WDS is a difficult setup for most users, even with Apple's step by step instructions linked below:
If your budget allows, another new A1264 AirPort Express will really improve your performance over WDS, and it will be much easier to set up as well. Apple's instructions for that are here:
Although the illustrations picture AirPort Extremes in the guide, the set up for two AirPort Express devices would be exactly the same.
Would I need to use WDS for two A1264s? The only reason I took the WDS route was because I was under the impression that it was the only option for linking the two different types of base station – the simpler the link-up is, the better. (Part of my earlier frustration was that I seem to recall having no problem setting up the two A1088s). I will probably take your advice and buy a second A1264 – it'll probably "pay for itself" in the time I save over attempting the more difficult set-up!
Just as an update, I've decided to get a second A1264.
Not the happiest of customers right now – spent the best part of two hours on the phone to Apple Care – first guy was a bit brusque and didn't seem to be listening when I tried to explain that I had two different models of AX – walked me through an "Assist Me" guide which, no surprises, didn't work, even though I asked several times was this the WDS set-up which I understood was needed. The second one made a bit more effort to help, but didn't seem to have much knowledge of the WDS issue either. He finally went to speak to a supervisor, who said that using this set-up would slow things down. I just wish I'd been better informed when I asked about compatibility on buying the first one – then I could just have bought two at the start, without having to waste what amounted to one working day trying to set things up, as well as the money I spent on fruitless phone calls.
I'll feed back (politely and constructively!) to the salesman that this is the case.
Just wanted to post this in case it helps anyone else in my position. And thanks again to Bob and John for taking the time to try to help.
– first guy was a bit brusque and didn't seem to be listening when I tried to explain that I had two different models of AX –
That is inexcusable. I often get requests for feedback after conferring with AppleCare so please express your concerns. There are plenty of knowledgeable and polite people who would eagerly fill a vacancy left behind by someone lacking those qualities.
Read Bob Timmons's second link, about "extending a network." Now that you have two new AirPort Base Stations, you can forget you ever heard about WDS. "Extend" is much easier and its performance is a vast improvement over WDS.
Purge that acronym from your mind
Consider it purged, John!
I got a survey which I filled in as constructively as possible (largely because I didn't want to get the second guy any grief because I feel he was as helpful as he was able to be.)
I finally sorted out the issue, with one final hiccup ("Join a network" was so branded on my brain from my attempts at THAT ACRONYM that I forgot I needed to use "Extend a network" instead – d'oh!)
Crazy as it sounds, I think one problem is with terminology. If I'd said "802.11n" and/or "802.11b/g" instead of A1264 and A1088, the Applecare guys may have got what I was on about a bit quicker, but surely the customer is going to go by the name on the label (ones that also seem to be used everywhere from this forum to eBay!), so surely it's up to Apple to make certain their staff are aware of model numbers, etc?
I agree with what you're saying about customer service. It's probably not an easy job - I don't think I was rude at any point (at least I hope not), though I may have sounded whiny and stressed, which would have been nothing personal, just frustration with the situation. But there are ways for helpline staff to say, "OK, let's go through this one step at a time…" without getting uppity!
Great! Glad it's working for you.
The problem with terminology is not crazy at all. Unless two people are "on the same page" communication suffers, leading to a predictable degeneration into frustration, rudeness, and profanity. Just look at this Discussions forum for examples.
Most communication is non-verbal, so speaking on the phone with Applecare is challenging for both parties. Conversing on a discussion forum like this is even more so. For what it's worth, my few contacts with Applecare - both telephone and Internet chat - have been consistently pleasant. Those men and women are candidates for sainthood.
Apple did not make things easier on us when they updated the Express. The name is the same, they look the same, but the improvements made in the later version are significant. Unless they've been around for a while, even Apple employees could have difficulty remembering the "old" one.