Airport Express to replace D-Link

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Lastmboy, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. Lastmboy macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2012
    I have a home network of two quad-core PCs and one 27" iMac (2011), plus a bunch of media devices. Everything is hardwired with cat6, except for my iPhone and iPad. The router connects to 2 switches, which fee the multiple devices. I have to use a poor quality 2Wire box with my internet provider (until they install fibre optic next year). The transfer speed between the iMac and the PCs was absolutely brutal. I was told it was because of the 2Wire box. Therefore, I put a D-Link in front of it, and networked everything to that, with the 2Wire only providing internet. This is much better, performance wise, but I still have a lot of trouble connecting the iMac to one of the PCs. Sometimes it's fine, sometimes it can access every drive but one, sometimes it can't see any drives, even though the other pc can access them.

    I just ordered a used Mac Pro quad-core (2009) to replace the smaller pc (the file/media server). I'm guessing this is likely overkill, but I like overkilling :D I'm hoping for a bit more stability and performance.

    Now, my questions...
    What if I replaced the D-Link router with an Airport Express?
    1) First of all, would it work in that scenario, as it would be networking with two 5 port switches?
    2) Can it be configured for this type of thing?
    3) Would I be likely to see any stability improvements?
    4) Would I see any speed improvements?
    5) Is the Airport Extreme intended for use in wired networks? My assumption was that it should work fine hardwired, as well as wirelessly to iPhone and iPad, plus have added performance with any new 802.11ac devices I purchase in the future.
    6) Does this make any sense, or would you just leave the D-Link there?

    Thanks for any opinions.
  2. drsox, Sep 5, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013

    drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    I suggest the following :

    1. Keep the 2Wire box and use it as a Modem only (if possible)
    2. Put an Airport Express infront of the 2Wire box and use that as the Router/ISP setup device.
    3. The AE is fine as a WiFi and as a cable LAN device. Just connect any cable LAN devices to the LAN port. Connect the 2Wire box to the WAN port.
    4. Connect one of the 5 port switches to the AE. Connect the other 5 port switch to the first 5 port switch. This should give you a decent cable LAN connection between LAN devices. IMO routers are not that good as switches (they are designed down to a cost and switching is low on the feature list).
    5. If you still have poor data rates, then look at getting better switches. I presume that the ones you have are actually Gigabit switches ? You won't get better than Fast Ethernet rates through the AE (unless the soon-to-be-announced new version has upgraded the ports).

    I have 4 linked Netgear GS108tV2 switches with CAT6 LAN connections. I can get 100+ MBps data rates from end to end through this. There are also 4 AE units, 3x AExpress and 1x AExtreme. One of the AExpress is the actual router linked into a VDSL2 modem (is actually a modem/router but the router bits are disabled).

    I too have a bunch of media devices (video and audio) with some fast PCs and NASs as well as 6 WiFi devices. No problems with stability.

    UPDATE :

    When you changed the network around (added the D-Link etc), did you reboot everything starting with the ISP box and working forwards ? Unless you did, you might still have some network conflicts (but you might have some anyway if your router setup is off).
  3. Lastmboy thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2012
    Thanks. That all makes sense. I'll likely have to do some testing and try to determine where the problem area is. I just found it odd that the two PCs get speeds of up to 60 Gbps between each other, whereas data transfer from either of the PCs to the iMac maxes out at around 3 Gbps. They're all connected to the same switch. I can't stream video from the pc file server to the Mac, as it just can't keep up. I have to re-boot everything at least once a week, as the iMac will lose connection with one (only one) of the PCs and I can't get it back. Also, I have 8 individual drives and one 12TB RAID array connected to the one pc. They're all shared the same way. The other pc can read and write to all of them. The iMac can see that they're all there, and it can read and write to the individual ones, but it will not connect to the RAID array. I'm curious to see what happens when I put my newly aquired Mac Pro in place of the pc as the file server...

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