AirPort Extreme troubles

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by ThatTechGuy, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. ThatTechGuy macrumors member

    May 9, 2012
    I'm trying to streamline the network t my parents house. They live in a large house with many walls to break up the wifi signal. Here's the setup: middle-ish part of the house has the cable modem which goes into an AC Airport Extreme. Ethernet from there goes to a switch which disseminates Ethernet all throughout the house.

    Now on one end of the house there is another AC Airport extreme. This has a line in from the main switch and also serves as a hub for a few devices at this location.

    On the other end of the house there is a third AC AirPort Extreme with a similar setup to the second.

    Lastly, there is an old 1st gen airport express in the front room setup to just join the network in order to AirPlay music to the sound system.

    The main Airport Extxreme is setup to create a network. The other two extremes are setup to extend this network. We are having performance problems however. Do you think this is due to having too much equipment? Or could it be that the two extremes are setup at "extend" when they should be setup to "create a network"? We just bought the two new Extremes yesterday from he local Apple Store, so we have a couple weeks to return them if need be.

    Side note, anyone else have a ton of issues with Airport Utility? Constantly dropping devices, saying their not connected, etc.

    Thanks for any help!
  2. cruisin macrumors 6502a


    Apr 1, 2014
    You need to extend a network, as creating 3 separate networks without making them interfere with each other is much more complicated.

    The other thing is interference issues. Microwaves are 2.4 GHz and can cause signal issues when they are in-between you and the router. Other Wi-Fi routers can also cause interference (like neighbours). Solid walls like concrete or brick also affect signal. You would need a lot of equipment to get noticeable interference. Is the interference on the LAN (between devices) or WAN (to the internet)? Do wired devices have any issues?

    The Utility just sets up the router and shows stats. It doesn't drop anything. If your devices are being dropped, you might be too far away and need to move closer to the Wi-Fi.

    You can check the channel crowding on newer versions of OSX and running Wireless Diagnostics. Hold Alt and click on the wireless icon, then click Wireless Diagnostics or just type Wireless Diagnostics into Spotlight. Then hit ⌘ + 4 or click Window > Scan. You will get a list of the local Wi-Fi networks and what channels are in use. Press the scan button to get a summary and show the nearest channel.
  3. an-other macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2011
    My recollection is "Extending a Network" is not in the auto-set-up wizard. You have to manually select it.
  4. Hilbert92 macrumors member


    May 21, 2015
    turn 5ghz on. You may need to turn it on for each airport. I typically don't use the 2.4 band at all and never seem to have any problems.
  5. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    If you have Ethernet throughout the house I would recommend you set up the Airports to create a roaming network. That will allow clients to wander around the house and seamlessly (theoretically) switch from Airport to Airport.

  6. techwarrior macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2009
    Ditto what Alrescha suggests. Extend network takes the WiFi signal from the main AP Extreme and re-broadcasts it. Interference and performance issues generally are more common with this setup, so performance drops. It is intended for locations where Ethernet connectivity from the main base station is not practical.

    You are actually doing two things when you create a roaming network by connecting the secondary units to the Ethernet network. First, you are configuring the wired LAN to make the additional units "bridges" meaning they are simply additional hubs\switches on the main local Ethernet subnet rather than additional routers. This is done with the Connection Sharing setting. Some manufacturers sell units that are just Access Points (aka bridges), they connect to ethernet and create a wifi signal. Apple devices can act as either a router, or an access point.

    Second, you create a WiFi network from each base station, and if the WiFi credentials are identical to the main base station, devices will connect to whichever base station has the strongest signal, and be on the same subnet as all of your other devices. To do this, "Create a WiFi Network" just as you did on the main base station. The Apple terminology is a little confusing, but stick to the instructions in the guide and you will get a good result. Use the same SSID, Passwords etc.

    If you connect USB disks or Printers to any of the AP Extremes when you use Bridge Mode on the secondary devices, they will appear to all hosts on the network. This the roaming setup ensures Bonjour services like Apple TV, AirPrint, AirPlay, etc are available throughout the network regardless of where the devices connect as they all appear on the same "subnet" and there is no internal routing.

Share This Page