Multi-generation Airport Extended Network Issues

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by brom, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. brom macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2008
    Rare for me to post, hoping someone may be able to assist.
    I have a multi-generation airport network (image below).
    Airport Extreme AC= primary base station.
    Airport Extreme N, and two versions of Express N are all extending the network. (3 total).
    Extending works however dropouts are extraordinary. I have reconfigured each device multiple times, modem is fine. I am reflecting that it may simply be inadvisable to mix generations such as this, however it should theoretically work. Any thoughts very welcome (I am using the older express N inside a portable speaker, very nice and would like to keep it part of the network if possible, however it may be a major cause of issues given its age).
    The other (newer, current gen) express N serves as speaker base for another audio system.
    I sincerely appreciate any input into this matter, very sincerely yours- Brom.
  2. danmart macrumors 6502a


    Apr 24, 2015
    Lancs, UK
    I have a very similar set of kit, and have had exactly the problem you describe.

    The most stable configuration I have been able to create is removing the N Extreme altogether, and only using the Express units as AirPlay end points (so no network extension at all).

    I think the AC Extreme (Time Capsule, in my case) is the weak link. I have thought about using Automator to reboot the AC unit every week, but not got round to implementing that yet. Certainly, the best way of recovering my network is rebooting that device.
  3. LiveM, Apr 4, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016

    LiveM macrumors 65816


    Oct 30, 2015
    The Extreme can't offer ac Wi-Fi if you are extending wirelessly with an n device. It also costs a lot of overhead.

    This won't be the case if you connect them via ethernet or if you set them up to add to or join the network instead of extending it. If you are just using their ports and not as Wi-Fi hotspots, then definitely set them up in this client mode, wired or via Wi-Fi.
  4. ThrowerGB macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2014
    "using the older express N inside a portable speaker" and "express N serves as speaker base for another audio system"
    Not quite sure what you mean, but if you have speaker magnetic fields and electronics close to the WiFi units there might be some interference that's causing dropouts. Testing by just turning off the speakers might not be enough. You might want to test by moving the speakers a reasonable distance away from these Express units.
  5. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    I am going to start off with the basics. Do you really need to have all of these base stations? If you get ample coverage everywhere then stick with just the AirPort Extreme (AC Model) and use the two AirPort Expresses as AirPlay destinations (Join a Network). Every time you add an "extending" AirPort, you double your interference and limit your bandwidth for all clients connected to one of the extenders. It is a common mistake to flood the area with APs, but in some instances it is better to have a weaker signal with less interference than a strong signal and a ton of noise. Apple gives this feature mainly for the odd house that does not get coverage in the far corner on the second floor, not for covering an entire home. If you must add APs to the network, then they should be connected via Ethernet for best speed and results.

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4 April 4, 2016