Need to extend Airport 802.11ac network

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by iTurbo, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. iTurbo macrumors regular

    Sep 9, 2008
    I am in need of extending an Airport network. I am the head maintenance guy at a large apartment complex, and would like to get my Airport network to extend from my on-site apartment to our shop, so that I can browse internet and place orders at our shop without having to go to my apartment to access the internet.

    Today I got a new Airport Time Capsule and have it setup working great. I have my 2013 iMac plugged in via ethernet and it's working great as well. I have an 11" MBA showing up next week to help me keep up with work remotely.

    I'm really hoping that because the Time Capsule and MBA both have 802.11ac, that I will have extended range enough that I can get online with my MBA at our shop so I can place maintenance orders from work and get email without having to resort to the cellular connection on my iPhone 3GS. As it is now, the Wifi connection on my iPhone 3GS drops just before getting to the shop while connected to the Time Capsule in my apartment.

    If that is not possible, I'm wanting to extend the Airport network using an additional Airport Extreme. There are some maintenance storage garages about midway between my apartment (where the Time Capsule is) and our shop. If I plug in an additional Airport Extreme in one of those garages, can I expect to extend the 802.11ac capabilities all the way to our shop?

    I would love to have internet access in our shop so that I can browse the maintenance catalogs and place orders, get email....maybe even use Netflix after hours because I hang out there a lot. Thanks for the help/suggestions.
  2. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    If your MacBook gets a good wifi signal at the maintenance garage, then you should be fine putting your extender AirPort there.
  3. iTurbo thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 9, 2008
    I get the new MacBookAir on Tuesday and can't wait to try it out! Especially since the MBA and TimeCapsule will both have the 802.11ac...

    Tonight I lugged my old Quicksilver PowerMac G4 down to the shop. It has a wifi PCI card with an antenna that attaches to the back of the card. Once it a while, my new TimeCapsule located in my apartment will show up in the wifi menu, but not very often. When it does, I try to input the password but it times out. Seems the signal is still too weak. I'm thinking if I can get a cable extension that will allow me to mount the antenna on our shop roof that I would be good to go..

    I have a picture of our apartment complex that I grabbed off of Google Earth. I have edited the image to show the location of my apartment and our shop (which I'm trying to reach). However I am unable to host the picture here..
  4. RedReplicant macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2010
    A Ubiquiti Nano Station M with higher signal quality will probably move data faster than a weak 802.11ac connection... and for much less money.
  5. tullnd macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2012
    If you are barely able to receive signal, then you can just do a repeater network.

    802.11AC is way faster than necessary for internet speeds. I doubt your connection comes anywhere close to maximizing it, but it does provide better coverage.

    Just buy a cheap Airport Express unit. Navigate to a point a bit closer to your Time Capsule and plug it in and configure it as a repeater. It'll pick up the signal and rebroadcast it, probably enough to cover your shop area.

    Before someone comes in and slams it, let me tell you the drawbacks. Since you're picking up on the edge of the signal of the Time Capsule, it's starting off with a slower speed than the original network is capable of. Secondly, it's only rebroadcasting on 802.11n instead of AC.

    Again, you do NOT NEED AC speeds for internet. Even if you're doing file transfers from your MBA to your main machine, how often will they be large files requiring that type of bandwidth? Honestly? I bet not that often. This is one of the reasons why Apple didn't upgrade the Express. To keep it cheap, it doesn't really need the AC speeds or coverage, since people use it for basic light router duty or as an extender/repeater. Typically, extender/repeaters are just used to increase coverage for one or two devices in most home setups, so the bandwidth of AC is not entirely required.

    It's a cheap solution, an easy to support/configure solution and something that can be adjusted as time goes on. That's my suggestion.
  6. iTurbo thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 9, 2008
    Thanks for the ideas and tips. My biggest hope was that the 802.11ac was that the extended range capability would allow my wifi network to reach our shop at work across the parking lot. I know I don't need the additional speed capability, but hey, can't hurt.

    Last week I got my new 11" MBA. Love this thing! The MBA and Airport TC both have .ac, so I was hopeful that my MBA would pick up on my wifi network at the shop. Unfortunately that didn't happen though. It drops the signal from the TC about the same distance as my iPhone 3GS does.

    Looks like another airport extreme may be in order, or some other cheap wifi router. I don't need killer internet speed in our shop, but would just like to browse the maintenance supply catalogs and place orders for work and get email.

    EDIT.....Also would like to add that I transferred my iTunes library across wifi to my new MBA using 802.11ac. It was amazing watching how fast it transferred about 48GB. Took about 20 minutes.

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