Airport Express extending non apple network

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by zycho42, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. zycho42 macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2013

    I've been pulling my hair out over the following:

    I have a linksys EA3500 router set up with 2.4 and 5ghz wifi. Connected by ethernet is an Airport Express which I use to extend the range of the wifi and serve as Airplay device. It's set up as 'create wireless network' with the same SSID as the EA3500 and it's set to bridge mode.
    I've got a mixed bag of devices on the network including ipads, android phones, a MBP and a windows laptop.
    All the devices connect to the internet fine when connected to the Airport Express, but for some reason my MBP, which is connected wirelessly directly to the EA3500 (either 2.4 or 5ghz, does't matter) , can't see devices connected to the Airport Express and vice versa (this happens most of the time, but not always). The router is able to ping both MBP and AE connected devices. Sometimes an android phone will also not ping an AE connect device when it's directly on the router. I've been reading the internet for days, but I cannot find a solution.

    Is there anyone here who might be able to tell me what's going on?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Have you tried using the "Extend Wireless Network" option in the Airport Express base station?

    That way you ditch the Ethernet connection and just make the true network extension capabilities (which include being connected to either router and seeing all devices). This should solve any connectivity issues as well.
  3. Bruno09 macrumors 68020

    Aug 24, 2013
    Far from here
    Although this is not directly related to your issue, but just to be sure :

    You set up the AE with the same SSID as the router, intending to create a roaming network.

    Did you fill the 3 others conditions for a wifi roaming network :

    - same password
    - same type of password (WPA2 for instance)
    - different channels

    (for jav6454 : an AE can't extend a wireless network of a non Apple product.
    Quote : "Apple's "extend a wireless network" function is a proprietary feature that will only work if you have another Apple router."")
  4. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    won't work with non apple routers.
    and is a poor solution, as anything connected to the extended network will loose about half of it's speed as the repeater has to talk to both the main base and your device at the same time.


    I ran my network that way for years, main router 2.4, and wired to an express serving the N network, never had a problem.

    if your devices are both connected via wifi to the main router, can they see the other devices.

    also on some routers there is a setting about letting the wired and wireless networks associate with each other.
    anything connected wirelessly to the express would (in the mind of the main router) be wired, and wouldn't be able to talk to things connected to wifi coming from the main base.
  5. zycho42 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2013
    Hey everyone,

    thanks for the quick replies and for thinking along.

    @jav6454: As others stated I can't extend the wireless network of a non apple router. Also I don't want to, because I get too much interference when I use the AE on wifi, the ethernet connection is there for a reason.

    @Bruno09: I have set up the same password and the same type of network. I currently have the channel selection set to Automatic, perhaps this is causing the trouble. I will set up different channels for the router and the AE and report back if it works. However, the problem also occurs when my MBP is on the 5GHz (the AE creates a 2.4GHz network).

    @waw74: I have a couple of wired devices (NAS, RPi) attached to the router and there's no problem communicating between wireless and wired devices. Also, any wireless device connected through the AE can communicate with any other device, wired or wireless, 2.4 or 5G. It's just the MBP causing the trouble.

    I'm thinking the problem is most likely in the MBP, since it's the only consistent element in the issue at hand. I've tried disabling the firewall but that didn't do anything. What's also strange is that the problem is not consistent. Sometimes a connection gets through, but most of the time I get 'No route to host', 'host is down' or 'request timeout for icmp_seq' when pinging.

    Perhaps there's some hidden security settings preventing connections to devices with too many 'hops'(?) or maybe there's a problem with the AE connecting as Airtunes server and accesspoint at the same time?

  6. zycho42 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2013
    Ok, so I checked the wifi channels. They were different through the auto config, but I've set the AE and router to different channels manually now. They've got excellent connection strength but the situation remains the same...
  7. drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    Might not make a difference but is the AE LAN cable connected to the WAN socket of the AE ? Can the MBP connect to the AE ?
  8. zycho42 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2013
    Hey drsox,

    my Airport Express (not Extreme ;-) has only 1 ethernet port. Wirelessly connected the MBP to the AE and everything connects perfectly. Switched back MBP to the router and it's gone again...

    It drives me mad!:confused:
  9. drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    Sorry, thought it was the V2 model, so it only has the WAN port !
    Have you rebooted everything, starting with the Linksys ?
    Does the MBP behave if it is LAN connected to the Linksys ?
    Is it worth replacing the Linksys with another AE ?
  10. zycho42 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2013
    Everthing gets rebooted quite regularly, but the problem keeps returning. Replacing the linksys would be a bummer, because i got it only a few months ago. Also I need the ethernet ports, so another ae wouldn't be an option.

    I'll check the mbp on ethernet soon and report back. Right now the mbp seems to be behaving properly! So now I can't do any testing... No telling which switching of APs caused it to suddenly work again, but I'm confident the issue will return as nothing really changed and I've had it intermittently ever since I got this setup.

    Thanks again for helping me figuring this out!
  11. zycho42 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2013
    Ok, new day. So far things are still working! Perhaps changing the channels to manual has worked its magic. I've also tested the MBP on ethernet and everything works that way as well. Lets hope the issue is solved, I'll keep a close eye and get back here should problems arise again.

    Thanks everyone!
  12. drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    You could always replace the Linksys with the combination of an AE and a Gbit switch. IMO routers aren't that good as switches anyway.
  13. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    perhaps try flushing your routing table, run the following command on the command line.
    sudo route -n flush
    it will then ask for your password.
    and flush your DNS cache
    dscacheutil -flushcache

    Channel change shouldn't have done anything, as that would clear up connections issues (being able to connect to the network) which you were able to do since you could use the internet from your mac, just not talk to certain devices on your network. although rebooting could have cleared up some issues.
  14. zycho42 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2013
    Hi waw74,

    I've tried your suggestion, but unfortunately it hasn't improved the situation.

    At this point I don't know if it's the MBP, the AE or the router that's causing this.
    What I have noticed is that if I do have a connection between the MBP and a wireless device on the AE the ping times are all over the place, from <5ms to >1400 ms. I'm really at a loss...
  15. DTMobius macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2013
    Similar Issue

    Hey gang I have a similar issue to this that sounds like it could be related, here is my setup:

    Airport Extreme creating a wifi net with a 3TB NHDD hardwired. Wirelessley I have a mixed bag as well, My droid, my mom and dads iPhones, AppleTV, SmartTV, and an Airport Express that is extending the network. Here is the problem though...I have a Server Computer running WinXP hardwired to the APExpress and nothing infront of the APExp or wireless connected to the APExp can ping the server. The server can ping the whole network and reach the internet. The appleTV can see any iTunes library on the HSN including the servers but I use an app called BubbleUPNP to push my DLNA servers to the internet and use them wherever...This app cannot reach the server even with full configuration and ports opened properly...Never had this problem until I hardwired the server to the APExp (Server has no wireless card) I have to keep the server in my room so I cannot hardwire it to the APExtreme which is a flight down and in the office. Essentially there seems to be a brick wall between the incoming pings to the hardwires on the APExpress but on nothing going out or on anything else in the network. Any thoughts?

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