An open community 
of Macintosh users,
for Macintosh users.

FineTunedMac Dashboard widget now available! Download Here

Topic Options
#22081 - 05/30/12 06:20 AM Is airport express working?
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
I went through a lot of time and trouble and some money, to get my laptop in my living room hooked up with Airport express/ via (extender).

It's extended from the base station in the other room -- Airport extreme.

Yet when I click on my website, it takes a ridiculous 1 minute to load on the laptop, yet only 16 seconds from the desktop.

Is the express even working? The green light is on and it seems to be fine. Puzzled. thanks.

Top
#22085 - 05/30/12 08:05 AM Re: Is airport express working? [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
If you have Airport Utility 6 on your Mac or Airport Utility on an iPhone or iPad it will show you a clear visual diagram of your network base stations and whether or not they are working.
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#22086 - 05/30/12 11:16 AM Re: Is airport express working? [Re: joemikeb]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
And as mentioned before (e.g., in post #19700 on this page), it may also help to make sure which one of your access points (Extreme or Express) is currently being used, by Option-clicking the Airport Menu bar icon on your Mac, and noting the ID code listed (in dimmed type) immediately below the checked network. You can find out which ID code belongs to either the Extreme or the Express by opening Airport Utility and selecting each one from the left hand column.
_________________________
alternaut moderator

Top
#22087 - 05/30/12 11:18 AM Re: Is airport express working? [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Joe utility is 5.5.3 on Leopard for my laptop. I tried to update but said no updates available.
same thing actually on my desktop, which is snow leopard, said no updates available.

Top
#22088 - 05/30/12 11:35 AM Re: Is airport express working? [Re: kevs]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Airport Utility Version 6 (as well as 5.6) are for Lion. You are up to date with 5.5.3, except perhaps for a firmware update.
_________________________
alternaut moderator

Top
#22092 - 05/30/12 12:53 PM Re: Is airport express working? [Re: alternaut]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
ok, not on Lion yet. Air Radar gives me this, why the duplicates and hence which ken's network is the one connecting??

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/854/irradar3readings.png/

Top
#22093 - 05/30/12 03:37 PM Re: Is airport express working? [Re: kevs]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
There are 2 different BSSIDs listed in 'Ken's Network', representing 2 different devices: presumably corresponding to the Extreme and the Express. One is transmitting on two different channels, with each channel listed separately. I suppose that's the way Air Radar lists them.

As I mentioned above, you can see which access point your Mac is using by Option-clicking the Airport icon in the menu bar, and checking which BSSID is listed. Use Airport Utility as I described above to find the Extreme and the Express BSSIDs, and hence which one you're connecting to. It should change when you move from one access point to the other.
_________________________
alternaut moderator

Top
#22094 - 05/30/12 07:18 PM Re: Is airport express working? [Re: alternaut]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
A, thanks, you lost me a bit, but thanks for the option click tip.

I went back and forth many times with air radar on the multiple listings and could not get a coherent answer from them. I "assumed" that I'm getting the purple best rating, not the lower 2 you see, but then why does it take a minute sometimes for a site to open up?

Here is the reading from the desktop
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/849/screenshot20120530at813.jpg/

Here is the reading from the laptop:
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/213/picture1huv.png/

Your opinion?

Top
#22095 - 05/30/12 08:09 PM Re: Is airport express working? [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
AirRadar is telling you there are two devices creating "ken's Network" on channel 1 and the one that has the strongest signal (77%) is the one your laptop is connected to. But it has a LOT of noise on it (27%) for some reason. That means signals on that particular channel on that particular device will be subject to lots of retransmissions to correct noise induced errors. In other words it is going to be slow because much of the data is being sent two or three times before it is received without error. Unfortunately your computer is going to attach to the strongest signal even if there is a lot of noise in the connection unless you intervene in some way.

There is another "ken's Network" device creating a signal on Channel 1 but it is half the signal strength (36%) of the one you are connected to. The third "ken's Network" is roughly the same signal strength (28%) of the weaker device but this one is on channel 149 which is in the 5GHz band. From that and the BBSIDs I assume the two weaker "ken's Network" signals are your Airport Extreme base station and the stronger and noisier signal is the Airport Express. There is at least one other network on channel 1, anita, not to mention "Wireless SM" on overlapping channel2. Either or both could be the source of the noise in the signal from the Airport Express. However there are other possible reasons for the noise on the AE signal, but lets deal with the possibilities one at a time.

My suggestion at this point would be to reconfigure both the Airport Extreme Base station and Airport Express and switch the 2.4GHz band to say channel 6 or even channel 11 to get as far away from the possible interference from "anita", EOBF, and Wireless FM as possible. To avoid confusion I would rename the 5GHz band network to say, Ken (5GHz). Even better, if your Airport Express and your laptop are capable of the 5GHz band I would switch the AE to the 5GHz band and force the laptop to connect to the 5GHz signal. The upper band is unlikely to have as strong a signal, but it will be much less subject to interference and noise.


