Help with extending 5Ghz Extreme (Please Help)

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by WA2FAST, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. WA2FAST macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    #1
    I have a new Apple AirPort Extreme (whatever the latest version is, with gigabit ports and dual band 2.4Ghz/5Ghz) and also have the newest version of the AirPort Express. I originally was using the Express for iTunes music streaming exclusively, however with my recent findings of how poor the 5Ghz range is, I would REALLY like to extend the network using the Express if possible. I DO have them hard-wired, so I am hoping that I won't have any wireless bandwidth sacrifice. I have a couple of questions about this type of setup outlined below and any help would be GREATLY appreciated.

    Is the express even capable of 5Ghz, and furthermore, is it capable of extending 5Ghz?
    Will all devices whether they are hard wired, on a/b/g/n (2.4Ghz) or n(5Ghz) be able to still stream music to the Express?
    Will there be any sacrifice of wireless bandwidth or anything else if I set them up in this manner (hard-wired)?
    Is it literally as simple as telling it to extend my unique 5Ghz wireless network name and it will just "work"?

    Is there anything else that I need to know or tips that any of you may have on doing this type of a setup? I have looked through TONS of documentation and searches about this and cannot find anything specific to what I would like to accomplish. All of Apple's documentation on this just talks about 802.11n but in the case of extending, I don't see anything anywhere about the 5Ghz band and none of the info I can find on the Express has anything about it one way or the other, just that it's 802.11n.

    Thank you again, I truly appreciate the help.
     
  2. laurenr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #2
    I was just assisting someone with this yesterday, so have the info handy for you.
    In my own home, I also needed to extend the limited geographical range of my purely "n" network, and accomplished this with the Time Capsule, and an Airport Express. However, I have not hard wired them together, as this kind of limits the purpose of enabling a wireless connection on the other side of the house to where the main base station is situated. I am curious as to why you would want them set up this way. I can move my Airport Exp to anywhere, even outside in order to facilitate a good connection.

    So let's say you want to extend the range the furthest possible distance, and set the two base stations up wirelessly. It is just as simple as you thought. Just check the box "Allow this network to be extended" on the primary AEBS:

    TC.jpg

    Then, on the Air Ex, you would similarly check in the Wireless Mode, "Extend a Wireless Network", selecting of course, the original network you have set up:

    EX.jpg

    Both base stations must be configured with the identical wireless security and password. There is no problem streaming music to speakers attached to the Air Exp:

    spkrs.jpg



    Unfortunately, there is a downside - you will sacrifice some measure of bandwidth when extending the range of a wireless network, however the difference should be hardly discernable, especially when browsing the internet. (This is at least my experience).

    Hope it's all clear.:)
     
  3. WA2FAST thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    #3
    As to why I would want to hard wire the devices broadcasting my network... to alleviate wireless bandwidth issues... you have to understand that it KILLS network throughput when you use wireless to extend wireless... something like 75% decrease or something like that if I'm not mistaken. If you look at the whitepapers that Apple has supplied on their support about this exact situation, they highly recommend hard-wiring all "repeaters" due to this. Either way you do it, it is supposed to work... I happen to have a line that I cabled years ago that I have a small gigabit switch on that I am going to use to connect my airport express with... might as well instead of using wireless to extend it.

    Thank you for that info... I guess I am still unclear as to whether it will actually extend my 5Ghz "N" segment. That's what I'm unsure of. You definitely cleared up the other questions I had, so thank you very much for that. Great info, good job, thank you for answering.
     
  4. laurenr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #4
    The further apart the two base stations are, the wider the distribution of your signal - you would have to do this with a really long ethernet cord.:) As for the degradation of the bandwidth (going sans hard-wiring), unless you are transferring huge files via your "n" network (between devices), you will otherwise not notice it. It's really up to you whether you want to go wireless or not. For purposes of browsing the internet, there is really very little difference. Even when I watch my Netflix movies, there is mostly zero buffering; playing music via Air Tunes, no difference at all.:) If you had more than one Air Ex set up to extend your range, then you might notice more of a difference.
     
