Need advice on setting up AirPort Extreme (5th Gen) please?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by ToTo Man, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. ToTo Man macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2008
    I've just bought an AirPort Extreme (5th Gen) to improve WiFi coverage in my house.

    My previous setup was as follows:
    CABLE MODEM -> ethernet -> D-LINK DI-604 WIRED ETHERNET ROUTER -> ethernet -> AIRPORT EXPRESS -> wireless -> MACBOOKS.

    I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to network setups, so to keep the setup simple I replaced the EXPRESS with the EXTREME and told AirPort Utility to copy the settings of the EXPRESS to the EXTREME. These settings are:

    Wireless Mode: Create a wireless network
    Wireless Security: WPA2 Personal
    Allow network to be extended: No
    MAC Address Access Control: Not Enabled
    Connect to Internet using: Ethernet
    Internet Connection Sharing: Off (Bridge Mode)
    IPv6 Mode: Local-link only

    I still have the D-LINK DI-604 WIRED ETHERNET ROUTER upstream of the EXTREME, to which my desktop computers are still wired. But as the EXTREME has 3 ethernet ports, I could in theory remove the D-LINK and use the EXTREME as both my wired and wireless router, i.e.:

    CABLE MODEM -> ethernet -> AIRPORT EXTREME -> wireless -> MACBOOKS.

    What would be the advantages/disadvantages to replacing the D-LINK with the EXTREME, e.g. is the NAT firewall in the EXTREME just the same as in the D-LINK? And what settings would I need to change on the EXTREME if I did remove the D-LINK from the chain?

    Finally, how would I go about adding the EXPRESS back into the network, i.e. what would the AirPort Utility settings for the EXPRESS need to be if I wanted to use the EXPRESS to extend the WiFi range of the EXTREME? Would the EXPRESS need to be connected to the EXTREME by ethernet or could it connect wirelessly?
  2. EmpyreanUK, Apr 3, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012

    EmpyreanUK macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2011
    The only disadvantage I can think of is that you would have fewer ethernet ports.

    Advantages are that your networking setup would be simpler, so that if and when a problem developed it would be easier to diagnose (and there would be one less device that could go wrong in the first place), and you would use slightly less electricity each month.

    I would expect the D-Link and the Airport Extreme to use different NAT firewalls, but they should in practice do the same thing and do it (one would hope) with equal proficiency.

    If you did want to remove the D-Link, you'd need to set the Airport Extreme to act as the DHCP server and as the NAT firewall. I'm unable to verify what the setting is actually called right now, but if I recall correctly it's the 'Internet Connection Sharing' option. The parameter for 'Connect to Internet Using' (ethernet/PPPoE) will depend on your ISP, but if one doesn't work then you can easily change it to the other.

    I've never done this, but I believe that, in the configuration for the Extreme, you have to set 'Allow network to be extended' to 'Yes'. You don't need to connect the Extreme and the Express via ethernet; the latter effectively acts as a repeater for the wireless signal of the Extreme.
  3. ToTo Man thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2008
    Thanks for your reply. I intend to replace the D-LINK with the EXTREME.

    I'd be grateful if you could confirm, on the AirPort Utility Internet Connection screen that says "Select if you want this Apple WiFi base station to share a single IP address with wireless clients using DHCP and NAT, distribute a range of static IP addresses using only DHCP, or act as a bridge", do I choose "Share a public IP address" or "Distribute a range of IP addresses"?

    I'm presuming it's the first, but is there any difference between the two in terms of security?
  4. ToTo Man thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2008
    Help required please

    I now have my AirPort Extreme connected directly to my cable broadband modem, and have removed my old D-LINK router from the network. My IP address has now become an IPv4 address. When I first launched AirPort Utility it gave me a warning that I had double NAT and to change the AirPort Extreme to bridge mode. But surely this isn't possible because I have the Extreme connected directly to my modem, no other routers are involved. So I clicked Ignore and the warning went away. I don't seem to be experiencing any problems connecting to the internet, so do you think I'm good to leave it as is, or should I investigate further?
  5. EmpyreanUK macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2011
    Hi there ToTo Man, sorry for my late reply. It sounds as though you have things pretty much worked-out for yourself at this point, but just in case you still have any doubts, I thought I'd try to address your questions.

    Given your description of your setup (modem going straight into the Extreme), you do indeed want to have 'Router Mode' set to the option described as 'DHCP and NAT' on the version of AirPort Utility on my Mac, and which should be the 'Share a public IP address' option you have described. This means that the Extreme will be the 'public-facing' element in your networking setup, and will serve as the device that passes all information from the Internet to the devices on your private network. The other option sounds as though it's intended for instances where the Extreme is simply routing information to a smaller sub-section of your private network, and where another device is dealing with the Internet, or 'public', traffic.

    Similarly, your instinct in ignoring the double-NAT warning should also be valid, as long as the modem connected to the Extreme really is just a 'dumb' modem. It could be that, after you first modified your networking setup, the Extreme issued the warning on the basis of data cached from your previous setup. If the warning has gone away then it should be safe to assume that this is the case and that the Extreme has now worked out what the score is for itself.
  6. ToTo Man thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2008
    Yes everything is working a treat at the moment, so fingers crossed it continues to do so! Thanks for the reassurance.

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