5 Replies Latest reply: Jun 16, 2013 1:07 PM by dchao99
Nicholas Robinson1 Level 1 Level 1 (75 points)

I am SO TIRED of poor wi-fi reception in my apartment. There just should NOT BE such poor reception. I have a Time Capsule and I have my regular router, which is connected by Ethernet to my cable modem. Yet time and again, my laptop switches to the Time Capsule as its main modem, even though I repeatedly try to prevent that. YES, I DO NEED to back up my data to the TC but I do NOT want it acting as the main router for my entire wireless network (Apple TV, multple laptops etc.)


But even that is not my main complaint -- I just want PERFECT reception at absolute peak performance levels at all times, no matter whether it's from my main router or the Time Capsule. A self-professed friend "expert" reconfigured my router yesterday and now I'm getting even worse reception than before.


What do I need to do to idiot-proof my wireless network? If I buy an Airport Express as a go between repeater, halfway between the main router and my wireless devices, will that work?


I'm so tired of this ongoing problem that I'll throw as much money at it as I have to JUST TO MAKE IT WORK. I don't need rabbit ear antennas. I don't need diferent encryption on my router. I JUT NEED A BOX THAT WILL SOLVE ALL MY PROBLEMS. Now, will an Airport Express do that, or just complicate things further?


Thanks in advance


--Frustrated and about to throw the MacBook Pro off the balcony

PowerMac, Mac OS X (10.5.8), G5 Dual 2.3
  • 1. Re: Airport Express as repeater?
    Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (48,245 points)

    If I buy an Airport Express as a go between repeater, halfway between the main router and my wireless devices, will that work?

    Unless your "main" router is another AirPort model, this won't work. This is a type of Wireless Distribution System (WDS) network. All routers would need to be from the same manufacturer to guarentee that this would work. Even if it did, the major disadvatage of a WDS is two-fold: 1) It can only operate in the 802.11g radio mode, which would limit it to a maximum bandwidth of 54 Mbps, and 2) For each base stations added to the WDS, this overall bandwidth would be cut in half.


    If you require "absolute peak perfomance levels" you should consider a roaming network instead.

  • 2. Re: Airport Express as repeater?
    Joel S Level 2 Level 2 (185 points)

    My own experience is that repeaters/WDS setups just don't cut it. I ended up using a combination of Powerline + Airport Express in bridge mode. Perfect.

  • 3. Re: Airport Express as repeater?
    Nicholas Robinson1 Level 1 Level 1 (75 points)

    Sorry, guys, when I wrote that I was in an explosive mood, as my tech "friend" had done something to the encryption of my main router the day before and it seemed the reception was poorer than ever.


    Apologies, but I am below "uninformed" as far as the technical aspects of networks work -- I just want mine to work flawlessly and at full power everywhere in the house.


    FYI my "main" router is, I believe, a D-Link or some other well-known brand name router, not an Apple. It's just that the Time Capsule keeps jumping in to replace the main router -- for what reason I don't know, since I have my Time Machine prefs on my laptop (the only wireless computer except for my Mac Pro, which sits about 2 feet from the router and thus obviously has no problems with reception) to NOT automatically backup, so that can't be the reason. I keep trying to remove the Time Capsule as an option in my Airport list, but nothing seems to work. The problem is that the Time Capsule, when acting as the wireless router, just does not seem to have the reception my main router does.


    For example, right now I just checked and the Time Capsule, sure enough, is my selected wi-fi router in Airport. I just changed it to the main router, but today there seem to be no issues with either of them, as opposed to yesterday, when I was on the balcony, and BOTH routers kept cutting in and out which usually never happens, even on the balcony.


    The "Roaming" option sounds attractive, but again, I don't have a clue what that means. Isn't there just some intermediary wireless device (like I understand the Express to be) that I can just plug in halfway between the living room (where all the networking stuff is) and my study, which is separated by perhaps two walls, both of wallboard, not concrete, and an open door through which radio waves could easily travel?


    It SEEMS a remarkably straightforward concept, but as usual, anything to do with networking is never straightforward.


    If it were you guys, what would be your ultimate solution to this whole mess? As I said before, the setup right now is: cable modem goes dirctly to main router. Time capsule is connected by Ethernet to main router. Mac G5 # 1 (my wife's) is hard wired to the main router. My Mac Pro is Airport carded to the network. The three Apple TVs I have in various locations in the house never have reception problems (and interestingly, never switch to the Time Capsule by themselves). Then my MacBook Pro, which is the one that *sometimes* has problems. If I could just scrap everything that I have set up now and start over, what would you do in my place to tackle all these devices, but mainly to improve reception overall throughout the house?


    My million appreciations for your help so far and any help to come.


    I swear, I should have gone to engineering school instead of becoming a graphic designer.

  • 4. Re: Airport Express as repeater?
    Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (48,245 points)

    Ok, there are a number of ways to potentially solve this. However, I do have a few additional questions if you can answer can help me narrow down the networking advice that I can provide you.


    1. Would you please provide the model # (not serial #) of your "D-Link" router. An example would be: DI-524. It should be printed on a lable, possibly on the bottom of the unit.
    2. Where is the Time Capsule located relative to this router? Same room, different room, different floor? If it is in a different room/floor, how do you have the Ethernet connected between them? That is, is it a single cable or are you employing an Ethernet switch or some other device?


    Note: In essence, since you have both of these routers interconnected by Ethernet now, you already have the basis for a roaming network. It is explained in the link that I provided you earlier.


    BTW. I agree that networks should "just work." However, those that are just "plug and play" are typically very simple configurations. As a Graphics Designer, you can imagine this simple configuration as basically a stick figure on a blank piece of paper. But what you are attempting to do with your network is a bit more complicated than that. These types of networks would be more akin to graphic designs done by folks like Eddie Opara, Stephan Sagmeister, or Chip Kidd if you get my meaning.

  • 5. Re: Airport Express as repeater?
    dchao99 Level 4 Level 4 (2,040 points)

    It seems to me that the two routers are not even connected together.   And, when you want get on the Internet, you are going throught the main router, and when you are doing a TM backup, you switch to the Apple TC.


    If you are a small apartment, I sugguest just have ONE wireless network.  Get rid of other router and just use the Apple TC.  Use the Ethernet cable to connect the TC to your cable modem.


    Later if you find the signal is weak at the other end of the apartment, you can always buy a second Apple router (either Extremem or Express) to extend your Apple wireless network.  Like other poster said, the throughput is roughly halved in extended mode, but I am still getting over 50Mbps download speed.  So don't let that put you off, most of the time, the bottleneck is your ISP, and not your WiFi.