Replacing an Airport Extreme 802.11n

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by tangomike, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. tangomike macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2016
    #1
    I'm the OP on a recent issue about extending a home network.

    Based on the expert advice from this forum and a successful outcome with that project, I've now had a major brain malfunction and suggested to my wife that I might be able to improve the wireless network in her office complex. This proves the adage about a little knowledge being a dangerous thing, but what the heck?

    The existing equipment consists of: TWC Arris Telephony TM602G Modem, Motorola Surfboard SB6141 Modem, and Airport Extreme 802.11n.

    The connections: TWC > splitter > 1) Telephony for VOIP only and 2) Surfboard for Internet > Extreme wireless network.

    The wireless network isn't very stable and requires relatively frequent attention to unplug/plug it to eliminate the flashing yellow status light and return to steady green. My suggestion to her is to replace the old Extreme with a newer 802.11ac.

    And while that appears to be straightforward, before I tackle it and risk getting run out of town on a rail, I'd appreciate your comments about the steps to take and the improvements to expect in network performance.

    On a side note, I have an Express removed from my home network based on your previous advice, and my plan is to use it in the office only if testing reveals the need for it.

    Thanks in advance for your assistance.

    TangoMike
    "Tosh"
    LtCol USAF (ret)
    Austin TX
     
  2. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #2
    I'm on Comcast and had similar issues with that same Moto model and both AE n and ac models, leading to double NAT errors and the dreaded blinking yellow LED. A free tip is in the post I made here, and I've had zero issues now for over two years.

    Regarding the network optimization, I suggested in this post a bit of placement tweaking. Since that post I've had my mom move in and she's using a DirecTV Genie and wireless Bridge/Mini, with several dozen feet between the Bridge and Mini, both of which use an AE ac model's 5GHz frequency to communicate to the Genie (satellite>coax>Genie<>coax>Bridge<>AE ac<>Mini) - careful placement of the AE gets mom's big screen a perfect picture in her media room.

    I highly recommend a wireless router that uses beamforming, my new main wireless router is a Synology RT2600ac but I still use an AE ac - both of which use beamforming. I get full throughput everywhere in my 2500SF house on both 2.4 and 5GHz networks. FWIW, I also still use my old AE n model - a huge Canon MFP is attached to it along with a few other peripherals - the network is hidden, and that AE n model is a tank.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 8, 2017 ---
    One more tip, chiming in after a brain fart. One of the reasons I segregate my networks is so I can keep certain devices on specific networks - my printers and Windows Phones (excellent email client IMO) on the 2.4GHz network and other items on my 5GHz network.

    More importantly, if you're familiar with the wifi standard (yes, I read stuff like that - I have 4 offices of engineers working for me and they get whiny pretty fast…). The 5GHz band has different power restrictions based on which channel is used (in the US). The lower-numbered channels on Apple hardware (36/40/44/48) can use just five percent of the power of the higher-numbered channels (149/153/157/161). That 20-fold multiplier/difference is huge. AFAIK, these specific channels are available in the US - anyone reading this bit outside of the US should read on how their frequencies are affected.

    I look at the surrounding area's wireless networks either with the Wireless Diagnostic app's Scan function or by holding down the Option Key and clicking on the Menu Bar's WiFi icon and mousing over other wifi networks in my area. I use the upper 1xx frequency options whenever possible. Cheers.

    I've been wanting to head to Austin to eat some BBQ but with the fire at Franklin's I've been holding off. You can thank me, if this works for you, by heading to Franklin's when they reopen and have a sh**-eating grin after you're done. :oops:
     
  3. tangomike thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2016
    #3
    Great info, thanks. I'll check out the links, and maybe have to indulge in some less worthy BBQ for the moment if I can get this set up...

    I'm hoping that this project doesn't require understanding all (most? any?) of what you said. This is a small, single floor office with three mental health professionals, one tutor, and as of now, an empty suite. From what I can gather, the existing AE network has handled the degree of use it gets without too much complaining from the tenants, probably because they have far less demanding requirements than an office full of engineers.

