Rethinking my wireless network

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by barrettd, Dec 28, 2004.

  1. barrettd macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2003
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    #1
    I'm a recent switcher. My current network is comprised of a DSL modem connected to a Netgear MR814v2. On that network reside my PM and an ethernet print server, both connected via ethernet, and a Thinkpad connected via wireless. I also have a wireless adapter connecting my Tivo to the network.

    I recently purchased an Airport Express with the intent of connecting my Xbox to the network, as well as the functionality of iTunes on my stereo. As you may know and I have recently learned, I cannot use the Express as a wireless bridge with my Netgear router, only Airport base stations. I like the Express and want to stick with it, so I'm considering adding an Airport base station to the mix. My questions are these:

    1. The Airport base station has one LAN connection and one WAN connection. As I have 2 ethernet devices that need connections, can I cripple my Netgear router so it basically works as a wired switch, then connect my PM and print server to the router, then I'm guessing use the "UP" port on the router to connect to the LAN port of the Airport? If the idea will work, but the implementation is off, can you correct me?

    2. I'm assuming the Airport is basically a router and that I can use it to assign all the IP addresses my network will need. Correct?

    3. Should I bypass the Airport base station and just add another Express in its place, same configuration as (1) above?

    4. Will the Thinkpad have any trouble connecting to the Airport/Express?

    I'm brand new to the ways of Apple networking and am hoping any information provided will be helpful to others as well.

    As always, thanks in advance for any assistance!
     
  2. aldo macrumors regular

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    Oct 26, 2003
    Location:
    England, UK
    #2
    Just get another wireless bridge for your xbox. Possibly return the airport express.

    No point wasting godknows how much on the overpriced airport extreme junk (bad chipset, bad design internally.. and ridiculously overpriced).
     
  3. altair macrumors regular

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    Nov 22, 2002
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #3
    why cant you use AE with a netgear router?

    Just buy a linksys wireless router for 50 bucks, works fine.
     
  4. barrettd thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    The AE will only work as a wireless bridge with an Airport base station, apparently. I'm not pleased with the Netgear router, as it drops the connection and requires a reset 2-3 times a week. I thought the Airport might be better, but maybe I'm just craving more toys. I also thought if I can connect the Xbox with the AE and get the added functionality of the iTunes stream, plus the portability of the AE, it would be worth the extra money. If I can't get it to work with my Netgear router, I suppose I should get rid of it.
     
  5. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #5
    I replaced my D-Link (802.11b) router with an Airport Extreme, and later on added an Airport Express. I'm quite happy with the combination, and have had zero problems with either one. The Airport Admin tools make it quite easy to manage the combination with basically no hassle.

    The Express can be used to extend some non-Apple base stations' networks, but they have to support WDS - and you have to be willing to muck around quite a bit to get it working. Me, I like the "it just works" solutions Apple offers; running desktop Linux for a couple years pretty much burned the need to tweak out of me. :p

    Personally I don't think the Extreme is "rediculously overpriced", although if you don't want the USB printer port you're certainly paying a premium for wasted functionality. But hey, to each his/her own opinion.
     
  6. DougJrS macrumors regular

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    #6
  7. barrettd thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    Tonight I'm going to run by Best Buy and pick up the Linksys router that's supposed to work with the AE (WTR54G, I think?). Hopefully that will work, but I'll post with the results...
     
  8. DougJrS macrumors regular

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    #8
    I really want to know if you get it to work.

    Doug
     
  9. barrettd thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    Doug-

    Have you tried any of the guides floating around the internet? If you google Airport Express bridge Linksys, you should get a few hits that are worthwhile. I found a few step-by-step tutorials (they're at home or I'd point you to them) for using the AE as a wireless bridge with a Linksys router.

    I will certainly post my results and any help I can offer you.
     
  10. DougJrS macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Location:
    Kansas City
    #10
    I did a google on "WAP54G WDS Airport express". I was not having much luck with that. You suggestion was really good. The first site had some good info. Back to google to read more....

    UPDATE - Will I need an Airport card in my G5 for this to work? I don't currently have one.


    Thanks,
    Doug
     
  11. jaymac macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    #11
    sorry if off topic

    i'm going crazy trying to connect to xbox live via my airport express. it finds my network, but gets lost trying to find the correct ip addresses. anyone been succcessful with this?

    thanks
     
  12. barrettd thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    I don't think you need an Airport card. You should be able to do all the configuring with the Airport Admin Utility, not the Airport Setup Assistant, but I can't be sure until I've played with it myself.
     
  13. barrettd thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    Are you using an Airport base station as well? If so, my guess is that your AE should be set up as a "client" or some other setting for wireless bridging, where the WDS comes into play.

    Where in the process are you getting stuck? My Xbox never recognized my wireless network, so I didn't even get that far. Is your router allowing access from the AE?
     
  14. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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  15. barrettd thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    That's the article I was planning on using as a guide. I've also got a few others that all pretty much say the same thing.
     
  16. Blurb macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    #16
    One of your initial questions was about adequate LAN ports on the airport extreme (one for your PM and one for your printer server, I believe). The airport extreme has a USB port specifically for use as a wireless print server. Doesn't sound like you need the additional bridge.

