Airport Extreme Setup - Modem, Ethernet questions

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Kauai, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. Kauai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2010
    Upon getting my iPad and being unable to stream much without huge wait times, I've decided to take the plunge and get an Airport Extreme. Well, it arrived today, but alas it seems that I need a modem and Ethernet cord! Now, in my defense, I've been using a router that is both a modem and a router for years -- and it connected straight to the cable jack, so I didn't know that most routers needed a separate modem unit and Ethernet cord! Any way, it's too late to head out now so I'm going to have to wait till tomorrow to stream my precious netflix -- but I want to get it right this time; so...

    I need an ethernet cord to connect the router and modem, right?

    The Modem/Router I've been using is called the SBG900 Wireless Surfboard Gateway. In my experience, the speeds have been dismal, but I should be able to use this as my modem -- right? Will it be slower than if I bought a separate modem? Does the modem even effect the speed of your internet or is that just the router?

    Anything else I should be made aware of? Thanks!
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    I assume your incoming line from the ISP is coaxial cable; in which case yes- you'd need an ethernet cord.

    Don't know. You'd likely have to turn off the router part of the device through its control software- whatever that may be.

    It can, but your connection is probably slow because you are paying less for a slower throughput.
  3. Kauai thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2010
  4. Kauai thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2010
    And I doubt it because in normal usage on all my computers it works quite quick. It's just the heavy lifting like streaming videos from downstairs or watching HD that gets super, super slow.

    Although a lot of things I can do on my laptop fine are really slow on the iPad, unusable even. So it's either the Wifi (even if it isn't upgrading to APE will be worth it for range, etc) or iPad.

    Crap, quoted when I wanted to edit. Sorry.
  5. TEG macrumors 604


    Jan 21, 2002
    Langley, Washington
    Just use your existing Modem, then connect the Ethernet cable from it to your Airport Express.

    This problem is actually related to the strange nature of High Speed Internet (DSL/Cable/etc). The device that connects to your ISP is a Modem. It is always a modem, it will always be a modem. This is because the signal being sent is analog, converted (or modulated) to digital, and sent to your computer. That is not to say that the signal it is receiving is not also digital, but it is encoded in the analog signals of the medium. Most modems have a single ethernet port on them which you would connect to a router. You would then setup that router with your PPPoE information, configure it for a static IP, or set it up to get an address from your modem (sometimes assigned by your ISP, other times by the modem, because it also contains a rudimentary router). Over the years, manufacturers have been including routers in the same box as modems, but since they have multiple ethernet jacks, and/or contain wireless access points, they are often called routers, which they are not, they are still Modems, because they are still doing basic modem processes, modulation and demodulation, where the word modem comes from.

    To be perfectly honest, most manufacturers have gotten away from using the term "Modem" or "Router" for the equipment that connects you to your ISP. Mainly due to the confusion caused when someone buys a third party router, and thinks it can replace the modem, instead of just operating the internal network. The preferred term is "Internet Gateway", which means it is a combination Modem, Router, and Firewall, with the option of also including wireless.

    BTW, I work in Tech Support for an ISP, and am always fighting with my coworkers, because they continue to use the term Router, instead of Modem or Gateway, which does nothing but confuse customers.

  6. Kauai thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2010
    What kind of Ethernet cord do I need to get? Like what is with all these Cat 5, cat 6? Thanks!
  7. Kauai thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2010
    Just set it up and now my internet is going from around 2-6mbps to 16mbps. :D

    Happy camper here!

    I'm only getting 65mbps speed though (when looking directly at my wifi status, I'm guessing not real speed) when I thought this could go much higher. Do I have it set up wrong? Is that something I should even care about? Beyond that, I'm extremely happy with my purchase because it feels light years faster.

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