3 Replies Latest reply: Apr 27, 2012 10:33 AM by John Galt
dygoodwin Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hi There,

 

Greatly appreciate assistance with determining the best home network setup for a large, older home with many brick and concrete walls.  The home is three floors high and about 96 feet long.  Looking from the front the layout is:  front of house, large room, large room, brick wall 1, medium room, stairs, brick wall 2, medium room, small room, brick wall 3, small room, back of house.  Currently, we have Comcast Xfinity cable modem/wireless router Arris TG862 on the second floor right before brick wall 1 (it appears to be the most central location).  I have an iMac etherneted to the cable modem as well as wireless.  Unfortunately, the wireless signal is pretty weak.  So I placed an Airport Extreme (via ethernet to the cable modem) between brickwall 1 and brickwall 2 and created a different wireless network.  This signal is still pretty weak towards the back of the house. 

 

What are the steps that I can take to maintain a strong wireless signal on all levels and locations within the home?  Will another base station help?  Does the wireless network from the cable modem create interference? Do I need to reset everything and start over?  Thanks so much for any advice

 

 

donna

  • John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (41,505 points)

    Hi Donna,

    ....  So I placed an Airport Extreme (via ethernet to the cable modem) between brickwall 1 and brickwall 2 and created a different wireless network.

     

    There is no need for it to create a different wireless network. Since you are interested in the best alternative, that would be to have your Extreme create a network with the exact same name and security settings as the Arris router. That way you will have created a "roaming network" in which your wireless devices can wander from one wireless access point to another more or less seamlessly.

     

    In addition, configure your devices capable of using the new Extreme's 5 GHz network to use it exclusively. That is the best alternative for avoiding wireless intereference, at the expense of reduced range due to interventing objects and structures. If your home is sufficiently distant from other competing wireless networks e.g. you have no neighbors, wireless interference is less of a concern.

     

    As you suspect your home is rather large for only two access points. You would benefit from a third access point, connected the same way (via Ethernet, and configuring a roaming network).

     

    The following KB articles explain how to create a roaming network:

     

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4260

     

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4145

     

    If you need to extend the range of your wireless network, which method should you use?

    For 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi base stations:

    • Roaming Network (Recommended)
    • Wirelessly Extended Network

     

    You might need to drill holes and fish wires through walls and ceilings, but it's worth the effort.

  • dygoodwin Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks John! 

    Couple a follow-up questions as I am fairly junior when it comes to networks.

     

    Since the Comcast cable modem is also broadcasting a wifi signal, do I apply this network settings to the Airport Extreme?  I am assuming if this is the case, then I opt for the "Bridge Mode".  Correct?  Also, can I use an Airport Express to the Extreme (via ethernet) to help with the wifi range?  Thanks so much for your patience :-)

     

    donna

  • John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (41,505 points)

    Since the Comcast cable modem is also broadcasting a wifi signal, do I apply this network settings to the Airport Extreme?  I am assuming if this is the case, then I opt for the "Bridge Mode".  Correct?  Also, can I use an Airport Express to the Extreme (via ethernet) to help with the wifi range?

     

    Yes, yes, and yes. Whatever wireless security settings you are using to connect to the Arris router (WPA2, for example) need to be exactly the same on every additional base station.

     

    Configuring the Extreme to connect to the Internet "via Ethernet" will require that its "Connection sharing" be set to "Off (Bridge Mode)". The Comcast / Arris router should be the only device configured to "share an IP address".

     

    You can certainly use an Express as an additional base station. Not knowing your exact environment I cannot be 100% certain but from what you describe I think it would be ideal for your needs.

     

    Use these same "connection sharing" and wireless security settings for the Express.