Airport Extreme (dual band) slower than Airport Express 802.11n

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by vd0t, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. vd0t macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2005
    I just bought the new Airport Extreme (dual band) base station. I was previously using the Airport Express 802.11n. I wanted to get better range and use 5GHz and 2.4GHz simultaneously. I have a 100Mbit connection.

    I setup the Airport Extreme and I'm very happy with performance at 5GHz. shows that I'm getting about 80-90Mbit/s, which is about the same as when I connect via LAN or directly to the outlet. However, when I use 2.4GHz, the speed suddenly drops to about 10Mbit/s, sometimes even 3-5Mbit/s. I've done several tests and with my old Airport Express I get about 35-45Mbit/s when using 2.4GHz. Why is the Airport Extreme slower at 2.4GHz? I've tried resetting, etc and still the same. Also, I've noticed that the range is shorter than my Airport Express! I thought it was supposed to be the opposite.

    One other detail I've noticed. With the Express, the Transmit rate is usually at 130. However, with the Airport Extreme, this value always changes and varies between 20 (or less sometimes) to 50+ to 30+ to 70+. It always jumps around. At first I thought it might be interference but I don't get this problem at all with the Express (tried setting them both at the same channel).

    Help! How can I improve the speed of the Airport Extreme at 2.4GHz?!
  2. nivekr11 macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2010
    On the airport extreme N only runs on 5GHz. 2.4 GHz will only run 802.11b/g. You should still get at least 20 Mbps.
  3. glitch44 macrumors 65816

    Feb 28, 2006
    You're sure you bought the brand new Airport Extreme? The slightly older model looks the same but wasn't dual band. I only mention it in case you bought it off ebay or a refurb.
  4. vd0t thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2005
    It's a refurb from the Apple online store, but it IS dual band. It even says so on the Airport utility. And it's obvious when I have networks on both frequencies :) I'm currently running the Airport Express as a bridge connection off of the Airport Extreme - plugged into one of the ports, effectively extending my network with a new wireless network. As it is, the 2.4GHz from Airport Express (bridge) runs WAY faster than the 2.4GHz from the Extreme.

    I have no issues with the 5 GHz network. Just the 2.4GHz. I can't believe I paid twice as much for this and it's twice as slow...

    Also, after reading other customers post on Apple's discussion forums, I have a feeling it may have something to do with the new 7.5.2 firmware. However, I can't downgrade to 7.4.2 since my router never came with it (bought recently).
  5. cadillac1234 macrumors regular

    Aug 20, 2010
    I had the same issue. I was told by Apple that the results are unreliable because of the way the Extreme handles traffic in dual band and bridge modes.

    It seems likely as I will see a rates that fluctuate from 1mb/s to 15 all in the same test
  6. vd0t thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2005
    I'm not sure about that. It also feels a lot slower. Loading pages and what not can be like dial-up slow sometimes.
  7. glitch44 macrumors 65816

    Feb 28, 2006
    OP, here's an alternative to speedtest. Try the largest download (200mb)
  8. joudbren macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Sorry, wrong. You can run N on both 2.4 and 5.0 ghz. You cannot run B or G on 5 ghz but 2.4 will definitely handle N.

    For the OP, have you checked to see what frequency your Extreme is on when using 2.4ghz? Sounds like an interference issue to me and you can manually change the channel to see if that helps. Cheers!

  9. JRoDDz macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2009
    You can probably downgrade to the 7.5.1 firmware which is what it probably came with. (mine came with 7.5.1)
  10. psxguru macrumors 6502a

    May 19, 2006

    Yep 802.11n can run in 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz modes.

    A lot of people aren't aware of this but the airport utility doesn't give you many choices of radio modes by default (to make things easier for most users).

    If you want to see all the possible combinations, hold down OPTION then click on the radio mode drop down list. I have 802.11n (5Ghz), 802.11/b/g/n (2.4Ghz) as my radio mode.
  11. Primejimbo macrumors 68040

    Aug 10, 2008
    I am trying this because I am having issues, but this combo seems to work nice

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