AirPort Express Extended Network Arrangement

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Aldonin, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. Aldonin macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Location:
    Caracas, Venezuela
    #1
    Hello there, I recently bough 3 airport express routers in order to solve a problem of wireless network not reaching all areas of my home.

    I've set one of the AirPorts linked directly to the modem, and then added the 2 other airports using the Extended Network option. everything works just fine, they link ok to each other.

    However, my intention was that by placing the "two network extending airports" at different distances one would connect to the main airport and the other would connect not to the main airport as well but to the other in order to extend the network even further.

    This is how it is working at the moment:

    [​IMG]

    The problem is that "AirPort iMac" is a lot further away in distance from "Airport Basement" than "Flaski Airport Express" is. My idea was that the connection would be this way:

    Airport Basement <- Flaski Airport Express <- Airport iMac

    That way Airport iMac would get a lot of better signal as it is closer to Flaski Arirport Express than it is to Airport Basement.

    Is it possible to establish such rule?

    Thanks a lot!!!
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #2
    Airport Utility sometimes doesn't correctly show how they are connected. The only way to force them to connect to the one you want is to set the up in WDS mode.
     
  3. Aldonin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 29, 2011
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    Caracas, Venezuela
    #3
    Intell thanks a lot! would they still work as network extenders? And would any device (say an iphone) would switch from router to router without any problem?
     
  4. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #4
    Yes. The Extend Wireless Network is WDS for dummies mode. Everything will be the same if done correctly.
     
  5. Aldonin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Caracas, Venezuela
    #5
    Sounds great! Next question is: Any idea of a manual to have them set using WDS?
     
  6. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #6
    Press Option when selecting the wireless mode and choose WDS. You then have to correctly enter the MAC addresses and set them as either base, relay, or remote. There's an Apple KB article on how to do it.
     
  7. Aldonin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Caracas, Venezuela
    #7
    Intell thanks a lot, will try it right away!

    Thanks!!!
     
  8. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #8
    Just be ready to be frustrated. WDS with more than two devices is a pain to setup. Even more so when the devices are simultaneous band like those Expresses.
     
  9. Aldonin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Location:
    Caracas, Venezuela
    #9
    I guess it will be very challenging! I have not been able to get to the WDS menu. I've tried factory reset on my airport express and can't find the WDS option. I wonder of since they are latest gen models they removed that option :s
     
  10. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #10
    They may have removed it from Airport Utility 6. You may have to use version 5.6 to access it. And just checking, you are holding option when clicking on the wireless mode selection menu.
     
  11. Aldonin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Location:
    Caracas, Venezuela
    #11
    Intell: I gave up. In fact Airport Util 6.0 does not allow any WDS option, and 5.6 does not run on os 10.8.2. I used my old macbook, attempted setup following some good tutorials but I was getting WDS errors taking place randonmly.

    Not sure why a newer app version has reduced features in first place, not sure why my network arrangement failed.

    As last resource I did a physical re-arrangement of the routers ensuring that only the rely would be within range to connect to the base and then the remote was connecting to the rely. It seems to work ok!

    Anyway, thanks for the effort you put into this thread. I guess the best advice is: Don't try WDS setup.

    Regards,
     
  12. Mr.David, Nov 10, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012

    Mr.David macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    #12
    Hey Aldonin,

    I just signed up to chime in, in case it's at all helpful: I've been dealing with the same sort of situation: wanting specific airport routers to daisy chain throughout our apartment, which has long distances and a ton of metal in the 85-year old plaster walls…

    I like to have access to all info/settings, so I run the more versatile Airport Utility 5.6 (I'm running Lion, so I had no problem installing it). -As an aside, you can also run 5.6 on your Mountain Lion machine. I presume I can't post links here, but a Google search of "install airport utility 5.6 mountain lion" handily returns a lot of results on the topic.

    In our case, our back bedroom/office had a horrible connection, in spite of the extended network that I set up throughout the home: One Airport Extreme (5th Gen) and Two Airport Express (N models). The issue was that the AX in the office was connecting all the way back the main base station, instead of the AX that I'd expected to serve as a "relay", based on it's location midway between the other two. So, same problem as you, I believe.

    As discussed, you have two options:
    Option 1:
    Install Airport Utility 5.6 and create a WDS (it can indeed be frustrating at first, but it really is manageable.) If, when configuring them, you "hard connect" to each router (Airport) via Ethernet cable (either one at a time, with your laptop, or hang two of them off your main base station, plugging your computer into the main base station as well), you may find the setup to be much smoother and more reliable.

    The only downside, IMO, with a WDS is that it drops your network from N down to G speed. This isn't really a problem if you're just accessing the internet over cable or DSL; those services are not faster than G anyway. The loss of speed will matter if you're doing a lot of inter-computer networking/file sharing in the house, frequently backing to a network hard drive, or printing large files to a printer on the network.

    Or you could try what I've done:
    Option 2:
    Move the routers back to exactly where you originally wanted them. Then just use the "extend network" scenario (like you are) and use the v5.6 Airport Utility to crank up the "Multicast Rate" on the primary base station. This will, in theory, prevent weaker connections from being accepted.
    Once all are configured as you like, power everything down, then turn on the main station, (giving it a couple minutes to fire up) then turn on the middle one ("relay") also waiting 2 minutes, and lastly turn on the ("remote") at the end of the line.

    To check your work, in the 5.6 utility you can see which device is connected to which, by clicking on "Wireless clients" in the summary window for each router. You'll need to know have the DNS numbers of your various devices (pasted in to a text file, for example) to be able to readily see what's what.

    This option has worked for me, and even the 6.0 utility shows it correctly (see attachment).

    One word of warning. The 5.6 and 6.0 utilities do not seem to like to both be used in the same session: After simultaneous use, I've at least once had to restart my mac to get them working again after they stop showing the routers at all. (The network never stopped working - the utilities just stopped showing the routers in the network).

    It really is too bad that the latest N routers from Apple don't have a configuration that allows you to just designate "relay" and "remote" stations, while retaining N speeds. I suspect it's just an unwillingness to devote programming resources to a feature they've deemed minimally needed among users. -As you can see from various recent Apple updates, the trend tends toward the "dumbing down", not adding user control/options…
     

    Attached Files:

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