These powerline adaptors are definitely a solution to extend a network, but again it's non-wireless.
My initial problem was a perfect example of why one would want to extend a wireless network. I didn't have physical access to the originating wireless router, but I did have access to the wireless network.
So, the usual reason for extending a network wirelessly is that you don't have the ability to hardwire it, be it CAT5 cable or a powerline.
I have a solution now - it just doesn't involve my Airport Express, (which pretty much just sits on a shelf) but a much less expensive, smaller device from Edimax that I didn't have to waste hours and hours in a futile effort to accomplish something that Apple made impossible and was very nebulous about in it's limited documentation.
I understand your frustration.
But on the topic, "extending" a network literally cuts the bandwidth in 1/2. If you have 300mbps (in theory, it's usually about 40% of that with network overhead), extending a network as you describe, wirelessly, cuts the extension to 150mbps. Now that may work for you, but at 40% of that number, say 60mbps, that may defeat the purpose of the extension.
The Apple Store has multiple AirPort units on wired connections to provide wireless all under the same SSID - Apple Store. It does seem odd that you'd need wired connections to effectively extend wireless, but the more you know about networking the more you'll try to wire EVERYTHING.
Best of luck with your solution.
The fundamental problem which I presume prompted the start of this thread was the opaqueness and nebulousness, should there be such a word, of Apple's promotion of the Airport Express as a solution to wirelessly extending an existing wireless network.
Adam, yes, we all know a wired connection is preferable, but Apple tells us we can solve our problems wirelessly, and non-geeks like me need to dig deep into the documentation to discover the disclaimers about reduced bandwidth as a result, particularly when trying to extend a network created by a first generation g Airport, which is in practice impossible. I had to throw mine away and buy two n units to solve my problem, but not before days of frustration trying to pair two mismatched (I now know) units together. A few clear guidelines in the documentation as to what the Airport Express will not do would help immensely.
As to your comments about bandwidth - well, I just tested mine coming in and I get 1.6Mbps here in North California. 300Mbps? We're in different worlds.
I hear you. I've learned all I know the same way you have. I'm not an IT guy, just someone who loves computers and technology.
As far as your final comment, I don't want to open a can of worms but your internal network (LAN) is likely MUCH faster than 1.6Mbps, it's just much more difficult to measure. I have found WiFiPerf and Net Monitor to be invaluable. Your Internet connection (WAN) is probably 1.6Mbps, and that's limited by your provider, not by your hardware.
My WAN connection is 11Mbps down and 1.5 Mbps up on AT&T U-Verse. My LAN connection is only limited by hardware -- wired or wireless, standards, etc -- and what makes networking so tough is the weakest link in your chain is always the proverbial ceiling.
Well, that all went in a different direction than I thought.
True enough, what I described is not exactly the solution the OP was asking for, but it was definitely a solution. A few points:
- This thread (indirectly) helped me find the only viable solution in my case. Since others might take the same path I did (through this thread), I thought they might appreciate some encouragement.
- My original desire was EXACTLY what the OP wanted. But wireless extension of my wireless network will never work for my use. Well Duh - not enough signal strength from my main wireless network to my porch, so no way for a repeater to extend that. Not Apple's problem, unless they can defeat the laws of physics.
- Having said that, I share the frustration with Apple's blurbage on wireless extension. They could at least throw a few breadcrumbs of hint our way. Don't ask me how many wireless stations I now own.
- I appreciate the hassle of running Ethernet through a house (and penetrating to the outside), that's why I've been tinkering with this instead of actually fixing it.
- While using a wifi repeater puts the data through the air twice, the two networks operate on different channels so that's not a problem in itself. But the repeater by design sits in a low coverage spot for the main network, and due to adaptive coding, that could more than double the resource demand on the main network. So hardwiring is worth the effort if you're looking for a long term solution.
- I've got full bore FIOS and have an embarrassing amount of internet bandwidth. It is definitely worth optimizing my wireless network.
Netgear has solved this very problem for me. I, too, could not get the airport express to extend my wifi since I do not have an apple router. However, I did have a couple of Netgear XAV2101v2 "adapters for extending wifi. I hooked the first directly to the router, via ethernet, and then plugged it into a wall socket. The other I plugged into a wall socket near the airport express in another building in my home. I then connected the two with another ethernet and proceeded to set up the airport express creating a new network in the room far from the router building. It worked and now I have a strong wifi for areas near the original router and another for the areas near the Netgear/airport express (they overlap a bit but that's fine).
Good luck. It is not the most elegant creation but it does all I needed.
I didn't read the whole thread (3 pages of the same complains is too much), but I was able to use AirPort Express to extend my Netgear Wi-Fi network. It worked fine (I think).
Now I replaced it with AirPort Extreme and have trouble to make it extend the same network. If it not support to do that I shouldn't have an option to extend, but option is there (even thou not in the place I would expect it). So I expect this to work. May be Apple should work more on making configuration easy (as they claim), but it should work. We'll see if I can find smart guy at Apple support who will be able to sort this out.
