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#31430 - 10/06/14 07:46 AM Airport Express as an Access Point
pbGuy Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I have a question about the viability of incorporating an Airport Express (solely as an access point) into an Airport Extreme (5th generation MC340LL/A) WiFi, WAP2 network in a 2-level condo where my Airport Extreme can wirelessly support (full WiFi bars) opposite corners on different floors. iStumbler, however, shows a lot of neighborhood, WiFi noise exists in the area.

My Airport Extreme (ethernet connected to my Comcast modem) is located in my living room. My MBP is located in my home office on the 2d floor, opposite end from my 1st floor Airport Extreme. Line-of-sight the WiFi signal travels through a stairway (construction materials most likely typical of wooden structure condo), albeit only about 40 ft distance or so.

However, I’m finding my 2d floor internet, WiFi speed (to/from my MBP) is dramatically diminished from what I get within my living room.

For context, here are my various, tested download speeds:
- MBP ethernet connected to my living room AE: 55+ Mbps down; 12+ Mbps up.
- WiFi (using my iPhone 5 as well as my new 6) tested (Ookla app for Speedtest.com) in the living room: 27+ Mbps down; 11+ Mbps up.
- WiFi (using my MBP with left-side, which is where antenna is located, directionally facing toward my Extreme & getting full bars in the WiFi Finder icon) tested (Safari on Speedtest.com) from my 2d floor opposite end of my condo: half or less than WiFi results from living room.

So, would an Airport Express (WiFi connected to my 1st floor Airport Extreme, but ethernet connected to my 2d floor, MBP) be effective in improving internet speeds for my MBP in this relatively small floor plan?
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MBP15 i7 (2017) - 1TB PCIe-SSD - 10.14.4, iPhone X & iPadPro 11 WiFi, Watch4

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#31434 - 10/06/14 12:52 PM Re: Airport Express as an Access Point [Re: pbGuy]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
I would place a bet that the other interfering networks you are "seeing" are all in the 2.4 GHz band but that leaves the 5 GHz band wide open and if your equipment is less than four of five years old it should be capable of either 2.4 or 5 GHz or both simultaneously. Although the 5 GHz band typically has a slightly lower signal strength it has nearly twice the bandwidth (twice the data) and unlike the 2.4 GHz bands, the 5GHz bands have no frequency overlap and are therefore less subject to interference. In fact, before investing in an Airport Express, you might try to the 5 GHz band channels because they are also a bit better at penetrating intervening building structures such as walls and floors.

From personal experience I can tell you an Airport Express can easily extend a network created by an Airport Extreme (or Time Capsule). While I am not extending my network between two floors I am extending it through a long ranch style house with lots of intervening walls. Both the Airport Extreme and Airport Express do a good job of identifying the clearest channel on both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands.
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joemikeb • moderator

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#31438 - 10/06/14 03:55 PM Re: Airport Express as an Access Point [Re: joemikeb]
pbGuy Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Good suggestion. Thanks. I'll give it a go and subsequently update.
_________________________
MBP15 i7 (2017) - 1TB PCIe-SSD - 10.14.4, iPhone X & iPadPro 11 WiFi, Watch4

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#31440 - 10/07/14 06:03 AM Re: Airport Express as an Access Point [Re: joemikeb]
pbGuy Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Here's what I've done that currently has resulted in about double my WiFi download speed for my MBP. (Before making a change in my Airport Utility setup, I had the AE 2.4GHz set to a specific channel and 5GHz channel set to Auto.) - Now, after testing several alternatives, I've found that increased WiFi download is being achieved by setting 2.4GHz to Auto and 5GHz to a specific channel.

While under my AE Wireless Options tab, the 5GHz network name option is checked (and the name is only different by having "5GHz" in the name), my WiFi connection, for my MBP (as well as all other wireless devices), is connected to my named Network that I've used for years.

So, I'm not sure if I've actually achieved what you suggested. But, the above setting has, at least so far, resulted in much improved download speed for my MBP, which was my principal objective. (My iPhone 6 & iPad Air continue achieving excellent download speeds.)

Any followup thoughts?
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MBP15 i7 (2017) - 1TB PCIe-SSD - 10.14.4, iPhone X & iPadPro 11 WiFi, Watch4

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#31441 - 10/07/14 07:55 AM Re: Airport Express as an Access Point [Re: pbGuy]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: pbGuy
Any followup thoughts?

Other than saying 'don't mess with success' tongue , I'd suggest you check out yesterday's (Oct 6) comments on the topic of home wired and wireless issues in MacInTouch's Help Please Reader Report. Several comments there might just contain the odd tidbit or two that could help you either improve things further or understand them better.
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alternaut moderator

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#31444 - 10/07/14 08:56 AM Re: Airport Express as an Access Point [Re: pbGuy]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Yep, that is the way it works. Actually I have both the 2.4 and 5GHz bands set to automatically select the channel and it is working quite well. I had added the Airport Express when my iPhone would only work on the 2.4GHz band but with the later model iPhones being capable of the 5GHz band, the extender is no longer absolutely necessary, but I keep it running — just in case.

FWIW I have found the Airport Express to be a wonderfully useful device. I have one connecting a USB printer to the network, another connecting a security camera, one serving the music system, and finally the one extending my network to the far ends of the house.
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joemikeb • moderator

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