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Using an Airport Express with an Airport Extreme in bridge mode

1237 Views 14 Replies Latest reply: Jan 4, 2013 7:02 PM by Marcom45 RSS
rwill1960 Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Dec 3, 2012 4:40 PM

Im trying to use an Airport extreme and an Airport express to have good Wifi coverage in a house. The current Wifi is from a Verizon Westfall modem/router. I went into setup on the modem/router and disabled the wifi, then connected the Extreme to one of the 4 ports on the modem/router. I setup the Extreme in bridge mode ( because I believe I dont want 2 differnt routers handing out local IP's, right? . Anyway, it seems to work fine but I'm trying now to hook up an Express to widen my wifi area. I have cat5 ports all over the house that go back to the Exteme's location so its not a problem to connect the Extreme to the Express via ethernet cable. Im wondering if its possible to use the Express hardwired to the extreme while in Bridge mode because I cant seem to set it up properly. Can anyone out there answer that question and/or give me instructions on setting up this scenerio.


  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,695 points)
    I setup the Extreme in bridge mode ( because I believe I dont want 2 differnt routers handing out local IP's, right?


    Normally, that is correct.


    Im wondering if its possible to use the Express hardwired to the extreme while in Bridge mode because I cant seem to set it up properly.

    This should definitely work just fine. I haven't used a Westell product for this, but Cisco, Netgear, 2-Wire, and ActionTec work just fine this way.


    We need to ask a few questions to understand how to provide the correct setup instructions.


    Is the AirPort Extreme the "square" 802.11n version of the product?


    Do you have a "new" AirPort Express or a previous generation model?


    What operating system....Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion installed on the Mac that you are using to configure things?

  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,695 points)

    Thanks, so that I understand......the AirPort Extreme is setup and working OK now, correct?


    Temporarily, disconnect the Ethernet cable that is going to the AirPort Express and connect it to your laptop. Turn off wireless on the laptop and check to make sure that you can get an Internet connection. This will confirm that the Ethernet cable is working correctly. Confirm on that.


    Also, with the Express powered up, hold in the reset button on the back of the device for 9-10 seconds and then release. Allow a full minute for the Express to restart, but do not connect it to the Ethernet cable yet.

  • alanoconnor Calculating status...

    i would configure the westell as a bridge mode modem, dhcp disabled.....

    then would setup the airport extreme as the local dhcp router,but the extreme wan settings woud be ppoe

    Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 8.26.07 PM copy.png

  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,695 points)

    I will reset it like you said and then I should have the cable from the Extreme going to witch port on the express?

    WAN "O" port


    To set up the Express, open AirPort Utility, click on the Express and click Manual Setup


    Click the Base Station tab just below the icons to assign a device name for the Express, device password, adjust Time Zone, etc. Should look like this, in general:



    Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 7.39.21 PM.png


    Click the Wireless tab next to Base Station. Adjust as follows:


    Wireless Mode = Create a wireless network

    Wireless Network Name = Exact same wireless network name as the AirPort Extreme

    Enter check mark next to Allow to be extended

    Radio Mode = Automatic or same setting as the AirPort Extreme

    Channel = Automatic

    Wireless Security = Exact same setting as the AirPort Extreme

    Wireless Password = Same wireless password as the AirPort Extreme

    Verify Password


    Setting should look like this, in general:


    Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 7.45.29 PM.png



    Click the Internet icon, then click the Internet Connection tab.

    Connect Using = Ethernet.

    Connection Sharing = Off (Bridge Mode)

    Click Update to save settings


    Things will look like this:



    Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 7.48.26 PM.png


    You will see a green light in 25-30 seconds.


    Be sure to restart the entire network.

  • alanoconnor Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)

    rwill1960 wrote:


    that was what I was going to do originally but I started to do that to the westfall and it seemed like it might be a pain in the *** if for some reason I needed to change it back. I didnt want to get in over my head. I've bridged modem routers before but this seemed a little complicated for me.  was hoping the exteme and express would work ok somehow this way. by the way in your example above what is the account name and password referring to? the verizon router?

    When you configure the Westell device for simple bridge mode operation, it will no longer provide the PPPoE connection credentials, so you will need to setup the PPPoE connection on the AirPort Extreme.


    AirPort Utility

    Click the Internet tab

    Connect Using = PPPoE


    Enter your ISP user name...(probably your email address).... and password


    Internet Options:........Connection = Always On



    Update to save settings


    Power down the entire network

    Wait a moment or two

    Start the modem first, let it run a minute or two by itself

    Start the AirPort Extreme next the same way

    Continue starting devices one at a time about a minutes apart until everything is powered back up

  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,695 points)

    Glad that this helped, but puzzled as to why you marked your response as the correct answer. 

  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,695 points)

    The idea would be to hopefully mark the post with the best answer, so you know next time. Thanks.

  • Marcom45 Calculating status...

    Bob - I have the same configuration and issue at rwill - with one difference - I want to use the Express to WIRELESSLY (no Ethernet cable - too far away from Extreme) extend my network.  Since Extreme is in bridge mode and my Verizon router is serving the IP addresses to my network, how can I do this?


    I tried the following so far:

    - Reset Express

    - Connected it to LAN port on Extreme via Ethernet

    - Powered on Extreme

    - After Solid yellow light, got flashing yellow light which stayed that way.

    - Opened up AirPort Utility v. 6.1, hoping the magic software would diagnose the problem and configure the Express, no luck.


    Any ideas?





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