9 Replies Latest reply: May 29, 2010 4:52 PM by Tesserax
tjcmorgan Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
Hi there...

I replaced a dlink wireless dsl router with an Airport Extreme. I had two airport expresses configured as remote base stations in a WDS network with the dlink as main station. All working well and streaming itunes to expresses.

I can't figure out how to replicate this with Extreme. The Extreme is connected to the Internet via Ethernet bridge served by another dsl router.

The Extreme is configured to create a wireless network and extend enabled.

I don't see any WDS option in Extreme. I have configured the Expresses to use WDS with Extreme as main basestation (MAC address).

Ideas?

--
tm

Tim Morgan

Airport Extreme, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (40,635 points)
    I don't see any WDS option in Extreme.

    Hold down the Option key while selecting Wireless Mode in the Extreme, and the WDS options will appear.
  • tjcmorgan Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Thanks John. I can't believe Apple hid this in an option key combo - what ever happened to UI?

    I have now setup WDS for AEBS main and two remote Expresses. All three show up correctly in Airport Utility, same SSID, channel, and security. The remotes are configured to enable iTunes. However, only one of them seems to work at a time! Both show up in iTunes, but one or the other is disabled.

    I have "Allow wireless clients" enabled on both remotes (WDS tab). I was expecting this would also extend the range of the Extreme network to devices in range of the remotes. Is this right?

    --
    tm

    p.s. the manual is a joke (search for "WDS" with no results)
  • John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (40,635 points)
    There was never an industry accepted standard for WDS, which explains the reason some routers support it while others don't. For creating a wireless network it's a compromise at best, a pain to set up, and may not play nicely with Airtunes streaming. This might explain your difficulties, but that's not reason to give up.

    I have "Allow wireless clients" enabled on both remotes (WDS tab). I was expecting this would also extend the range of the Extreme network to devices in range of the remotes. Is this right? ...


    As far as I know, yes. I never attempted a WDS with more than one remote.

    p.s. the manual is a joke (search for "WDS" with no results)


    Yes, the latest document contains only two vestigial references, but everything else appears to have been excised. Like assassinated Politburo members would disappear from old photographs.

    Try this one: Designing AirPort Networks Using AirPort Utility. WDS is described starting on page 42. According to that document, "allow wireless clients" is correct.
  • tjcmorgan Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Thanks John. I'll read and experiment some more. Report back later.

    --
    tm
  • Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (49,260 points)
    I have "Allow wireless clients" enabled on both remotes (WDS tab). I was expecting this would also extend the range of the Extreme network to devices in range of the remotes. Is this right?


    Are all of your AirPorts the 802.11n or 802.11b/g version ... or a combination of both? If all "n," they should be configured for a "dynamic" WDS; for all "b/g" or combo, a "static" WDS. How you configure the WDS is different between these types.
  • tjcmorgan Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    I have combo b/g/n. How do you specify dynamic vs static?

    This is what kind of works now (and addresses SNR). Configuration was not helped by poor UI design and documentation!

    Airport Extreme
    - Network: foobar
    - Channel: Manual (n)
    - WDS Mode: Main
    - WDS Remotes: Express 1 (Airport MAC ID), Express 2 (Airport MAC ID)
    - Allow wireless clients disabled*

    Airport Express 1
    - Network: foobar
    - Channel: Manual (n)
    - WDS Mode: Relay
    - WDS Main: Extreme Airport MAC ID
    - WDS Remotes: Express 2 (Airport MAC ID)
    - Allow wireless clients enabled*

    Airport Express 2
    - Network: foobar
    - Channel: Manual (n)
    - WDS Mode: Remote
    - WDS Main: Express 2 (Airport MAC ID)
    - Allow wireless clients enabled

    *Depending on your environment, you may wish to enable/disable wireless clients to improve signal/noise ratio. Disabling the main base station forces remote clients to connect to the closest access point (Airport Express). Likewise for relay stations. Schematic below shows supply chain

    Airport Extreme ))) Airport Express 1 Relay )))
    Airport Express 1 Relay ))) Airport Express 2 Remote )))
    Airport Express 1 Relay ))) Wireless Client Devices
    Airport Express 2 Remote ))) Wireless Client Devices
  • Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (49,260 points)
    I have combo b/g/n. How do you specify dynamic vs static?


    If I read you configuration correctly all of your AirPort are the newer 802.11n models ... which are backwards compatible with 802.11a/b/g devices.

    It appears that you have configured them for a "static" WDS, by the fact you call out a "main," "relay," and "remote" devices. This was only available with the earlier "b/g" AirPorts and, unfortunately, extracts a heavy bandwidth penalty.

    With the newer "n" AirPort, Apple provide another flavor of WDS and is sometimes termed as "dynamic." This type of WDS supports "n" clients and only incorporates a "main" and multiple "remotes." The relay concept is gone ... which would not make this type of WDS work as well if you were trying to cover a long linear distance ... like a large rectangular building where the Internet access is on one of the short sides.

    There is not specific "static" vs. "dynamic" WDS setting; it is a matter of how you configure the base stations with the AirPort Utility. In the dynamic version, you would configure the "main" base station to be allowed to be extended. All the other AirPorts would be configured to "extend" the main. Again, there is no concept of relay or remote with this type of WDS.
  • tjcmorgan Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Actually the Airport Expresses are both old b/g limited. Channel (n) means all use the same channel, as opposed to protocol. So I guess I'm stuck with static relay?!

    Also, is there a way to force a wireless client to connect to a particular base station? For example, if one of my clients sees all three stations (main, relay, remote) but I only want it to connect to eg the closest. I suspect this would be standard behaviour but doesn't appear to be in practice.
  • Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (49,260 points)
    Actually the Airport Expresses are both old b/g limited. Channel (n) means all use the same channel, as opposed to protocol. So I guess I'm stuck with static relay?!


    Yes, that would be your only option for extending the network wirelessly for "b/g" or "mixed" base stations.

    Also, is there a way to force a wireless client to connect to a particular base station? For example, if one of my clients sees all three stations (main, relay, remote) but I only want it to connect to eg the closest. I suspect this would be standard behaviour but doesn't appear to be in practice.


    No, I'm afraid not really. You could use your client to determine the Apple ID (wireless MAC address) of the base station that it is connected to ... but not actually force it any particular one in the WDS. In a WDS there should on be one Network Name (or SSID) available so a wireless client would only be able tell them apart by the AirPort ID. Apple hasn't made public the algorithm used for connecting in a WDS. Your suspicion, like many others, and one that certainly makes sense is that a wireless client will attempt to connect to the base station with the strongest signal.