Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

Optimal (wireless) setup for a large home?

GhostMac24

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 27, 2011
317
3
NC
Just finished building a new home and I am having a hard time with my wireless distance and staying connected. If I am near the Airport Extreme I am good but if I move to another floor, I am almost assured to lose the connection (or have a very weak connection). I have every room (beds, livings, etc) in the entire home wired with multiple Cat6 access points so hard lines are not a problem. The home is 3 levels and about 7000 sq feet with my workshop down on the bottom level at the back furthest point of the home.

So......suggestions on setup for optimal wireless throughout?

Maybe an Airport Extreme at one location and then connect off of the Extreme through the wired network several of the Airport Express units?

I'm just not familiar enough with how to piece together the most optimal system. Thanks for any advice/input in advance!
 

glenthompson

macrumors 68020
Apr 27, 2011
2,396
425
Florida
Maybe an Airport Extreme at one location and then connect off of the Extreme through the wired network several of the Airport Express units?

I'm just not familiar enough with how to piece together the most optimal system. Thanks for any advice/input in advance!

In general wifi doesn't go between floors very well. Best to have a station on each floor unless they are right above or below. The type of wall is also a factor. Drywall isn't too bad but brick or stone is a killer.

Decide where you need good access and try to put an express near the center of them. Definitely use the installed cable to connect everything. I like to get the station up higher so furniture and other stuff doesn't block the signal.
 
Comment

drsox

macrumors 68000
Apr 29, 2011
1,564
99
Xhystos
Just finished building a new home and I am having a hard time with my wireless distance and staying connected. If I am near the Airport Extreme I am good but if I move to another floor, I am almost assured to lose the connection (or have a very weak connection). I have every room (beds, livings, etc) in the entire home wired with multiple Cat6 access points so hard lines are not a problem. The home is 3 levels and about 7000 sq feet with my workshop down on the bottom level at the back furthest point of the home.

So......suggestions on setup for optimal wireless throughout?

Maybe an Airport Extreme at one location and then connect off of the Extreme through the wired network several of the Airport Express units?

I'm just not familiar enough with how to piece together the most optimal system. Thanks for any advice/input in advance!

Link all the AE units by LAN and setup a roaming network. Put all except the main unit in bridge mode. Set all units to create a WiFi network (not extend a WiFi network). I have a tall house with a long ground floor (think capital L) with 4 AE units spread about. This works fine for me.
 
Comment

opinio

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2013
1,171
5
Just finished building a new home and I am having a hard time with my wireless distance and staying connected. If I am near the Airport Extreme I am good but if I move to another floor, I am almost assured to lose the connection (or have a very weak connection). I have every room (beds, livings, etc) in the entire home wired with multiple Cat6 access points so hard lines are not a problem. The home is 3 levels and about 7000 sq feet with my workshop down on the bottom level at the back furthest point of the home.

So......suggestions on setup for optimal wireless throughout?

Maybe an Airport Extreme at one location and then connect off of the Extreme through the wired network several of the Airport Express units?

I'm just not familiar enough with how to piece together the most optimal system. Thanks for any advice/input in advance!

A number of Airport Expresses running of an Airport Extreme works very well. I have one Extreme and two Expresses in the far corners of my home and it gives excellent coverage.

BUT

I run the Expresses through ethernet cable to get max speeds so the wifi coverage is exceptional and fast. If you can connect them through ethernet cable that will make work a lot better.

You can run the Expresses through Wifi but the connection will not be as good and connection itself takes up some of the available bandwidth. The quality of the Wifi in this setup will really depend on your house/distance/walls etc.
 
Comment

GhostMac24

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 27, 2011
317
3
NC
Thanks for all the input!

Just to be clear, do I run the Express units off their own (separate) wired connection or off one of the ethernet ports on the back of the Extreme? I can do either as the Extreme is on the top floor in the A/V closet right next to a 24 port switch and wiring panel. I have both examples below.
 

Attachments

  • Example2.png
    Example2.png
    44.6 KB · Views: 110
  • Example.png
    Example.png
    75.8 KB · Views: 116
Last edited:
Comment

drsox

macrumors 68000
Apr 29, 2011
1,564
99
Xhystos
I'm not a fan of daisy-chaining unless absolutely necessary. I always try and give WiFi access points their own individual LAN connection back to a switch.
I also would put the modem behind one of the AE units, not directly connected to the switch. Which one of the AE units is doing the actual routing ? Use that one.
 
Comment

GhostMac24

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 27, 2011
317
3
NC
Sorry, looks like one of the pics didn't upload. It's there now.