Edited by joemikeb (05/30/12 08:16 PM)
Edit Reason: correct oversight
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#22096 - 05/30/12 08:54 PM Re: Is airport express working? [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
thanks Joe, great analysis, before I dive in, this is the air radar for the desktop if it matters:

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/17/screenshot20120530at948.jpg/

Ok,
don't I understand the gist of what you are doing, but don't know/ understand some things. I just remember walking through the set up and extending the extreme over to express
One can choose all these things?

There is a 2.4GHz band to choose and a channel selection. Is that for Extreme/ express or both I'm choosing for?

rename the 5GHz -- is that different than the 2.4 you just mentioned?

I have a 4 year old white laptop, does it get 5gz?

Still odd air radar showing three, I maybe can understand two because one might be the reading of extreme as if express did not exist -- which would be about 30? but why three?

And how are you sure it's getting the 70%. Even air radar could not coherently explain or make me certain...


Top
#22097 - 05/31/12 06:10 AM Re: Is airport express working? [Re: kevs]
MacManiac Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Paradise....on the central Ore...
Hi Kevs,

To help clarify what Joe has already said, you see THREE networks listed for your home WiFi resources because your Airport Extreme is broadcasting TWO simultaneous networks on both the 2.4 GHz band (Channel 1) and on the 5 GHz band (Channel 149). The Express has joined and is extending the 2.4 GHz network for your laptop to use, while the desktop is using the 5 GHz network.

As Joe has said, the 2.4 GHz network is really struggling against a lot of competing noise from other 2.4 GHz networks on the same and adjacent channels....which would explain why the laptop is so slow by comparison to the desktop. The desktop is linked to a clean 5 GHz WiFi channel without so much competition for the bandwidth.....and because the 5 GHz network connects at a higher rate (300 -v- 130) it can move more data than the 2.4 GHz network even if there weren't so much noise causing it to be beat down.

Using your Airport Utility to configure the Airport Extreme, you can change the name of your 5 GHz network and you can change the channel that it uses for the 2.4 GHz network......the Express should automatically follow the 2.4 GHz channel change.

I believe your 4 year old laptop should be able to join the 5 GHz network if the signal strength is high enough......I don't think the Express can extend the 5 GHz network, only the 2.4GHz network (but I may be wrong).

Hope this helps and keep working at it, I had to do virtually the same thing at my house to optimize the WiFi network(s) that my Time Capsule was broadcasting on the simultaneous 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands.

Keep using the Air Radar tool to see where the competition is heaviest in the 2.4 GHz band and then set your network to broadcast on the channel with the least competition.

Looking at the snap you posted I would consider trying channel 5 or 6 first, then try channel 11 and see which one works the best in your environment.

Let us know.
_________________________
Freedom is never free....thank a Service member today.

Top
#22104 - 05/31/12 03:45 PM Re: Is airport express working? [Re: MacManiac]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Mac, thanks, lot of stuff to absorb! Man... Kind of scared to dive into it... since it is working... in fact

today, my site was connecting fine, and noise was not too bad.

I did not even look at the noise column before. Maybe it is in fact working fine, except occasionally when there is noise. Are you guys saying that if I do this work.... I can beat it more consistently? have more consistent results?

Have some trepidation here. Hard to understand without a techie in the room.

BTW, is Joe correct in that air radar is saying the laptop is getting the most powerful one listed?

Still not clear why it would extend to more that one reading, but I'll take your word this is what's happening...

Top
#22113 - 06/01/12 04:55 AM Re: Is airport express working? [Re: kevs]
MacManiac Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Paradise....on the central Ore...
Using the Airport Utility you can explore all the different settings within your Airport Extreme without having to change anything so no techie in the room required.

If you were to simply change the chosen 2.4 GHz channel setting in the Extreme to be on channel 5 instead of channel 1, you can analyze whether it makes a positive difference using Air Radar.....that would also confirm whether the Express had automatically followed the channel change that the Extreme had made -- the slave should follow the master without any further input from you.

If you don't like what you see, simply put the Extreme back to where you started and nothing should have changed from what you currently have.

If, once you've done it the first time, you then tried channel 6.....then channel 11 it would give you enough information to make a reasonable choice about which one was best today. At some point in the future, someone else on one of the other channels may decide to switch over to the same one you've chosen and the whole process starts again.....

To answer your last question, yes -- your snap shows that the laptop is joined with the strongest available WiFi signal.....the one that your Express is broadcasting.

If it helps you to visualize what the process is any better, think of tuning an old AM radio on a day when there are thunderstorms in the area and you have to fine-tune the dial to minimize the static so you can hear the broadcast program more clearly.....in that case, you use your ears to discriminate the best situation.....in this case, you use the numbers that Air Radar presents.

Have fun with it.....
_________________________
Freedom is never free....thank a Service member today.

Top
#22125 - 06/01/12 07:20 PM Re: Is airport express working? [Re: MacManiac]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Thanks Mac, nice post

Top
#22129 - 06/02/12 01:30 PM Re: Is airport express working? [Re: kevs]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: kevs
Thanks Mac, nice post

And, having followed MacManiac's suggestions (as well as joemikeb's and alternaut's) in the interest of answering your own questions, the results of your experimentation are?
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

Top

Moderator:  alternaut, dianne, MacManiac