Extending WiFi

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Ifti, Jun 6, 2017.

  1. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    I currently have an Apple Airport Time Capsule - the newer shape supporting 802.11ac. This has served me perfectly well since 2013!
    Ive just purchased a larger house and would like to extend the wireless network. I notice the Airport Express is still available, but this does not support 802.11ac - considering by iPhone/Macs etc all support 802.11ac, I would like to continue to use this protocol.

    What are my options, other then purchasing an expensive Airport Extreme to extend the network?
     
  2. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ventura County
    #2
    Thats the point of an extension. Its not another network in the menu bar, its just a different access point that automatically connects over. I have an Airport Extreme (ac) and two Airport Expresses. The Extreme in the center of the house and the expresses on the opposite side. (My house is long, not very wide). If you set it up to "extend a network" its all automatic. As you get closer to the express it will switch over.

    The only way to tell is if you have a network utility app on your computer that shows which router you are connected to. I use https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wifi-explorer/id494803304?mt=12
     
  3. Arran macrumors 68040

    Arran

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta, USA
    #3
    Airport utility will tell you which device (i.e., "wireless client") is connected to each access point. Instructions here: https://www.macobserver.com/tmo/art...veal-network-info-in-apples-airport-utility-6
    --- Post Merged, Jul 2, 2017 ---
    Another option is an Apple Store refurb. Here in the US it's $129 ($70 off). Not much more than a brand-new Express at $99.
     
  4. bigpoppamac31, Jul 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017

    bigpoppamac31 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #4
    Okay. My apartment is long also. So my Extreme is at the other end in the living room and my Express is right near me on my desk in the bedroom. I have an Yamaha AV receiver in the same room as my desk with Airplay built in. Would that AV receiver be connecting to the Express or Extreme? Also do both the Extreme and Express have to have the same name and password. I was not prompted for a password when I set up the Express.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 2, 2017 ---
    All my "wireless clients" are connected to the Extreme except for my iPhone which is going through the Express. My Mac is about 2 feet from the Express and it's still grabbing the signal from the Extreme. My AV receiver is maybe 8 feet from the Express but it also is getting it's signal from the Extreme which is much farther away. Weird.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 2, 2017 ---
     
  5. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ventura County
    #5
    If the extension it set up properly, then it uses the same SSID and password as the main router. But remember, the extreme and the express has to be close enough where it can relay the signal properly. If its too far away, the signal extension will be weakened. Because of what you are describing, it doesn't sound like you extended the network, but merely "joined" the network. You might want to reset the express to factory settings via Airport Utility and reset it up, making sure you use extend.

    This may be of help.
    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202056
    https://snapguide.com/guides/extend-your-wi-fi-network-with-an-airport-express/
     
  6. bigpoppamac31 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #6

    This is what my network looks like. Where do I find the SSID?
    Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 3.12.45 PM.png
     
  7. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ventura County
    #7
    When you click on the express and go to edit the settings. Go to the third pane (wireless). Does it say Create, Join or Extend. I'm not at home so I don't have my extended network, but I am connected to this airport right now. Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 12.15.09 PM.png
     
  8. bigpoppamac31 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #8
    My network mode is "extend". Right now my iPhone and Mac are connected via my Express which is in my bedroom. The Apple TV in the living room as well as my dad's iPhone and iPad are connected to the Extreme which is in the living room.
     
  9. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ventura County
    #9
    Thats very weird. It is possible the two units are too far away from each other, so the iPhone and iPad are seeing the extreme has a strong signal. I'm not really sure. I have never experienced that. Only thing I can suggest is restore the express to factory and reset it up as extending again. Maybe something went wrong. But with my 2 expresses and 1 extreme, it will auto switch once I get closer to another access point. You could try moving them close before resetting it up. That could trigger it. I have each express about 20-30 feet from the extreme, but with very limited walls in-between.
     