Sounds like the best way is to free up the ports on the Extreme and just run each Express wired to the switch directly at each location. Basically, the Extreme and all Express units are connected to the network independently instead of the Express unit tied into the back of the Extreme.
 
Comment

drsox

macrumors 68000
Apr 29, 2011
1,564
99
Xhystos
Sorry, looks like one of the pics didn't upload. It's there now.

Sounds like the best way is to free up the ports on the Extreme and just run each Express wired to the switch directly at each location. Basically, the Extreme and all Express units are connected to the network independently instead of the Express unit tied into the back of the Extreme.

Yes, pic1 is fine.
 
Comment

GhostMac24

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 27, 2011
317
3
NC
Did you edit your post or was that an IM? My apologies if it was an IM and I am responding here. Regarding your question.....the question about wiring the express units to the switch. I assume the express units located throughout the home directly wired to the switch would be best instead of trying to extend wirelessly.

Now that I gave it more thought, I think I might have been a little vague in my original posting. I have a 24 port switch in the A/V closet on the top floor installed in the control panel. From there, every Cat6 outlet in the home is connected in that panel to the switch. That allows me to have a live connection at every wall plate throughout the home. If I connect the express units at those wired outlets at strategic locations throughout the home, theoretically I would have the best signal everywhere, no?
 
Comment

flynz4

macrumors 68040
Aug 9, 2009
3,140
44
Portland, OR
Link all the AE units by LAN and setup a roaming network. Put all except the main unit in bridge mode. Set all units to create a WiFi network (not extend a WiFi network). I have a tall house with a long ground floor (think capital L) with 4 AE units spread about. This works fine for me.

Regarding the bolded section... I believe the other option is to extend the network. I believe that would give one seamless network across the house with one SSID.

Caveat... personally I have never done it... I did it exactly as described from drsox... but I had different named network SSIDs for each access point... so I need to choose which network to attach to... rather than let each computer choose the strongest signal automatically as I moved around the house.

Please verify... as I have never "extended" a network.

/Jim
 
Comment

GhostMac24

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 27, 2011
317
3
NC
Ah, that's a good point. I'd prefer if they were all the same network instead of connecting to various networks.
 
Comment

drsox

macrumors 68000
Apr 29, 2011
1,564
99
Xhystos
Did you edit your post or was that an IM? My apologies if it was an IM and I am responding here. Regarding your question.....the question about wiring the express units to the switch. I assume the express units located throughout the home directly wired to the switch would be best instead of trying to extend wirelessly.

Now that I gave it more thought, I think I might have been a little vague in my original posting. I have a 24 port switch in the A/V closet on the top floor installed in the control panel. From there, every Cat6 outlet in the home is connected in that panel to the switch. That allows me to have a live connection at every wall plate throughout the home. If I connect the express units at those wired outlets at strategic locations throughout the home, theoretically I would have the best signal everywhere, no?

Connecting the AEs to the switch so that they have individual direct links is indeed the best option.

Regarding the mode of setup, you need to create a WiFi network at each AE but create the SAME network at each. The same SSD, security etc. That way you will have a roaming network that allows you to wander around with a WiFi device and always connect. Don't extend the network as that will involve reduced data rates and from other forum threads might give you setup problems.

----------

Regarding the bolded section... I believe the other option is to extend the network. I believe that would give one seamless network across the house with one SSID.

Caveat... personally I have never done it... I did it exactly as described from drsox... but I had different named network SSIDs for each access point... so I need to choose which network to attach to... rather than let each computer choose the strongest signal automatically as I moved around the house.

Please verify... as I have never "extended" a network.

/Jim

See my other post - don't extend; create the same network at each AE.
 
Comment

GhostMac24

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 27, 2011
317
3
NC
Just got home with the new goodies and ready to setup. Already setup the new AEBS and it was straightforward as there is an option to replace the current one and transfer all the settings. For the express units, which option do I use to have the strongest signal and stay on the same network?

I am going to have one express in the office to connect my printer and I'll have another in the basement to get good wifi down there.

There are several options in the drop down menu. The "genius" at the Apple store when I was picking them up this morning said to do a WDS setup but everything I read so far says that will decrease the signal strength at each location. The only options I see are (1) create wifi network (2) join a wireless network (3) extend a wireless network. Now I'm confused.

**I will hardwire both express units to the network**
 
Comment

FreakinEurekan

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2011
3,447
419
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Thanks for all the input!

Just to be clear, do I run the Express units off their own (separate) wired connection or off one of the ethernet ports on the back of the Extreme? I can do either as the Extreme is on the top floor in the A/V closet right next to a 24 port switch and wiring panel. I have both examples below.

