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richardfromraleigh Level 1 (0 points)

How vcan I extend the range of my wireless network using Airport Express?

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 (98,354 points)

    If your "main" router is an Apple "n" wireless device and you have enabled the option to allow it to extend the wireless network....




    You have an AirPort Express "n" version....


    The AirPort Express can be configured to "extend" the wireless network that is being produced by your "main" router to provide more wireless coverage in the area where the Expess is located. 


    This of course assumes that the Express is located where it can receive a good wireless signal in order to "extend" it.


    It is also possible to configure older "b/g" versions of the Apple devices to provide more wireless coverage using a method known as WDS.

  • pjboma Level 1 (0 points)

    I am having the same problem, but I am using the super hub by virgin media. It is in the room upstairs and the express is plugged in in the room downstairs only about 20ft or so away. I can't seem to connect then.

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 (98,354 points)

    As mentioned above, the AirPort Express will only "extend" the wireless signal if you are using an Apple router as your "main" device. You indicate that you are using Virgin Media.


    The Express is not compatible with any other devices from any other manufacturers if you are trying to extend using wireless only.


    The Express will be able to provide more wireless coverage if you establish a permanent Ethernet connection between the Virgin Media router and the AirPort Express.

  • DrDox Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Bob,

    I just bought the Airport express today. I want to use it only to extend my wireless to my bedroom. I have the apple Time capsule as a source of my wireless from the living room. My wireless speed drops from 20 M bps to 1 Mbps in the bedroom. Can you show me the step by step to configure it ? I try everything but it just won't work. The amber blinking light is still on. I have the latest airport utility software. thanks

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 (98,354 points)

    Apple's step by step instructions are here:



    What they don't tell you is where to locate the "extending" device. A good starting point is a location about half the distance from the Time Capsule to the area that needs more coverage.


    That's because the Express can only "extend" what it receives. It "repeats", it does not "boost".


    Depending on obstructions like walls, ceilings, etc. you may need to experiment to find the best compromise location for the Express.

  • DrDox Level 1 (0 points)

    Hey Bob. Thanks a lot. It works great. I got 15 Mbps now in my bedroom. I appreciate it.

  • tigerinroc Level 1 (0 points)

    Just want to make sure, can the "main" router be an Airport Expess 'n' as well? This means using an Express to extend and Express.



  • Bob Timmons Level 10 (98,354 points)

    Yes, any "n" Apple device will work in the "extend" setup with another "n" device.

  • tigerinroc Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you very much!

  • DK999999999999 Level 1 (0 points)



    I have seen some of your posts, as I have been trying to answer a similar question -- am I crazy or did Apple change things with the Airport Express.  I seem to remember buying the Airports specifically because they could extend ANY network (from outers of any manufactuers).  I have two, one is probably a G and the other probably a N, I have had them for at least a couple of years - I would think 3 and 4 years.  I recently noticed that my WiFi devices seemed to be getting less signal, so I started investigating and found out that  my AirPort was just chewing up electricity and doing NOTHING.  I have two Airport Expresses, 1 acts as a Print Server (some of computers, some of the time -- even this seems to mysteriously change) and the other one was supposed to be a range extender.  Now I come to find out that it mysteriously??? is not compatible with other device anymore???  Was I always wrong -- I really don't want to doubt myself on this, because I know it used to work.


    Another responder suggested to someone that they could connect the AirPort Express to a router via Ethernet.  What exactly would that achieve?


    I love Apple, or at least I love Apple products, but I have a feeling they did this intentionally to boost sales of Airport Extremes? It seems bizarre that Aiport Express can do so many functions over a network, like print server, act as a client, stream music, etc., but not be a range extender?  So with Apple having intentionally blocked me, is my only choice to "reward" them by going and buying the Airport Extreme or "punish" myself with reduced range (or getting other range extenders)?  In the past before I discovered Airport, I tried a different extender and could not even get my Mac to recognize it.


    What's the best option here?  My router is probably the newest item of my three devices (router, Aiport Express 1 and Airport Express 2).  How long before Expresses generally die?


    thanks for your insights.

    - Dan

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 (98,354 points)

    It appears that you may have "join a wireless network" and "extend a wireless network" mixed up a bit.


    The Express can "join" virtually any wireless network produced by any manufacturer's router if it is provided with the correct settings:


    • name of the wireless network
    • the correct wireless security settings
    • and correct password.


    "Join" is normally used for AirTunes or to connect a USB printer to the Express for remote printing.


    But, the Express does not provide any additional wirless coverage when it "joins" another wireless network.


    Apple's "Extend a wireless network" feature, which was introduced about 5 years ago, allows the Express to connect to another Apple "n" wireless router and then "repeat" or "extend" the wireless signal....providing more wireless coverage in the area where the Express is located.


    This is a proprietary setting. Apple says it will not work with devices from other manufacturers. To our knowledge, this is correct.


    Prior to 2007, Apple used a setting called WDS to allow the Express to be configured to provide more wireless coverage. Attempts were made by a number of manufacturers to standardize the WDS settings, but things were never finalized.


    The result is that Apple's older "b/g" routers were sometimes compatible with WDS settings from another manufacturer. There were a handful of products....5 or 6, as I recall....that were said to work. Some did, some didn't. Linksys had a couple of models, Netgear had one, SMC another, etc.  Extremely limited.


    Since WDS was never adopted as an industry standard, manufacturers developed their own WDS settings. Compatibility was extemely limited and unreliable. That continues to this day with WDS.


    Bottom line....It is always best to stick with the same manufacturer throughout your network as far as routing is concerned.


    If you have an newer "n" Apple router like an AirPort Extreme, the Express can extend the wireless as can along Extreme. If your Extreme is dual band, and you want to extend both bands, then you need another Extreme.


    Another responder suggested to someone that they could connect the AirPort Express to a router via Ethernet.  What exactly would that achieve?

    That is a completely different subject since this discussion is about extending a wireless network using wireless only.

  • MajorIP4 Level 1 (20 points)

    Apple Express cannot extend (wirelessly) any other manfacturer's router. However, Netgear has a new dual-band extender WN2500RP which will extend any router's wireless signal on both bands at the same time. Works with Apple Extreme/Time Capsule too.

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 (98,354 points)

    Works with Apple Extreme/Time Capsule too.

    This is not correct.


    You must not have taken the time to read the details and disclaimer in the Netgear literature.

  • MajorIP4 Level 1 (20 points)

    Bob Timmons wrote:


    Works with Apple Extreme/Time Capsule too.

    This is not correct.


    You must not have taken the time to read the details and disclaimer in the Netgear literature.

    I beg to differ with that. It is working just fine here with my extreme.

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