Airport Express nuked my network?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Evangelion, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. Evangelion macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    #1
    I'm not sure that does this go here, or the networking-forum. But this forum seems to have more posts regarding Airports.

    I live in a pretty big house, and I have an Airport Extreme creating a WLAN. Unfortunately it's located in one extreme end of my house, and the signal does not carry to the other end of the house. Well, I have GigE running through the house, so I decided to use my old Airport Express (first-gen 802.11N, model no. A1264) on the opposite end of the house to extend the WLAN. The Airport Extreme is also connected to my GigE-network. So I plugged in the Express, and connected it's ethernet-jack to ethernet-port on the wall. And my network seemed to blow up.

    I tried to configure the Express using Airport Utility, but it couldn't find the AP reliably. Neither could it find the Airport Extreme. And when it did, it asked for a password so it could read their config. Usually entering the password accomplished nothing, it would just ask for the password over and over again. Internet worked sometimes, but usually it did not.

    At this point I also noticed that I could not connect to my server at all. Even if I connected via Ethernet.

    I resetted the Express to factory settings, and Airport Utility found it, and guided me through the wizard. I set it to extend my existing network, I assigned a name to it, set it in bridge mode, and it then rebooted with the new settings... And same thing. No reliable network anymore.

    I tried working on it a bit longer, but no luck. So I unplugged it, and my network went back to normal instantly. Huh?

    One thing is that the Express has an old firmware, but I was unable to update it, since it would not download the new firmware.

    Am I missing something here? Since the distance between the two APs is quite big, could the problem be that they do not have WLAN-connection to each other? They do have wired connection though (through my GigE-switch, to which my server and DSL-router is connected to). Do I need the latest Airport Express with the WAN port for this to work properly?
     
  2. Brigrat macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    #2
    what is your setup? it should be Modem->Extreme->Express You shouldn't have to set the Express to bridge mode if you are expanding your existing network from the extreme. I think you have Modem->Extreme and Modem->Express Am I right?
     
  3. Evangelion, Sep 5, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012

    Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Jan 10, 2005
    #3
    I have a modem ==> GigE-switch, and to that switch both the Express and the Extreme are connected through Ethernet.

    I now have the Express connected through Wifi only (I moved it next to the Extreme for testing purposes) and it's working fine. I also updated the firmware. So the problem seems to be causes by hooking it to the wired network.

    EDIT: Looking at Airport Utility, I now see that the Express is connected to the Extreme with a dotted line (probably signifying WLAN), and the Extreme is connected to "internet" (which seems to mean the ADSL-router) with a solid line (probably meaning wired connection). Earlier, when I had problem, both Extreme and Express were connected to the Internet with a solid line.

    EDIT 2: OK, with WLAN working, I tried to connect the Express through Ethernet. And the moment I did that, both the Express and the Extreme vanished from the network. I disconnected it from Ethernet, and now they are both working. In Airport Utility, Extreme is connected to Internet through solid line, Express with a dotted line (earlier Express was connected to the Extreme with a dotted line). I don't get the logic behind this :confused:
     
  4. d21mike macrumors 68040

    d21mike

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Location:
    Torrance, CA
    #4
    If you are working then fine but this is not the best way to set it up. You should connect the modem to the Extreme WAN Port and connect the GigE-switch to one of the Extreme LAN Ports. The GigE-swich is only needed if you need more then the available LAN Ports on the Extreme. You then connect all of your other devices to an available LAN Port. If the Express has both a LAN Port and a WAN Port then you use the LAN Port to connect it the Network. Only the main router uses it's WAN Port to connect to the Modem. And of course the Express is setup in Bridge Mode since it is not the main router.
     
  5. Brigrat macrumors member

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    Jul 10, 2004
    #5
    So now we know the problem. Modem to Extreme to switch to express reset everything, start over and you should be in good shape.
     
  6. Evangelion, Sep 6, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012

    Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Jan 10, 2005
    #6
    I have 14 GigE-ports around the house plus few devices next to the switch. So Extreme alone is not quite enough :). And my current setup is so that the Extreme is in my living-room, where I can connect my PS3, AppleTV and DVR to it (I prefer wired connection over wireless if possible).

