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My express is not extending my network

505 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Jul 28, 2011 3:33 PM by Bob Timmons RSS
Markie Ross Level 1 Level 1 (50 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jul 27, 2011 3:35 PM

Hi-

    This is a new topic built on a former discussion about extending a wifi network in a home with Airport Express.  After successfully programming my Express for the upstairs of my house (thanks Bob!)  I have a base station (Airport Extreme) connected by ethernet to my computer downstairs, and Express in the foyer and my new Express upstairs in the hopes of extending the network. I find that there is no difference in the strength of the signal upstairs.  I read some of the related discussions and there seems to be a consensus that you cannot extend your wifi wirelessly.  However, I am not set up for ethernet.  Is there an alternative?

    thanks,

       Markie

iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,475 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 27, 2011 3:47 PM (in response to Markie Ross)
    I read some of the related discussions and there seems to be a consensus that you cannot extend your wifi wirelessly

    What device is serving as the "main" wireless router downstairs? (You called this your "Base Station")

     

    What is the model number of the AirPort Express in the foyer?  (Look on the side of the Express for this)

     

    What is the model number of the AirPort Express upstairs? 

  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,475 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 27, 2011 5:37 PM (in response to Markie Ross)

    Thanks for the info.

     

    In order to set up the "extend" configuration, all of the devices must be "n" wireless devices. The AirPort Extreme is an "n" device and the new AirPort Express is an "n" device. The Express in the foyer unfortunately is not.

     

    You could set up a network with the AirPort Extreme as the "main" device and your new AirPort Express as the "extending" device. For this to work correctly, the AirPort Express would need to be located at a point that was approximately half the distance from the AirPort Extreme and the area that needs more wireless coverage.

     

    Depending on the distances involved and obstructions like walls and ceiling, this may or may not work.

     

    Unfortunately, the "old" Express cannot be used to "extend", but it could "join" the network if you want to use if for AirTunes. It will not provide any additional wireless coverage in this setting.

     

    Do you want to try the setup with your AirPort Extreme and the "new" AirPort Express?

  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,475 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 27, 2011 9:09 PM (in response to Markie Ross)
    If that is not enough of a boost upstairs, maybe I need to buy another express?

    No, you cannot "extend" a device that is already configured to "extend".

     

    The "extend" setup is a hub and spoke affair.

     

    Your AirPort Extreme is the hub and the Express resides at the end of a spoke. You can add more Express devices at the ends of other spokes.....but each Express communicates directly to the hub......not to another Express at the end of another spoke.

  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,475 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 28, 2011 1:15 PM (in response to Markie Ross)
    Ok, so if I understand you correctly, there is no "relay" configuration possible.

    Correct, in the "extend a wireless network" feature.

     

    My computer guy originally set it up as a "slingshot" system designed to relay a signal upstairs. Now it seems that that is not possible?

    This sounds like he used an older WDS type of configuration, which would allow a "main", "relay" and "remote" type of arrangement. There are two huge downsides to WDS:

     

    1) The system will only work at "g" wireless levels, so you lose any of the faster "n" capability of newer routers and devices on the network. You new "n" AirPort Extreme and AirPort Express instantly become older "g" devices with WDS

     

    2) The bandwidth penalty of WDS is enormous. Each relay or remote on the network cuts the available bandwidth in half. So the relay cuts the speed of the "g" wireless network in half, and the "remote" cuts that half in half again. After you do the math, you have a "g" wireless network that is running at 25% speed.

     

    I think it's pretty clear why you would not want to even consider this type of arrangement.

     

    If not, then I should use the new Express in the foyer rather than my old one and hope that the signal is strong enough to make it upstairs.

    The "ideal" location for an extending Express (assuming no major obstructions in the signal path) is a location that is about half the distance from the main router to the area that needs more coverage. Remember that the Express can only extend what it receives, so if it is located too far from the main router, it extends a very weak signal. You will need to experiment a bit to find the best location in your particular situation.

  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,475 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 28, 2011 1:50 PM (in response to Markie Ross)

    The Express will retain its stored settings, and will work fine in a new location as long as it receives a good wireless signal.

  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,475 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 28, 2011 3:33 PM (in response to Markie Ross)

    If you configured the AirPort Express to "extend a wireless network" and have a green light, you have both devices configured correctly.

     

    The ability of wireless devices to penetrate obstructions like walls and ceilings is limited. Other than experimenting a bit with the placement of the Express, that is about all you can do unless you are willing to consider an Ethernet connection to the upstairs area.

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