9 Replies Latest reply: Apr 19, 2012 3:36 AM by Trauncher
Frustrator Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hi Community.


I want to extend the WiFi-range of my new (4th-gen.) Time Capsule to the other end of the house by use of my old AirPort Express (probably 1st gen. - only 802.11b/g-mode).


I read some of the threads here in the community and thought that I had understood how to to do that but now my Time capsule keeps switching between steady green and yellow flashing lights. On AirPort utility 6.0 I see that apparently my internet connection is supposed to be lost whenever it goes to the yellow light. I had no such troble before I changed the configuration to "Participate in a WDS". Before it was on "create a wireless network".


To summarize what I did:

Using AirPort Utility 5.6 I first switched the Time Capsule (which is connected to the modem and to my iMac via ethernet) to the "Participate in a WDS network" and clicked "Allow this network to be extended". Unter the "WDS-Menu" I set it to "WDS main" and clicked "Allow wireless clients". Afterwards I entered the MAC-Adress of my AirPort Express under the WDS Remotes. Then I updated the Time Capsule. (it is still set up to also transmit signals in the 5 GHZ / n-mode under a different automatic channel, but this should not affect the AirPort Express, since it does not receive any signals in 802.11n - does it?)


Afterwards I connected my AirPort Express via ethernet to the Time Capsule and also set it to "Participate in a WDS network". The Radio Mode is on "802.11b/g compatibel" and it is on the same channel as my Time Capsule. Under the WDS-Menu I set it up as a WDS-remote, allowed wireless clients and entered the MAC-Adress of my Time Capsule as the WDS-Main.


Now I try to run the setup and every 10 seconds or so the yellow light of the Time Capsule lights up.


Does anybody have an idea what might be wrong?



Mac OS X (10.7.3), Time Capsule 2 TB
  • Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (49,860 points)

    Except for enabling the "Allow this network to be extended" option which is only valid for 802.11n networks, it sounds like you did everything correctly, but please take a look at the following step-by-step procedure to see you if may have missed something along the way.


    Static WDS Setup with "Mixed" (802.11g & 802.11n) AirPort Base Stations

    Note: To facilitate the WDS set up:

    • Perform a "factory default" reset on all of the base stations that you plan on using in the WDS. This will get them back to their respective "out-of-the-box" configurations.
    • To avoid having to "switch" wireless networks within the AirPort Utility, temporarily connect the remote base station(s) to the Time Capsule (TC) by Ethernet during the set up phase, and then, relocate it to the desired location when complete.
    • Be sure to jot down the AirPort IDs (MAC addresses) for each of the base stations to be used in the WDS. The AirPort ID is printed on the label on the bottom/side of the base station.


    Main Base Station Setup

    • Click the AirPort status menu in the menu bar and choose the wireless network created by the TC.
    • Open AirPort Utility.
    • Select the TC, and then, choose Manual Setup from the Base Station menu.
    • Enter the base station password if necessary. If the base station is using the default password of public, you will not be prompted for a password.
    • Click Wireless in the toolbar, and then, choose “Participate in a WDS network” from the Wireless Mode pop-up menu. Note: You will need to hold down the Option key in order to get this option on the AEBSn, 802.11n AirPort Express Base Station (AXn), or Time Capsule (TC).
    • Click WDS and then, choose “WDS main” from the WDS Mode pop-up menu.
    • Select the “Allow wireless clients” checkbox if you want client computer to connect to this base station.
    • Click the Add "+" button and enter the AirPort ID of 802.11b/g AirPort Express Base Station (AX).
    • Click Update to send the new settings to the base station in the WDS.


    Remote Base Station Setup

    • Open AirPort Utility; select the AX, and then, choose Manual Setup from the Base Station menu.
    • Enter the base station password, if necessary.
    • Enter the same network password as the TC, if necessary.
    • Click AirPort in the toolbar, and then, click Wireless. Choose “Participate in a WDS network” from the Wireless Mode pop-up menu, and then, choose the same channel as the TC from the Channel pop-up menu.
    • Click WDS and choose “WDS remote” from the pop-up menu.
    • Enter the AirPort ID of the TC in the WDS Main field.
    • Click Update to transfer the settings to the base station.