    Before my current GigE-switch, I used the Extreme as my temporary switch. I noticed that it ran quite hot, pushing the temperature in the closet (that has my server etc.) to 32c. Which is quite a lot. Also, the available space is somewhat limited, so having a router, Extreme and a GigE-switch all there might be pushing it spacewise.

    Would it work if I bought the current version of Express (with LAN and WAN-ports), hooked the WAN-port to the router, and the LAN-port to the switch, and have it extend the WLAN that is created by the Extreme? Could I still connect the Extreme through the WAN-port or should I use one of the LAN-ports? The latter would eat one of the precious LAN-ports... But I guess I could switch AppleTV to use WLAN instead of ethernet.
     
  7. d21mike macrumors 68040

    d21mike

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Location:
    Torrance, CA
    #7
    This is similar to my setup. I have 12 drops around my house that come to a closet in my laundry room. The 12 drops are plugged into 2 8 port giga bit switches (6 each). The 2 switches are uplinked into my main router switch ports (like your Extreme). The WAN Connection on the Main Router is access to the internet. The main router is also DHCP Server that hands out ALL of the ip address's to the devices wired and wireless. The Main Router is also a wireless access point. But it is not strong enough to cover the rest of my house (3100 soft). I have 2 other wireless access points around my house to spread the signal around my house. Those routers are connected just like you would connect any computer or device via the LAN Port. The WAN Port is not used because they are NOT acting as routers. They are simply used to spread the wifi signal (access points and switches for other devices). In my case I use a different wifi ssid so can tell which one I am connected too. One of my wifi access points happens to be a Time Capsule which not only used as a wifi access point but also a backup device. The TC is setup in BRIDGE MODE. I do not have an Express so hard to say exactly how to set it up. My other wifi access point is from Linksys and it is setup similar to BRIDGE MODE but use different terminology. Again, only use the WAN Port for Routers (not access points). Where you actually locate you equipment does not matter. Just put them in line. This is want I recommend to you.
    Hope this helps.
     
  8. Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Jan 10, 2005
    #8
    My Zyxel ADSL-roter also has Wifi, but I do not use it, as it only supports 802.11g. The router acts as a DHCP-server, handing IP-addresses to clients ( apart from my server and APs, which have static addresses).

    I just got a revelation regarding my setup. So I have a switch, to which I tried to connect both Extreme and Express. That doesn't work, but apparently it would work if I just connected the Express to the Extreme? So, what I could do is to connect the WAN-port on the Extreme to the switch like it is right now. The I could connect one of the LAN-ports on the Extreme to a second Ethernet-port on the wall. I would then figure out which of the ports in my closet is the one where the Extremes LAN-port is hooked up to. I would then patch that port in to the port where my Express is connected to.

    End result is that Extreme would be connected to my switch (and through it to my router, server etc.) via its WAN-port, and my Airport Express would be connected via Ethernet to one of Extremes LAN-ports. They would then create a wifi-network. They would still be 20 meters apart, but still...
     
  9. d21mike macrumors 68040

    d21mike

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Location:
    Torrance, CA
    #9
    Did not realize you had a third router. Again, use ONLY 1 Router. ONLY 1 WAN Port is used. If you want to continue to use the Zyxel as your main router (may have too, i.e. can not put it in pass thru mode - modem only) then do not use the WAN Port on the Extreme. Put the Extreme in BRIDGE Mode and connect it to your switch via a normal LAN Port. In this case the Extreme and Express are simply "access points" setup in bridge mode to spread the wifi signal around the house. This is what I do with my Verizon FIOS Router and all others are setup as "access points". Again, only use the WAN Port on your main router that is connected to the internet.
     
  10. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 29, 2008
    #10
    Should use your Zyxel modem/router as modem only. The Airport Extreme has much better WAN-LAN throughput and routing performance.
     
  11. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #11
    Agreed. Set your zyxel to modem only (disable DHCP, wifi, access point, etc). Use the Airport Extreme as the router. Connect the Airport Express to your Ethernet network (which should connect to one of the LAN ports on the Extreme, or a switch connected to one of those ports). Configure the Airport Express with EXACTLY the same wireless configuration you have on the Airport Extreme (same SSID, password and security type) and set it to Bridge Mode (routing off). This will extend your wireless network to the new part of the house with the maximum performance. Clients will roam seamlessly between the two access points.
     
