use a repeater or bridge mode?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by halfmonkey, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. halfmonkey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    #1
    I currently have a D-Link DIR-880L connected to my modem as my primary router. From the D-Link, I have an Airport Extreme connected via ethernet and placed on the other side of my house away from the D-Link router. I have the AE set up as bridge mode. I want to make sure I'm doing this right because I'm searching to figure out the difference between a repeater and bridge mode and it's still not very clear to me. What I would like to do is hard wire my AE to my D-link (which I've done) and use the d-link to broadcast out my wireless signal so that when I'm in that part of my house where the AE is, I'll get a more solid connection since the connection drops off from the D-link router without the AE.

    Am I correct in setting up the AE in bridge mode or should I be setting it up as a repeater or buying a separate repeater? My preference is to hard wire the AE to one of the ports from the D-link router and then broadcast wirelessly and allow my wireless clients to connect to the AE. Is this method the best for signal strength and speed?

    Sorry if I'm not using the correct terminology as I'm not a tech expert. I do consider myself a little more knowledgeable than the regular person in this area but certainly not an expert.
     
  2. belvdr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #2
    Your setup is correct. In this case, bridge mode refers to not enabling NAT or routing. You don't want that; you only want one device to route and NAT: the D-Link.
     
  3. BrianBaughn macrumors 603

    BrianBaughn

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    #3
    In addition to what belvdr wrote, you ought to set fixed wifi channels on both the D-Link and AE, but different from each other.

    If you have a wifi printer connected specifically to one wifi source you might see an issue of not being able to connect to the printer when your computer is connected to the other wifi source.
     
  4. techwarrior macrumors 6502

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #4
    AE in bridge mode is correct. Repeaters\extenders may use existing Wi-Fi then share it from the remote location. Depending on how it is implemented by the manufacturer, it may result in fairly weak signals in the remote location as the radio is splitting duties between uplinks to the main router, and client connections. What you are describing with AE in bridge mode is referred to as a roaming network in Apple's terminology, the key is the uplink is via Ethernet (presumably 1Gbps) which means the radios are devoting 100% to client connections. A repeater\extender may have to be close enough to the main router to get a good signal resulting in a lot of overlap, but the AE in bridge mode connected via Ethernet can be totally out of range of the signal from the main router and still provide excellent network speeds. The more overlap you have, the more contention for access and thus slower speeds.

    That said, you still have a few options to consider. Clearly, channel selection should be performed manually to avoid overlap between your two routers and neighbors Wi-Fi.

    You also need to decide if the same, or different SSID (network name) are to be used. The benefit if using the same SSID is simplicity. However, using different SSID will allow you to designate which router devices connect to. Macs, PCs and iOS devices can remember both SSID and connect to whichever has the better signal, but AppleTV, and appliance or IoT devices may only be able to be configured for a single network. WiFi signal strength can vary due to interference from microwave, radar, etc. So, if both routers use the same SSID, appliance devices may fluctuate connecting to the AE and DLink depending on fluctuating signal strength. Using a different SSID, the appliances will always use the AE or DLink depending on which you configure.

    Because the AE connected via Ethernet passes DHCP requests to the DLink router, all clients will have the same network range addresses (typically something like 192.168.2.1-254). The significance of this is that broadcast protocols like Bonjour (how AirPrint and Airplay "advertise" their availability) should pass to all clients regardless of which router or SSID the client is connected to. I have used mixed DLink\Airport setups in the past and not had issues with Airplay\Airprint, but as Brian suggests, it is a possibility that these may suffer.
     

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