Should I set Airport Express as client or extend the network?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by radiologyman, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. radiologyman, Oct 7, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012

    radiologyman macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2011
    I am adding Airport Express N (1st gen N) to the bedroom upstairs to AEBS (4th gen) wifi network that is downstairs about 60 feet and 1 wall apart. AE being added for Airplay to speakers in the bedroom. I set AE to extend the network and got impression that internet is slower even though the signal strength went up from fair to excellent. What is the best way to quantify network performance and decide if extending network is beneficial? I am running AEBS in dual channel mode with 5ghz network named same as 2.4 ghz one hoping that AE will extend the 5 ghz band.
  2. justperry, Oct 7, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012

    justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    The 5 Ghz A wireless network is slower than 2.4 Ghz N Wireless network, N is 150 Mb/s and 802.11A is only 54 Mb/s.
    Go over to Wikipedia 802.11 Wireless Networks

    Edit: Seems I was wrong, 802.11 also operates in 5Ghz.
  3. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    extending will cut your network speed. Roughly in half, as the repeater has to talk to both the main base and your device at the same time.

    the easiest way to judge speed is a file transfer, open activity monitor, then grab a large file from another computer on your network (hopefully that computer is wired). you can then see the actual network speeds.
    Large being a few hundred MB, just so the transfer can settle in, and you have a chance to see the speed before it stops.

    then compare the speeds with different network configurations.

    file transfer is a better judge than an internet download, as there are several factors outside your control with the internet, and chances are your wireless network is faster than your internet connection.
  4. radiologyman, Oct 8, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012

    radiologyman thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2011
    I was afraid extending will add delay. I can not run Ethernet cable upstairs but I have 2 power net adapters that I can use to give Ethernet connection to AE and see if it helps.

    Is 3 MBs (24 mbs) too slow for large file transfer from hardwired htpc downstairs to laptop upstairs using wifi from aebs in terms of speed expectations? I do get 10 MBs downstairs but streaming tv shows recorded in hd is not completely smooth when I'm upstairs
  5. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    since you have the powerline already, i would plug the express into that. have the express create a wireless network, and give it the same settings, but different channel as your main network.

    your devices will switch to the stronger of the bases as you move around.

    if you have something upstairs you want to hardwire, you can put a network switch between the express and the powerline adapter, so you can plug more things in.
  6. radiologyman, Oct 9, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012

    radiologyman thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2011
  7. DaveTheRave macrumors 6502a

    May 22, 2003
    Question about this. Will it slow the speed for the extending device (Express), or for any device connecting to the main router too?

    I ask because I have an Express in client mode for use with airtunes. My iphone struggles to connect back to the main router to send music to the express. However my MacBook can do it with no problem. So I have to choose between only using my MacBook for airtunes or extending the network so that my iphone can have a better signal to stream music.
    Yeah I know…first world problems.

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