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Airport Express n Won't Extend Wireless Network

61356 Views 48 Replies Latest reply: Jan 7, 2014 11:28 AM by Scubadam1 RSS Branched to a new discussion.
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IPatronius Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Dec 30, 2012 12:48 PM

It's the n version with the built in (flip-out plug) power, not the latest one, but it has the latest firmware.  It works fine as it's own wireless network plugged in with an ethernet cable to the Internet.  But now I'm at a guest house, trying to extend a weak wireless signal.  First, I wasn't able to set it up with the iPad to extend a wireless network (not an available option).  Luckily I have my MBA and an Ethernet cable (I came prepared!). When I Ethernet into the AE, and set it up as an extension of their wireless, it connects to the Internet through their wireless network, but then doesn't show up as its own wireless network, and has the flashing amber light.  Am I missing something?

  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,395 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 30, 2012 12:57 PM (in response to IPatronius)
    But now I'm at a guest house, trying to extend a weak wireless signal.

     

    The AirPort Express can only "extend" a wireless signal....using wireless only....from another AirPort Extreme, Time Capsule, or AirPort Express.

     

    Does the guest house use an Apple "n" router to provide the wireless signal?

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,010 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 30, 2012 12:57 PM (in response to IPatronius)

    Probably not.

     

    The way you used it means it connected to the guest's wireless network wirelessly. In that configuration you can use its Ethernet port to bridge the wireless network it receives to a wired computer. As you said it works as expected.

     

    To "wirelessly extend" a network requires that the network is created by a genuine Apple AirPort Base Station and its owner has specifically allowed it to be extended. Otherwise, anyone with an Express could piggyback on their neighbor's wireless.

  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,395 points)
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    Dec 30, 2012 1:23 PM (in response to IPatronius)
    I'll bet they don't advertise this limitation before you buy.

     

     

    I'll bet that you did not take the time to even read basic information about the AirPort Express.

     

    http://www.apple.com/airportexpress/

     

    Extend an existing Wi-Fi network’s range.


    If you already have a wireless network in your home and want to extend its range, AirPort Express can help. Just place it in range of your primary base station — an AirPort Extreme, Time Capsule, or another AirPort Express

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,010 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 30, 2012 1:23 PM (in response to IPatronius)

     

    IPatronius wrote:

     

    ... I'll bet they don't advertise this limitation before you buy.

     

    You'll lose.

     

    Extending the range of your wireless network by adding additional Wi-Fi base stations

     

    Definitions

     

    Wi–Fi base station - Any variety of AirPort Extreme Base Station, AirPort Express, or Time Capsule.

    Extending a wireless network - Using multiple Wi-Fi base stations wirelessly to extend the range of an AirPort network over a wider physical area, when the range of a single base station is insufficient.

    You have 14 days to return your Express for a complete refund. You probably didn't read that either.

    MacBooks  iMacs  iPads  AirPorts, OS X Mountain Lion,  27 years Apple!
  • kwhite01 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Dec 31, 2012 5:42 AM (in response to IPatronius)

  • TimmyTimmah Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jan 6, 2013 7:02 PM (in response to John Galt)

    I have to agree with IPatronius, the language Apple uses in all references is vague.  It does NOT point out specifically that Airport Express will NOT extend the WiFi range unless it is another Apple product.  The "Definitions" in a technical article on a somewhat hard to find support discussion (if a consumer is unaware about the existence of these threads or new to Apple, which is common).  The article you posted reads like it was written by a corporate lawyer.  The very simple fact is that it is patently ridiculous for someone to go to Apple's multiple sales points, even ask a store employee a simple question and not get a direct answer like I did, and have the rug pulled out from under them when the **** thing doesn't do the very thing that the sales literature purports it to do.  After researching this for several days and calling Apple tech support twice, I then find out that the Airport Express will not work with my Actiontech gateway modem/router to extend the wifi network.  This is an EXTREMEMLY ANNOYING trait of Apple, pulling the rug out from under the consumer.  I guess the rest of the computer industry is no better, it is a constant game of planned obsolescence and preying on consumer ignorance. 

     

    Below is what they say from the link that John Galt posted:

     

    "Extend an existing Wi-Fi network’s range.

    If you already have a wireless network in your home and want to extend its range, AirPort Express can help. Just place it in range of your primary base station — an AirPort Extreme, Time Capsule, or another AirPort Express — and near the area where you want your wireless connection. Launch the easy-to-use AirPort Utility app on your iOS device or Mac, and you’re mere minutes away from long-range Wi-Fi enjoyment."

    Above is a positive statement, promising what the Airport Express CAN do, conveniently omitting anything about what limitations it has on such a basic functional level.  It says, "If you already gave a wireless network in your home" , NOT,  "If you already have an APPLE wireless network in your home..." 

    There are three reasons someone would buy an Airport Express: Create a network, join a network, or extend a network.  There is only a HINT in the verbiage throughout the sources of information that I have perused that it will NOT work with something that is not in the Apple family of expensive products.  I do like Apple products, I recommend them to people, like my close-to-tech-illiterate parents, yet heavan help me if one of them was trying to get the Express to function precisely as we expected it.

    It really ***** that every time I buy a new Apple product, I have to weed through and be the detective for the most basic details such as this. I've spent the last several days trying to upgrade my parents to a simple, effective wifi network that will allow them to play music throughout their house.  Now, I just want to go barf.  Thank, Apple.  

    iPhone 4S, iOS 6.0.2
  • DSRID Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 15, 2013 11:25 PM (in response to IPatronius)

    I absolutely agree with you IPatronius - APPLE has purposefully made use of vague marketing language to be unclear on the point. If their aim was to be fair they would have specifically stated that it could not be used elsewhere. Ignore the sarcastic fools who gave you a hard time - they are wrong.

  • sashakir Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 5, 2013 2:43 AM (in response to DSRID)

    +1. Just spent several days trying to extend the non-apple network. The Airport Utility could just warn me that i do it wrong. Instead it constantly shows the "Operation failed. try again" or "There was an error updating the Airport Extreme". Resetting to the factory settings also works not every time. I'll throw away my Airport Express and will never buy the routers from Apple again.

  • 40degreesSouth Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 5, 2013 7:23 PM (in response to IPatronius)

    At last, I found this post after almost a day trying to get my Airport Express A1264  to extend the wireless range of a non Apple Modem/Router. As a long time Mac user it is increasingly frustrating to see Apple hardware so restrictive and I totally agree with IPatronius and others especially when you see that Airport Express can be used with Windows computers which leads one to at least presume that it will connect to a non Apple modem.

    Finally I have just bought a Netgear router to connect my MacBook Pro wirelessly to a Sony Smart TV which it did seemlessly in under ten minutes but I'll never retrieve those hours lost trying to connect an Airport Express to my MacBook Pro.

  • scheeko Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    Actually, this is not entirely true. If you have a WDS-compatible router you can join and extend a Wireless network created by a non-Apple router. WDS is being phased out and Apple doesn't promote it (you even have to press "option" on the Airport Utility > Wireless > Wireless Mode drop-down to see the function), but you can.

  • LenTS Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I agree this is daft. I wasted about 3 hours of my time weeding through old Apple posts and trying to get it to work before I finally realized Apple no longer supports connecting the wireless acccess points together with wired ethernet so that you get the best bandwidth and signal quality ideally on channels of your choosing.

    As far as I can see, there is no technical reason to not be able to roam between two access points on different channels as the signal strengths/noise change.

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