Multiple Airport Question (Roaming)


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 16, 2003
Hello All,

I recently purchased a new house that is substantially bigger than my previous house. Previously I used one Airport Extreme (newest model) and everything was fine. In the new house however the signal does not carry through the whole house.

I tried the following, Airport Extreme as the main router, then I wirelessly extended the network using an Airport Express (newest version). This gave a better signal but has not seemed that great.

While researching this problem I found the documentation to setup a "roaming network". It seems rather straightforward however I was wondering if anyone has any experience with this and if there are any drawbacks. I am not against buying another Airport Extreme or Time Capsule, I just want to know if this will give a substantial improvement over what I have now, relative to cost.

The main devices I am using are iPhones, iPads and Macbooks.

Hopefully someone here has had my similar problem and come tried something that worked.



macrumors 68040
May 27, 2008
by roaming network, do you mean hardwiring the expresses back to the extreme?
if so it works great, just make sure you set them all up the same for the wifi settings. but put the expresses in "off (bridge mode)" on the internet page.

you've probably experienced similar setups and not even known it. if you've been online at an airport or other large venue, you've been on a network with multiple base stations.

if getting a wire to the remote location is a problem, there are ethernet over power adapters that will work to get the wired ethernet to the remote location.
i don't have any experience with them but people have said they work pretty well.


macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
I believe the "roaming" part refers to using the Expresses to extend the wifi network as a single network, rather than as separate wifi networks.

The main AEBS is then connected to the others via ethernet, and the same name and password used, so that it operates as One Big Net.


macrumors 603
Jan 23, 2002
East Coast
Keep in mind that the Express is limited to 10/100 ports. Should be fine for most uses, but large file transfers between computers connected on opposite routers could be slower than you'd want.

There are workarounds like throwing in a gigabit switch in front of the Express if you're willing to do wired transfers.


macrumors 68040
Dec 30, 2009
I have 3 Airport Extremes in the house to distribute a strong signal and I have set them up 2 ways.

1. Have the other 2 Extremes wirelessly extend the current network.
- while this works fine, if you are looking for maximum throughput you will be disappointed as this method drastically buts the bandwidth down on the extenders, the main Extreme will still be at full speed.
If you only need the signal everywhere and are usually just watching online vids, casual web usage then this is fine.

2. Run an ethernet cable from the main extreme to the others. No cut in bandwidth throughout your network. Just like above, your wifi shows up as 1 single strong network. Better if you need to transfer large files from a main computer or if you have very high speed internet ( 50-100Mbps )


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 16, 2003
Thanks for the replies. I am not really requiring a ton of bandwidth. Just a boost here and there for when using my iPhone or iPad around the house.

Does anyone know if there is a difference between using an Express or an Extreme to extend wirelessly. Basically, will using two Extremes drastically increas the coverage as compared to and Extreme and an Express.