13 Replies Latest reply: May 24, 2012 10:47 AM by nickweb
Demonlawyer Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

I just want to check that this will fix the problem I have. I'm in the UK and have a BT wireless router downstairs, the one that on the adverts lets 3 people use it all at the same time all round the house for everything from surfing the net to watching movies. Mine (and I've changed it three times) has a strong signal by the router, cuts out if two of us are on the internet, and drops signal if you're more than about five metres from the router. However the download rate is good - 9-10 mbps, so when I do have a signal, it's a really good one.

 

My house is not huge, and the downstairs is shaped like an O - I have one wall in the middle of the house and that's it - no doors or anything that could block a signal, but for some reason, I get a rubbish signal at the opposite end of the house, virtually no signal upstairs (have to rely on 3G), but a strong signal by the router. I've had BT round and they've even moved my phone line from one end of the house to the other - whereever I place it I have a good signal, but at the opposite end it drops to 1 mbps. At the moment we've got it near the dining table for when we're working/playing games, but my wife would like to use her iPad upstairs in bed on the weekends, and at the moment she's having to use my iPhone's 3G.

 

Can I plug in an Airport express somewhere in the house to 'boost' or amplify the signal so that I have a good signal all around the house? I think this is what the airport express does, but the literature on the info page says to plug it into your router to set it up. I would want this plugged into a socket at one end of the house, with the router at the other end, so that I have a better all round signal. Can this be done with an airport express? And can I do that without wires? And without having to plug in another phone cable?

 

Thanks

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10 (90,640 points)

    Can I plug in an Airport express somewhere in the house to 'boost' or amplify the signal so that I have a good signal all around the house?

    Sorry, but no. The AirPort Express will only "extend" a wireless network if it is working with another Apple router. It would not be compatible with products from other manufacturers for that purpose.

     

    You might check with the BT folks to see if they have a product that will "repeat" the wireless signal.

  • Demonlawyer Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    BT say that they don't have any products like this, but that a Wireless signal booster will do the trick. They say to go to my local computer shop and ask them, but that the latest Netgear and Belkin boosters will work. Does this suggest that Apple's one might as well? If not I'll get the Netgear.

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10 (90,640 points)

    Does this suggest that Apple's one might as well?

    Please review my answer above...... The AirPort Express will only "extend" a wireless network if it is working with another Apple router. It would not be compatible with products from other manufacturers for that purpose.

     

    They say to go to my local computer shop and ask them, but that the latest Netgear and Belkin boosters will work.

    If BT says that Negear or Belkin products will work, that sounds like a good lead. I suggest that you understand the store's return policy though....before you buy....since I doubt that BT would be willing to guarantee that they will work.

  • Demonlawyer Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Hi Bob, fyi the Apple Airport Express works just fine with extending the signal from the BT Router. Perhaps the information from Apple that it only works with their products is wrong. Appreciate the assistance though.

     

    D

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10 (90,640 points)

    You likely have the AirPort Express configured to "Join" your BT network using wireless only. It does not "extend" when it "Joins".

     

    If you want to pursue this, there are ways to verify this. I would be extremely surprised if the Express is really configured to "Extend a wireless network" since this is a proprietary setting that Apple uses with their products.

     

    I was helping another U.K. user with this same question a few weeks ago and he thought that his Express was extending as well from his BT router. In fact, he was quite sure of it.

     

    Upon checking further, he found that his Express was not really "extending" the signal at all.

  • Demonlawyer Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Hmm, interesting, do you have the link to that question so I can investigate further?

     

    Is it the case that it joins a network in order to link speakers and printers but doesn't extend it?

     

    Maybe if I got rid of the BT router entirely and used the Airport express in the hope that it has a better signal that the BT one? I might try that tonight....

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10 (90,640 points)

    Do you have a Mac laptop handy to perform a quick test to see if your Express is "extending"?

  • HACKINT0SH Level 5 Level 5 (5,755 points)

    Perhaps the information from Apple that it only works with their products is wrong.

    Often this sort of scenario is just a difference between WON'T WORK, and NOT SUPPORTED.

  • Demonlawyer Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    It's at home, but I used the Airport software and recall setting it up two ways. The first time I set it up through the standard way it wanted me to do, before then trying to change the settings to extend it. The second time I did a factory reset and when it brought up the standard install, I changed the option to 'extend an existing network'. It set up fine and I got a green light, but I have had it upstairs, plugged in with a green light and sat right next to it with no wifi signal on my iPad. I think I was just lucky before getting a signal from the downstairs router which didn't last.

     

    The ethernet plug on it is incompatible with phone plugs here in the UK, so I'm going to the shops today to try and replace it for an airport extreme and to ditch the BT home hub entirely. The idea here being that the ethernet plugs on the extreme should fit the phone line and become my new router.

