Thoughts on extending a network

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by 7thson, Oct 19, 2014.

  1. 7thson, Oct 19, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014

    7thson macrumors 6502a

    7thson

    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Six Rivers, CA
    #1
    I'm trying to solve a problem with wifi in my house. The situation is this: my house is large, over 2600sf. The modem and Airport Extreme(4th gen) is located at one end of my house in the living room, where the Apple TV is. My computer is located at the opposite end of the house in the family room, about 80 feet away and half a floor down(split level). I recently had been using an Airport Express in the family room to extend the network to help with wifi coverage to the computer and the bedrooms which are located above the family room. The Airport Express(model A1264, previous to current) has been failing lately and I suspect it isn't really up to the task I am asking of it.

    My quandary is this: should I run ethernet from the Airport Extreme to the family room and connect it to the Airport Express to help alleviate it's workload? In the event I have to upgrade the Express, I'll probably go with a 5th gen Extreme(newest) and swap it with the 4th gen Extreme. Does this idea make sense? Using ethernet to wire the signal to the other end of the house to then broadcast as wifi? Will the Extreme extend a network through ethernet to another Extreme/Express? Or just get another Extreme and skip the ethernet? As it is now, the Extreme by itself can't provide a reliable signal to the family room, it cuts out periodically but there is still wifi in the living room, so that's how I got to this possible solution.

    Alternatively, I could try to relocate the modem and Extreme to a more central location, and that could just save me some money but take lots of time configuring a place for it so that its not tucked back in a cubby or just sitting out on a shelf looking obtrusive. Even then I may find I still need a secondary router. Your thoughts please?
     
  2. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #2
    Ethernet is the best method to connect them. Perhaps you can move the modem and Extreme to a central location! My Extreme covers my 2800 sq. ft. house fine from the second floor.
     
  3. eduardrw macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    #3
    I can also confirm that ethernet is the best solution.
    Where I live all my neighbors have WIFI devices. Which means that my 3000sqft house with 2 levels gets some issues at the outer rooms due to neighbor WIFI's.

    I found the best solution to use one Airport Extreme at one side of my house as a router and then connect an Airport Express or Extreme on the other side via ethernet. Each on different levels.

    My coverage is excellent this way.

    Yes - Airports connected to each other via ethernet can extend your WIFI.
    Look for Roaming WIFI at this page:
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4260?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US
     
  4. 7thson thread starter macrumors 6502a

    7thson

    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Six Rivers, CA
    #4
    Thanks for the feedback and the link. I'll run the ethernet and see if the Express still has some life in it to provide wifi. If not, it can retire to be used for Airplay and I'll get a new Extreme.
     
  5. orestes1984 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #5
    Try running an Ethernet Over Power solution if cables are getting in the way.
     
  6. 7thson thread starter macrumors 6502a

    7thson

    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Six Rivers, CA
    #6
    This sounds like an easy solution. Can you recommend a set up? I looked into it a bit and was about to buy this:
    http://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-TL-WP.../ref=lh_ni_t?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER, but I'm not getting a clear idea of compatibility with Mac's and Apple routers. Any experience you can share?
     
  7. crazyxzer0 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    #7
    I run these. I would highly recommend at least AV500 for powerline adapters.

    http://www.amazon.com/Belkin-Powerline-Network-adapters-included/dp/B005O0R9UA/


    My current setup is:

    • Primary Router in main house: ASUS N66U running Tomato software
    • Secondary Router in back house: Linksys E4200 running Tomato software

    Secondary Router is connected to the Primary router via the Belkin AV500 powerline adapter. The primary and secondary are not on the same power circuit and there is a bit of noise (terrible house grounding) which limits my lines to roughly 30Mbit. YMMV depending on the condition of your powerlines. The AV500 Powerline adapters are rated to at least 100Mbit if they are installed on properly setup power-lines.



    The powerline adapters should be treated as an ethernet cable. It will have compatibility as long as the secondary router is setup as a bridge mode.
     
