6 Replies Latest reply: Jan 7, 2013 10:45 PM by rikers_mailbox
mfysher Level 1 (0 points)

I have to create a wireless network over a considerably large space (an entire museum), and was previously under the impression that I could endlessly extend the signal from my AirPort Extreme using a series of AirPort Expresses.  In fact, the Apple Store Business Team led me to believe this.  I have purchased five Expresses (three of which are the new Base Stations, one is the slightly earlier version (801.11n), and one is older (801.11g). 


I am now aware that I cannot simply "extend" the network more than once, and that with older models you had to use WDS to relay the network to remote AirPort Expresses.  But can even this be done with the new base stations?  Airport Utility 6.0 seems to provide much less functionality than the ealier versions.  I still have one macbook with Airport 5.x, thankfully, although it still doesn't make it clear how to change the Express into a WDS relay.


I never would have bought these products if it was clear that you could only really extend the network by 50 feet in any direction.  Hopefully, this isn't the case.




AirPort Express Base Station
  • Philly_Phan Level 6 (13,261 points)

    No.  The main Airport must be in the geographic center and each extender can extend only the main signal.


    Your best solution is through Ethernet powerline extenders.

  • Shawn Grinter 2 Level 3 (950 points)

    Not strictly true - if you use WDS you can daisy chain *BUT* the perforamce will suffer quite a lot (about 40% loss). If you use "extend network" option then you are quite correct the "main" must be in the middle. Note with WDS you can only do 2 "hops".






    For the full SP.




  • mfysher Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the response, although if I wanted to run ethernet cables all over, I could just as easily run them from the main base station directly to the laptops.  This is a public space, so it's not possible to clutter up the hallways with wires.  This is disappointing information.


    So Apple eliminated the option of using a WDS?  I realize the limitations of WDS, but enabling just one extension from the base station seems very much like they've taken a massive step backwards, especially when you consider that ethernet cables are back in the discussion (what is this, the 90s?).

  • Shawn Grinter 2 Level 3 (950 points)

    Indeed - many usefull facilities seems to have been regressed in the new utility.






  • mfysher Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, Shawn, although I'd looked at that article before and I still have the same questions:


    - It says "WDS is designed for 802.11g, and shouldn’t be used for 802.11n devices. Wi-Fi base stations may include AirPort Extreme (802.11g) and AirPort Express (802.11g)."  Is this truly prohibitive, or just a suggestion?


    - It also includes steps such as "From WDS Mode, select WDS remote."  I see no such options in AirPort Utility 6.0, nor can I find them in version 5.6.  Am I missing something, or do the hardware upgrades (to 'n') mean that Apple software won't support WDS at all anymore?



  • rikers_mailbox Level 1 (0 points)

    i realize this is an old thread, but I figured I'd drop this bit of knowledge for documentation purposed.


    New AirPort routers ARE capable of using WDS features.  The trick is to hold down the alt (option) key while selecting "Network Mode" dropdown under Wireless settings.  This should work in the AirPort Utility 5.6 and 6.x, however older model AirPort base stations are only programmable using AirPort 5.6.