    My totally amateurish plan was to begin by joining the new AE to the existing network, then shutting everything down, replacing the old AE the new one, and using Airport Utility to configure it as a base station. If I can do that and obtain improvement in throughput and reliability, and the tenants are content, then I can look into tweaking network performance later when I've had a chance to become more knowledgeable about the finer points.

    I'm assuming (dangerous, I know) that the new AE will perform better than the old one in the same location.

    You and I have another many degrees of separation connection to go along with Franklin's: I graduated from UW in 1964. I think . . . it's been so long ago.

    Tosh
     
  4. HDFan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #4
    It looks as if this modem only has one ethernet output port. If it had two I would have suggested that you connect the new extreme AC to the other port and set it up as a separate network. That way you could try it out before making the plunge. I do that for my old Extreme n and use it as a backup.
     
  5. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #5
    No worries, the short of it regarding the double NAT is that the ISP performs some action (e.g., pushing a config file, renewing a lease) that enables the modem's DHCP server for a short time - the DHCP server in the AE has the same header (192.168.x.x); the modem reboots and its DHCP server is turned off but the AE doesn't reboot and the AE's double NAT error remains. As I alluded to in my linked posts, for some reason the AE's setup doesn't address this as I'd prefer - but, generally, the modem's DHCP server has done its thing by the time the AE is up and running so the AE doesn't "see" the DHCP server because it's not running until your ISP enables it (literally, only seconds but it's enough to cause a double NAT - AEs aren't the only wireless routers to succumb to this bit… :mad:)

    My newer wireless router here, the Synology, has an option for a reboot schedule. The fix is to get the AE on a different domain range than the modem. Your ISP will tell you that the modem doesn't have a DHCP server - it's not the truth, but that's picking nits here and doesn't solve your problem.

    The domain range swap is easy and takes minutes (Airport Utility>Network>Network Options…>choose the 10.0 pulldown IPv4 Range (see the attached screen shot), then Save and Update your modem's config. QED.
    QED.png
    For the higher-power frequencies, they're already built in to your older AE. Airport Utility>Wireless>Wireless Options>pull down menu (see the attached screen shot - there's 4 options, I'm showing Channel 149 as an option) - the 4 higher channels broadcast with more power, and the 5GHz frequencies have wider channels (think 1-1/2 inch garden hose compared to a drinking straw for throughput…).
    Auto.png 149.png
    Save, and Update. You should be able to get more use out of your AE now.

    As to BBQ, I've never been to Franklin's but I've lived in Austin (early 80s) - so I know. I've been to places with open pits (a no-no now) along FR 2222 to little shacks near Elgin. Heck, I still buy my eggs shipped from Chamberlain Farms and beef from a couple of farms between SA and Buda when I can. I get my cornmeal and rice from SC, but that company is planting near Elgin now so I might be buying some of my grains from that area too. I wanted to go to UT for engineering studies but was accepted to U of Portland and a program at Boeing so that's where I landed (pun intended…). Portland's food scene is seriously overrated, sadly - I can still taste the last quart of red sauce and burnt ends from Southside in Elgin. I need to take a road trip before the weather turns to crap… Good luck, ya'll!
     
  6. tangomike thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2016
    #6
    Hmmm. Just had a thought that I could try this with the ethernet output port on the Telephony modem. I'm not sure why that wasn't connected to the AE to begin with, unless the Moto is a better modem and the Telephony was retained only to provide the VOIP.
     
  7. techwarrior macrumors 6502

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #7
    I'm not sure why TWC\Charter would recommend two modems. They likely have a newer model, single modem that has a telephony port as well as Ethernet port. Two modems requires them to provide 2 IP Addresses, something they tend to try to avoid.

    The VoIP modem appears to be DOCSIS2, while the Motorola is DOCSIS3. It could be the setup was originally using the DOCSIS2 modem for VoIP + Internet and the added a DOCSIS3 modem to speed up internet.

    First question, are these modems "rented" from TWC\Charter? If so, start there and ask if they have a newer model combined modem for VoIP and Internet. If not rented, see if they support third party modems that support VoIP.
     
