3 Replies Latest reply: Feb 23, 2011 12:47 AM by Roger Wilmut1
viking bear Level 1 Level 1 (105 points)
Is it possible to use an Airport Extreme base station as a network switch?

I have a fiber optic internet connection. My ISP has supplied me with a modem. I have an Airport Extreme base station (dome shaped) connected to the ethernet port of this modem, and this Airport Extreme is the main base station creating my wireless network. I have two Airport Express base stations connected to this network to stream music to my stereo around the apartment. Works like a charm

I am now about to move to a different apartment and my ISP will change the modem to another version so that this also is a router, and will be able to create a wireless network. In addition there is one LAN port on the modem. There are wired connections around the apartment, and I plan to set up the network this way:

The modem from my ISP will create the wireless network. I connect my Airport Extreme to the LAN port of this modem, and configure it to work in "bridge mode". I connect my iMac and one of the Airport Express base stations to the two LAN ports on the Airport Extreme. I can then connect my printer to the USB port of the Airport Extreme, and my stereo to the the Airport Express. My iMac and my base stations will then be connected to the network by wired connections, and I can connect my iPhone/ iPad/ Macbook to the network by WiFi.

Will this work? One alternative is to buy a separate network switch, and then connect the base stations and iMac to this switch. Another alternative is to connect all items to the router through WiFi. Which will be the best alternative?

27´´ iMac, 17´´ Powerbook G4, iPhone 3GS, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • Roger Wilmut1 Level 9 Level 9 (69,070 points)
    The modem from my ISP will create the wireless network. I connect my Airport Extreme to the LAN port of this modem, and configure it to work in "bridge mode". I connect my iMac and one of the Airport Express base stations to the two LAN ports on the Airport Extreme. I can then connect my printer to the USB port of the Airport Extreme, and my stereo to the the Airport Express. My iMac and my base stations will then be connected to the network by wired connections, and I can connect my iPhone/ iPad/ Macbook to the network by WiFi.


    This should work perfectly well: the only complication is that you will have two wireless networks, one created by the modem and one by the AE. This needn't be a problem - give them different names (don't try giving them the same name), and just decide which one you want any device to connect to. With the AE in bridge mode everything should see everything else as the IP number are all handed out by the modem, and access to the printer connected to the AE should work for everything.
  • viking bear Level 1 Level 1 (105 points)
    Thank you very much for the comments. I will probably just give it a try. If there are any problems I can just buy a network switch instead or let everything connect to the modem via WiFi.

    The reason I am thinking of this "switch" solution, is that most of my components then can get a wired connection to the network.

    Will there be any difference in data speed between the two alternatives (connecting my iMac to the modem via the Airport Extreme (using this as the switch) or connecting my iMac to the router via a common network switch)?
  • Roger Wilmut1 Level 9 Level 9 (69,070 points)
    It shouldn't make any difference: all the devices are well capable of handling more than the usual broadband speeds.