extreme + express - simulate dual band?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by zenoran, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. zenoran macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2009
    I've been banging my head over this reading over and over multiple different threads but I can't come to any kind of a conclusion if I can do what I'm trying to do with the hardware I have.

    I realize when you have a g device connected to an N-network it drops the connection speed down. I was hoping I could get an express to extend the network then put the extreme in N-only and have my mbp connect to that, while the other devices (ps3 and iphone) could connect to the express in g mode...

    From what I've seen, everything is connecting to the express, including the mbp. Is there no way to force it to connect to the express in N mode? Is there no way I can simulate the functionality of "dual band" with just an extreme and an express?

    Any insight would be appreciated... thanks
  2. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    Create two separate SSIDs. One for the 802.11n only (5 GHz) network, and one for the 2.4 GHz b/g(/n?) network. This forces whichever devices to connect to only the SSID which you enable it to.

    Also, be sure to delete the b/g/n network SSID from your list of preferred networks in your Network Preferences to keep your MBP from joining automatically.

    Lastly, make sure your Express is running in bridge mode to allow all network clients to be on the same subnet and therefore be able to communicate with one another.
  3. zenoran thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2009
    Two separate networks linked together how? Does it require wiring them together?
  4. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    Yes. Connect your Express to one of the LAN ports of your Extreme.

    In AirPort Utility, disable connection sharing for the Express and in Wireless create a unique SSID for both networks. This makes both run on the same subnet, essentially making two wireless access points to the same network. (Most people think "SSID" is synonymous with "network". However, an SSID is merely a way for wireless clients to be able to join your network. It's possible for a single network to have multiple SSIDs or even none at all.)

    Then you choose the correct broadcast options, making one transmit an N-only signal and the other a mixed b/g/n signal. For faster data rates, 802.11n only (5 GHz) is faster than 802.11 only (2.4 GHz) (300Mbps vs 170Mbps), but is less able to penetrate walls.

    When all is said and done, you'll have one network with two SSIDs, one enabling N clients to join at N speeds without slowdown and the other allowing a mixture of b/g/n clients to join while adjusting the speeds accordingly to accommodate the clients' connection speeds.
  5. zenoran thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2009
    Thanks for that explanation. That is what I suspected that they needed to be wired together. The only other concern I had was being able to use AirTunes from a client on the other wireless network. Do you have any experience with that working or not?

    I had a similar problem in a previous network setup trying to get the Remote app on the iPhone to see iTunes for remote control. Something with bonjour going across multiple subnets was a problem but you're saying it's possible to bridge the wireless networks together on the same subnet so that shouldn't cause a problem for such applications?

    I guess if this is something I decide is worth stringing the cable for I could do the initial testing from the same room initially, was just wondering.

    Thanks again for the reply and clarification!
  6. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    I don't have experience with AirTunes as I don't have an Express, but I don't see why you wouldn't be able to set it up with the method I suggested. You're absolutely right about the subnet issue. Since everything is on the same subnet, all devices will be able to see and communicate with one another, no matter which SSID they join. Both your Remote app and AirTunes should work, especially since everything in your setup consists of AirPort Base Stations.

    The best thing to do since you already have all of the equipment is to just try it out. If it doesn't work you can always go back to your old setup, but I'm fairly certain you won't have any issues. And if you do, just post back here and I'll try my best to help you sort them out.

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