switching AE / AEBS

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by EGS1550, Apr 2, 2018.

  1. EGS1550 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    #1
    Currently I have a newer airport extreme base station in my basement connected to a cable modem.

    I have a new Airport Express on order.

    What I want to do is move the AEBS to the 2nd floor and connect it directly to my Imac so I can do quicker error free backups. The Airport express will now reside in the basement and replace the AEBS. The AE will be connected to the cable modem and become the primary "hub".

    Am I creating any new problems in doing so? Will I have to redo my setup using Airport utility? Will I lose any speed making the AE the first entry point in my network or should I leave everything alone and simply leave the setup as is and make the AE the extender?

    I am unable to run a CAT5 cable to my 2nd floor and cannot get a proper time capsule backup without errors over WIFI. Also having the express and AEBS will hopefully improve weak spots in my home. Connecting the AEBS to the iMac will fix the backup issues if the above solution is viable?
     
  2. techwarrior macrumors 65816

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #2
    Assuming you have a coax outlet upstairs that the modem and Extreme will connect to. The WiFi and\or Ethernet should be more reliable if you are closer to the base station. The setup will not need to be changed on the Extreme (but you may want a few changes - see below).

    As for the Express downstairs, connecting it wirelessly to the router is less than optimal. Why? Because the WiFi radios on both the Extreme and Express will do double duty handling client + backhaul traffic (between units), this tends to reduce wireless capacity nearly 50%.

    As for running Cat 5 downstairs, there are options if you can't do it directly. Keep in mind, Express has a 100Mbps ethernet (WAN & LAN ports). The Extreme has 1000Mbps.

    Powerline and MOCA adapters can easily do the 100Mbps and then some to link the two Airport base stations. Newer adapters can do close to 1000Mbps, and should set you back no more than $100. The result will be WiFi will reach it's full potential upstairs, and up to 100Mbps down (limited by the 100Mbps ethernet on the Express).

    If your ISP service is better than 100Mbps and you think that may be too slow for the downstairs devices, consider a few options. Another Extreme (1000Mbps ethernet + 802.11ac WiFi) coupled with the Powerline or MOCA adapters could give you close to 1000Mbps speeds downstairs, instead of the Express. Also, if the devices downstairs are ethernet capable, a 1Gbps switch could speed things up downstairs as well, using the Powerline or MOCA link to the router. Or, you can do both, plugging the Express into the switch. Since the Extreme has 1WAN + 3 LAN 1Gbps ports, a switch downstairs would probably not be needed if you go the Extreme route downstairs.

    Either way, the Express or Extreme downstairs should have Network > Router Mode set to Off (Bridge Mode). If the downstairs unit connects via Ethernet, set Wireless > Network Mode to "Create a wireless network". If you go the wireless route to connect it to the main router, Wireless Network Mode would be set to "extend a wireless network".

    One reason your backups were unreliable may be how WiFi was setup. The Extreme (and Express) support dual band (2.4 + 5Ghz). If both use the same SSID ( wireless network name), the clients will connect to whatever has a perceived better signal, which may be 2.4Ghz due to it having a longer range. However, 2.4Ghz is subject to interference from a lot of things, wireless landline phones, Bluetooth, neighboring WiFi networks, radar, microwave, etc. So, if you make a habit of naming the networks slightly different (NETWORK & NETWORK5G for example), but use the same Security and Password, you can choose to connect to the 5Ghz network and ignore the 2.4Ghz network, resulting in less interference on your connections.

    Also, if you manually set the WiFi channels (Wireless > Wireless Options), you may be able to improve signals by avoiding overlapping with other networks. Bluetooth, Microwaves, phones all tend to use channel 6. So if you use channel 1 or 11 on 2.4Ghz, you should get more reliable signals. 5Ghz channels are probably not a problem, neighboring signs are probably too weak make a difference.
     
  3. EGS1550, Apr 2, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018

    EGS1550 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    #3

    If I switch positions for the AE and AEBS nothing will change on the connection. Currently the modem and AEBS are connected by wire. The max speed that I am paying for through my cable company is 100down/10up.

    So that is where I am unsure. Without making any more investments in wiring/adapters, do I simply make the AE an extension of the existing setup or do I switch the units around and have the AE connected by wire to the modem in the basement and move the AEBS up to the 2nd floor next to my iMac and also close to 3 bedrooms. My kids bedrooms are on the 2nd floor too and they are on ipads/iphones frequently and don't get a great signal at all times.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 2, 2018 ---
    Here are my current settings for my AEBS. I have no other network equipment and the AEBS is connected with a wire directly and broadcasts the Wifi to the house. All iphones, ipads, laptops, xbox and Imac all connect via wifi
    --- Post Merged, Apr 2, 2018 ---
    Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 9.44.07 PM.png Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 9.43.58 PM.png Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 9.43.51 PM.png
     
  4. techwarrior macrumors 65816

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #4
    I would move the modem upstairs along with the Extreme. The extreme has better throughput than the Express. The settings should be fine as is for the router (Extreme), and the Express would be set to extend the network, allowing it to connect wirelessly to the Extreme. Make sure the Express is placed somewhere that gets a solid signal to the Extreme.

