Using Time Capsule 5 GHz only with Airport Express as 2.4 Ghz for older computers

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by ac3320, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. ac3320, Aug 23, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011

    ac3320 macrumors regular


    Aug 20, 2011
    This article inspired me to try bring out my old Airport Express I never use since getting my TC.

    Previously, I was using my Time Capsule (dual-band) in dual-band "a/b/g/n" mode, and was not using the AirPort Express. Now I have made the Time Capsule do 5 GHz "n" ONLY (to take advantage of the "wide channels" and such), and have the Airport Express connected to the TC via ethernet and it's creating it's own wireless network @ 2.4 Ghz. It has a different network name than the primary "n" network on the TC. That's how I have set it up, since I couldn't follow what the author of that article did exactly, since he used a generic router and went in there and messed with the IPs or something..

    My question is that the author claims while having the Time Capsule (or Airport Extreme) @ 5 GHz [only] "n" mode and having the Airport Express @ 2.4 Ghz "a/b/g/whatever," that computers on the network would 'see' the same SSID -- almost as if any computer on the network would only see and connect to that single network name, but that each computer on the home network will use which everyone it needs to (e.g., the "n" capable computers would default to the 5 Ghz.)

    --> How would I set that up with the TC/Express combo I have? Again, the author used a generic Belkin one and then did something with the IP addys...

    --> Is what I am doing better/worse than what he did with his setup? I.e., is it better to have two separate networks serving each type of device (it's all the same "internet," but maybe that doesn't matter)? Or is it better to have everyone on the 'same' SSID? Note that I was able to send a file to a "2.4 GHz networked" computer this morning from my "5 GHz 'n' networked" computer and it worked fine. Seems like the networks can communicate...

    ---------> What exactly are "SSIDs"? How are people messing with SSIDs in the AirPort utility? I don't see a way to configure that, unless an "SSID" is just an acronym for whatever the network's name is called... (?) I was able to figure out how to rename a network and stuff

    --> Can anyone recommend an even better setup?

    --> Random: Is "n" always better than "g"? I feel like i've read some threads on here in which guys are saying their "g" networks were faster than their "n" networks on the AirPort Extreme/Express/TC?

    Can anyone offer some help?

    Thanks :)

    Edit: Based on something a poster said, I should note that I have the original TC -- the 1st gen -- which is NOT dual-band capable. So even though that doesn't really effect my question, i thought i would put it in here for clarity...
  2. MaxBurn macrumors 65816


    Nov 25, 2010
    My new TC has two SSID's when you turn on the 5ghz option. It automatically suggests the old SSID name plus 5ghz for the 5ghz name. Therefore devices that can see both frequencies of N see both site ID's and you chose which to use when you join.
  3. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    If your Time Capsule is a simultaneous dual-band version, then it's capable of broadcasting both a 2.4GHz and a 5GHz SSID at the same time. There is no need for an Express, just be sure to give the 5GHz band a unique SSID in the advanced options in AirPort Utility.

    SSID is the technical name for the name of your wireless network. A network can have one SSID or many depending on the hardware you use. If set up correctly, all devices connected to any SSID should be able to communicate with one another.

    If however your TC is not capable of simultaneous dual-band, then you can set your Express as a bridge, allowing it to work as a wireless access point. Turn off DHCP in AirPort Utility (turn Connection Sharing to Off (Bridge mode)) and connect your Express to one of your TCs LAN ports. You can give the Express its own SSID with its own password and set your TC to operate on 5GHz n only.

    What you may have read is that the 2.4GHz signal is capable of travelling further and through walls better than the 5GHz signal. Though while the 5GHz band is technically faster, if you're getting a poor signal it will act slower than the 2.4GHz band.
  4. ac3320 thread starter macrumors regular


    Aug 20, 2011
    My TC can do simultaneous, it's just that one can't do the "wide networks" with the dual-band mode in effect -- if one wants the wide mode, one has to have the TC on 5 GHz ONLY. THAT's why I don't do the dual-band mode (of course that would be much simpler).

    I think you missed the point of my post :/ What you suggest to do in your third paragraph there is what I have going on right now! lol

    My issue is whether there is a way to just have one SSID that all computers can see and connect to, but have the express take care of the 2.4 GHz part, and the TC take care of the 5 GHz part. I was also wondering if this is more advantageous than the two different SSIDs I have going on right now (one for TC @ 5 GHz, and one for the Express @ 2.4 GHz)
  5. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    Weird about your TC. Mine was the 2nd generation, which I thought was the first to support dual-band networks. I had no problem using wide-channels when doing simultaneous networks. I did have to hold OPTION down when selecting which type of wireless networking I wanted, I think (which gave more options in the pulldown). :confused:

    Personally, I didn't like it when both my networks had the same SSID. I'd have N-devices that would sometimes associate with the b/g network, and it was a pain to get them to disconnect and reconnect to the n network. With separate names, I don't have that problem.

    Make sure your Airport Express is in "bridge mode", otherwise it's going to act as a router, making it so that devices connected to it can't communicate with devices connected to the TC. Airport Utility > Airport Express > Internet > Internet Connection ... look for the Bridge Mode option. It may be under the Connection Sharing pulldown.
  6. ac3320 thread starter macrumors regular


    Aug 20, 2011
    It's in bridge mode right now, and we can all see each other. I just realized that mine is the 1st gen, which is NOT dual-band capable. you are right about that. I think I was remembering the "a/b/g/n" combo mode as "dual-band," but that has nothing to do with dual-band or not. You are right. I actually NEED the Express to do it's own thing. Separate SSIDs is fine since we can all see each other. Thanks everyone for your help :)

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