Multiple Airport Extremes causing issues

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by seamer, May 15, 2014.

  1. seamer macrumors 6502

    seamer

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #1
    We have 4 Extremes and 1 Express wifi router setup around the office (15,000 SQ FT) all set up to extend the same network. Recently, one of the routers appeared to start sending out junk data and really interfered with the stability of the network. I reset it back to factory defaults and reconfigured to extend the existing network, but now it only wants to extend wirelessly even though it seems to be picking up an ethernet address. A second Extreme has started exhibiting the same symptoms.

    Is there an upper limit of the routers possible on a network? Is there a magic sequence of settings I should make sure that are enabled (beyond Bridge in the NAT settings)? If it was just one router, I could accept that there's a hardware flaw going on... but two in recently purchased as new devices?
     
  2. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #2
    Are all the routers connected to a central one via wired Ethernet?
     
  3. seamer thread starter macrumors 6502

    seamer

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #3
    They're all connected to a 24port switch which combines ethernet (our desktops, printer, et al) so everyone can stream out to our Apple TV/Chromecasts when needed. We'd seen in the past that sometimes being on different subnets causes various toys to not play nicely together.

    The routers were all setup to extend one singular device. Apart from the unique names, they weren't configured manually.
     
  4. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #4
    I think that I can help you. I run a 100 client AirPort network at a school with a centralized Extreme and roaming Expresses. Works great.

    As for an upper limit on the hardware, I think that you are not even close to it. How many clients do you have going, how many on each AP (access point), and what is the general uptime on the network. If these are all "pizza box" style Extremes, then download the program "iNet" from the App Store. Well worth the money in my mind.

    In AirPort Utility, do you see a dotted or a solid line running from the centralized Extreme to the roaming APs? A screenshot of AirPort Utility would be beneficial if you posted it. Before the one router caused issues, how well did this system work in terms of stability?
     
  5. seamer thread starter macrumors 6502

    seamer

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #5
    These are all the new AC-band Extremes. The Express is obviously not.

    When we had just two routers, they were easily overwhelmed with just 40~ people with 1-3 devices each (laptop and phone; some people have more because we are publishing to iOS/Android devices).

    The link between the routers seems to fluctuate. I'll look at the tool today and the Express is displayed like the parent to the 4 Extremes (Correct, it was). Other times it shows as a child of any of the Extremes while they randomly decide to be extending wirelessly.

    Do you think it's a configuration issue, or a hardware issue?
     
  6. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #6
    The reason that the configuration appears to randomly jump around is the STP priority. In simple, AirPort Utility is determining the network structure.

    The first major problem I see with your network is that you are using an Express as the head controller. I use the term controller as all DHCP and NAT functions go though it, despite not physically being an AP controller.

    Swap that Express with an Extreme. I have pushed Expresses to 55 clients and it handled without issue, but running a network like this isn't a good idea. When was the last time that this system was updated? What firmwares are we running on?

    Once the Extreme is in place, if you are able, try to reset all the APs. When configuring, it will say Extend and ask for the central "controller"s info but it will quickly switch to "Extend over Ethernet" in AirPort Utility. That is fine.
     
  7. seamer thread starter macrumors 6502

    seamer

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #7
    Thanks;

    None of the routers are controlling the network; we use an office-centric Linux distro for that. It feeds out DHCP/DNS/firewall/NAT etc so there's no unintentional segregation going on between wifi and wired users. The routers are running as bridges.

    Following what you said, you think just rebuilding the entire system would resolve this?
     
  8. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #8
    I found that in my experience with various networking products, a bridge shouldn't be behind a bridge.

    So in other words, you don't want everything to connect to a specific AirPort but rather them all to connect to a switch with identical settings.
     

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