  10. bigpoppamac31 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #10
    Well my dad's iPhone and iPad are close to the Extreme in the living room which is why they're seeing it and not the Express. That's what I want. My iPhone, Mac and AV receiver are all in my bedroom where the Express is and they are seeing the Express. That's also what I want. That to me makes sense but perhaps I'm doing it wrong. When I go into my AV receiver settings I see both routers which both have the same name. Kinda confusing.
     
  11. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ventura County
    #11
    That doesn't sound right. It shouldn't see both routers. My devices only see my one network as "Rollin". Even when I open the application I posted above, it will see all three routers, but they are all named "Rollin". Thats how it gets it automatic connection. It just gravitates towards the strongest signal, even though they are all the same network.

    Something is off, but if the devices are connecting to the router that you want it to, I wouldn't mess with it because it may change things. I just don't understand why the AV is seeing both units.
     
  12. Arran macrumors 68040

    Arran

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta, USA
    #12
    Just a tip: Extended networks can slow things down because the signal has to do multiple wireless hops between base stations.

    If you want the best performance, implement a "roaming" network. Only downside is that you'll have to run ethernet between the base stations - but the performance is worth it. Roaming is what I've used for years after giving up on "extended" mode.

    More info: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202056
     
  13. bigpoppamac31 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #13
    Well the Express base station name is different from it's wireless network name which is the same as the Extreme.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 2, 2017 ---
    Well I'm not in a big house. Just a 3 bedroom apartment which is long.
     
  14. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
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    #14
    That shouldn't matter. All three of my units have different names. But all that matters is the broadcast name. Which is the SSID. Which should be the same as the extreme cause it's extended.
     
  15. bigpoppamac31 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #15
    Would having both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz enabled effect anything? I see both in my wifi drop down on Mac and on my iPhone.
     
  16. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
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    #16
    It shouldn't. I have both enabled. Do you have it set up where 5Ghz is a separate network?
     
  17. bigpoppamac31, Jul 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017

    bigpoppamac31 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #17
    Possibly. I'm actually not sure. I just ran a speed test on both my rMBP and my iPhone 6S. The Mac got 130Mbps DL and 10Mbps upload. The iPhone got 62Mbps DL and 10Mbps upload. That's on the 5Ghz band.

    I had bought the latest gen Extreme to upgrade from an older one. I primarily use my Express for Airplay.

    EDIT: Just did the speed test again with just the Extreme. My Mac got about 150Mbps DL before ending at 126Mbps while my iPhone got 200Mbps DL. Both get 10-11Mbps upload. Maybe I don't need to extend my wifi signal. I was having issues with my previous Airport Extreme (the flat one) but with the tall one it seems better. I was getting audio drop outs on my receiver hence me getting the Express which I could plug into my receiver with an audio cable.
     
  18. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ventura County
    #18
    I originally bought my expresses when I had the smaller extreme too. The range on the AC extreme is much better. The reason why I use the extenders is primarily for Airplay audio, but I also have my TV plugged into the ethernet of of one, and an xbox plugged into the other. I could probably get away without using the express.
     
  19. bigpoppamac31 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #19
    Yeah I was trying my AV receiver's Airplay earlier and through the extreme (802.11ac) it seems okay. A couple of songs did stutter but simply replaying them fixed it. We'll see how it goes. Maybe I'll put my express back where it was and use the audio cable to connect them. Results running speed tests varies depending on the time of the day it seems. Now my iPhone is getting 60Mbps DL when a couple hours ago it got 200Mbps.
     
  20. Amigaman macrumors regular

    Amigaman

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Greenville, MI
    #20
    Did you notice a slow down in speeds when using the extenders? I had an AirPort Extreme in the basement and two AirPort Express extenders throughout the house and my MBP would always lock onto the slower AP Expresses. That's why I went with the AirMesh setup. Now, even if my laptop locks onto a mesh-point, I'm getting 802.11AC speeds.
     
  21. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ventura County
    #21
    I noticed a slow down as the expresses got further away from the extreme. If I kept them relatively close, speed was about the same, maybe a 5% loss. It took me a good couple of weeks to find the sweet spot.
     

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