  8. tangomike, Oct 9, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017

    tangomike thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2016
    #8
    Excellent advice, thank you. I'm off to an appointment and will check into this later today.

    Back now, with another appointment coming up, but I wanted to say that I don't know who installed the current system and I seriously doubt that TWC recommended two modems. We have one at home that's combined VoIP and Internet, and I'm going to investigate getting one for the office as well.

    Updates to follow . . .
     
  9. techwarrior macrumors 6502

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #9
    If you can find a supported modem with both VoIP and Internet that you can purchase, will save a lot of $$$. Most modems pay for themselves in 6-9 months, vs paying the rental fee for years. Kind of like the little old ladies who still pay Ma Bell to rent phones they replaced 25 years ago (yes, it still happens).
     
  10. tangomike thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2016
    #10
    I'll be looking into that this afternoon, thank you. The only glitch from this amateur networking guy's perspective is that when reading the technical descriptions for the various products gives me a brain fire. I may ask for some opinions about specific models if that doesn't violate any forum rules.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 9, 2017 ---
    Here's the result of a question asked and answered on a TWC forum in 2013. I'm going to call them for an update, but this appears to be what dictated the current setup in the office. If the VoIP modem is free, I'll leave it. Then the question becomes whether the Moto was purchased. If so, the only question is whether I can obtain better performance with another TWC compatible choice of modem from a current list for connecting to the new AE.

    Q: Does the Motorola SBV5322 work on TWC's network? I'd like to purchase one and use it for my TWC Internet and VOIP connection. Are there any other voice + internet modems, that support the higher-speed service plans?

    A: We are currently not able to provision any customer owned modems for phone service, so I'm afraid the SBV5322 will not work on our network.

    A list of compatible modems can be found here: http://www.timewarnercable.com/en/residential-home/support/topics/internet/buy-your-modem.html.

    For our higher tiers (extreme & ultimate) any of the modems in the first list will work great. You'll need a second modem to handle your phone service, but we will provide that free of charge. There is no lease fee for modems that are provisioned only for phone service.
     
  11. HenryAZ macrumors 6502

    HenryAZ

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Location:
    South Congress AZ
    #11
    Modems (cable or dsl) do one thing well, that is perform the modem function. I have always held to my experience that a dedicated device, for each function, is the best way to go. Let the modem be a modem, and disable its other capabilities (DHCP, router, Wi-Fi hotspot). If you want the best performance, get a router to route, get a Wi-Fi access point to do Wi-Fi (and locate it where it is ideal for your house). Use the DHCP function on either the router or Access Point. For a long time I used the same AEBS N "modem/router" (gen 4) as an access point only. I found recently that EnGenius dedicated Access Points (no router function) are much superior in signal quality for Wi-Fi. I use the EnGenius EAP1750H for my Wi-Fi, though I prefer cabled connections whenever possible.
     
  12. tangomike thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2016
    #12
    Update:
    1. The Arris Touchstone Telephony Modem is provided free of charge by TWC for VoIP.
    2. The Motorola SB6141 (also labeled Arris) is customer-owned and is listed as a TWC compatible modem with speeds up to 100 Mbps.
    3. The same modem (minus the Arris label) is sold by Amazon with claims of speeds up to 343 Mbps. I have no idea what the difference is that provides 3x the speed.
    4. The office has TWC Business Class Internet advertised as providing up to 100 Mbps.
    5. My current plan is to install the new Extreme as a replacement for the old one, knowing that its throughput is limited by the modem and the existing TWC tier, but it should provide a more stable network.
    6. I may also use the old AE downstream of the new one to create a guest network.
     
  13. techwarrior macrumors 6502

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #13
    The SB6141 you currently have should be fine for now, but they may increase speeds... it is listed on Amazon (Moto branded) with support up to 300 Mbps, so you should be ok in the future. Arris bought Motorola, thus the branding changes, but TWC\Charter might consider it legacy if they upgrade their network in the future. Not that it won't work, but might not be optimal at that point and a new modem might be in order at that time.

