Airport Express clarification

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by jitterberries, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. jitterberries macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2011
    Hi all,

    I apologize in advance for the rather silly question, but I'm getting a bit overwhelmed with all the info out there, and just need a straightforward question.

    I would like to share an internet network with my neighbor across the hall, but the signal strength does not reach my apartment (actually, her network appears for a few seconds when I first turn my Macbook on, then it disappears). She suggested I get some kind of wireless extension-- is this something that the Airport Express does? And, if so, does it connect to her modem, or do I plug it somewhere in my apt.? Is it compatible with a Comcast modem? I have also heard of an Airport Express Base Station-- is this something I would have to purchase as well?

    Any clarification would be so appreciated!

    Thank you.
  2. gramirez2012 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    Chicago, USA
    Yes, the Airport Express (or any Airport for that matter) can extend an existing wireless network without cables. Just plug the device into the wall outlet and the configuration software will do the rest.
  3. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    The problem with extending the network using wireless is ...

    a. You'll lose 1/2 of your theoretical speed since the wireless extender will use 1/2 its bandwidth on the uplink and 1/2 on the downlink. Basically, half of the speed will be used to communicate with your Mac, and the other half would be used for communicating to your neighbor's router.

    b. If you have marginal signal strength in your apartment, your extender will have the same signal strength issues.

    Two solutions,

    1. Run ethernet between the apartments and use an extender in wired mode to extend the network. --- just noticed that she's across the hall, this won't work.

    2. Have your neighbor move her router to a different location.

    2a. See if your neighbor can boost her signal up so that you can better get onto her network.
  4. jitterberries thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2011
    Thanks a lot for the responses. Can anyone recommend something that will actually strengthen my Macbook's reach, as opposed to strengthening the signal from the router? The odd thing is that, even when I'm using my own network, and my laptop is within a few feet of the modem, the Airport icon is never at full strength. When I use a temporarily borrowed PC, however, it shows full strength, and my neighbor's network is even visible, at full strength. So the problem seems to lie with my laptop itself. Especially considering the fact that another neighbor, farther than I am, has had no problems getting a strong signal.

    Any suggestions?

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