  5. WA2FAST thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    #5
    My extreme and express are about 35' away through tons of walls and such and my laptop and ipad and other 5ghz devices without extending the signal get about 1 bar on the apple-graph which degrades the signal to I can't remember what connection speed, but even with browsing the Internet, it was MUCH slower than jumping on my 2.4Ghz band. My point is that I have a hard line running to this room, which is also where my express is, so I am hoping to use the express to extend JUST the 5ghz band... that is what is lacking right now. Without putting the express in a bathroom, there is no good way of extending the wireless network without a hard line in my case anyway. BTW, I have cabled the house with hard lines in the wall... so I'm not stretching a 50' Ethernet cable across my house, I have already pulled lines to certain areas of my house from the office, where the extreme lives.

    So regardless of how you would like to extend your network... in this case, I should be able to create a roaming 5Ghz network, but I'm still unclear as to whether the express will extend specifically, the 5Ghz segment. Remember, in order to KNOW which segment you are connecting to, you NEED to name them differently. In my case, when I setup my extreme, it had by default my private network SSID with a "(5Ghz)" after it, so I KNOW which network segment I'm connecting to. That is specifically what I need to extend. I figure, instead of using the 2.4Ghz band exclusively, since I have a device that broadcasts dual band (both 2.4 and 5 at the same time), I might as well take advantage of it. Also, since I have the express where my 5Ghz signal is weak and I need it the most, I am hoping that I can use this device to specifically extend just the 5Ghz band.
     
  6. laurenr, Apr 27, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2011

    laurenr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #6
    Lucky you that you have your house hard-wired with all that ethernet cabling....wish I had the same setup.:rolleyes:

    If I understand you correctly, you have a DUAL-BAND wireless network - one set at 5GHZ and the other at 2.4 GHZ? I have that set up at home. The 2 different bands, as you say, need to each have their own distinctive names. This way, when you configure the Airport Express to extend the range of ONLY the 5GHZ network, you would select only that faster one. Here is my setup choices with my 2 networks:

    ExpN.jpg


    You can see that I have the choice of extending either my "N" network, called "Lola n" (5GHZ) or my "n/b/g" (2.4 GHZ), called "Lola n/b/g". You would than place your Express, hard-wired, into whichever part of the house to which you need to extend the range.

    For the initial setup, you might first need to connect it via ethernet directly to the Airport Extreme. However, because you have the base stations hard-wired together, you will instead, set up a "Roaming Network". (The option to "extend" the network is only available via a wireless configuration.)

    Your Airport Extreme should be set to "share a public IP address", while the Express should be set to "Bridge" mode. Each device will have the identical NETWORK name (the 5GHZ band) and PASSWORD, but give each unit it's own unique name -see in my pics above - "Time Cap" and "Express n".
     
  7. WA2FAST thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    #7
    Thank you... that does clear it up and is very consistent with what I found. I guess that I didn't realize that the Apple "extend a network" is a "dumbed down" version of WDS... I thought that it was something unique to their devices and that being Apple... they would automatically be able to figure out if the extender (remote base station) was hard wired or wireless, and use accordingly. What I kept doing was "extending" the network as anyone would but as soon as I plugged the ethernet cable into the express, it would bring the entire network to it's knees. Obviously now I have figured out that it was bridging wired and wireless together and flooding the network, both wired and wirelessly with repeated packtes. Now that we have figured that out, I decided to create a roaming network which you described above and went through the steps of creating a WDS main (extreme) which really doesn't have any options to change at this point, and WDS remote (express) and this way they can only be connected through ethernet. So far we are good. This I can handle and this would work flawlessly, however there is one major drawback with this setup. The express will NOT be a 5Ghz AP. It will ONLY do 2.4Ghz. I don't know why, but my ONLY options are n(b/g compatible) as the radio mode and then when I look at the channel selection which is the dead giveaway at this point, it's only 1-12... none of the 5Ghz channels are available. I cannot change the broadcast mode unfortunately, it will only allow 2.4Ghz in WDS mode.

    With all of this said, I'm going to do what you did and just use Apple's basic extend the wireless network method to extend my 5Ghz band and call it a day. I just wish that there was some sort of way to verify that things are opperating ON the 5Ghz band and at their full potential... when I look at my express in the airport utility, it shows that I have 3 devices connected, one being my macbook pro (~150mbps), one the extreme base station (~180mbps), and my iPad which is only connecting at something around 65-80... nothing more than that. I figured that they would all connect at a higher rate, but maybe I'm just dreaming at this point with it all. I just want to ensure that it's all working as it is supposed to be, that's all... nothing more. I have 2, 5Ghz N devices (3 if I include my express) and I want all of them to connect using the best and fastest wireless technology available. With that said, I should have the capability of making this possible with the equipment that I have, but then again, maybe not... just want to make sure that they are all connected the best way possible.

