16922 Views 7 Replies Latest reply: Sep 26, 2010 12:06 PM by ralphp21
+I understand that Express units can "extend a network" and Extremes can only "join an existing network."+
No, that's not correct. If you have the AirPort Express 802.11n version, it can be configured to either extend or join a wireless network.
The "extend" setting provides more wireless coverage in the area where the device is located. The "join" setting will only allow the device to "receive" a wireless signal. It will not extend the signal.
Depending on the versions of your AirPort Extreme(s) and AirPort Express devices, that will determine whether you can use the "extend" setup at all. In order to use the "extend" configuration, everyone of your devices must be of the newer 802.11"n" type. If you have any older "b/g" devices, then you will need to look at an alterative configuration method such as WDS.
If you setup two networks, one upstairs and another downstairs, any computer that moves from one area to the other will have to "switch" networks. You'll need to manually log the computer on the network in the area.
You might consider using the same wireless network name, security and password for all of your devices. If you did this, then computers could move from one area to the other and not have to "switch" networks.
Even better would be a design that has the two AirPort Extremes connected using ethernet. That will help preserve the bandwidth on the network.
Hi Bob. Thanks for your reply. Two of my Extremes are 802.11n and two are Simultaneous Dual-Band II units. The main base unit, connected to the cable modem, is an 802.11n. When I go to the Airport Utility and try to set up one of the Dual-Band units to extend the network, I get a note saying "This network can't be extended." I'm assuming this means the Dual-Band units are 802.11n. This surprises me since I only bought them a few weeks ago. What would happen if I made one of the Dual-Band units the prime base unit? Would the 802.11n units then be able to extend the network? My airport express units have no trouble extending the network as is. Or do I just need to sell the Dual-Band units and get a couple more 802.11n Airport Expresses? Thanks again. Ralph
+Is this creating the "Can't extend this network" problem?+
Haven't tried to confirm, but this could be the issue.
Open AirPort Utility - click Manual Setup
Click the Wireless tab below the icons
Your "main" router should be set as follows:
Wireless Mode = Create a wireless network
Then, make sure you have a check mark next to "Allow this network to be extended"
Any other "n" router that will be extending this network should be setup as follows:
AirPort Utility - Manual Setup
Wireless Mode = Extend a wireless network
Enter the necessary information about your network and click Update
One last question. Which is better, i.e. provides better coverage/reception:
a. Setting up the network using "create a wireless network" and having the remotes "extend the network," or,
b. Setting up the network using "participate in a WDS network" and then having the remotes and relays "participate in a WDS network?"
I'm just curious as to the difference and which might give better and more consistent performance.
Thanks once again for all your help and info.
WDS is an older technology that limits the maximum speeds on the network to wireless "g" levels. In addition, each "remote" device in a WDS cuts the available bandwidth by 50%, so with a "main" and "remote" in a WDS setup, you have in effect, a "g" wireless network operating at half of its capability.
The "extend a wireless network" setup allows faster "n" speeds with a minimum of bandwidth loss on the network, so it is by far the best choice if your devices will support this type of setup.