Hmmm...I too have to say that I disapprove of Apple's lack of clarity regarding the inability of an AirPort Express to wirelessly extend a wi-fi network that is broadcast by a non-Apple access point. I'm certainly not a networking expert (in fact I struggle a good deal with how networks work under the hood), but I'm not a complete dope when it comes to configuring computers and associated pieces of kit either. There would be a significant proportion of the population with very little tech know-how who would struggle a lot more than I would with this sort of thing. Yet, I spent several hours trying to do exactly what this thread describes can't be done with an AirPort Express: wirelessly extend a wi-fi network created by a non-Apple access point.
Just last week I bought an AirPort Express to do just that. Thankfully, I bought at a good price on eBay, so I don't feel stung, at least not financially. I do feel let down a little by Apple's wording, which, while is correct, doesn't emphasise enough that the base station has to be Apple in order to to what the OP is trying to do. Yes, while it might seem obvious to some of the posters here who may have a good deal of knowledge about networks and Apple equipment, it's not patently clear to novices. There's no vald reason why Apple shouldn't make it patently clear; they do an excellent job of making so many things clear and simple, but not this particular point.
It's only after reading this thread and a couple of similar ones that I learned that what I've been trying to achieve will not work.
So, I'm left with the choice of using power-line adapters or running an Ethernet cable from my modem downstairs to my upstairs where I can then connect my new AirPort Express and create the recommended roaming network. (As it turns out, the last time I ran a cable from downstairs to upstairs, I left a 'pulling' wire in situ, so now I can simply attach the new Ethernet cable the 'pulling' cable and pull it up from downstairs, through the floorboard cavity to where I need it upstairs. Not everyone has that convenience, I concede.)
And as for the "fanboy" comments and the "I bet you never" read this or that, well, they add nothing to an otherwise very useful and informative thread, and I don't condone them. While they may have been posted lightheartedly, the tone gets lost in a printed message and can unintentionally inflame readers. I do thank the likes of Bob and John who provided good information on this thread and many other threads dealing with similar topics. I hope they continue to share their knowledge with the rest of us. It's accurate and trustworthy knowledge like theirs that makes these forums work.
Right, I'm off to order a reel of Ethernet cable. :-)
I was able to extend my wireless network, wirelessly, using an Airport Express with firmware version 7.6 and connecting to a Asus RT-N56U. The reason I wanted to extend my network was so that I could connect to some lab servers on the other end of the house without running cables through the attic.
I reset the airport express to the factory settings via the iPad airport utility app and then ran through the setup via the wireless settings (not the iOS app) and joined my existing network. The iPad wireless setup joined the network and then showed an error connecting to the airport express. The airport express rebooted and went green, as it should when connected to the internet. I logged into the iPad airport utility and was able to verify that the airport extreme was connected to the network and working fine. I am able to connect to my servers and manage them without issue.
I have the 1st generation airport express. The one that plugs directly into the wall without a power cord. From the airport utility it says "AirPort Express 802.11n (1st Generation)".
Hope this helps some people.
Just wanted to add that I have managed to create a roaming network as described in Apple's Knowledge Base article here. It was very straightforward.
So my modem/router (Netgear DGN2000) is connected by Ethernet to a Netgear GS108 Unmanaged Switch, which is in turn connected by Ethernet to an AirPort Express that broadcasting a wireless signal as part of a roaming network.
(As a slight aside to the topic of extending a wireless network as discussed in this thread, my modem/router is also broadcasting a wireless signal [the same wireless roaming network that the AirPort Express above is part of], and has another AirPort Express connected to it wirelessly. This second Express is in 'client' mode [I believe that's the term] insofar as allows a printer that is connected to it by Ethernet to be available over the wireless network. Hope that's clear.)
Good luck getting your network configured. :-)
you are right. Actually using wires to extend network is what Apple always suggesting. The problem is that if it is impossible or very difficult to run the wire would be nice to do that wirelessly.
Finally I turned off the wirless on my NetGear router, pluged 1 AirPort Express into it and configured another to extend this network. It works fine. As a nice side effect I don't have to configure 2 networks (as I had to with NetGear): 1 for 2.5GHz and another for 5GHz. Apple's AirPort devices has both friquences as part of the single network and it automaticaly chooses the best one.
Basicaly NetGear router in my case was a waste. I had spare router without Wi-Fi.
Whilst the thread may be digressing, it's certainly solved my problems so thank you.
I have a Draytek Router and a 3TB Time Capsule added to the Draytek network for backups (hardwired). I have the Airport upstairs hardwired via homeplugs - I tried setting the Airport Express to extend the wireless network (Draytek) but it switched out my Time Capsule and I had no network.
I tried adding the express and again no joy.
Setting it to create a new network but keeping the network name, password etc. has worked a treat. When I go upstairs the wifi drops until i get in range of the Airport Express, then the iphone searches and, I presume, connects via the Express and gives me full connectivity.
Great for me as I wanted it all hardwired via homeplugs anyway.
Thanks so much! It had been sitting unused for months!