6 Replies Latest reply: Jul 25, 2012 10:23 AM by Bob Timmons
Mike9586 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I have recently bought a new Netgear N900 (WNDR4500) router but like my old router, I still have a weak WiFi signal towards the rear of the house so I have looking into WiFi range extenders/repeaters. Most repeaters I've looked at (including a Netgear) rely on WiFi to connect to the main router which I don't really want. We have an Ethernet switch already situated in the back room so I ideally want a WiFi repeater to connect to the main router directly via Ethernet.

 

The Apple Airport Express appears to allow this type of connection though "roaming networks" according to Apple's website but I cannot find a straight answer as to whether it'll work, using this method, with non-Apple routers such as my Netgear.

 

Can anyone advise as to whether I can extend my Netgear router's WiFi range with the Airport Express connected to it via Ethernet, keeping the same SSID, password, etc?

 

Thanks in advance for any advice.

  • 1. Re: Using an Airport Express as wireless repeater
    Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (78,515 points)

    The AirPort Express will work just fine as a wireless access point if you connect it using Ethernet and......

     

    o  Configure it to create a wireless network using the same wireless network name as the Netgear router

    o  Use the same setting for wireless security that the Netgear is using

    o  Use the same wireless network password as the Netgear

    o  Leave the Radio Mode and Channel setting both to Automatic on the Express

    o  Configure the AirPort Express to operate in Bridge Mode

  • 2. Re: Using an Airport Express as wireless repeater
    Mike9586 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you for your reply.

     

    Would using that method mean two access points of the same name would appear on WiFi devices in certain parts of the house or would they merge into one and just automatically switch to which ever point is the better signal strength?

     

    Thanks

  • 3. Re: Using an Airport Express as wireless repeater
    Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (78,515 points)

    Configured this way both access points will act as one large wireless nework. Devices will automatically connect to the access point with the strongest signal as they "roam" around.

  • 4. Re: Using an Airport Express as wireless repeater
    Mike9586 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks very much. I might go with an Apple Airport Express then.

     

    I'm currently sat in the back room of the house (where I'd position the Airport Express) and while typing this out on my iPad, the signal is switching between 2/3 bars and 1/3 bars. If I go a little further away and go out of the patio doors into the garden, the 5GHz band totally disappears and the 2.4GHz band is only 1/3 bars and sometimes fails to connect at all.

     

    Hopefully the Airport Express will fix this and we'll have full WiFi around the house and most of the garden too.

  • 5. Re: Using an Airport Express as wireless repeater
    Mike9586 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have just one most question regarding the access points.

     

    Before I go out and get an AirPort Express, I thought I'd attempt to try the system with my old Netgear DG834G v2 router. I configured it so the old router acts as a hub and wireless access point which works fine. I then changed the SSID so that it is the same as the new router, the channel is the same (cannot have auto on the old Netgear) and the password is the same, the only difference is, the new Netgear is WPA2 security and the old Netgear can only do WPA.

     

    My iPad quite happily uses both access points but it doesn't auto switch depending on the signal strength, I have to turn off Wi-Fi and turn it back on for it to do that. Is that because the access points are on different security settings or could this happen with the AirPort Express too?

  • 6. Re: Using an Airport Express as wireless repeater
    Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (78,515 points)

    the channel is the same (cannot have auto on the old Netgear)

    That...is likely one of your problems. The channels on access points need to be separated by at least 4-5 settings for "roaming" to work correctly.  "Automatic" will take care of this for you, but since you do not have this setting, you will need adjust the channel setting manually.

     

    My iPad quite happily uses both access points but it doesn't auto switch depending on the signal strength, I have to turn off Wi-Fi and turn it back on for it to do that. Is that because the access points are on different security settings

     

    Set the wireless security on both access points to be exactly the same to enhance the chances of devices switching automatically when they approach another access point.

     

    Keep in mind that mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad are not the same as a laptop as far as auto switching between access points. The mobile devices have a much simpler antenna and operating system that does not evaluate separate access points well. They tend to hold on to the original access point with which they connect.

     

    You may still need to power down the mobile device when you change to an area for another access point and power back up to use the closest access point.