    If the network is not stable, a couple of things to look at. Is there another router somewhere on the network? If so, double NAT and DHCP can cause confusion and resets. In a biz environment, no telling what someone may have done, even a surrounding biz may be hijacking you Wifi... so, with everything shut down, see if there are any wireless devices connected, if so track it down. Or, download WiFi Scanner or similar from Mac App Store and run a scan to find all devices connected (wireless and wired). It is also possible another wired router is present, maybe intended to extend the WiFi but not set in bridge mode, if so, fix that based on what you learned from the home experience recently.

    Other possibility is too many WiFi networks in the area. This wouldn't tend to cause the yellow light to come on, but would slow things down. If this is the case, use WiFi Scanner to find the other networks, channels in use, and set your network to use different channels to avoid overlap.

    The AC router may fix it without other tinkering, so try that first. Airport devices are usually pretty reliable, but maybe it took a power hit and is acting flaky. AC will potentially be faster for peer to peer file transfers between devices that support AC standards, but the 100Mbps ISP service will throttle everything to the internet. Older devices will still be able to use 802.11n with speeds up to 300Mbps or so. And really old devices that cannot use 5Ghz n or AC will revert to the 2.4Ghz b\g\n mode. If you don't have any devices in the office that don't support 5Ghz, you can turn off the 2.4Ghz radio on the AP Extreme AC and avoid conflicts with neighbor's networks. As I recall, this is done on the Wireless Advanced settings where you set the channels. Newer versions of AP Utility allow the newer Extremes to have 2.4Ghz turned off, but older versions of the utility don't permit this (I think it was added in Sierra). iOS versions of the utility don't have the capability (unless they added it in iOS11?).
     
  14. tangomike thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2016
    #14
    Excellent advice for the novice, thank you very much.

    The issue of the existing SB 6141 is still a little confusing. TWC lists the device as being Moto branded, but compatible only up to 100 Mbps. The link on Amazon clearly states their SB6141 as compatible with TWC and providing 300+. Since I have no idea when the existing one was installed, I'm tempted to replace it with a newer version just because it has to offer some improvement, right? Even if the ISP speed is maxed at 100 Mbps by the currently purchased tier, are there other advantages?

    I haven't yet visited the other offices in the suite to check, but I've been told that all the tenants use the existing network without much complaining except for the periodic loss of internet and the flashing amber. That was true when I visited over the weekend, and I powered the modem down for a minute or so, and it responded with the standard indicators of starting up, setting up, and online.

    I have the speediest.net app on my MacBook Pro and iPad, along with Airport Utility v6.3.6. I read something about earlier Apple routers being compatible only with v5-.-, but that later versions of Utility were backward compatible. This afternoon will be my first visit to the office to look closer at the network environment, which I need to time so I'm not interfering with any ongoing work online by tenants.

    During my novice explorations at my house or at the office, I've not yet changed any channels to avoid overlap, which I'll need to check into for the interference search.

    As for the age of devices in the office, you're saying that 1) with both the 2.4 and 5Ghz radios in play, older devices can only use 2.4; 2) newer devices that can use either will automatically pick the radio that provides the best performance; and if all devices in the office are capable of using both, turning off 2.4 improves network performance by reducing the negative effects of interference. If I try that, of course, I'll inadvertently find a way to invade and shut down all the other networks in the building. =;^). Which, on second thought, might be a service I could market to others . . .

    Your assistance is removing some of the mystery, and I really appreciate it.

    Tosh
     
  15. belvdr, Oct 10, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017

    belvdr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #15
    I use an Arris SB6190 with TWC/Spectrum and have no issues at all. I migrated from an older telephony modem and it cured some of my woes. Namely the old device only supported up to 8x4 channels. The new SB6190 picked up more channels and has been stable. Every case is different, though.

    If you are broadcasting two SSIDs, one for each band, then the devices won't necessarily choose one over the other, if the signals are relatively equivalent. They try based on the order of them in System Prefs -> Network -> <wireless adapter> -> Advanced -> WiFi. Normally, I find 5Ghz to be superior in a newer home, as some of the higher channels have a wider bandwidth, which can give you better performance. If you have metal in the structure of the building, as is the case in most office buildings, you may find 2.4 works better. If you really want 5 Ghz in that case, you'll need more APs.
     
