How many people have extended an Airport network using Ethernet to the next AE?

Discussion in 'Mac Peripherals' started by spaceballl, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. macrumors 68030

    spaceballl

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #1
    Hi All,

    We have a pretty big house and have struggled for a long time on how to get WiFi in the hard to reach places. In order to get it in the living room, we've had to use a couple Airport Expresses to let the signal "hop" downstairs. Not ideal. The new idea is to run ethernet from the time capsule all the way through the walls down to the living room and have another Airport Extreme base station down there. The benefit of this should be faster internet as there are less hops, better signal downstairs, and lower power usage due to being able to get rid of some of the base stations.

    My question is... i see that you can extend a network by plugging in via ethernet. I've only extended wirelessly. Hoping people can let me know how their results have been. Thanks!
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
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    Not here
    #2
    My network has been configured this way for about a year. I have 4 WAPs in the house, a pair of each on the 3rd and 1st floor of the house. Each pair consists of a Linksys WRT54G running a g-only net and an Airport Express running a dedicated N net. Routing is handled by the FiOS-provided router located in the basement. I pulled a few vertical runs 3rd-basement, 3rd-2nd, and basement-1st. The long run is on the outside of the house. Every floor has at least one gig switch for horizontal distribution.

    Just use identical SSID and encryption type/key on both devices. Clients can moved freely between the two WAPs without you noticing. Extending your WLAN via ethernet is really the best way to do it. Wireless extenders sacrifice a lot of performance for the convenience of not running a wire.

    John
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 68030

    spaceballl

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #3
    Thanks for that bit. I'm aware that I could set it up manually with the same SSID / key, but I'm a bit more curious about Apple's default option of "Extend a Wireless Network" and how that works in an Airport-only environment. That being said, I wonder if the only thing Apple does is set up another AP with the same SSID / WPA/WEP key. Not certain.
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I thought that option was what turned it into a WDS relay and "join a wireless network" turned it into a bridge.

    Mine are both set to "create a wireless network" (on different channels).

    John
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 68030

    spaceballl

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    #5
    Could be. I don't know if that's documented or not.
     
  6. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
    #6
    I just added a second AirPort Extreme for more coverage. I had intended to pick up an AirPort Express, but I found a good deal ($99) for the Early '09 AirPort Extreme.

    I have an existing Gig-Ethernet network in my home so that's how I connected the 2nd AirPort (via a standard Ethernet port, not its WAN port). I put it in bridge mode, same SSID and same password. Leave the channel auto-assign.

    The initial setup can be a little wonky for the 2nd AirPort because it won't grab an IP. It defaults in router mode, serving DHCP. If you just slap it on your network, the Airport Utility may not see it and might lose connectivity to it while you make the required changes. In some cases, it is better to directly connect it to your computer, configure it, then add to the network. Might take a few tries.

    Oh, and after configuring, nothing worked correctly until I simultaneously reset both AirPorts.

    I would assume you could run into performance problems with wirelessly extending your network. However, it may not be a problem for those who do not move large files or do network backups.
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 19, 2006
    #7
    Another option would be to use a homeplug adapter to provide an ethernet port where you need it or you can get a homeplug adapter with built in wireless.
     
  8. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2009
    #8
    I'm not sure I'm understanding this correctly. Are you saying that it's bad or not ideal, to use an Airport Extreme with Airport Expresses connected via ethernet to the Extreme to extend the wireless signal?

    This what I was planning on doing. My Extreme would be mounted in my rack in the basement. Then via a gigabit Ethernet network, I would have 2 Expresses on each end of the house to extend the wireless upstairs and outside.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 68030

    spaceballl

    Joined:
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    #9
    Hehe yup i didn't include this, for simplicity purposes, but I'm going to be using homeplug :D
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
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    #10
    Why would that be bad? I do the same thing with 4 access points.
     
  11. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Location:
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    #11
    I recently set this up at my house. I have an AirPort Extreme as the primary router. I have ethernet from that router wired to another location in my house, and then I have an AirPort Express set up there. When I first tried to set this up a couple of days ago, I tried a few different things and didn't really get it to work the way I wanted to. Using the AirPort Express wirelessly worked but resulted in a big drop in connection speeds. When I tried to get it working on ethernet with the same SSID, I must have been doing something wrong, because although I could see the Express's network, I wasn't getting any connectivity through it. I ended up setting up the Express via ethernet but with a different SSID, which worked fine, but wasn't what I was going for.

    Today I decided to try it again, and somehow got a different setting option. I don't know why I didn't see it before. I can't remember exactly how I got there, but this is what I think I did - I reset the Express to factory settings using the AirPort Utility (before I was doing it manually with a paper clip). Then when it started the setup routine, one of the options was using ethernet to extend the wireless network. I did that, and it works perfectly. I'm still getting used to the AirPort software (only ever used NetGear routers before), but it looks to me like what it did was put it in bridge mode using the same SSID but putting the Express on a different channel from the Extreme.

    I have tested connection and speeds throughout the house and both are great. Networking between computers on the same network but accessing through different routers works as it should - the network sees the devices as being on the same network.

    I don't know if any of that is helpful. If you need me to check some settings for you I'd be happy to.
     
  12. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #12
    I want to add a question to this thread since it's a related issue - does anyone here know if extending your network (by ethernet or wirelessly) also extends a guest network if you have one set up?

    As I mentioned in my post above, I have an Extreme as the main router and an Express connected via ethernet extending that network (both are the same SSID). I have a guest network set up on the Extreme which uses a different SSID. Will my Express extend that network as well? My guess is probably not since it's a different SSID, but I thought someone here might know for sure. From my testing I don't think it's extending it, and I suspect there probably isn't a way to make that happen.
     
  13. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    #13
    Everything I've read says you can't extend the guest network.
     
  14. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    #14
    I've extended my AEBS via ethernet to another AEBS (bridge mode) and a AE.

    the latter is running g mode, to serve my son's touch and some other g devices, the other is locked into 5ghz mode (don't have the newest dual band) for macbook pro access.

    It's faster doing it via ethernet - if you wirelessly extend then you cut performance in 1/2.
     

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