4th gen Airport Extreme poor range

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by mentaluproar, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. mentaluproar macrumors 68000

    mentaluproar

    Joined:
    May 25, 2010
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    #1
    I recently moved into a new apartment in a 90 year old building and my coverage from my router, in the living room, is really terrible. In our previous place, which was less than 10 years old, the router would reach every floor, outside, and into the garage. In the new apartment, we can barely reach the bathroom and bedroom only 30 feet away. Our iPhones performed far worse than my rMBP used to test this.

    The router is on a tv stand, but not in the cabinet with the other equipment. it is out in the open.

    I know it is best to have a router central to the dwelling, but considering our apartment isn't very large, at least not compared to the house it covered so well before, I am amazed by its poor coverage. Is my airport finally dying?

    note, my networks are "Tesla was Robbed!" and "Wi-fi so serious?"
     

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  2. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #2
    How thick are the walls and what is in them? In an old school that I do AirPort in, I have an AP Express in the ceiling every 50 ft. to cover the rooms.
     
  3. mentaluproar thread starter macrumors 68000

    mentaluproar

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    #3
    measuring at the trim between the rooms and subtracting an inch on each side for moulding, it looks like 7 inches.
     
  4. mneblett macrumors 6502

    Joined:
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    #4
    Looks like you have a fair amount of competing neighbor signals -- how does that compare to your previous place?
     
  5. mentaluproar thread starter macrumors 68000

    mentaluproar

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    #5
    We had fewer signals, but much stronger. Here, they are pretty weak overall, leaving plenty of weak space for me. Remember, four of those are mine (telsa was robbed and wifi so serious)
     
  6. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #6
    I would try resetting the base station and setting it back up. When doing that, use AirPort Utility 5.6 to enable "Use Wide Channels". Also you may want to leave the SSIDs for the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz unified. If not you may want a newer router. Just because it is 7 inches thick doesn't mean some engineer didn't not think to make the entire frame out of metal. Also, double check you have 7.6.4 if appropriate for a 4th gen. as it fixes some issues.
     
  7. mentaluproar thread starter macrumors 68000

    mentaluproar

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    #7
    4th gen airport extreme poor range

    I'm on mavericks. 5.6 isn't an option for me. Everything is up to date and I expect there is wire mesh behind the plaster on these walls.
     
  8. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #8
  9. jenzjen macrumors 68000

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    Aug 20, 2010
    #9
    I would punt the router (it's probably fine) and buy a new (refurbished if you want to save $) tower extreme - it's range and throughput is really that much better. It replaced 2 5th gen extremes for me with better coverage.
     
  10. mentaluproar thread starter macrumors 68000

    mentaluproar

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    #10
    I thought the wide channels only improved performance, not range.

    As for replacing it with another apple router, I don't have anything that uses wireless AC. My rMBP i bought recently was a refurb, so I'm still on N.
     
  11. jenzjen macrumors 68000

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    Aug 20, 2010
    #11
    Google around plus there was a thread here too right after launch that even N only range was much better. Don't take my word for it.
     
  12. mentaluproar thread starter macrumors 68000

    mentaluproar

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    #12
    Noticeably better? Significantly? I'm hesitant to get another apple router. Aside from stability, I can't justify the price compared to an ASUS running tomato firmware.
     
  13. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #13
    We have a new Extreme 6th gen and the range is much better than our outgoing 5th. In fact the 5th was much better than the 4th.

    I use the 5th at school in the boiler room. This means that to reach the office it had to go through a concrete wall, across a hall, and through another concrete wall. It is the best placement and I still only run it at 50% transmit power. It give five bars of signal. It also functions as the controller for all of the Expresses.
     
  14. mentaluproar thread starter macrumors 68000

    mentaluproar

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    #14
    Hmm, I suppose I could justify the purchase if I could get a decent amount for my current extreme. How much could I craigslist this for?
     
  15. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #15
    I would say somewhere around $40 to $50 USD but I may be wrong. The new AirPort, even if you get just a 5th gen. will be an improvement. However, rather than dropping the cash on an N-grade router, simply get the newest Extreme.
     
  16. Bruno09 macrumors 68020

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    #16
    Why do you have your TWO networks using the SAME channels ??
     
  17. mentaluproar thread starter macrumors 68000

    mentaluproar

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  18. Bruno09 macrumors 68020

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    #18
    Ok.

    However, you might try changing the channels 11 and 157 for others, since some channels work better than other depending on the place you are (interferences, wall materials, etc...).
     
  19. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #19
    Old buildings were built "better", with heavy plaster walls instead of modern sheet rock...
     
  20. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #20
    So have you tried resetting the base station with a paperclip? Also give the channel advice a shot.
     
  21. mentaluproar, Mar 16, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014

    mentaluproar thread starter macrumors 68000

    mentaluproar

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    #21
    I manually selected the channels that were not busy or crowded. I reset the router completely when I moved in. I very much believe it is materials used in the walls but am surprised that in an apartment this size, it would still matter.
     
  22. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #22
    I hate to tell you but it doesn't matter the size, but rather the materials used. Is there a way you can try a different router, no matter what brand. See if it is better than the Extreme. The walls aren't going to say I don't like Apple AirPorts so I won't let those pass through. Also, did you by chance change the transmit power ever?
     
  23. mentaluproar thread starter macrumors 68000

    mentaluproar

    Joined:
    May 25, 2010
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    #23
    I can't change the transmit power on an airport. As for the brand, I was thinking an Asus router flashed with Tomato firmware would be better for the price.

    Fun observation: the router has no problem getting through the floors. It can hit the entrance to the building 2 floors below just fine. It's definitely the building materials.

    But I am confused by how a new apple router would not be hindered by the building materials.
     
  24. Bruno09 macrumors 68020

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    #24
    You can change the transmit power if you use Airport Utility 5.6.1.
    (10, 25, 50, 100%)

    100% is used by default, though.

    Therefore, by using AU 5.6.1 you could reduce the current transmit power, not increase it.
     
  25. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #25
    The new AirPorts are stronger and go right up to the FCC's restriction on wireless strength from a router. Many of the new routers are at the FCC's limitation actually. It also has beam forming so that will greatly help in your scenario!


    That is why I brought it up is because the 4th gen was created in the AirPort Utility 5 days and may have had it changed before.
     

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