  16. tangomike thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2016
    #16
    Thanks for this.

    I'm tempted to install a newer modem because it's hard to believe that doing so won't improve the network in some way. If the existing modem was installed when the SB6141 was a new model, that would have been in 2011 or thereabouts. But if the only improvement with current SB6141 is speed, and the TWC internet plan in the office only delivers 100 Mbps, why bother when the primary goal I'm trying to achieve is network stability?

    Aside from the question of whether to update the modem, the suggestions about using WiFi Scanner, selecting channels to reduce interference problems, and 2.4 vs 5 Ghz issues give me plenty to chew on.
     
  17. techwarrior macrumors 6502

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #17
    I question whether a newer modem will do anything positive. Your modem can do up to 300Mbps, and your ISP link is 100Mbps, a newer modem will do no better. If your speeds are considerably lower than the 100, then go for it. Likely, your ISP doesn't recommend that modem for faster speeds because this has never been re-tested with higher speed tiers. Arris bought Moto a few years ago, likely they only test Arris branded devices now.

    So, if I understand, multiple businesses share the network? Perhaps someone has installed WiFi access points and it is interfering with the router. This is the most likely reason the Amber light appears from time to time. If this is the case, find out what they are using and talk to them about letting you look at the configuration. The WiFi scanner app may help here, it can often detect the brand of access point by the MAC address.

    If these additional access points are connecting wirelessly to the main router, then they may be restricting WiFi performance. If possible, find a way to connect them via Ethernet. And remember, if the signal is already weak, adding an access point does little to help as the wireless uplink to the main router will slow things down.

    Finally, maybe talk to these other businesses about letting one person manage all of the networks, and buy equipment that will work well holistically. Depending on size of the site, something a bit more sophisticated may be worthwhile.

    Airport is fine for homes and small businesses, and with larger sites, adding access points (additional Extreme or Express), the range of the network can be improved. But, there is a tradeoff if too many access points are in service, overlapping channels create network collisions which slows things down, so the rule of thumb is, add access points sparingly.

    If Ethernet (including MOCA or Ethernet over Powerline) is not feasible to link access points, then a Mesh WiFi might be in order. I am hesitant to jump into Mesh WiFi for a few reasons. First, 802.11ax is likely to appear in the coming year, and is specifically designed for faster speeds and use in areas where there is a high concentration of signals. The ax standard will be faster than AC, and should support longer range, making Mesh outdated or less necessary. Second, Mesh standards are a bit aloof, each manufacturer implements slightly different and the result is an all or nothing approach to access points, no mix\match. On a positive note, Mesh deals with WiFi uplinks better than older tech, radio(s) are devoted to linking the access points, and separate radio(s) for client connections. They also use algorithms to dynamically find the best route (this is where the proprietary part comes into consideration). But, they are a bit pricey given they may soon become obsolete or less significant.

    Bottom line, let the other businesses know you are trying to help improve the situation, and get them to cooperate. Even with an all Airport setup, the additional Access Points may be able to use different SSID if they are Ethernet connected. For instance, if you find the need for three Extremes, use SSID "CompanyX, Y, an Z", or "BuildingX North\South\Center") on each access point and instruct them to use the one that best fits. With an Ethernet backbone, they all use the same network, but access to an access point is limited to users who have configured the SSID and Password for a given access point. Also, try to determine how many devices are using the network. Again, WiFi Scanner can help determine this if you run it during peak use times.

    I know this is a lot to digest, and sorry for the long post. Post updates here, and we will do our best to help.
     
  18. tangomike thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2016
    #18
    You;re right, it's a lot, and I feel as if I'm being fed through a fire hose, but you'll never hear me complain about the quality of advice I've received on this forum, and I can't say enough when it comes to being grateful that strangers donate so much of their time to assisting those of us who are almost clueless . . .

