Guest network with Airport Express as a secondary AP

jollino

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 15, 2006
306
3
Chieti, Italy
Hello all,
I currently have a wifi network served by a TP-Link router, which I only use as a 'dumb' access point as I have a DSL modem/router that does the actual routing and acts as a DHCP server.

Since I'd like to expand the network *and* I need to set up a guest network, it looks like the Airport Express would be a perfect candidate.
What I have in mind is:
- Airport Express connected via Ethernet, so it wouldn't act as a repeater
- DHCP server and client disabled (has a static IP on the existing subnet)
- Has the same SSID as the existing network but on a different channel (this should let all wireless devices see a single, wider network, correct?)
- Guest network set on a different subnet

Am I missing something, or is this all I need? I'm asking this because I've found reports of the Airport being little 'peculiar' in the way it's configured, i.e. it wants to be the main router or something like that. In my case it'd have to be content to be on the sidelines. :)

Thanks in advance!
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
Am I missing something, or is this all I need? I'm asking this because I've found reports of the Airport being little 'peculiar' in the way it's configured, i.e. it wants to be the main router or something like that. In my case it'd have to be content to be on the sidelines. :)

Thanks in advance!
In order to use the guest network an AirPort must either be in DHCP & NAT mode or in Bridge Mode with another AirPort handling the routing on the network.
 

jollino

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 15, 2006
306
3
Chieti, Italy
Hm, I could happily have it in DHCP mode, however if it *requires* another Airport I'd be out of luck...
 

jollino

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 15, 2006
306
3
Chieti, Italy
Is an AirPort Extreme out of the question? I don't know for sure the Express has the same settings, but I'm using an AirPort Time Capsule in a similar fashion:

1) ATC connected by ethernet to the main router at the other end of the house
2) DHCP disabled and using the main router's (for me primarily because the AirPort DHCP settings are restrictive and also tied to using NAT mode)
3) You can set the AirPort to "Create wireless network" or "extend wireless network". Changing channels, etc isn't possible if you select "extend" (it probably does it automatically).
4) Although it lets you set up a guest network in bridge mode, it doesn't work properly unless you have another AirPort, or have it set in NAT mode (NAT mode does not require another AirPort). I think this is what Altemose meant, although the way he phrased it was ambiguous.
Hmm it seems a relatively convoluted process for my setup and it would probably increase the costs quite a bit. I don't have particular need for Apple network hardware and I was considering the Express mostly because a friend mentioned that AirPort devices support a guest network, but I suppose I could find something cheaper that I can just hook up to a switch and set up both the extended network and the new guest network (all it takes internally is bridging them, after all.)
Even if you can now hook up a USB drive to the 802.11ac Extreme for Time Machine, which is definitely a nice touch, €199 is quite a bit steep for my current needs :rolleyes:
 
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