You basically have the components to configure the routers for a least two network configurations:
- Roaming Network: Either or both of the AirPorts would need to be connected back to the Actiontec router by Ethernet for this to work.
- Extended Network: Either the Extreme or the Express will need to be connected to the Actiontec by Ethernet, and then, one AirPort would be configured to extend the wireless range of the other.
Which of these two sound doable for you?
Thanks for that speedy reply! The Airport Extreme can connect to modem by ethernet cable to extend the range of the Airport Express. That's because the Express has the output jack so that I can connect a cable to my receiver so it can then send music to speakers. That is what I would hope to accomplish.
Basically, I would be happy with a single wireless network. I have a wireless HP printer that does fine, and two "smart" TVs that are internet connectible, but I don't care about them so much. I simply want to have one wireless network that is more powerful today than it was yesterday. It should stream, it should send messages to my printer, and allow my Macbook Pro to continue its internet access. Whatever it takes to get there--cables, placement, a wire coat hanger -- I am happy to try.
Ok, then let's start with the following as the basic configuration of your "single" wireless network.
- The Actiontec will be the main Internet router; no configuration changes would be required.
- Connect the 802.11n AirPort Extreme Base Station (AEBSn) directly to the Actiontec router by Ethernet; reconfigure the AEBSn as a bridge, and also, reconfigure the AEBSn as the "main" base station in the extended wireless network.
- Connect the 802.11n AirPort Express Base Station (AXn), by wireless to the AEBSn. Configure the AXn to extend the wireless range of the AEBSn.
The following are step-by-step instructions on configuring the AirPorts for an extended network:
Dynamic WDS - Extending a Wireless Network Setup
- Temporarily connect the AXn directly to one of the available LAN ports on the AEBSn during the setup phase. Once completed, disconnect the AXn and place it at the desired location.
- Open AirPort Utility, and then, select the AEBSn.
- Choose Manual Setup from the Base Station menu. Enter the base station password if necessary.
- Click Internet in the toolbar, and then, click on the Internet Connection tab. Change Connection Sharing to "Off (Bridge Mode)."
- Click AirPort in the toolbar, and then, click on the Wireless tab.
- Choose “Create a wireless network” from the Wireless Mode pop-up menu, and then, select the “Allow this network to be extended” checkbox.
- Next, select the AXn, and then, choose Manual Setup from the Base Station menu. Enter the base station password if necessary.
- Choose “Extend a wireless network” from the Wireless Mode pop-up menu, and then, choose the network you want to extend from the Network Name pop-up menu.
- Enter the base station network and base station password if necessary.
- Click Update to update the base station with new network settings.
(ref: Pages 43-44 of Apple AirPort Networks.)