AirPort Express N Problems

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by seamuskrat, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. seamuskrat macrumors 6502a


    Feb 17, 2003
    New Jersey USA
    I have a multi level home with an Airport Extreme (N) basetation.

    When the new Express - N came out, I thought it would be a perfect addition to extend the range of the basestation. That is a supported function of the unit.

    I got my Express N yesterday.

    I expected a simple set up.

    Plus express into wall. Open Airport Utility (most op to date) and make sure my main base station was set to allow extension then select the APexpress and enter passwords, etc. and voilla - extended network.

    <sigh> enter reality. I cannot get the utility to see this thing. I live in a neighborhood with like 10 wireless nets in range. I plug in the new Airport Express and I expect to see Appleblah blah blah pop up. No such luck. I have done both a hard reset and soft reset.

    After about 20 (literally) tries, I got it to acknowledge. I entered my WPA Wireless network apssword and rebooted.


    Flashing Ambser light.

    Reset. Flashing Amber still.

    Since I recieved it late on Saturday and today is a holiday I have not yet called Apple. I am hoping I am being obtuse and missing something obvious. But I fear its a DOA unit. I really just wanted a plug and play extension.

    Back with my old base station (B/G) I could extend my network with the old express with like 3 clicks of the mouse.

    On my N network I have the following connected:
    iMac, G5 tower, 2 laptops, AppleTV, iPhone and Wii. Its a 'hidden' network with WPS passwords. I am looking to place the Express in the middle floor (Split level ranch, 3 floors) where it will boost the range. I know its a good reception area as the Apple TV is there and the Macbook is often used in that area with no connection issues.

    Any thoughts on what I am doing wrong, or if I got a lemon from Apple would be appreciated.
  2. iPhoneNYC macrumors 6502a


    Nov 25, 2007
    Flashing Amber light on AE (n)

    If you go through Airport Utility you have to set up a password to get past flashing amber light. I bought an AE (n) yesterday it took a while to set up. I believe it is working fine with the flashing amber but to get rid of it I put in a password.

    Now if I could only get my wi-fi Brother laster to work. I'm trying now...
  3. spaceballl macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    Hey there, you are NOT obtuse. It is not an easy thing to do. For as easy as Apple makes it to set up a quick and dirty wireless network, they make it very difficult to to add range extending functionality. Here is what you need to do...

    Okay, first thing's first. Restore your airport express to factory settings. Let's start from scratch.

    I'm assuming that your main base station has the normal settings that work well with your network.

    Once you have your airport express set to the default settings, plug it into the wall. Then plug a computer into it via ethernet and make sure to turn the wifi off on the computer. Run the airport setup utility. You should only see the airport express. Write down it's "Airport ID."

    Next step - unplug that computer from the airport express and go back to your main network. Run the setup utility. Write down the airport id for this device. Under Airport->Wireless, i'm guessing that your setting right now is "create a wireless network." change that to "participate in a wds network" - as far as having the box, "allow this network to be extended," i do NOT have it checked. I'd like some more background btw, if anyone knows, what this box does technically. Apple loves to obscure things w/ nice names. Now click on the WDS tab. For WDS Mode, select WDS Main. Check the box to allow wireless clients and enter the airport ID of the airport express in that box. Update your AEBS with the settings. Once it reboots, you should get some amber action, but it should still work. Will report that it can't find any wds clients, but don't worry about that - we're on the way to fixing that.

    Next, go back to plugging the computer into your airport express and disable the computer's wifi. Okay configure all the network settings exactly the same, as far as channel, SSID, secruity, etc. You also want this computer to "participate in a wds network". Only difference here is on the WDS tab, select it as a WDS remote. Enter WDS main as the airport ID of your primary base station. Reboot.

    Please let me know if this worked for you. it worked like a charm for me. All should be green lights now. A lot of people are having similar issues so if this works for you, the mods might want to sticky this thread for a while.
  4. Christina1971 macrumors regular

    Jan 1, 2007
    It worked beautifully for me -- thank you! I was able to set up my WDS network entirely wirelessly, but God knows how I did it and in the process of mucking around with some settings tonight, I really messed things up. But this process of connecting the Airport Express directly to the computer worked really well.
  5. jsalicru macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2004
    Austin, TX
    Oddly enough... I did my network in the exact same way mentioned above... Yet somehow, I still get a WDS error.

