Apple – Extending an wireless network

One of the thing when one buy a wireless only computer like an Apple MacBook Air (USB 100mb/s sucks), is that the next thing one start looking at is to get 802.11n, which currently is the fastest option for wireless. There are many options out there, some of them good, some less. I decided to get a 5th generation Apple Airport Extreme, which on paper have many good things to be said about it. but it advertises WDS which should be great, but combine it with an Apple Airport Express, and you’ll figure out that it not that great… you’ll be limited to 802.11g for your whole network, and it very hit and miss to set up (just do a google search for it).

But there is an other option; use the Airport Express to extend without using WDS, and it works great, the Airport Extreme will do 802.11b/g/, and the Airport Express will do 802.11b/g, only limitation is that the Airport Express needs to be “close” to the main AP as it will not use Ethernet to connect, and really interesting things happens if one try to connect the Ethernet port on the Airport Express, like a broadcast storm, which locks down the whole network.

The setup is really simple; on the

Airport Extreme

  1. in the wireless options select the option to allow the network to be extended

Airport Express

  1. unplug the Ethernet cable!!!
  2. unplug the power
  3. while plugging it into the power, press the reset button
  4. when setting it up, select to extend an existing wireless network
    1. in the drop down list select the network to extend
    2. provide the password for the network
  5. save the settings, and your ready to go
  6. put the Airport Express some where it can reach your main AP, and it will extend the range

Quite simple, but a cause of yet more gray hair.


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