    Again, think about making the 5Ghz SSID slightly different, Airport 5G for example (Wireless Options). Then, on all devices that can connect to 5Ghz, join the 5G SSID and "forget" the Airport TC network. If any device has issues with 5Ghz (due to range for example), join the 2.4 SSID and keep both in the settings on that device. The effect of limiting a device to the 5Ghz network is that it avoids the issues with interference on 2.4Ghz, not to mention the 5Ghz signal is likely 802.11ac which is much faster (up to 1300Mbps) than the 150-450Mbps of the 2.4Ghz under ideal conditions. Further, by reducing the number of devices on 2.4, there is more capacity for those devices that can't connect to 5Ghz.

    But, again, expect some WiFi speed hits due to the second access point (Express). Since your ISP is 100\10, this should not be an issue other than slowing things a bit with file transfers between devices on the WiFi (iMac to xBox for example).

    If WiFi speeds suffer too much (due to the radios sharing backhaul and client traffic), consider Powerline or MOCA to make the connection to the downstairs Express hardwired. You may not need to do this at all if the signal between units is strong.
     
  5. chabig macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    #5
    First, your backups are already error free. Network protocols guarantee that. Second, moving the devices closer won’t necessarily increase speed unless you have signal strength problems on your house. If that’s the case, and you only have a cable hookup downstairs, you’d probably be better with one of the newer mesh systems.
     
  6. EGS1550 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    #6
    I wish that was the case but I keep getting this type of error message and what I have read online is that perhaps it would work better if the iMac was directly connected to the AEBS

    Screen Shot 2018-04-03 at 11.09.07 AM.png
    --- Post Merged, Apr 3, 2018 ---
    One more question. I noticed that our phones do not always want to connect to the 5ghz network. When we turn on our phones it will often revert to the 2.6 speed network or LTE. It takes anywhere from 5-20 seconds to find the 5ghz. Or in the middle of browsing there are pauses and I must manually reconnect to the 5ghz

    This happens to an iphone 7, iphone 8 and iphone 6 anywhere in the house. But the iMac rarely does this on the 2nd floor.

    Should I do what you suggested and have the modem hooked to a Powerline and then move the AEBS out of the basement and onto the first floor? The AEBS is able to be plugged into the 2nd powerline and get the signal that way?

    The modem cannot easily move out of the basement.
     
  7. techwarrior macrumors 65816

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #7
    First things first, delete the old backup and start a fresh one. No matter how good your connection is, you may not be able to recover from this condition. Unless you really need old backups, a fresh start may be in order.

    Do you just have the one Coax port in the basement? Or does your home distribute coax to all the rooms in the home? If the latter, you should be able to put a splitter on the coax upstairs, one output to the modem, the other to the TV. That should set you back less than $10.

    Powerline from the modem downstairs to the AEBS up would work. But, a splitter and modem\router both upstairs would probably be better, and cheaper.

    Name the 5G network different as described above, and forget the 2.4 network. If the signal is weak, and both frequencies use the same SSID, devices will tend to connect to 2.4 as it has a longer range so the signal is probably stronger. But, it the 5Ghz signal reaches all areas of the home adequately, ignoring the 2.4 network will ensure you always connect to the 5Ghz signal. If there is interference on 2.4, eventually the devices will give up and connect to LTE. But since 5Ghz is less likely to have interference issues, likely you would rarely connect to LTE.
     
  8. EGS1550 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    #8
    No. All existing coax in each room has been changed to now be connected to an outdoor antenna. I cut the "cable tv" cord years ago. The only coaxial coming into the house that I pay for is for my internet and it runs into the basement from outdoors. So that is why I have to leave the coax connection in the basement.

    I am wondering if having a Powerline installed on the first floor and moving the AEBS to the first floor will negate the need for the AE?

    Moving the basement coax is not impossible but rather something I don't want to get involved wtih... specifically fishing lines through floors and walls.

    That is my dilemma

    Thank you for all of your replies Techwarrior
     
  9. techwarrior macrumors 65816

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #9
    If you have coax running throughout the home, you should be able to connect the incoming cable to the feed going directly to the room where the modem and router will go. Usually, cable companies will put splitters in line to connect all of the rooms to the incoming feed. The Data and TV signals are carried over the same coax, and the modem filters the data while the TV decoders filter the TV signals.

    So, you just need a coupler or splitter to redirect the incoming coax to the cable already running to the room where you want to put the modem. If it is also feeding a TV from the antenna signal, then you are right about needing to feed a new line up there. But if you have multiple coax ports upstairs, chances are you can find a central place for the modem\router in a different room or jack than the TV.

    With powerline to link the modem to the AEBS upstairs, chances are your signal will be more than adequate without the Express. I have never set it up this way and wonder if there will be a problem. The powerline adapters might get ip addresses from the router, if so, it might cause issues as the adapters are not NAT\routers. If they are just layer 2 devices with no IP, then you should be OK as they would tend to be just a repeater.
     

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