3 Replies Latest reply: Aug 18, 2012 2:20 PM by LaPastenague
mr.bill Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

Hello- Ok, here goes:


I have an airport extreme 2011 with two airport express outposts (2011) set to extend the network. When I am in the same room as the extreme, I'm getting internet throughput of about 15MBps. BUT, when I switch to a room where I'm conected to an airport express that is configured to extend my network, I only get 1.88 (almost exactly and consistently). Now, if I turn off airport (WiFi) on my 2012 MBAir with Lion and turn it back on, I get full throughput again. STRANG! All devices have the latest updates.



- Extreme base station in the family room connected to broadback modem - This is set for 2.4Ghz which enables me to create an extendable network.

- Express stations are set to extend the network and it seems to be working fine.

- Ready for this... Both express outposts are within 50ft of the extreme station and on the same floor.


Any thoughts? Thanks!

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.5), iMac, MacPro, Mac 128, Newton, Apple II+, Atari 2600
  • LaPastenague Level 8 Level 8 (45,290 points)

    When you move to a room with the express, I think the Air is not dropping the connection to the AEBS.. it should and it is supposed to but somehow it is failing.. when you give it a kick it is switching as it should to the Express.


    Check by holding down the option key whilst you click the airport icon.. (Hope that still works on lion).. you will see details of the WAP it is connected to.. When near the AEBS check the BSSID.. then when you go to the other room and internet is slow, check the BSSID again.. did it swap over??


    After a kick .. shutting off and on the wireless .. check BSSID again and see what you are linked to.. and link speed.

  • mr.bill Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    You nailed it. When I went in the other room, the signal decreased, but the BSSID stayed the same. When I turned off WiFi and Turned it back on, the signal strength was higher and the BSSID changed.


    I assume this means that the Macbook Air's airport software/hardware isn't doing its thing. Since Apple is increasingly locking down tinkerability, I'm also assuming there's no way to fix this without Apple diagnosing the problem. Is this correct?


    Finally, I'm sort of amazed at the poor distance performance of the Extreme. Are there other routers I should look at such as Cisco that would perform over distance better? I'm literally 20ft if I were to go straight through the walls and about 35ft in total how I'd walk it where there are no doors.


    Thanks and good thinking.

  • LaPastenague Level 8 Level 8 (45,290 points)

    This is typical windows problem.. most MS wireless drivers do not do roaming well. I suspect it is now Apple's turn as they continually swap hardware wireless cards used in their routers and laptops. Getting roaming to work is often difficult.


    Did you by any chance have this Air running say Lion .. where it was ok and upgrade to ML and then the problem started. Upgrade installs of OS IMHO are never a great idea.. I would encourage a clean install always.. and whatever updates are offered to see if the driver issue can be eliminated.


    I do not think there are any controls for this on the routers.. so no changes you make will be that useful.. but as an old computer man.. wireless and AEBS names should be short, no spaces, pure alphanumeric. When you do extension of wireless, lock wireless channels. And use wpa2 personal only. I am not convinced this will fix anything.. but lets say it is the right way to do it.


    I got a Gen 5 airport extreme to test wireless.. and found it no different to Time Capsule of previous generation. So this new high power wireless made no discernable difference. In fact in my house where networking equipment is in a front bottom room.. at the back of the house upstairs.. I get wireless from my G Thomson wireless modem router.. and zippo from every TC I have tested as well as the AEBS. Since I repair TC, I can have up to 4 of them running at a time.. and not one has signal up to the extreme end of the house. On slow adsl the G wireless is perfectly fine for internet.



    Are there other routers I should look at such as Cisco that would perform over distance better? I'm literally 20ft if I were to go straight through the walls and about 35ft in total how I'd walk it where there are no doors.


    Thanks and good thinking.

    Wireless goes in dead straight line.. Tx station to Rx station.. so draw a line through all the walls, floor, furniture, meat and water bags, and worst of all metal.. mirrors are metal.. pipes and wires and reflective insulation.. all reflect signal.. solid materials absorb it. The more solid the material, bricks, concrete, the more signal is absorbed .. the greater the thickness of the material the more is absorbed.. thin sheetrock (plasterboard we call it).. and wood, is much better than more solid construction.. so wifi is opposite of huff and puff of the big bad wolf. A house of straw or sticks would be perfect. Wire mesh reinforced concrete that is damp the worst.. (water absorbs the microwaves.. ever wonder why microwave ovens use 2.4ghz). It has metal reflector plus solid material that is thick plus water.


    The better routers should make 20' in normal house.. although there is still no guarantee. ie Through the damp concrete wall with the mirror behind it. 

    This chart is set for the worst location in testing of a large range of wireless router.



    Pick one near the top and you will get the best signal you can in domestic equipment. I have a ubiquiti AP-N router.. stands head and shoulders better than the AEBS. It is EOL model but ubiquiti are more towards pro although their prices are pretty ok.


    Also moving things around can help.. keep wireless routers up high.. most of us have furniture at floor to waist level.. put wireless routers above that. Point the things at the device.. the antenna in the TC and AEBS are around the sides.. nothing much comes out top or bottom.. nothing out the back where the wires plug in.. think of the front led as a laser.. aim it at the receiver. Position it to go through as little material as possible.


    Then go an buy high power wireless router.. you will find the difference amazing.