Your first image isn't going to work if the AE is your router. If your AE is going to be in Bridge mode it would be OK. If the AE is in Router mode, then the AE needs to plug directly into the modem (via the WAN port on the AE). Everything else needs to come off the AE's LAN ports - including your Ethernet switch if you need more ports than the AE provides directly.
 
Comment

drsox

macrumors 68000
Apr 29, 2011
1,564
99
Xhystos
Just got home with the new goodies and ready to setup. Already setup the new AEBS and it was straightforward as there is an option to replace the current one and transfer all the settings. For the express units, which option do I use to have the strongest signal and stay on the same network?

I am going to have one express in the office to connect my printer and I'll have another in the basement to get good wifi down there.

There are several options in the drop down menu. The "genius" at the Apple store when I was picking them up this morning said to do a WDS setup but everything I read so far says that will decrease the signal strength at each location. The only options I see are (1) create wifi network (2) join a wireless network (3) extend a wireless network. Now I'm confused.

**I will hardwire both express units to the network**

Use (1) create wifi network on ALL units and make sure you put in the same settings for WiFi on all of them. Same SSID, Security, etc. Then you will have a roaming network that any WiFi unit can connect to anywhere.

About the network setup, on the "Main" unit, i.e. the one connected to the Modem, put it into DHCP/NAT mode and setup the Internet connection.

On all the others put them into Bridge mode, so these you can copy the settings from one to the other (apart from the unit name of course)
 
Comment

GhostMac24

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 27, 2011
317
3
NC
Here is how I have the system setup (see attached pic).

Thanks drsox. I'll start working on that right now.

One last question for clarification. I can still have different Airport names but keep the SSID same across, correct? So XXXMain, XXXBasement, XXXetc, for each units name?
 

Attachments

  • setup.png
    setup.png
    47.1 KB · Views: 107
Comment

drsox

macrumors 68000
Apr 29, 2011
1,564
99
Xhystos
Here is how I have the system setup (see attached pic).

Thanks drsox. I'll start working on that right now.

That's fine. Chose whatever unit names you like. Personally I name them after cats present and past !
 
Last edited:
Comment

GhostMac24

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 27, 2011
317
3
NC
haha, that's great! I name mine after planes my dad flew.

Appreciate the help. I'll post back my results after I've got her all done.

ps. just re-read your post and I'm not entirely clear what DHCP/NAT mode is. On my unit they are separate and the settings within I am not educated enough on to know what I'm doing :0

right now it's on the "internet connection" option
 
Last edited:
Comment

GhostMac24

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 27, 2011
317
3
NC
FYI...here's what the two options currently look like. **again, thanks for your patience :) **
 

Attachments

  • Screen shot 2013-06-06 at 1.15.19 PM.png
    Screen shot 2013-06-06 at 1.15.19 PM.png
    59.5 KB · Views: 94
  • Screen shot 2013-06-06 at 1.15.22 PM.png
    Screen shot 2013-06-06 at 1.15.22 PM.png
    59.8 KB · Views: 88
Comment

drsox

macrumors 68000
Apr 29, 2011
1,564
99
Xhystos
haha, that's great! I name mine after planes my dad flew.

Appreciate the help. I'll post back my results after I've got her all done.

ps. just re-read your post and I'm not entirely clear what DHCP/NAT mode is. On my unit they are separate and the settings within I am not educated enough on to know what I'm doing :0

right now it's on the "internet connection" option

Airport Utility>Network>Router Mode>DHCP and NAT. Select this for the main unit. Then set a network address type (e.g. 192.168.123.X) in Network Options. The main unit will assign itself 192.168.123.1. Set a range of addresses (e.g 192.168.123.2 to 192.168.123.50) and a lease time (1 day). Make sure Enable NAT Port Mapping Protocol is checked.

You beat me to it. My Airport Utility looks different on OSX - it's V 6.2, but covers the same stuff. I don't have < Enable default host at > checked. What do you have at 10.0.1.43 ?
 
Comment

drsox

macrumors 68000
Apr 29, 2011
1,564
99
Xhystos
If it was me I would want to find out why it was enabled in the first place. Did you do that or did some automatic setup process do it ?
 
Comment

GhostMac24

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 27, 2011
317
3
NC
From what I can remember, that IP address was used for one of the Directv boxes. They each have their own IP address on the network. I think the spread was .2 to .50 which is where that .43 came from. But honestly, not sure.
 
Comment

GhostMac24

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 27, 2011
317
3
NC
Geez, 4 days later and they released a new Airport Extreme. Guess I need to pack up the extreme and return for the new one. Ugh.
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.