Is AirPort Extreme Base Station answer to all my problems?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Hello.there, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. Hello.there macrumors 6502a

    Hello.there

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Location:
    Couch
    #1
    Help! In desperate need of advice on improving the quality of my wireless broadband.

    I live in a two-storey house that has no phone sockets upstairs. And upstairs is where my office is with my iMac. I also use my MacBook around the house, upstairs and down.

    My wireless router (ZyXEL Prestige 660HW-61) is in the hall downstairs but the signal is very inconsistent, ranging from quite good to so weak it's almost unusuable.

    I'm clueless about all of this so would be endlessly grateful if you fine and handsome experts could tell me if the AirPort Extreme Base Station could solve my problems?

    What I really don't understand is if the usefulness of the AirPort is dependent on my router having a reasonably strong and consistent signal - in other words, would it be a waste of money with the erratic set-up I currently have?

    Would really be grateful for any advice, many thanks.
     
  2. Hello.there thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Hello.there

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
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  3. macleod199 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2007
    #3
    I'm not sure if I understand your question. The Airport *is* a router... are you planning on *adding* it to your current network, or using it to replace your current router?

    If you're replacing the current one, the Airport may or may not give you a better signal. This depends on the quality of your current router, what kind of walls you have, etc., etc.... basically 'it depends.' However, especially if both of your Macs are new enough to support 'Draft-N', I would *guess* that you'd get a better/more reliable signal. I've never heard of your router brand, so I'm assuming it's not especially good.

    You'll also get the benefit of the nice Apple configuration tools.

    However, if you're planning to use it *in addition to* your current router, and put it somewhere else in the house, I could see the erratic signal causing problems.
     
  4. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #4
    macleod199 pretty much covers it, but here's a bit more:

    There are basically three things you could do:

    1) Add another wireless router to extend the range. I wouldn't recommend this if you plan on keeping your existing one; you'd be betting that an Airport base station would smoothly extend the range of that router. It might, but the chances of it not working properly are relatively high.

    2) Buy an Airport Extreme Base Station and a long Ethernet cable and, rather than using it to extend the range of your existing wireless network, run the ethernet cable to somewhere more central in your home and put the Airport there, hopefully giving you more uniform coverage. Your router apparently has a four-port Ethernet hub built in, so this would work.

    3) Same as 2, but with a different router--one with nice, big external antennas. This might more effectively expand your range. You could even get a directional antenna and point it toward your office--they're not all that expensive (heck you might even be able to get one for the router you already have, if it has a removable antenna).


    You can't just move your existing router, I assume, because it has the built-in DSL modem, and there aren't phone lines elsewhere, right?

    I will also add that while there's no guarantee switching from your existing wireless to an Airport would improve your signal--the current model doesn't have particularly good antennas--I did recently set up my neighbor's iMac to connect to my base station (latest model of each, so n networking). She got a very good signal through two exterior walls, with her iMac being on the ground floor 40 or 50 feet away from my router, which is on top of a bookshelf on the 2nd floor of an adjacent building.

    Of course, if you do buy a 2nd wireless router and it doesn't work well enough right next to the current one, you could THEN buy a nice long Ethernet cable and move it nearer where you want it.
     
  5. Hello.there thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Hello.there

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Location:
    Couch
    #5
    See? That's why I love this forum. Thank you so much for those replies, you've really helped me get a better understanding of how all of this works - I just wish I could hire both of you to come 'round my house and set it all up and fiddle with settings, etc :) Thank you again.
     
  6. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #6
    Glad to be of some help. And hey, I would (I do that), but I think the travel costs would make it rather inefficient given the ocean and continent or two between us.

    Also, I wasn't paying attention to your locale--should have said "around 15 meters away." Not that you can't do that yourself, but I try to be reasonable about the fact that basically everywhere else in the world switched to a more logical system several decades ago at least.
     

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