    UPDATE (on same post time, LOL)
    Don't check the extend network button. That was all my problem.
  6. thetoness macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2008
    Update the firmware to 7.3.1

    I had the same problem. Unfortunately, the new N express ships with firmware version 7.3.0. Once I upgraded to 7.3.1 everything was perfect. Hope this helps
  7. macwoo macrumors newbie

    Aug 7, 2007
    2.4 vs 5

    The above worked for me to setup a WDS network. However the only radio mode option is the 802.11n (b/g compatible) which I think is just 2.4 ghz. I want to put it in N only 5 ghz mode, but can't get the extend working right.
  8. ctmriguy macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2008

    Thanks a lot for posting your instructions - I was having the same problem and your techniques worked. I really appreciate you taking the time to help others out like that.

    Regarding macwoo's post - I am also locked into the 802.11n (b/g compatible) mode instead of 802.11n only. Is this standard with the Express units?
  9. cohibadad macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2007
    I am not completely sure, but after reading the help menus on WDS and extended networks I think I have it figured out. If you want an N only network and the ability to use 5GHz you need to check the box and NOT use WDS. It is either or. WDS locks you into b/g/n compatibility. I just switched my network over to 5GHz N using the extended check box and wow, :apple:TV is smoooooooth. But now I'm going to have to add a bridge for g compatibility (iPhone and Wii).
  10. Bojobne macrumors newbie

    Apr 4, 2008
    Dubai in the United Arab Emirates
    Thanks Spaceball

    Just want to say thanks for your detailed instructions. It did take a while as the express didn't want to play initally but I did it twice and presto it's now working fab and boy am I VVV mac happy.


  11. macleod199 macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2007
    "Extending" a network extends in on the frequency of the home network. Rebroadcasting on a different frequency is a different animal than extending. Note that neither the express or the extreme are capable of doing both frequencies at once... that would require significant extra hardware inside the unit.

    The recommended setup for a dual-band network is to wire the two base stations together, and have them broadcast on the two different frequencies. Then you don't get the extended range, though, unless you use a long wire.
  12. Christina1971 macrumors regular

    Jan 1, 2007
    Sorry to resurrect this old thread; I made some changes to my Extreme and Express home network, and was looking for these instructions. Even though these instructions worked perfectly for me last time, for some reason this time around I could just not get things to come out properly. (Probably my fatigue) I started Googling around and I found this:

    ...which seems to indicate that all you have to do is click on "Allow this network to be extended" on your main router (in my case, it's the Extreme) and then for the Express, click on "Extend a wireless network." It worked perfectly, without having to get into Airport ID's, WDS modes, or anything like that. Yay!
  13. goodcompany macrumors newbie

    Nov 2, 2005

    Hey, goodgolly, this worked for me. After 3 hours of trying different things. Not sure why it worked but it did.

    I eventually ended up checking the "allow to be extended" box on both the AirPort Express and the Extreme...just cause it made more sense to me.

    Be aware that the first time you establish this network it can take some time to configure. Give your Express a few minutes to sort itself out.

    Most importantly, follow spaceball's intructions to the letter.

  14. Macrob111 macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2009
    AirPort Express N G extender Problems

    this is a new reply to an old thread. am posting it in case it helps someone. I had 2 airport expresses (G models), using one as an extender. All was fine until one died and I replaced it with the newer N model. I found it an impossible task to set up either G or N as the extender until I followed Spaceball's instructions, using the N as the main WDS and the G as the remote WDS. I had to go through the process a couple of times before it worked. I use windows XP and had to 'repair the connection' after setup in order for the AE's to be discoverable. All in all, very painful, but now it works fine for extending and for music streaming, which is what I wanted. The Apple help guys told me that if I had 2 AE N models, the airport utility would have been able to do this for me much easier. Thanks for your guidance Spaceball!!
  15. spaceballl macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    Glad this worked for everyone!

    For everyone's information, forcing this by using WDS mode doesn't seem to be necessary anymore. The newest airport models (N / dual mode) with the newest software updates seem to do really well just by setting up a router, allowing it to be extendable, and then setting up additional devices by using the "extend a network" setting.
  16. mcb13 macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2008

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