What say you? Airport Extreme/Express Setup


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 13, 2011
I've searched the forums and haven't found anything that would really assist me in solving an issue I have. Minus the roaming wireless network but, as I understand it, that's for multiple airport extremes.

A friend of mine has an extremely old house and the walls throughout the house are made of concrete and cinder blocks (or at least looks like cinders). Two stories and about 5500 to 6K square feet. (I forgot to mention huge earlier. I think he said it's considered a fall out shelter as well.) Literally, the walls are a foot to a foot and a half thick throughout the house as well.

There are cables (cable tv) ran around the house (on the outside) for tv but, he is not wanting to drill more holes through the walls. I have tried to use those little (I forget the brand name.) nugget looking wireless repeaters through the house but, they never seemed to work. Not sure if it was the hardware not all working together or my misconfiguration (I've been able to do it before in a wood house that was 4K square feet.).

So, my idea was to put an airport extreme at the cable box (in an upstairs room) and in every OTHER room (about 8 rooms total, 4 bedrooms up stairs) add an airport express. I read that the signal will drop 25/50% for each "extension". If that's the case, the system I'm trying to get to (down stairs, across the house into the library) will have a very slow, if any, connection (signal) to the 'net.

Any recommendation? No drilling, so I can't run ethernet outside, walls are to thick (solid) to drill/fish ethernet through, and the house is huge and spaced out. They currently have 2 - 100' cables (spliced together with a coupler) stretching from the router up stairs, to the iMac in the library.

Post up what you might suggest.


macrumors 65816
Apr 29, 2011
You haven't said what you actually want to do.

If you can't run Cable and Wireless is iffy, then how about PowerLine. Depending on what data rates you want to achieve, then you could put 500Mbps units in each room, linked to an Airport Express. This will give you a roaming network so that all WiFi devices will work anywhere.

Or just connect the room's device to the local AE by cable. You won't be able to get better than 100Mbps real data rates but that might be enough. There is also supposed to be 1Gbps out soon. If PowerLine is no good, there there is a system that sends data over a TV cable network. It doesn't seem to have developed very much though.


macrumors member
Jul 20, 2012
I have an extreme and express and run that setup and it is bullet proof for me. BUT I run ethernet between the two so I obviously get a good network connection to the express.

I tried it with wifi but found the wifi bandwidth that was taken to create the connection seemed defeat the purpose. You might get a good connection from the express to the Mac but the actual wifi connection between the express and extreme may be slow. which was my case. So browsing is ok but large file transfer is not so fast. remember a wifi extender will take up bandwidth between the base router and the extender to extend the wifi network. Yes the wifi at the end extender point is stronger, but what is the link between the base and extender. That is your big question.

Having said that my two devices are only 10 metres apart (25 feet?) and there is two plaster board walls between them when I tried the wifi link set up.
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