Apple devices and WiFi

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ninethirty, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. ninethirty macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2006
    Hey Everyone,

    My wife and I just moved into a rather large, long apartment. We've got an airport extreme at one end, but set up a Netgear WiFi AG extender in the middle so it can reach the back better. I was unaware that this would actually create new networks instead of just strengthening the old one, so here's my question - do Apple devices (of which we have many) automatically join the best WiFi available WiFi network? Because essentially we have now have 3. The originally dual band Apple network, and the extender 2ghz network, and the extender 5ghz network.

  2. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    If you want WiFi roaming use an AirPort Express instead of the Netgear extender.
  3. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    If it's like the Netgear I set up recently it'll work fine. I can't remember if you can shut off the Netgear 2.4GHz channel or not but it would probably be best if you did. That way the AE's 2.4 won't be conflicting with it.

    One weird thing about the Netgear I worked on: It gives a "virtual" ethernet address to devices that are connected.
  4. wuush macrumors member

    May 4, 2014
    The best solution would be to use only the devices of one brand (probably apple in your case) and connect the Airport Extreme via LAN/DLAN with the extending wireless access point(probably an Airport Express), because using repeaters, that connect to the main access point via wlan isn't optimal (read: it sucks!).

    Also setting up the Airport Extreme in the middle of the apartment could be a better solution.

    Not really tbh (atleast with Macs on Mavericks), there were many threads in this forum because the Macs, running Mavericks, failed to automatically select the best Wifi-Band (5Ghz). Hopefully this will change with Yosemite.

    2.4Ghz Band is often crowded but reaches further than the 5Ghz. In almost all cases the Macs failed to select the 5Ghz networks, because the dual-band routers used the same SSID (Network Name) for 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz Bands and Mavericks doesnt work well with that. Many times 5Ghz had better bandwith than 2.4Ghz and Mavericks still selected 2.4Ghz
    (To see which Band you use press the option key and click the wifi-icon)

    I think your case you have to try it out and see what is best for you, but from my point of view your setup isn't ideal at all.

    Btw: you have 4 Networks now 2 from the Apple Dual-Band Router (same SSID(Network Name), but 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz) and 2 from the Extender (again 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz)
  5. ninethirty thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2006
    My concern with this is that the airport express isn't AC. Just N. And I've had issues streaming HD stuff from my mac to an AppleTV on N before. I would have gotten the airport express for sure if it was able to do AC.

    For the most part, this is my wife wanting to be able to user her iPad or connect to Netflix on the TV from the bedroom (the opposite end of the apartment from which the Extreme is located). It's not really possible for the Extreme to be in the middle as the cable solution right now is on the furthest end.

    If I had an airport express, does that simply expand the reach of the same network, or does it do the same as the netgear and create new networks that use the previous network as source?


    Oh, and my other concern was that my office is literally in the middle of the apartment. Which is where the extender is. I worried that if I had gone with the airport express that my office equipment would be limited to N instead of AC. Do you know if that's true or not if I had the express?

  6. wuush, Jul 7, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2014

    wuush macrumors member

    May 4, 2014
    Yes, if you use an AirPort Extreme as Base Station and an Airport Express as Repeater it should be the same SSID, looks cleaner and probably Works seamless(like when You Move around with a Laptop in your house, it switches Wireless Access-Points automatically, like you want)'but i actually dont use the Apple Airport so maybe someone with more experience should comment on this.

    Things to Note:
    Apple Airport arent the best WLAN Access Points concerning Signal Strength and other Things, especially when You Look at the price. You should only buy them. for their seamless experience (in my opinion or when you have a Lot of apple products Timemachine, Repeater Setup etc.)

    You should consider connecting your Base Station via LAN/DLAN to your Repeater, because as already mentioned repeating a Wireless Signal is crap and wont help your hd-Streaming activities.

    In Theory You shouldnt Need AC-WLAN because HD-Content doesnt Even Need the bandwith of n-WLAN and your Apple TV also has a buffer.
    I Write in theory because if you cant Stream properly to your Apple TV with n-WLAN your wifi-Signal Strength is probably really crappy (maybe because of interference/repeating your Wireless Network etc.)

    P.s.: ipad autocorrect sucks!!! Sorry for that many errors.

    edit: super easy setup and same ssid, when you repeat a network, just like apple.
  7. ninethirty thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2006
    Thanks for the response! There's no way for me to run an ethernet cable out to where the extender will be. It's just not an option. I got out an old Time Capsule of mine and connected that and was able to use it to extend the network. It's pretty old though, and I've noticed a lot of interference with it in the past, but it did what I was hoping though, which was to simply extend the original network without creating new ones. So.. is that my best bet then? To just pick up an airport express and use that? The Netgear is maybe not such a great idea?


