8 Replies Latest reply: Jul 5, 2012 6:11 AM by RMSko
RMSko Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I'm about to buy the new Airport Express, but before I do I want to make sure it will do what I want. I have some G devices and I would like to isolate them from my N devices since my understanding is if you run G and N devices on the same wireless network they will not run at the fastest N speeds.


My main router needs to be in a corner of my house b/c that's where my FiOS internet connection is. In contrast, my Airport Express is more centralized and is better placed to reach all devices throughout my house. All my G devices are within range of my Linksys and so what I propose is to have all my G devices connect to my Linksys router and then connect an Airport Express via Ethernet to a port on my router and have all my N devices then connect to the Airport Express (I'm pretty sure I just need to set up the Airport Express in bridge mode and have it "create a new wireless network").


I just want to make sure I'm getting the maximum wireless speeds. If I set it up as described, will there be any degradation in wireless speeds compared to having my N devices connect directly to my Linksys? Is there a better setup I should be considering? I'd really appreciate any thoughts and advice.


Airport Express
  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10 (92,315 points)

    my understanding is if you run G and N devices on the same wireless network they will not run at the fastest N speeds.

    This is not quite correct. If I run a mixed "n/g/b" wireless network, "n" devices connect at "n" speed while "g" devices connect at "g" speed.  if there are 3-4 "g" devices on the network, the "n" devices drop just a bit....perhaps 5-10% in speed".

     

    All my G devices are within range of my Linksys and so what I propose is to have all my G devices connect to my Linksys router and then connect an Airport Express via Ethernet to a port on my router and have all my N devices then connect to the Airport Express (I'm pretty sure I just need to set up the Airport Express in bridge mode and have it "create a new wireless network").

    This will work fine if you configure the AirPort Express to "create" a wireless network using a different name than the Linksys network and make sure that it is setup in Bridge Mode.

     

    You can "point" the "n" devices to this network.

     

    To further insure that the "n" devices always connect at "n" speeds, you can adjust the radio mode on the Express for both bands to be "n only", so it will be broadcasting an "n only" wireless signal on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.

     

    In this case "g" devices will not able to connect to the AirPort Express network at all....even if they wanted to.

  • RMSko Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the quick reply! Great idea to make it an "N" only and I'll do that. Two followup quesitons:

     

    1. Should I expect that my speeds will be the same with this setup compared to the speeds I would get if I had only N devices connected to my Linksys and didn't use the AE at all?

     

    2. Would a speed test be an accurate assessment of that, i.e., if I connect wirelessly to my Linksys and then run a speed test and then immediately after at the exact same location do the same with my AE, should I expect the result to be the same and if they aren't would it be better to connect to the one providing the better results?

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10 (92,315 points)

    1. Should I expect that my speeds will be the same with this setup compared to the speeds I would get if I had only N devices connected to my Linksys and didn't use the AE at all?

    This would depend on where the "n" devices are located in relation to the wireless router. The wireless signal slows down the further that it moves from a wireless router or as it encounters any obstructions in the signal path between the router and the connecting device.

     

    For example, if the wireless signal must pass through 2-3 typical sheetrock walls to reach the computer 25-30 feet away, you will likely lose half or more of the speed capability on that connection.

     

    2. Would a speed test be an accurate assessment of that, i.e., if I connect wirelessly to my Linksys and then run a speed test and then immediately after at the exact same location do the same with my AE

    You could get a general idea by testing this way. I would expect that the speed would be about the same comparing the two routers since the WiFi broadcast strength is limited by law.  The Linksys might do a bit better if it has external antennas.

     

    The exception to this might be if you are using the 5 GHz "n" signal on the Express. 5 GHz signals are not as strong as 2.4 GHz signals, so things slow down faster on a 5 GHz band.

     

    It makes sense to connect to the best quality signal if you can.

     

    Keep in mind if you are connecting to the Internet that your wireless speeds will only be as fast as your Internet connection service plan allows.  For example, if you have a 20 Mbps Internet  connection,  that is far less than the speed capability of even "g" devices (54 Mbps).  So, having faster "n" devices won't buy you anything if the Internet connection is limited to 20 Mbps.

  • RMSko Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    My FiOS has 75 Mbps download speed so having the "n" network should help. I just installed the new AE, and I was suprised to see that there wasn't an "n" only option for the 2.4Ghz network, or if there is, I haven't been able to find it. Did they eliminate this option b/c of the 5Ghz "n" only network?

     

    I also haven't been able to find a way to setup the guest account. Anyone know?

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10 (92,315 points)

    I just installed the new AE, and I was suprised to see that there wasn't an "n" only option for the 2.4Ghz network, or if there is, I haven't been able to find it.

     

    Screen Shot 2012-07-04 at 9.20.23 PM.png

     

     

    I also haven't been able to find a way to setup the guest account.

     

    The AirPort is connected to the FIOS gateway...which is acting as the router for the network, so the AirPort is configured correctly in Bridge Mode.  The Guest Network option does not appear when the AirPort is configured as a Bridge.

     

    The AirPort needs to be connected to a simple modem.....not a modem/router or gateway device.....if you want to utilize the Guest Network option.

  • RMSko Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Bob - Something is strange then in my AE. I don't have all those "radio" options. I only have the first two options. I thought it was b/c I wasn't scrolling, but no matter what I do I don/t see any more options. I've tried it on both my Mac (running the most recent AirPort s/w) and on my PC (running an older version of the AirPort s/w). Any idea on what could be going on?

     

    Thanks for the info re the guest account. I don't need it b/c I have one with my Linksys, but it was driving me crazy!

     

    NEW INFO:

     

    Just found out what was happening with the first issue. I need to hit the alt key and then click in order to get all the other options.

     

    In the options, do you know the difference between:

     

    "802.11a/n - 802.11n only (2.4Ghz)"

    and

    "802.11a - 802n only (2.4Ghz)"?

     

    Message was edited by: RMSko

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10 (92,315 points)

    "802.11a/n - 802.11n only (2.4Ghz)"

    As the listing indicates, this would be a combination mode of 802.11a and 802.11n at 5 GHz  (to the left of the dash) and 802.11n only 2.4 GHz to the right of the dash.

     

    I doubt that you have any "a" devices....which are limited to 54 GHz speeds, so there is littel reason to use this setting.

     

    "802.11a - 802n only (2.4Ghz)"?

    This would be 802.11a only at 5 GHz, which would limit the 5 GHz band to only 54 Mbps. You would not use this type of setting unless you 1) Had "a" devices only.

     

    The setting to use is the one that I highlighted in the previous post.....

     

    801.11n only 5 GHz --- 802.11n only 2.4 GHz

     

    Only "n" devices would be able to connect to both the 5 GHz or 2.4 GHz bands.

  • RMSko Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Got it! What was confusing me (although now after reading your post it probably shouldn't have) was that only the last choice indicated the "5Ghz" to the left of the dash and the "2.4Ghz" to the right of the dash. They probably should add that for each of the listings, although maybe it's more intuitive for other people. Anyway, thanks for all your patience and now I'm all set!