    Many will belittle the extreme (can be bought refurbed from Apple with a full warranty for $169) and express as expensive and unnecessary, but you don't have to deal with dropped internet access and rebooting, and especially don't have work at the configuration or setup. They are a breeze to setup. I sold my old Linksys DSL/router with glee after buying the airport extreme. I paid the few extra bucks for my own piece of mind as well as a lower hassle factor, and would do it the same again in retrospect.
     
  17. barrettd thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oklahoma City
    #17
    Thanks, but the reason I have a print server is the printer is an oldish Laserjet, with only a parallel connection. So I have a parallel-to-ethernet print server that is working great. I'm going to try the Linksys and if I can't get it to work, I'll break down and get the Airport. I wouldn't mind having the Apple equipment, I was trying to avoid paying a premium for it. On the other hand, if it really is better than everything else, I don't mind. As long as I can figure out how to hook up my Laserjet to it and my wife can connect her THinkpad to it, I could live with the Airport.
     
  18. barrettd thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oklahoma City
    #18
    Well, I give up. I got the Linksys router, got it home, tried to set it up. Unfortunately, the little set up wizard doesn't run in OSX, so I had to run to the Thinkpad to open it. All I really needed was the password to log in, but even that was cleverly hidden away. Finally got it set up, tried to update the firmware from the site in all the tutorials, didn't even really get started when I got this error:

    "Upgrade are failed"

    I tried at least a dozen more times, trying various other firmware updates, from the PM, from the Thinkpad, nothing.

    So I'm taking it back. I don't know if I'll just say screw it and get the Airport base or send the AExpress back and get the wireless Xbox adapter. Probably the latter.

    Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
     
  19. Vanilla macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2002
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #19
    Just a thought, but another option would be to replace the MR814v2 with another Airport Express unit, rather than purchasing an Extreme base station.
    You connect one express unit to your broadband modem and get it to communicate with the second one positioned elsewhere in the house.
    Vanilla
    PS: Thinking further, maybe you could keep the MR814v2 network and have a separate wireless network using 2 AE units...
     
  20. barrettd thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    Vanilla-

    I'm open to other options. Can you tell me how this would work with my current setup? I'll need the Thinkpad to work (internet access, too), print server, etc. How would the separate wireless network work?
     
  21. DougJrS macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Location:
    Kansas City
    #21
    Plug the AE into the uplink port on the MR814. Then give the MR814v2 and the AE different SSIDs. You will then have two wireless networks.

    Or you can turn off the wireless part of the MR814v2 and just have the AE wireless network.

    If you do the USB print sharing I think that you need Windows 2k or XP on the Thinkpad. - I had this question a few days ago.

    Doug
     
  22. barrettd thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 8, 2003
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    #22
    How would the DSL modem fit into the equation? If I add another AE, I'm thinking I would use the MR814 as a hub, if that's possible, and leave the router stuff to the AE. That's assuming I can figure out the DSL part of it. Thanks in advance!
     
  23. DougJrS macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Location:
    Kansas City
    #23
    I am not sure how you would do that.......

    If I was going to try that this is what I would do.
    1) disable the DHCP server on the MR814.
    2) give static IP address to both the MR814 and the AE.
    3) plug the DSL modem into the MR814 and the AE into any port that is NOT the uplink.
    4) set the Mr814 to "static IP address" and in the gateway filed put in the ip address of the AE and add the DNS servers that you get from your DSL provider.


    I do not have high hope that this will work. I would make sure that I had a backup of all my settins before I started this. Also make sure you know how to reset the MR814 and the AE to "default" settings befer you start just in case......

    Good luck if you try it.

    Doug
     
  24. cawiddis macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2004
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #24
    It Can Be Done!!

    Barrettd... I've just completed (successfully) a very similar setup!

    ISP -> ADSL Modem -> Netgear MR814v2
    -> PC
    -> Laptop (wireless)
    -> Airport Express (wireless) -> Stereo & PS2

    The good news.. it can be done! And very easily too!! This thread helped me solve the problem that your facing... so I hope it helps you to. Thanks to DougJRs for prompting my train of thought on this.

    1. Connect the AE into the anyport on the MR814 (its autosensing, leave DHCP enabled), you can then see the AE on the MR814 as a wired connection
    2. Use Apple's Airport Admin Utilities to change the config of the AE... change it from "Create a Wireless Network (Home Router)" to "Join an Existing Wireless Network (Wireless Client)"
    3. Set the AE network name to the same as the SSID on the MR814
    4. Set the security on the AE the same as per the MR814
    5. Upload the config to the AE, wait a few minutes and by now on the MR814, under attached devices, you should see the AE (with a different IP Addr)

    That should be enough... disconnect the patch cable from the AE... if all is good, you should still see it in the MR814, and be able to ping it. If you can't, but can when it is connected via the cable, you have to play with the settings some more...

    I hope this helps... 4hrs of Google searches and I'm now off to listen and play some very loud music!

    Chuckles
    __________________
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