Running a newer AC router as access point off of older AEBS?

tirexstorm

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 22, 2007
156
2
I live in a 2 bedroom apartment with the bedrooms on opposite ends of the apartment. I currently have 4th generation AEBS in my bedroom (so that I can run ethernet to my devices and so that the wifi extends into the backyard.) However, my roommate is complaining that he gets very poor wifi reception in his bedroom as well as the livingroom (I have confirmed that it is pretty slow.)

I have been considering purchasing a new router (TP-Link Archer C7- as per wirecutter.com's recommendation) and using it as an access point in my room while moving the older AEBS into the other side of the apartment and setting it up as the main router. Is it a bad idea to have an older router (wireless N) as my main router and a newer router (wireless AC) as an access point?
 

eduardrw

macrumors 6502
May 20, 2013
252
3
I would not mix routers from different vendors.
If you want a seamless "roaming network" stick with the apple router family.
http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4260

A lot of people have had excellent results with the new Time Capsule as the only router - much greater range.

Depending on Budget I suggest:
Best: New TC in your room and see if that is enough. If not add via ethernet cable the AEBS located in your roommates room.

Budget: Keep your AEBS setup as main router and add an Airport Express ($75 refub.) via ethernet at your roommates location.

Questionable/Crutch: If you can't run ethernet and you need to connect the routers via WIFI, keep the "WIFI extending" router close enough to the main router so that it has a good signal. To extend a weak signal does not work well!
 

orestes1984

macrumors 65816
Jun 10, 2005
1,000
2
Australia
It's probably not going to work anyway. The Airport Extreme basically wont wirelessly extend anything other than another Airport Extreme base station or an Airport Express. I've been there and done that.
 

tirexstorm

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 22, 2007
156
2
Would the reverse work? Using a non-Apple router connected to the modem and then the AEBS connected as an access point? Spending $200 on another Apple router seems pointless to me when this other router is half the price and received better reviews.
 

orestes1984

macrumors 65816
Jun 10, 2005
1,000
2
Australia
Would the reverse work? Using a non-Apple router connected to the modem and then the AEBS connected as an access point? Spending $200 on another Apple router seems pointless to me when this other router is half the price and received better reviews.
Basically for 90% of the case an Airport wont extend a non-Apple product. Your mileage may vary, but I have always found this the case.

If you want to extend there are better options to look at such as Ethernet Over Power to the other with a physical link to the AEBS and then setting the AEBS and your internet router to roaming so as you have a roam off, roam on, roam between network between the two routers.

Alternatively you can try a brand specific wireless extenders I.E. Netgear, D-Link, Cisco, or whatever that will mate with your existing hardware. As was said above though, Apple routers are very much push button get banana Pavlovian experiences.
 

eduardrw

macrumors 6502
May 20, 2013
252
3
Would the reverse work? Using a non-Apple router connected to the modem and then the AEBS connected as an access point? Spending $200 on another Apple router seems pointless to me when this other router is half the price and received better reviews.
Does an Airport Express cost $200 where you live? It cost $75 refurbished here as mentioned in my above post.
http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC414LL/A/airport-express-base-station-june-2012

As mentioned before:
You can use an Airport Express to extend the WIFI of your Airport Extreme. Key is that it is placed where it gets a good WIFI signal. (Extending a week signal only gives you a week signal)
 

tirexstorm

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 22, 2007
156
2
Does an Airport Express cost $200 where you live? It cost $75 refurbished here as mentioned in my above post.
http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC414LL/A/airport-express-base-station-june-2012

As mentioned before:
You can use an Airport Express to extend the WIFI of your Airport Extreme. Key is that it is placed where it gets a good WIFI signal. (Extending a week signal only gives you a week signal)
I want to move to 802.11ac. I do not think the the Airport Express has been updated to 802.11ac yet.
 

eduardrw

macrumors 6502
May 20, 2013
252
3
I want to move to 802.11ac. I do not think the the Airport Express has been updated to 802.11ac yet.
Correct - but extending 802.11ac WIFI is something I would wait for somebody else to debug -> bleeding edge.

It would set you back more than $200 for two compatible devices! (either 2 Apple devices or two 3rd party devices)
 

robgendreau

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
3,287
230
First, check out smallnetbuilder.

They had some advice to the effect that in many situations it may be better to add a wifi network. What works for you may depend on reception in your building and who and what needs to be connected.

I've got more than one wifi net in our house, instead of bridging or extending via wifi. It allows me to optimize which devices are on which nets easily. If you had to have the same SSID to roam around within the house that might be an issue, but I also like the separate security and switching frequencies. YMMV, but worth looking at.