    (ref: Pages 42-46 of "Designing AirPort Networks.)

    (ref: Setting up and configuring a Wireless Distribution System (802.11b/g)

  • Frustrator Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



    Thanks fo the quick response. Surprisingly the issue with the internet connection and the yellow light vanished after I disconnected the AX from the ethernet cable and relocated it to the 2nd floor.


    The signal strenght upstairs has improved al lot, so that I figure the AX does what I want it to, i.e. "repeat".


    One last question: Your wrote that I should not have klicked on the "Allow this network to be extended-option", since that only refers to the 802.11n-network. Does it hurt to still leave it enabled?

  • Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (49,860 points)

    One last question: Your wrote that I should not have klicked on the "Allow this network to be extended-option", since that only refers to the 802.11n-network. Does it hurt to still leave it enabled?

    I haven't found an instance that it caused any harm leaving it enabled in a WDS configuration ... so I would leave it up to you if you want to disable it. However, and not related to this particular setting, if you find the overall bandwidth limited for, let's say, HD streaming on the local network, you may want to consider upgrading the AX to the newer 802.11n model and reconfiguring your network for an "extended" one instead of a WDS for better performance.

  • Frustrator Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I read that the WDS-setup will slow me down, but does that also apply to any computers which connect over the 5GHZ-signal directly to the Time Capsule?

  • Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (49,860 points)

    A quick way to find out is to connect one of your newer Macs and see if it can connect to the TC's 5 GHz network. Then, hold down the Option key and click on the AirPort icon in the OS X menu bar. In the drop-down menu note the values for: 1) PHY Mode, 2) Channel, & 3) Transmit Rate. Please post back your results.

  • Frustrator Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    PHY-Mode: 802.11n

    Channel: 100 (DFS, 5 GHz)

    Transmitrate: 450

  • Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (49,860 points)

    It looks like you confirmed that operating the WDS on the 2.4 GHz band is not affecting "n" clients connected to the TC's 5 GHz band.

  • Joel Bruner1 Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)

    OPTION KEY?!! I can't believe WDS is now a hidden menu accessed with a secret keystroke?! Good thing Apple linked to this discussion group from their outdated KB article on WDS for "Airport Utility 5.5.2 and later"


    Listen up Apple, here's the comedy of errors the facilitated all this, for posterity, a teaching moment: I upgraded my MacPro to Lion becasue MobileMe loves bugging me to upgrade to iCloud because "time is running out"! So I got Airport Utility 6.0. I also downloaded AU 5.6 because I heard of the limited options. Last night I find Airport Utility 6.0 has opened itself and is warning me that my "MobileMe" password is wrong, I correct it and hit restart. Boom. Broken. Not only has it broken WDS but has also reset my Internet Connection Sharing settings from Off (Bridge Mode) to "Distribute a range of IP addresses". This totally breaks my Clear setup! So getting that back to normal WDS is still broken, because you've hidden the option and not documented it?!


    It had been working for years and your iOS-ified utility broke it all in one click! 0 stars for the out of date documentation.


    But a BIG thank you to the folks in this thread!

  • Trauncher Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    You are so right.  Apple seems to be so busy trying to make their products usable by 90 year old blind grandmas who think that the internet is that funny piece of lace between their girdle straps, that they have completely forgoten about anyone who actually has a brain and wants to use their stuff...  Hrumpf apple.  cut this type of harassment off.  do you truly hate us that much?


    and while we're talking about it,  QUIT THE IOSify EVERYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE nonsense.  Please!  but I digress.


    and also, THANK YOU to Tesserax for that little life saving tip about the Option button.  seriously, I am sending you mental good juju.


    regards all.