Multiple Airport Connectivity Issues, Extending Network

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by rick3000, Sep 30, 2015.

  1. rick3000 macrumors 6502a

    rick3000

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Location:
    West Coast
    #1
    Here is a diagram of how our house is wired (it's as efficient as it can be):

    Modem -> Airport Extreme (Basement) -> Hardwired Ethernet ->
    Gigabit Switch (Upstairs) ->
    to Airport Express A (setup to extend the network)
    to another Gigabit Switch (Media Room) -> Airport Express B (having problems)​


    I am having two issues. When I try to connect Airport Express B to extend the network, it crashes the entire system, and I have to disconnect it and restart everything. What am I doing wrong here? Should it be setup as join a network instead?

    Second, when I open Airport Utility, almost every device in the house is connecting to the Airport Extreme despite it being farther away than Airport Express A and having a much weaker signal. How can I get the devices, to connect to the nearest Airport Express.

    Thank you!
     
  2. BrianBaughn macrumors 601

    BrianBaughn

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    #2
    Second part...devices are stingy about changing their wifi connections like that. I don't know how to get them to do it.

    First part...what happens if you do any of these:

    1. connect B to the first Gigabit switch
    2. connect B without A connected
    3. connect the second Gigabit switch to the first one with a different cable (temporarily)
     
  3. rick3000 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rick3000

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Location:
    West Coast
    #3
    I kind of solved one of my questions. Switching the wireless on/off appears to make devices reconnect to the nearest/strongest airport.

    Thank you for the suggestions on the third Airport Express. I will try those later today, I can't risk taking my internet offline right now.
     
  4. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #4
    Two tips. First, in those OS X devices that are "far away" from the Extreme, re-prioritize the wifi devices in the Network System Preference Network pane - my 25-odd Macs look for the highest wifi device in the list then hold on for dear life (or so it seems). Second, consider setting up separate, named network names in each of your Airport stations using Airport Utility; I've read that naming all of your devices with the same network name is preferable - using the same name across all devices, however, I've found that naming each device with distinct names (including unique names for the 5GHz network) can be helpful.

    We have one location with one huge room with one Extreme and 3 Express units, naming all of them with the same network name has served us well. We have another location with 2 stories and multiple partitioned rooms - naming, and selecting, each of the Extremes there with unique names (like "Upper" and "Lower 1" and "Lower 2", naming the segregated 5GHz networks with the suggested "5GHz" suffix) allows us to pick and choose which Extreme to connect to there.

    There's also one location - a client's we spend some time in on occasion - we'll use a powerline adaptor pair and plug an Express into that. Good luck!
     
  5. rick3000 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rick3000

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Location:
    West Coast
    #5
    After an hour of troubleshooting, extending the network seemed to be what was causing all of the problems. So I renamed all three airports (Airport Upstairs, Airport Downstairs, etc) and set the two Airport Expresses to Bridge Mode. The two bridged Airports are both faster than when they were extending the network, and people can now choose which ever Airport is closest/strongest.

    Thank you to everyone for the input!
     

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