    The current update is this after my first visit to the office to run speed tests and diagnostics:
    1. Business class accounts with Spectrum are maxed at 100 Mbps, but this office pays for only 10. I increased that with them to 100 at no extra charge.
    2. I just purchased an SB6190, about 12 hours before I learned that Spectrum doesn't allow business customers to use their own modems. I've arranged for them to install a new modem, and they'll leave the telephony in place for VoIP. There's a one-time activation charge, but business customers don't pay a leasing fee.
    3. I'll use the new AE router and see how that's working, then decide if I need to do some tweaking using the suggestions that fill this thread.
    4. The offices in this suite are all single rooms, fairly small, used by mental health professionals and an academic tutor. To the best of my knowledge, no one has installed WiFi access points. These folks know a lot about mental health and academia, but their interest in networking is the equivalent of operating a toaster: "How do I make it darker?"
    5. I've tried to use Airport Utility to access the old AEn and it wants a password for the base station. I tried the network password, but it didn't work. I'd like to have it as a spare in case I find the need for adding an AP. I'm wondering if the password is recoverable.
    6. As for the SB6190 I just ordered, I'll probably use it to jettison the leased combo modem from Spectrum at home and rid myself of that expense.
    Having a rock and roll ride here in Austin . . .
     
  19. techwarrior macrumors 6502

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #19
    Good updates, and yes a free modem is a bonus! Make sure you contact Spectrum to activate the new modem on your home service (they will likely do that on the modem they send for the office before it arrives). The cable companies use the MAC address to associate a modem with the service account, this is how they provision the speed for your network service. The modem box will have the info they need to activate it.

    The old AEn can be reset to factory once you replace it, then configured how you want for future use. Here is how. If you are going to keep it for a cold spare, configure it identical to the new AC router, then unplug it and set it aside. If needed, just swap routers and it should be good to go! Even the toaster challenged mental giants should be able to make the swap if something goes wrong. If I were in your shoes, I would put a small network switch between the modem and router(s), and another between the router(s) and any other client connections (if any). Then, if the new router fails, unplug the power from it, plug the power into the standby and everything will be up and running within a minute or so, no cabling or config needed. Just make sure both routers are not powered on at the same time.

    I still wouldn't rule out another router being on the network, the description of their tech skills suggests if one is present, it is improperly configured. Again, run a scan on the network using the WiFi Scanner app and it will find everything that is connected wired or wireless to the network. If you see Dlink, Netgear, Linksys, Cisco, etc on the description of hosts on your network, chances are these are routers or access points. Then, you will need to find the b@str#d and fix it.

    One more thing. Since these offices share a network, you should encourage them to look at their File and Screen sharing settings on their Mac\PCs. If improperly set, they can access each other's files, which would likely be a HIPA violation, or embarrassing, or both.
     
  20. tangomike thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 25, 2016
    #20
    Another OP update:

    More fantastic information, thank you.

    I figured out how to reset the password on the AEn and discovered that it had been set to participate in a WDS network. Had no idea what that was and found out that it's not a good thing?

    Looked at Network Diagnostics to see what kinds of info it had, and it convinced me that I need to spend some time studying the posts in this thread to much better understand how to tweak the office network to optimize it in the midst of a WiFi-proliferated environment. It's a jungle out there, and if I can eliminate some of the interference, combined with the increased speed from the ISP, maybe this effort will have positive online benefits for the tenants.

    Is the WiFi Scanner app by AccessAgility a good one, and is it something a novice can use to benefit network performance? At this point I'm clueless about how to evaluate the jungle and come up with specific tweaks that address negative issues. In reading the description, it appeared that I could use it like the network-detective equivalent of CSI.

    And I get to carry one of those cool flashlights . . .
     
  21. techwarrior macrumors 6502

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #21
    WDS is very old technique for wirelessly connecting multiple access points. Dates back to original models of airport devices. Probably want to get rid of that, and I assume firmware is way out of date on the Extreme. The fact WDS was setup suggests there may be other Airport devices in use. From Apple's support site:

    WDS is designed for 802.11g, and shouldn’t be used for 802.11n devices. Wi-Fi base stations may include AirPort Extreme (802.11g) and AirPort Express (802.11g).

