Extra Extreme to extend home network?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Jedi5, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. Jedi5 macrumors 6502


    Aug 16, 2009
    North Burbs, IL
    Just replaced my older Extreme (A1354) as I was having issues with my home network.
    Went out and bought the newer tower Extreme (A1521).

    Thing is, the older extreme *might* still be good.
    As I was resetting and moving wires around, I moved forward with the newer Extreme.

    If my older extreme is still in good working condition, can I use it to extend my home wifi?

    My home office is in our basement.
    I can get good strong signal wifi on the 1st floor.
    On the 2nd floor, it starts to slow down.

    I ran an ethernet cable from basement to 2nd floor and connected an Express to help with the slower wifi.

    If I disconnect the Express and connect the extreme to the ethernet cable, will I see a difference in speeds/signal on the 2nd floor?
  2. techwarrior macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2009
    It can work. I have Time Capsule as my Main router in downstairs office, and an older Extreme as my second Access Point upstairs.

    Set the 2nd Extreme to Router Mode: Off (bridged mode) on the network tab in AP Utility, then set SSID and password(s) the same as the main router.

    Benefits of using Extreme as an access point are that it has 1GB Ethernet ports for both faster uplink to the router (vs 100Mbps for express), and for Ethernet connections to devices on the second floor. Also, the radio signal on Extreme is stronger than the Express, and probably more streams supported.

    Be careful about channel selection. The 2.4GHz frequency on the main router may be sufficient to cover the entire home, so if you leave 2.4 enabled on the second extreme, the two might interfere with each other. Set the channels on 2.4 manually, avoiding overlap with each other and neighbors Wi-Fi.

    There is a setting on iOS for Airport Utility to enable Wi-Fi Scanner, it will then show all signals, channels, and strength of all signals in range of the iPhone. Move around the home with iOS device and note the channels and strengths of 2.4GHz signals.

    2.4GHz has longer range, so more chance for the two Airports to overlap, and more chance for neighbors signals to overlap. 2.4GHz is limited to 12-14 channels (vs 150+ for 5GHz). Devices sharing the same channels collide with each other trying to gain access to the Access Points, so if your channels are in a different range than others, network speeds will be faster for you and your neighbors.

    I also use a different 5GHz SSID to enable my 5GHz capable devices to only connect to that frequency, leaving more capacity for 2.4GHz restricted devices. So my 5GHz capable devices never try connecting to 2.4GHz (I "forgot" this SSID on these devices).

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