does the apple express need to be connect via ethernet to my cable modem (either for set up or to operate properly)?

apple express
  • WiseJD Level 4 Level 4 (1,115 points)

    I have an Airport Extreme and two Airport Express units that are working great.  I use the Airport Utility to see how well each device is working.  If you open the Airport Utility it should show your configuration and if you click on your Airport Express it will show you a comment about how it is working and which of your devices is using it.  Within the pop-box you can click on the text lines and it will show more detail about things like what channel it is using, etc.  My Airport Extreme is serving as my main Network Base-station, while I can't tell in your case if your Modem is actually a Modem plus a Wi-Fi Router or what.  From what your have posted, I am thinking you already had a Wi-Fi Network and therefore wanted to use the new Airport Express as an Extension of your Network.  If that is the case you don't necessarily need an Ethernet cable running to the Airport Express.  If you do run a cable from your Base Router to the Airport Express it would then be a Bridge Unit rather than an Extension Unit. 

  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,410 points)
    I'm trying to set up airport express to extend my existing wireless network


    If you are trying to "extend" using wireless only, Apple's "extend a wireless network" feature is a proprietary design that is designed to only work with other Apple routers.


    It would be extremely unlikely that the Express could be configured to "extend" a wireless signal from a 3rd party modem/router or gateway.


    More likely, the Express has been set up to "join" the wireless network. It does not provide any additional wireless signal in this type of configuration, which is designed for use with AirPlay.



    I can get a green light on the airport device , but signal is still weak.  How do I tell if apple express has been properly set up.


    If you have a Mac laptop handly, you can perform a quick check to see if the Express is actually "extending" the signal.


    Locate the laptop near your main router. Hold down the option key on the Mac and click on the fan shaped AirPort icon at the top of the screen. Look for the BSSID and jot down the least few numbers for identification.  The BSSID is actually the AirPort ID of the device to which your Mac is connected at that time.


    Now move the laptop close to the AirPort Express and perform the same check,  If you see the same BSSID, this confirms that the laptop is still connecting to your main router's wireless signal...and the AirPort Express is not "extending" the wireless signal.


    If the Express is "extending", you will  of course see a different BSSID when you perform the check.


    Post back on your results, so we will know how best to proceed if you want to configure the Express to provide more wireless coverage. It will help if you can provide the make and model number of your "modem", which is likely a combination modem/router or gateway type of device.


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