    Thank you for your help, I truly appreciate it and thank you for listening to me ramble on about this.
     
  8. laurenr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #8
    I wondering if the Airport Express IS the "n" capable model, (the latest generation), because if it is, it should be capable of the purely "n"/5GHZ mode?? If you hold down the Option key when selecting channels, it would give you more options when configuring channels.

    If I understand you correctly, did you decided to NOT go with the hard-wired (ethernet) connection between the base stations, and instead configure a wireless extension to your network? I'm a bit confused because you mentioned a "roaming" network with "WDS" which are two entirely separate configurations.

    Whatever you decided, hope everything works well for you.:)
     
  9. WA2FAST thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    #9
    Okay, I figured it out. Obviously since extending the network and WDS are the same thing basically, I started to do some other digging and finally came across the KB on Apple's website that explains it (very short and sweet) and I guess I didn't realize that creating a roaming network on apple devices is basically the same as any other type of network. The link to the KB is below and also, holding the Option key while clicking on the wireless mode while configuring these devices opens up a whole other world of options and actually allowed me to do exactly what I wanted with it. I now have my Express serving as another AP, and as a 5Ghz N-Only AP. All is well now and it works exactly how I need it to. Thank you again.


    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4260
     
  10. laurenr, May 3, 2011
    Last edited: May 4, 2011

    laurenr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #10
    The Roaming Network configuration is honestly the best way to extend an 802.11n 5GHZ network because you suffer no degradation of bandwidth. After thinking about this thread, I actually decided to change the WDS setup in my home and do the roaming setup. The only difference, is that I had to use Powerline Ethernet Adapters to provide the hard-wired extension to my "n" network.(I was not lucky enough to think of running ethernet all through the house when it was built.:() Thankfully, they worked like a charm. For anyone else that needs them:
    with a single ethernet port:
    http://netgear.com/home/products/powerline-and-coax/high-performance/XAVB5001.aspx

    With multiple/ethernet switch extension:
    http://netgear.com/home/products/hometheater/networking-for-home-theater-and-gaming/XAVB5004.aspx

    With these Powerline Adapters, I just plug in the secondary Base Station, and this allows me Net access clear across the other side of the house from the Primary base station.:)
     
  11. WA2FAST thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    #11
    Bar-none, using ethernet to connect AP's instead of wireless through WDS is much better anyway for sure... that way you aren't eating up your wireless throughput for AP traffic chatter... all of that bandwidth is used for your devices to connect to your network, so you are completely correct. Whether it's 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz, it's the "correct" way of doing it (of course, if you can actually do it that way), and even Apple tells you that in many if not all of their white papers about wireless setup. That's how it's done on the enterprise level anyway, you'll never see a large office building using wireless to extend wireless... that's typically a "home" or small office type of thing, not that there is anything wrong with it, however, the more demanding we all become on bandwidth and information, the more important this is to think about.

    Glad those power adapters worked out so well... that's really cool that they perform so well.
     
  12. Locodice macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    #12
    Hi there Wa2fast, out of interest which country are you in?
     
  13. WA2FAST thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
  14. fxapple macrumors newbie

    fxapple

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2010
    Location:
    Illinois
    #14
    laurenr...great information but I have another related question. I have the Airport Extreme and four Airport Express for iTunes connections and a printer. Getting a lot of interference when the microwave is on. The channel on my base station and all of the Airport Express units is set to "Automatic". Should the channel on the base station be set to a specific channel with all the other express units on automatic? Thanks in advance.
     
  15. laurenr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #15
    Unfortunately, if your network is set to the 2.4GHz radio mode, there will be interference from phones, microwaves, etc. Also, the same could be said for a neighbor's network, if their channel is close to the one your device is selecting.