     

    It's odd that ethernet plugs aren't all the same - the phone line won't plug into the socket on the Airport express (which is 10/100 something) but they will plug into the BT Homehub ethernet plug. I can see that the Airport Extreme ethernet plugs have a different spec, so I'm hoping/assuming that it means the phone cables here will fit it.

     

    Fingers crossed.....

  • Demonlawyer Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Boy this isn't straightforward. The shop is out of stock so I'm waiting for more stock, but in the meantime they tell me that the Airport Extreme or Time Capsule won't answer my problem either, as neither have a modem, and you need a modem to plug into before it can go into either, to give you a broadband signal.

     

    So it seems that I will need to keep my BT Home hub and then either ( i ) buy an Airport Extreme and then probably an Airport express, costing about £200 (just to extend my wireless signal) or ( ii ) buy something from Netgear which will cost about £40.

     

    It seems a no brainer.

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10 (90,640 points)

    they tell me that the Airport Extreme or Time Capsule won't answer my problem either, as neither have a modem, and you need a modem to plug into before it can go into either, to give you a broadband signal.

    That is correct.

     

    Let us know how the Netgear product works for you. Hope that you get things working soon.

  • FadRahmat Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Demonlawyer, Bob,

     

    I've just purchased an AirPort Express a few days back and I've been experiencing the exactly same issue. I live in a 3-storey house in Singapore. I will try to be as "lay-man" as possible.

     

    My situation

    I have a modem set up on level 1. Level 2 is able to receive the wifi signals. However, level 3 couldn't receive any signals at all. Which is where my AirPort Express comes in. Upon getting the Airport Express, I perform 2 tests, just to see if the AirPort Express really works.

     

    Test #1

    I plugged in AirPort Express to a socket in level 2. I connected a speaker to it. Configured the Airport Express to my wi-fi network. I was able to play songs on my MacBook Pro through the speakers. But when I went up to level 3, (with the Airport Express still plugged in on level 2), I was neither able to play songs through those speakers, not was I able to connect to the home wi-fi network.But this test is not conclusive as to whether my Airport Express is able to extend my home network.

     

    Test #2

    Just like what Demonlawyer wanted to do, I plugged Airport Express in a socket on level 3, and configured it to extend my home wi-fi network. And I tried connecting my Macbook Pro to the home wi-fi network, but was not able to do so. But when I went to level 2, (with Airport Express was still plugged in on level 3), I was able to connect to the home network.

     

    Conclusion

    - AirPort Express is able to connect speakers & printers, wirelessly, IF it is within range of my home wi-fi network.

    - Airport Express is not able to extend my home wi-fi network, ALTHOUGH, it is within range of my home wi-fi network.

     

    I think Bob is right. According to Apple's website and its manual, AirPort Express is only able to extend your home wi-fi network, ONLY IF you are using an Apple router. In my case, I guess I will have to purchase another AirPort Extreme/Express, connect it to the main modem on level 1 using LAN cables. Only then my AirPort Express on level 2 (or level 3) is able to extend my home wi-fi network.

     

    Am I right?

     

    --

    Regards,

    Fad

  • nickweb Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Demonlawyer.


    Sorry to revive an old post - And I hope you have it set up - but if not, here is some further information for you.

     

    BT doesn’t supply "Repeaters" (That’s what they’re called). You can buy them from big name manufacturers (Netgear, Buffalo, Linksys etc) and they will work with the BT Home Hub with a little coaxing (read configuration).

     

    The product here is used to provide a wireless signal (and a USB access point and an audio jack) to a WIRED modem/router. I.E Say you had an old BT Modem that did not have wireless. You would plug that into this gizmo, and boom, wireless.

     

    This product can also be used as an extender (repeater), but only with compatible Apple products.

     

    Now - To the reason I replied...

     

    The jack (or socket) on the Airport Extreme is what’s called an Ethernet Port. This is used to connect a modem to the Airport Express. The HomeHub is both a Router AND a modem. This is why the Home Hub can be connected to a UK telephone line.

     

    If you have a friend who uses cable (Virgin), you'll notice that generally they have a small blue box, plugged into a wireless router.

     

    Now - To the reason I replied... (Part 2)…

     

    That’s the reason your little black cable with the gray end won’t connect to the Apple Airport Extreme. The socket on the Airport is for a modem, which is connected to your telephone line.

     

    If you haven’t already gathered, this product won’t really work wonders with your problem. Further investigation may be required. From your comments, I would suggest the following:

     

    Change the channel your Wireless network is on. Generally, your Home Hub is set to Auto. A lot of things can interfere with a WiFi signal, including (but not limited to) Microwaves, Cordless Phones, Set Top Boxes etc.

     

    There are a lot of good articles on the internet regarding the above. I would do a Google search for "HomeHub change wireless channel" and see what comes up.

     

    Hope this provides some help!

     

    Thanks,

     

    Nick