Thoughts about multiple wifi networks and a shared internet connection...

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by LoneRider, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. LoneRider macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2010
    Lake Stevens WA
    Looking for a little help. I currently have an AEBS running both a home and "guest" network.

    The home network is used by (all devices connect via wifi):
    Mac Mini
    MacBook Air
    Two Apple TV units
    All in one printer
    Windows laptop (son)

    I have our families three smartphones connect to the guest network as well as the occasional guest.

    We have high speed (25mbs+) Internet via cable.

    I just picked up the new AEBS in preparation for MacBook Air upgrade to provide AC wifi. The MBA is my main computer and I use it all over the house.

    Instead of selling the older 802.11n AEBS, I was thinking of using it as a completely separate network to isolate my sons computer and the smartphones off of my Apple network. My thinking is that while the internet connection can handle all of the use, the wifi becomes a choke point when me and my son are both doing things. He does online gaming so uses a fair amount of bandwidth and we see slowdowns when streaming Netflix on the Apple TV.

    So, short and sweet- can two stand alone networks share the internet connection, and would we see improved performance by splitting the households wifi bandwidth across two networks?

    My thought is the new AEBS as the "Primary" network getting the internet connection, the the older AEBS as "Secondary" to handle my sons volume and the guest network for smartphones and visitors.

    Any info validating my thinking or pointing out errors would be appreciated. As well as how to do the setup ie- internet to wan on primary, then wan on secondary to LAN on primary or split the internet with a switch and feed both wan ports from the switch?

    Thanks for any info you can offer!
  2. drsox, Oct 24, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013

    drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    If you can connect the two AEs by a LAN then you can run them in roaming network mode. As long as the two sets of users are physically separated then they will connect to the nearest unit. (Except for the guest network)

    Otherwise you can connect them in cascade, but then they will be isolated from each other and you will get a double NAT, so to avoid problems with on-line gaming your son will have to use the Primary. Is this acceptable ? Google cascading routers or take a look at this :

    In your config, the Primary AE allows guests and your son to connect by WiFi. The Secondary AE connects by LAN to the first and sets up a different WiFi network. You connect to this. However, the Secondary won't see devices connected to the Primary (and vice-versa) - I think.

    If you use the new AE as the Primary, you might just find that this WiFi congestion problem goes away as the new AExtreme is a much more capable device.
  3. outie2k macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2010
    Some of the stuff drsox mentioned are incorrect.

    You can definitely connect the older AEBS as an Access Point (AP) only, serving a different wireless network with a different SSID. You need to connect it to the main AEBS via cat5 cable. In Airport app you can configure it as "create a wireless network". I think it also lets you choose it's being connected to a router via LAN instead of directly to a Internet modem. This is what you want to do so it doesn't act as another DHCP server. Just reset the old AEBS to factory setting and go through the wizard.

    All devices connected to the AP AEBS can access your main network and all the devices. There's no double NAT issue in this setup.

    While you can use the same SSID as the main AEBS to create a large wifi network, that's not what you want to do as you mentioned. You want to isolate this wireless network for bandwidth purposes. So just set a different SSID for it.

    Hope this helps.
  4. LoneRider thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2010
    Lake Stevens WA

    This worked- thanks!

    Now running my stuff on the new AEBS connected to cable modem and old AEBS plugged into a LAN port on the new one but set up as a separate network.

    The old one is in "Bridge" mode so no dual NAT issue, everything works as I had hoped.

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