  8. wuush macrumors member

    May 4, 2014
    yes, i think this is the best way, because it just works! if i had to use repeaters in my setup i would probably only use apple airports too.

    you mentioned interference, try dlan and consider different positions for you wlan accesspoints to create better reception.

    if it does not work they way you want (choppy apple tv) we should analyze your network in more detail. then you should probably post statistics of the network, internet bandwith etc.
  9. velocityg4 macrumors 68040


    Dec 19, 2004
    Why don't you use power line networking? Then you could connect an access point to it. I'd suggest just getting an AC router and set it in bridged mode. For those without a bridged mode disable DHCP and give it a static IP within the correct IP range along with the correct subnet, router address and DNS entries to provide the same effect. I say get a router for this since they are usually cheaper than an access point plus give you extra Ethernet ports so it can act as a switch.

    The SSID and network key must be exactly the same. Then the computer will connect automatically to the strongest signal. It won't jump between them until the signal is lost. If you use different names the computer will not choose the strongest signal. It will follow it's preferred network order.

    Be sure to change the default password on the power line adapter so others in your complex can't gain access to your power line network.

    TP Link gets good reviews.

    Note: Power line adapters slow as their signal weakens. So the halfway point is a good place to go to.
  10. wuush macrumors member

    May 4, 2014
    dlan=power lan but you have to be careful, because it only works good with with new cabling! and if your apartment is old it has probably more than 1 power circuit and this interfers with dlan.
    so try it out cause it might be better than wlan, but keep the recipe because it might not work!
  11. ninethirty thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2006
    One last question for anyone - I got the airport express, and while I've got the same SSID throughout our entire place, the signal in the back is still quite weak. I can't figure it out. I'm considering running an ethernet cable all the way back there and putting the express in the bedroom itself, but if I connect by ethernet like that, can I still add to the same network, or is it going to have me create a new one?

    Ok I lied, one other question. Even though the airport express is close, we see maybe 2 bars of signal at best. Is this the airport express's reach being weak, or the quality of the signal being weak?

  12. wuush, Jul 16, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2014

    wuush macrumors member

    May 4, 2014
    If you extend your network with a ethernet cable the ssid should still be the same, but the issues should reduce and latency should improve.

    Since its digital technology you cant really speak of quality of the signal, it either gets through or it doesnt, then the router does send the same signal again.

    So the reach of the airport express seems to be weak. You can try the following things:

    • Relocate the Airport Express (like the already mentioned bedroom)
    • Place the airport Express higher up (on a shelf or smth)
    • Relocate it away from walls, especially thick ones
    • Remember the Wireless Signal is sphere shaped
    • Switch to 5Ghz Highly recommended in Apartment Buildings with many Wifi-Networks
    • Switch the channel, because of wireless interference.

    Videos that might help:
    Optimizing your Wi-Fi Network as Fast As Possible
    Powerline vs Wireless vs Ethernet Networking - if you consider expanding your network with powerline/dlan
  13. ninethirty thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2006
    Thanks for the info. I might give the Powerline networking a try, but one last question if that's cool.

    What's the more optimal situation here (with the modem being at the far end of the apartment in both options):

    A. Plug the airport extreme in next to the modem, and set up a powerline adapter there, then set up another power line at the opposite end of the apartment, and plug that into an express that services the bedroom?


    B. Go straight from the modem to powerline at the far end of the apartment, add the other adapter in the middle and connect that to the airport extreme, and then set up an express in the bedroom at the far other end.

    Oh, and by doing this, if I use the same SSID/password, will I be able to airplay between devices that are connected on different base stations (extreme vs express).


  14. wuush macrumors member

    May 4, 2014
    A, because powerline would already bottleneck your bandwith in option b.

    with ethernet this wouldn't be a problem but powerline isn't really the technology the marketing machine wants you to believe in. It does work yes, but you need relativ new cabling, which often means you have to be in a newer building. And even if thats the case it will never be as good as ethernet!
    You can consider Powerline if you want, but since you wrote you might consider running ethernet in your home, i would strongly advise you against powerline.
    It is cheaper since you dont need a powerline kit and cat5e is all you need, which is proven technology, reliable and cheaper.

    P.S.: dont forget the bullet points, especially the 5Ghz Point.

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