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Supplementing my wireless network with Ethernet

462 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Feb 7, 2013 3:25 PM by Lisa Jacobs RSS
Lisa Jacobs Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Feb 7, 2013 9:53 AM

I have had a wireless network composed of an AirPort Extreme as the base station and router, and two extenders in bridge mode which are an AirPort Express (also used for AirTunes) and a TimeCapsule for a couple of years. I use Time Warner cable as my internet provider.


My house is very spread out and I was not able to get good internet / wifi at one end.


So I got a networking guy to install Ethernet for me, after explaining to him that I wanted all the devices to be connected  via Ethernet, so the internet and wifi would produce a strong signal throughout the house. After he did all the wiring, and said that the Ethernet was all fine, he told me that he does not know anything about Apple products so he couldn't help me make sure everything was working.


I am having a very hard time getting the two extenders up and running. I've tried unplugging, resetting multiple times across different variations (new settings, old settings and so forth.) Seems like every time I add one on, there is some error that it can't find the network, and then all the amber lights go on in AirPort Utility. It's like something gets upset when a downstream Ethernet connection is made.


Finally, I thought I had it figured out: For the two devices extending the network in bridge mode, I would need to set the AirPort Utility Internet pane to Internet, Connect Using: and then choose Ethernet from the dropdown. I managed to do this once with the Time Capsule, but then there was an error when I tried to update. Every time I go back to look at it, or the AirPort Express, both of which are connected to Ethernet, I do not see the Ethernet option in the Internet dropdown.


Just FYI, I can get connection to the Internet via Ethernet instead of Wifi if I plug my computer directly to an Ethernet jack in the office. So it seems the cables are indeed conducting signal.


What am I missing?


Below is a topology drawn by the network guy on his way out the door.


SW indicates switch. There are two switches.



iWork Pages, Mac OS X (10.7)
  • Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (47,520 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 7, 2013 10:33 AM (in response to Lisa Jacobs)

    Since both of your Express base stations connect back to the Extreme via Ethernet, you have the basic configuration for a roaming network. This is actually the ideal method to extend the range of your wireless network.


    The keys to a successful roaming network are the following:

    • The extending base stations must be connected back to the base station being extended by Ethernet. You have this already.
    • The "main" base station must be configured as a router. Your Extreme is already configured this way.
    • Each extending base station:
      • Must be configured as a bridge.
      • Must use the same Network Name as the "main" base station.
      • Must use the same wireless security type and password as the "main" base station.

    Please review the link I have provided and if you have any additional set up questions, please post back.

  • Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (47,520 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 7, 2013 12:03 PM (in response to Lisa Jacobs)

    The link is interesting from a theoretical standpoint but I believe it is referencing screens from a different version of Airport Utility. I am using 6.1.

    That is correct. It references v5.x of the Utility which is more full-featured ... and one I would recommend considering installing. Both run fine along with the other. Regardless, let me see if I can help with v6.1 (now actually 6.2).


    My screen does not give me the same options shown in the first screenshot in the link (eg can't choose Ethernet as the Internet connection).

    This option is not available in v6.x and is actually not needed. The correct setting for the Extreme would be:


    • On the Internet tab: Connect Using: DHCP (or PPPoE if your ISP requires it.)
    • On the Wireless tab: Network Mode: Create a wireless network
    • On the Network tab: Router Mode: DHCP and NAT

    For each Express:

    • On the Internet tab: Connect Using: DHCP
    • On the Wireless tab:
      • Network Mode: Create a wireless network0
      • Wireless Network Name: <same as the Extreme>
      • Wireless Security: <same as the Extreme>
      • Wireless Password: <same as the Extreme>
    • On the Network tab: Router Mode: Off (Bridge Mode)


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