14 Replies Latest reply: Mar 3, 2010 10:10 AM by Marcantonio724
dakoyote Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Is the best way to boost my wifi signal from the time capsule an Airport Express?

Is there anything out there better, faster?


Macbook Pro (late 2008), Mac OS X (10.5.5)
  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10 (92,240 points)
    Welcome to the discussions!

    The Airport Express (n) will "extend a wireless network" that has been created by a Time Capsule provided that both devices are setup to do so. The Express (n) must have a good signal to work with where it is located.

    You can only extend a wireless network from an Apple base station, like the Time Capsule, with another Apple wireless device. Both must be "n" compatible. Devices from other manufacturers are not compatible with Apple products for this purpose.
  • dakoyote Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thank you very much...you have been very helpful...going to buy it tonight
  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10 (92,240 points)
    Be sure to use Manual Setup for the Express as the auto setup does not provide an option for "extend a wireless network".

    Post back if you need step by step on how to set up the "extend" network.
  • gjdavies@me Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi Bob
    Can you help me with step by step on how to set up an Airport Express to be used to "extend" my network nbased on a newly purchased Time Capsule? The Time Capsule is on Floor 3 connected to Netgear using Bridge Mode and to a network printer by USB. The iMac on Floor 2 picks up Time capsule perfectly but on Floor 1 signal on my MacBook is too weak. I was thinking that an Airport Express on Floor 2 could extend an improved signal to Floor 1?

    Many thanks
  • jens Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I too would like to extend the range of my wireless set up (airport express base station) using an additional airport express base station on a different floor in our house.
    I started to set up the new express base station by clicking on the manual button in the airport utility application. It asked if I wanted to change wireless networks in order to set up the new airport express and I clicked yes. Something went wrong and the application then asked me to try again. I reset the new base station using a paperclip and then the utility got me a little further. I chose the extend network option and followed the prompts (a little complex and didn't really understand about the security questions nor did I want to create new passwords) but got to the end and then the new base station disappeared.
    Don't know what to do at this point.
    If Bob could post a step by step explanation of how to do this that would be great!
  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10 (92,240 points)
    There's a good step by step in the Designing AirPort Networks guide, pages 43-44.


    When you are configuring an AirPort Express with AirPort Utility, it will usually help to temporarily connect an ethernet cable from your computer to the Express. Once you have it configured and updated, you can remove the cable and move the Express back to the desired location.

    The key things to keep in mind are that both the base station and the extending device must be configured. All you will need to do on the base station is open AirPort Utility, click Manual Setup and Click the Wireless tab. Make sure there is a check mark next to "Allow this network to be extended" and update to save changes. If you have a dual band base station, only the main network can be extended.

    On the Express, the Wireless Mode is set to "Extend a Wireless Network". When you do this, the wireless network created by the base station will appear so you can select that network to "extend". You will need to enter the password for your wireless etc. It's important to remember to click the check box next to "Allow wireless clients".

    By the way, the ethernet port is also active when you setup the Express to extend, so if you need to get ethernet to a device like a DVR, DVD player, etc., this is a nice way to do so.
  • jens Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks Bob for your detailed reply.
    Wish us luck!
  • Navy Guy 74 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Great info, thanks! I have an interesting question for you. I'm looking at adding the Airport Express to our network to boost the Time Capsule's signal strength upstairs, but in Belgium, nothing is on the 110V power system, so we have to use transformers to covert the 240V power down.

    The question is, how does the Airport Express boost the signal? Is it transmitted via the electrical system (I've read other boosters use the circuit to extend the range). And if it does, then would it be useless using the transformer? If it's all wirelessly (takes in the wireless signal then amplifies it or repeats it somehow) then I don't think it would have a problem.


    Thanks again,
  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10 (92,240 points)
    Welcome to the discussions, Navy Guy 74!

    The AirPort Express "receives" a wireless signal from your Time Capsule's wireless network and then amplifies it and "re-broadcasts" it. Apple calls this process "extending".

    Apple's specifications on the Express indicate that it will work on 100-240 volts, so you probably won't need a transformer, just an adapter for your power socket.

    Refer to one of the earlier posts in this thread for configuration instructions to setup the Express to "extend a wireless network".

    Hope this helps.
  • Tony Giordano Level 2 Level 2 (330 points)
    I know that this thread is a few months old, but it's much to close to what I'm attempting to accomplish.

    I'm simply trying to extend/strengthen my signal from my office's Time Capsule to my bedrooms Mac Mini via an Airport Express.

    I've gone through the pages mentioned above and also Bob's recommendations and yet still cannot get connectivity to the Express. I cannot see the Express in the Airport status menu dropdown in order to select it. If I go "Join Other Network" I put in the name select the security type and type the password, then click "Join" then it says "Connection timeout".

    The express light stays green if it matters.

    I've rebooted everything and still nada. What gives? Any suggestions?

  • Tony Giordano Level 2 Level 2 (330 points)
  • Marcantonio724 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Bob - you seem to be the answer man on these questions, we're lucky to have you.

    Here is one that I have not found an answer to in any discussions:

    I am dealing with a large house with plaster walls, so getting the signal from the center of the 2nd floor Time Capsule (Base) to both ends of the 1st floor is my goal. Currently the signal does not reach either end. I foresee needing to extend the signal more than once.

    Can more than 1 Express unit be connected to the Base?
    If so, how many and are there any other configuration concerns?
    Can an Express extend to another Express or can extending only be taken from the Base?

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10 (92,240 points)
    Welcome to the discussions!

    +Can more than 1 Express unit be connected to the Base?+

    Yes, but Apple's "extend" setup works like the hub and spokes of a wheel. The Time Capsule would be the "hub" and the Express devices are at the end of the "spokes". Each Express device communicates directly to the "hub", not to another Express.
    So, there are no "relay" devices in the "extend" type of setup.

    +If so, how many and are there any other configuration concerns?+

    Good question there. AirPort Utility will display 5 devices simultaneously, so that may be a practical limit. I haven't tried any more than 4 devices on a network myself. As far as configuring "extending" Express devices, they will all be configured exactly the same except it makes sense to name them individually to keep track of things.

    +Can an Express extend to another Express or can extending only be taken from the Base?+

    In your setup with the TC as the main device, no. See the explanation above.
  • Marcantonio724 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Thank you. I appreciate the advice.