3 Replies Latest reply: Mar 30, 2012 9:47 AM by Tesserax
shannonadams Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

At some of our smaller remote sites (5-15 employees), we are using a single AirPort Extreme base station.  For the most part, this works well.  However, we have some older devices and printers hardcoded with the network password and it's not so easy to change in the devices for local end users.  That makes it very difficult to change the AE's password.  We want to do that on occasion for security reasons.  One AE base station can cover a whole site.  The solution would be to create four SSIDs - one for general use (would change password frequently), one for printers, one for scanners and one for guest access.  The limitation of only being able to use one SSID per AE hinders this approach.  We would have to purchase four separate AE's to handle it (about $800 total).  For larger sites, we use a true wireless controller and APs, but that is expensive ($6-8k).  I'm looking for a happy medium here.  Any suggestions on how to accomplish this using AirPorts or alternative solutions without going the wireless controller route?

MacBook Pro 15", Mac OS X (10.6.5)
  • Tesserax Level 8 Level 8 (49,860 points)

    Technically, with a single 802.11n AirPort Extreme Base Station (AEBSn) plus one 802.11n AirPort Express Base Station (AXn), you would have the minimum to create four separate wireless networks, each having its own unique SSID. The AXn would need to be connected to the AEBSn by Ethernet. The AEBSn would provide three: 1) 2.4 GHz network, 2) 5 GHz network, & 3) Guest network, and the AXn would provide one.

  • shannonadams Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I like the idea of using one AirPort Extreme ($179) and hooking multiple AirPort Expresses ($99) to it.  I assume all APBEx would hook into the single AXn?  Then, all could pull DHCP from my internal DHCP/DNS server?

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

    Physically you can connect up to three AirPort Express Base Stations to the available LAN ports on a single AirPort Extreme. With an Ethernet switch, you can add even more Express Base Stations.


    The issue will be your DHCP server. By default, unless in bridge mode, the AirPorts all have built-in DHCP servers. In your proposed configuration, you can configure all of the base stations as bridges, but you will have to figure out how you will be providing NAT service for your local network.


    For the AirPorts, the Connection Sharing setting (in the AirPort Utility) controls both the NAT & DHCP services provided by the base station. You only have three choices: 1) Share a single IP address = NAT & DHCP enabled, 2) Distribute a range of IP addresses = NAT disabled / DHCP enabled, or 3) Off (Bridge Mode) = NAT & DHCP disabled.