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Multiple Airport express’es – should they use the same SSID?

Posted on 2013-11-08
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-13
I come from the PC world and am used to configuring wireless access points many times. However I had to do an Airport Express and Airport Extreme at  the same time within the same household.

This was actually harder for me as you have to use a utility to configure, never the less it’s not hard to pick up.

However one question, are they designed to have the same SSID name?
In some houses I do this, and set them on a different channel so the residents only have to worry about 1 SSID and password.
However with the Airport express and extreme, in this case I’m not sure if I should give them the same SSID as they will be reasonably close to each other.

I was thinking maybe easier to give them different names and just tell the residents so use whichever is strongest depending on which room they are in.

Welcome opinions on this.
Question by:afflik1923
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Jackie Man
ID: 39633126
actually, you can set airport extreme as a range extender for your airport express. just connect your airport extreme in extender mode and all wireless clients will be connected to wifi via a single ssid and password.

Author Comment

ID: 39633214
will that give a good experience for the users, even if both the devices are quite close together.
In extender mode, does this work by say the express picking up it's connection from the extreme, and then repeating the signal, therefore making one not as strong?

In this case both devices will be able to connect to the main router via an Ethernet connection.

Repeating the signal is something I would not want to do, if it's my understanding of repeating the signal.
Thanks again.
LVL 47

Accepted Solution

Craig Beck earned 2000 total points
ID: 39633238
Extending (or repeating) is not good for the end-user.  It effectively halves throughput before the user has even connected.

It's recommended to use the same SSID, authentication and encryption settings, but use a different channel (as you've done before).  This means that there's no messing with settings - it's just one network name to connect to and that's it.

The fact that they're next to each other is not a problem.  As long as they use different channels it's fine.  When they use the same channel they interfere with each other and have a negative impact on the user experience.

Author Comment

ID: 39633337
OK craigbeck, thanks for your posting, as it confirms things are as I know them in my PC world and slots the mac air devices into a world I understand,

I could not see somewhere, where I could set the channel ID however (but did not look hard), and thought that maybe it's a clever things Apple does in that they know each other exist on the network and they automatically adjust their Channel to optimise performance for the end user.

Particular as the way you set them up is by plugging them into the network and then your utility on the Mac just sees the devices.
However maybe I'm giving the apple people more credit then I should.

anyway, so things I believe are back as I understand them. I will simple setup two individual access points (that happen to be Apple ones) give them the same SSID, and set different channels.

For sure the very nice one thing is that they do dual channel simultaneously. A netgear for example as the same price range will have a separate 2.4 and 5GHz network with different SSID's.
I do like that I must say.

Author Comment

ID: 39643984
I'm going to close this questions, but do not my related one:

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