    You do not specify whether your network is 802.11n or (n)b/g. If it is the first, I would suggest setting it to 5.0GHz. Another option is to download a utility called "iStumbler" that will show what channels surrounding networks are using, then you would set yours to a different one, as far apart as possible. For example, here is a screenshot of iStumbler illustrating this. (Unfortunately this will not display interference you are experiencing from household devices/appliances):

    istumbler.jpg

    Istumbler info/download:
    http://istumbler.net/

    One last thing - I sure hope you are not extending your network wirelessly with all those Airport Express base stations! The degradation of bandwidth would be enough to bring your network to just above a crawl!
     
  16. fxapple macrumors newbie

    fxapple

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2010
    Location:
    Illinois
    #16
    Thanks for the fast response. I have an Airport express for two stereo units to play iTunes, one for Playstation, one for a USB printer, one for the Plasma TV. All except one of my express units are N. The older G one is hooked to the USB printer. I did not see a 5.0 GHz only selection available and here is a screen shot of my setup.
     

    Attached Files:

  17. WA2FAST thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    #17
    Hold the Option Key while you click the drop down arrow, you will see all kinds of options.
     
  18. fxapple macrumors newbie

    fxapple

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2010
    Location:
    Illinois
    #18
    Thanks for the reminder. I read that in one of your posts but got caught up with other issues. It appears my setup is a little wackco and that would explain some of the problems I've had with consistency. Right now I've got five airport express units on wireless and as laurenr mentioned my network is very slow. Just reading this thread has helped me understand that I should be hardwiring some of those express units. Thanks to you, laurenr and others for all the great info. I'm still wondering about if I should choose a channel on the base station and select automatic for the express units or make everything automatic. Thanks agian for the help.
     
  19. WA2FAST thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    #19
    No problem. As far as hard wiring some of the express units... you should hard wire all of them. Of course, you can only do so if possible... but the goal would most definitely be to have multiple AP's broadcasting your wireless and then communicating back to the Extreme or whatever the DHCP server is, and going about it that way. If not, you are killing your bandwidth and exponentially cutting it down by adding even one AP that extends it on the wireless backbone. Do whatever you can to get as many of those as possible wired up and that will help a great deal. I'm surprised that you haven't noticed a huge wireless speed loss due to having that many AP's as wireless extenders already.
     
  20. fxapple macrumors newbie

    fxapple

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2010
    Location:
    Illinois
    #20
    I have noticed it but always thought the issues was for other reasons. One time I discussed my setup and issues with a Genius at an Apple store but he never mentioned anything about hard wire or the effect on the network due to multiple wireless AP's. Any comments on the my channel selection question?
     
  21. WA2FAST thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    #21
    Not sure why they didn't comment on that, the link in my earlier post goes straight to Apple's support page explaining all of it. If you look on the KB for wireless setup or wireless network architecture, you will see in the white papers explaining Apple's networking and right there they say that they highly recommend using a wired Ethernet connection between AP's and that the speed of the wireless network will be greatly reduced with even just one wireless "extender" setup to connect back to the main AP using wireless.

    See if automatic works okay first... if you start seeing drops here and there with your (stationary, not while walking around) wireless devices (assuming you have a good signal), you'll know that the AP is changing channels on you and you should evaluate right there, at the AP itself, what other wireless networks are bleeding in and so on. That will help you chose your wireless channel better, get as far away from other strong signals as you can. If you don't see a wireless network that is particularly strong that you can see being the issue, then it's more than likely interference with something else on that frequency like a microwave or cordless phone.

    I have a feeling though, once you start using Ethernet to connect your AP's, you will likely see less and less of these issues. Remember, right now, if you have an AP that is extending the wireless using wireless, then is also extending it to another, and yet another after that even... if any of the first two have a break, it will drop all of them off. The other thing, Apple's devices have a bad habit of just shutting down in a way or dropping off if network traffic gets too high (near or at it's limits).
     
  22. fxapple macrumors newbie

    fxapple

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2010
    Location:
    Illinois
    #22
    OK got it, thanks. Actually none of my AP's are used to extend the network per say, they each are attached to play iTunes on a stereo, a printer and a Playstation. Even if I setup separate networks for these categories, it will still most likey create interference unless I put the printer or Playstation on the 2.4GHz and use the 5GHz for internet browsing. In any case I'll look up the info you suggested from Apple to become more educated on wireless. Thanks again for taking the time to respond.
     
