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Wifi Setup. Wireless Extension using Airport Extreme and what else?

Posted on 2014-11-04
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Last Modified: 2014-11-15
Neighbour of mine has had a Airport Setup which goes back to the mid 2000s, I have set this up for them in WDS about 7 years ago and it as run without a glitch. Until yesterday when the extension module gave up the ghost.

They have a setup that is across 2 buildings, but they are on the same electric distro board. The main DSL connection incomer is in a garage>Studio conversion and the extension in the main dwelling.

Back in the day they had only young toddlers with no need for extra bandwidth so the old Airports were perfectly fine, but now they experiencing access issues (which I think may be ultimately down to DSL speed), and want to have the fastest internal access possible.

Running CAT5 between the buildings is NOT an option. But the dwelling could do with 2 extension points.

So I am now wondering what is the best route to go.

I could opt for one Airport Extreme and two wireless Express base stations or  powerline extenders.

What hardware would you suggest?

Thanks
capt.
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Question by:captain
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Assisted Solution

by:John-Charles-Herzberg
John-Charles-Herzberg earned 500 total points
ID: 40421629
This is how I setup my Airports

Wi-Fi base stations: Extending the range of your wireless network by adding additional Wi-Fi base stations

http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT4145
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by:captain
ID: 40421645
Yes I google searched this earlier, nice broad overview. Thanks.

I was looking for more specific advise as to which hardware exactly, pros & cons etc.

:)
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Expert Comment

by:John-Charles-Herzberg
ID: 40421692
If you are running on DSL and are using apple products I would run one Airport Extreme as the primary and add two or three Express base stations to extend the network.  You might have to run a network anilizer like http://www.netspotapp.com (FREE) to get the best location for the access points.
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by:John-Charles-Herzberg
ID: 40421709
If you would like to upgrade to NetSpot Pro: Analyze & Troubleshoot Your Wi-Fi Network it is on sale for $19 at https://stacksocial.com/?rid=23572
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Author Comment

by:captain
ID: 40421727
Thanks that sounds great, I will look into that.

So you would not use any powerline extenders?
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by:John-Charles-Herzberg
ID: 40421776
I've had mostly positive Powerline experiences, the technology has its problems. For instance, you can't plug an adapter into a surge protector--unless you buy a HomePlug-compatible surge protector but it is a good backup.
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by:captain
ID: 40421787
is there a particular brand you rate over others?
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by:John-Charles-Herzberg
ID: 40421810
The field keeps changing daily for all the products.  I would have a look at this review.

Best power-line adapters of 2014
http://www.cnet.com/topics/networking/best-networking-devices/power-line-adapters/

and have a look at http://www.techbargains.com for the best deal on them.
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Author Comment

by:captain
ID: 40421880
Hi that is great

Having just spoken to the neighbour they are worried that if the buy the Extreme that it won't work with the older OSX that they are running on some dvices. They have certain software in the studio which is not compatible with newer OSX so the a MacbookPro may be running Lion still.

I am convinced that this may affect manageability of the Airport utility from that machine but not connectivity as long as the OSX supports the WIFI standard used. I take this is the case or are there any incompatibilities that you know of?

The lady asked if we use powerline extenders if she could buy 3 Express instead of one Extreme and 2 Express. What do you think of drawbacks?
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John-Charles-Herzberg earned 500 total points
ID: 40421916
You are correct you might have a problem managing the newer airports with the older OSX

Yes you can use the express for all of the access points.  This link will give you the comparison of each. https://www.apple.com/compare-wifi-models/

More information is at: http://www.imore.com/apple-time-capsule-vs-airport-extreme-vs-airport-express-which-should-you-choose
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Expert Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40421940
Well, you might clarify your *current* objectives.

If you want to replace a current extension of some sort then I would definitely consider a powerline adapter pair (that's usually how they are sold anyway - in a "starter kit").  Then you can consider adding remote units to your system as may be needed in the future.

Some of the end points have built-in wifi.  So that might be a consideration to save buying a separate wireless router to plug in in order to have wireless at that remote spot.
But, if you already have a wireless router for that location then you could use that.

Decide on whether you need or want "Gigabit" links. This would be important if you are sharing data in the buildings.
If you are only using this for internet connections then it's likely not so important as your internet link will be the bottleneck.
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Author Closing Comment

by:captain
ID: 40444411
Neighbour has now finally bought the equipment. They went for 1 Extreme and 3 Express without powerline, have configured (well most of it is automatic anyway) it and so far so good.

Thanks for all assistance but accept goes to John.

cheers
capt.
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