  8. orestes1984 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #8
    They run well, provided your electricity is on the same circuit you should get similar speeds/throughput as wired ethernet although I would go for a better brand however as noted above. I just don't trust TPLink much though as a manufacturer of networking hardware.

    The only issue is if the grounding for your wiring is terrible, which is the same as in an ethernet cable with insufficient grounding for the transfer speed you want to run it. Even though it should default to a speed that is at least equal to or faster than your wifi network and give you wider range with less interference.
     
  9. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #9
    Running power line networking is not as fast as regular Ethernet. If you are in a position where you can run regular Gigabit Cat5e or Cat6 then do that for sure.
     
  10. 7thson thread starter macrumors 6502a

    7thson

    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Six Rivers, CA
    #10
    Yeah, that's the big drawback I'm looking at. I don't have blazing fast internet, just 15mbs down, but on wifi I only get that when I'm within eyesight of the Extreme. It's fine for my needs, but if the Powerline slows it down too much, I'd rather just run the ethernet. It'll take longer to set up and I'll possibly need a need router to extend, but it takes the guess work out of the equation. Still, the Powerline is intriguing.
     
  11. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #11
    I have found power line networking to be a total shot in the air. Sometimes it is fine in a newer home with good electrical work, but in older homes and buildings with a lot of electrical "noise" it is almost as bad as wrapping an access point in 2 layers of concrete block and connecting to it.
     
  12. crazyxzer0 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    #12
    I have terrible noise and I get about 28Mbit on my lines. That at least maxes out my comcast line 25Mbit for the time being. I don't think you should have any issues with power-line limiting your 15Mbit internet line. It may be an issue if you have a media server on the primary side and trying to access it from the secondary side.


    My Media server is setup on the secondary router after the power-line connection. My retina macbook can send/recieve files to the media server at 30MB/sec or so over the wireless N without much issue.

    I'm happy with my setup for now until the my internet speeds exceeds my terrible powerline.
     
  13. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #13
    The network performance then will be atrocious if you have to do large file copies however.
     
  14. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #14
    Yes. If you wirelessly extend the throughput is halved and that's your best case scenario. It just goes downhill from there.

    Also trying using inSSIDer or similar to see if you're having conflicts with neighbors.

    Haven't tried myself but comments I've read on it have not been good. I've had excellent results with MoCA though.
     
  15. crazyxzer0 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    #15
    The secondary router handles all LAN file copies and I have not seen drop in WAN speeds during large (100GB+) transfers.
     
  16. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #16
    I am glad that it works well in your case. I just can't recommend them as a good solution especially if Ethernet can be run. I know that Ethernet is a bit harder for 7thson to run but the results are well worth it in my mind.
     
  17. crazyxzer0 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    #17
    In my scenario, I have a backhouse that needed internet and it would not be ideal to run ethernet outside the main house to the backhouse.
     
  18. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #18
    In that situation it makes perfect sense to me and I probably would do the same thing...
     
  19. crazyxzer0 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    #19
    Agreed. Ethernet would be the first choice.
     
  20. 7thson thread starter macrumors 6502a

    7thson

    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Six Rivers, CA
    #20
    Yep, Ethernet is the way to go. Powerline would be my go to if I had a slab foundation, but running 80 or so feet through a crawl space and basement won't take that long (knock on wood). I have spent more time reading up on Powerline adapters than it will take to run the Ethernet, just because I wanted to understand it as best as I could before adopting. Ultimately, there is no school like old school so.... Sorry, it's probably been at least 12 years since someone said that. The scene at the end of The Incredibles with the two old men reminiscing comes to mind. Anyway, yes, Ethernet. Done. Thanks for ALL of the input, everyone:) Seriously, I really appreciate this community of techies who are willing to take the time to answer random questions. It's awesome.
     
  21. orestes1984 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #21
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    This is what your post looks like, please use paragraphs next time, if you can extend via cable it's always a better option.
     
  22. 7thson thread starter macrumors 6502a

    7thson

    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Six Rivers, CA
    #22
    Better now? I wish you had said something sooner. I feel like I spent the whole night at a party with my shirt buttoned wrong. ;) Thanks for the feedback.
     

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