  23. WA2FAST thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    #23
    Okay, so your iTunes ones will be just a device on the network... as well as the one with the printer attached, your PS3 however is I'm sure attaching as a device, which means that the express is "extending" the network if it's serving as an AP. The thing is though, do you have the box checked "allow this network to be extended" on the main one? If you do, do you have these other airport expresses set to "extend a wireless network"? Whether you are using them like that or not doesn't matter at that point, the traffic and overhead is there. You say that even if they are on separate networks... what do you mean by that? Different frequency? That doesn't matter that much anyway because you have to remember that if you have 5 devices that are "extending" the wireless network, you are adding a ton of overhead to not only the wireless frequency and wireless card in the extreme base station, but the processor in the extreme as well. It all has limits, so if you keep adding devices that are extending the network, it has to broadcast all kinds of traffic to all of them at all times, and with one card talking to 5 AP's over wireless, the processor in the extreme alone will be taxed, not to mention the wireless card that has to sort it all out. An incoming request or connection on one of the AP's will have to take that traffic and not only authenticate it and verify it, but then wrap it back up again, send it back to the extreme, wait for it to figure out what it would like to do with it, then wrap it back up and send it back to that AP, unfortunately, that traffic hits everything all at once as they are all acting as one system. You hard wire things and you will have your devices set to "roam" your network... ALL AP's will have the same SSID, encryption type, etc. and your wireless devices will chose whatever AP has the best signal and your traffic will ONLY go between that AP and that wireless device, everything else over Ethernet. Yes, the extreme still has to process everything, but it's not nearly as heavy as having to encrypt, decrypt, encrypt, decrypt every single bit of traffic. And if you extend it again off of an extension, now you're talking huge... you will pretty much bring it to a halt out that many hops.

    Bottom line, you want to hard wire all of them. If you can't, then do as many as you possibly can. Hope that helps. Apple has some decent documentation on it, but it's all pretty much networking 101 outside of apple allowing things to use wireless to extend wireless. That's a bit more apple specific, however it's kind of funny that they do not recommend using it due to decreased network traffic and a huge hit in wireless performance.
     
  24. laurenr, Jun 15, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011

    laurenr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #24
    WA2FAST has given you excellent advice. Hard wiring is definitely the way to go. Just in case you need it, here is my "How-to" that I posted in another thread. Quote:

    "If you want to extend the range of your wireless network, without losing any of the bandwidth, the best way is to create a "Roaming Network". This is done by hard-wiring the AEBX to the Airport Express via ethernet cable. A great work-around from using one cable: See my post here:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1137673

    The problem with extending a wireless network is that your signal degrades significantly. You can use the Powerline Adapters that I mentioned in the above post; they work extremely well. I have that setup in my home for the past couple of weeks and receive a strong signal from my Airport Express. You could install the Powerline Adapters in an outlet that is on the same electrical circuit anywhere in the house. Here is a screenshot of my setup. Please note that each base station has their channels set as far apart as possible, and that the Express is set to Bridge Mode, while the main (AEBS), is set to "share a public IP Address. Otherwise, their settings are identical - same network, same password etc NOTE: they are BOTH set to "Create a Wireless Network" as opposed to "Extending/allowing to be extended". This is key.

    roaming.jpg



    Here is a link on the subject for the setup. The only thing I don't agree with is that their channel selection is set to "Automatic". This will not produce as efficient a result as setting them manually. When you do this, hold down the OPTION key while selecting channels; this will give you a greater variety of channel settings to choose from. Also, do NOT check the box on either one to "Extend the Network"


    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4260"
     
  25. fxapple macrumors newbie

    fxapple

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2010
    Location:
    Illinois
    #25
    Thank you, this is a great help. I will review everything and start planning the hardwire. Some of my confusion is based on an AE being used to either extend a wireless network or being used as a device for iTunes, a printer or Playstation. It sounds like the AE does both at the same time based on the settings. I should be able to hardwire the AE to the stereo and the PLaystation both of which are in the basement with the AEBS. I can get one more AE on the first floor but will have to choose between the Apple TV or the AE to the stereo. BTW, I didn't mention I had an old base station (space ship G) on the second floor also on the network. I appreciate everyones patience with my questions and thanks again for all the great tips. I will check your other posts.
     

Share This Page