  12. Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #12
    I think we are using slightly different terminology here :). I use the Zyxel as a modem. As in, it connects to my service-provider and provides me with my broadband-connection. Over here we usually call that as acting as a router. Only additional service that it offers is DHCP for the clients that connect to it on my side. I do not use it for WLAN at all, since it only supports 802.11G.

    So to be precise: I have an RJ11 cable coming from my phone-socket to the Zyxel router (or modem, if you prefer). The router is then connected through RJ45-cable to my GigE-switch. To that switch I have connected all the GigE-ports in the house, and that includes my server, Airport Extreme and various other computers.

    I think I need to switch the Extreme from the WAN-port to LAN-port. It's more or less a leftover from the time when the Extreme was directly connected to the Zyxel router, and acted as a switch and AP for rest of my devices.
     
  13. d21mike macrumors 68040

    d21mike

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Location:
    Torrance, CA
    #13
    For this Thread your definition above means the Zyxel is a Modem "and" a Router. A modem would NOT be a DHCP Server. I believe your Zyxel is connecting to your ISP and is given an internet ip address. It then hands out local ip addresses (like 192.168.1.*) to the clients. The clients would then connect back thru the Zyxel to get on the internet. Your default settings for the Extreme would be setup to do the same thing in regards to the router function. I.E. If you connect the WAN Port to the Zyxel the Zyxel would hand it a local ip address like 192.168.1.100 but it would then also be a DHCP Server and start handing out ip addresses. This would be a serious problem. This is why several of us have been saying you can not have two devices do this. Either make your Zyxel a Modem only or run the Extreme in BRIDGE Mode. No matter what run the Express in BRIDGE Mode.

    You can verify this by hooking up a computer to the Zyxel and check what the ip address it is when it connects. If it is a local ip address then the Zyxel is a modem/router, if it is an internet address then the Zyxel is a modem only. Very simple test.
     
  14. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    Jan 6, 2005
    #14
    In the way you have it set up, yes, the Zyxel is acting as both a modem and a router. We understand that and are suggesting that you configure it to work as a modem only, and use the Airport Extreme as the router, because it is much more capable, and has much faster WAN to LAN speeds.

    If you want or need to keep your current configuration, then yes, you need to move the cable coming from your switch to a LAN port on the Airport Extreme. If it's on the WAN port, it might be acting as it's own DHCP server and router, effectively segregating your networks.

    I think the reason your network goes down when you connect the Airport Express is because it is also acting as a DHCP server in the default configuration and you can't have two DHCP servers on the same network without causing big problems. Configure the Airport Express BEFORE you connect it to your network.

    ----------

    You are basically right, except that if he has the Airport Extreme's WAN port connected to his switch on the Zyxel, he is just segregating his networks. The Airport Extreme will pick up an ip address from the Zyxel, and then anything connecting to the Airport Extreme will be given an address from the Airport Extreme's DHCP pool, and then be segregated from the Zyxel network by the Airport Extreme's firewall. This isn't ideal, as things like file sharing or AirPlay or Home Sharing won't work between the two networks, and some services will have problems with the second layer of NAT. In practice, if he doesn't use any of that stuff, it may work fine.

    I think what's happening is that somehow the Airport Express is configured in a way that when he connects it to the network, its DHCP server is conflicting with one of the other DHCP servers on the network. Whether that is because of some configuration issue, or it is simply because its address pool is the same as one of those other DHCP servers, I don't know.
     
  15. Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Jan 10, 2005
    #15
    The problem has been solved, and I will discuss the solution in a minute.

    The Extreme has been in Bridge-mode all this time, so that was not the issue. I would prefer the Zyxel to act as a DHCP-server, since each and every device in the household connects to it. Not all of my devices connect wirelessly.

    Now, to the solution: the problem was that the Extreme was connected through the WAN-port. That's the way I had it hooked up earlier, and I habitually continued it. I connected it through one of the LAN-ports, and then tried hooking up the Express. No luck. I then resetted the Express, and as it rebooted, it automatically discovered the Extreme through Ethernet, and set it up to extend the WLAN. everything was as smooth as butter. Now I have the Extreme and Express creating WLAN-network, with the Zyxel-box handing out IP-addresses to every client that needs one, be they wired or wireless.

    So thanks everybody for your help and suggestions, it was greatly appreciated :).
     

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