    WiFi Scanner app is pretty easy to use, as good as any I have used at home, and bonus, its free! If you look at the third screenshot in the Mac App Store, that is the page that shows devices on the network. The other thing the app does is show all the wifi access points in range of the Mac, what the SSID is, what channels the network is broadcasting, and relative signal strength. Without going into detail here, that is how you would look for non-overlapping channels to set your device to use.
     
  22. tangomike thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2016
    #22
    Update:

    Installed the AEa/c to replace the AC/n, and along with getting a higher speed from the ISP, went from about 13/1 throughout the office to 117/12. Should get the new modem in a couple of days. Spectrum will set that up, then I can go through the drill of replacing my leased combo modem at the house with a free VoIP and the new SB6190 I bought for the office but can't use there because it's on a business plan.

    Another thing I noticed when using the network at the office (which I've never done before, actually, because I don't work there) was the aggravating habit of the Spectrum WiFi trying to hijack my connection to the AEa/c. The new modem will not be set up for WiFi, so tenants won't have to deal with that.

    The WiFi Scanner I saw by AccessAgility wasn't free. It cost about $20. Which one do I want?
     
  23. techwarrior macrumors 6502

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #23
    So, your current situation (117/12) is really a good result. I don't think you will need to mess with WiFi settings, but it still might help to know if there are other routers connected on your subnet.

    You mention the Spectrum WiFi, that may be the clue to the amber light issue. It would appear one of the Spectrum devices is a router\modem combo and so the Airport should be setup in Bridge mode to avoid conflicting with it. But, if the new modem will not have routing\WiFi on it, leave the Airport in DHCP and NAT (routing) mode. The models mentioned in the original post are not routers, so not sure where that is coming from. If Charter is coming to the site to install the new modem, ask them to make sure there is no conflict!

    So right, the WiFi Scanner app used to have a Free and Pro version, looks like maybe they combined them into a Pro app... sorry.

    Alternative: Angry IP Scanner (free) to find everything connected.

    Alternative: iOS Airport Utility for scanning WiFi. Start by going to Settings > Airport > Wi-Fi Scanner (on), then open the utility and click the Wi-Fi scan link (top right), then scan (top right). It will list all WiFi access points it finds in range and channels and strength. You can export the list as a text file, then open in Excel if there are a lot of access points.

    Alternative: Mac WiFi Diagnostics. Use Option + WiFi Icon to show the hidden menu, click Open Wireless Diagnostics and run through the wizard. It will generate a .tar.gz archive in /var/tmp which you can open with Archive Utility. Find the wifi_scan.txt file and it will list details of all the access point it finds.
     
  24. tangomike thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2016
    #24
    More excellent advice, thank you.

    When I set up the new AE last night, I didn't change any of the settings in AU from their defaults to get the improvements registered with speediest.net. Spectrum just called to say that our existing SB6141 is compatible with the speed upgrade, there's no need to swap it out, they can adjust it to the higher speed remotely, and we''ll see the effect in a day or so. We saw it immediately after I installed the new router, however, so we're done with the equipment issues.

    What happens at the office is that a Spectrum WiFi screen intermittently pops up and hijacks (or tries to) the connection so the device is no longer on the office network. Aggravating, to say the least. It's one of a long list of networks that appears in the wireless menu, this one with an open network, and I haven't yet determined its source.

    Our Spectrum modem at the house (haven't yet begun to deal with replacing it with the SB9160) has VoIP and internet and I think WiFi as well? When I first added the AE/a/n at the house about a year ago, I tried unsuccessfully to create a guest network, and I read or was told that one of the reasons might be that the modem did have WiFi and it should be turned off. Those details are hazy, but I never got the guest network up and running, and I stopped trying because it didn't seem to be all that important. I also was doing something with AU that knocked the network offline. It may be that your explanation above (with my added bold) is the answer.

    And so, it appears that this thread has reached the end of its life on the forum, but it will live on as I use the offered advice to deal with interference in the network jungle at the office

    And just think . . . I might be back with another thread about swapping out the combo modem at the house for a VoIP-only one from Spectrum and installing my still-in-the-box SB6190.

    On second thought, maybe I shouldn't have forewarned you about that . . .
     

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