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Airport Extreme, Airport Express, Surfboard SB6141, and Comcast

Posted on 2013-11-26
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Last Modified: 2014-02-05
Going to be helping my brother with his home network this weekend and wanted to get some input from the Experts first.

He's currently got a setup that goes like this:

Comcast High Speed Internet
Surfboard SB6141 Modem
Airport Extreme
Airport Express

The Cat6 wires run from the wall to his modem to the Airport Extreme with the Airport Express connected via another Cat6 that runs through the walls to the other side of his house.

At the moment, he's having issues with a couple things:

1) Plugging the Airport Express into the Cat6 cable that connects it to the AE causes EVERYTHING to go offline. Internet access drops immediately, and connectivity on the network comes to a halt. Airport Utility starts having trouble finding both AE devices and it all goes bonkers.

Unplugging the Cat6 from the Express and making it revert back to it's wifi connection to the Extreme brings everything back up and online within 15-30 seconds.

The Extreme is currently set as the DHCP and NAT and the Express is acting as the wifi signal extender from the Extreme so that the same network is broadcast through his house.

I've read a lot about this SB6141 modem being a major pain for the Airport Extreme so I know that is one potential culprit but what else am I missing here?

2) He has a couple Belkin 8 port gigabit switches, one for each AE device, so that his printers and other stuff can plug in to his network. He runs a home based business so his home is also his office and he has a lot of gear.

At the moment the Belkin 8 port that is situated next to the Extreme is plugged into one of the extra Ethernet ports on the Extreme so that all the devices plugged into the Belkin are accessible via either ethernet for his desktops or wifi for his other devices.

Since the Express is having issues being plugged in via Ethernet I currently don't have the other 8 port Belkin switch plugged into anything or have the Express hooked into it.

3) Is there a recommended, POWERED USB hub to use with an Airport Express? I know I can hook a lot of his devices up via USB if there is a hub that is compatible with the AE configuration. That would eliminate the need his 2nd 8 port hub almost entirely.


Thanks in advance! I wouldn't be surprised if his modem is the source of the issues but I defer to your mighty knowledge of Experts of the Exchange.

For the record, the Extreme and Express are both brand new as is the SB6141. He went and bought all this stuff before consulting with family who knows this stuff.
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Question by:telstar_
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by:Jackie Man
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Can you visualize the situation with a network diagram?
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by:strung
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I am confused. Does the Surfboard have more than one ethernet connection? Your description suggested that both the Express and the Extreme are connected by ethernet directly to the Surfboard?

Is that correct?

If not, is the Express connected by ethernet directly to the Extreme?

Is the Ethernet cable from the Surfboard plugged into the WAN port  on the Extreme?
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strung earned 500 total points
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If the ethernet cable from the Express is plugged into the Extreme rather than into the Surfboard, the Express needs to be set to BRIDGE MODE.

See "Connecting to an existing Wi-Fi network as part of a roaming network"

here:  http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4587

and here:  http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4260
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by:telstar_
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The modem runs to the Extreme's internet port. The Express then is plugged directly into the Extreme via a long ethernet cable. There is also an 8 port switch plugged into one of the other open etherenet ports on the Extreme for things like network printers.

However, when the Express gets plugged into the Extreme with that direct connection the internet goes offline immediately. The Express was set in Bridge mode to do this, hence my confusion. This shouldn't be a problematic configuration but I have yet to find the source of this problem.
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by:strung
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Temporarily unplug the switch just to make sure that there is not an IP address conflict between the Express and one of the other devices.

Also try setting up the express afresh following the directions in the two links I posted.
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by:strung
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Do a hard reset of the Express and set it up from scratch.
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