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#33369 - 03/09/15 04:15 PM Old & New Extremes & Expresses
spmcc123 Offline


Registered: 08/06/10
Loc: Portland/Abu Dhabi
Back to FTM after a long absence. I need to replace an Airport Express. I am currently using a 2007 Extreme (802.11n, European) to generate the network. If I buy a new Extreme (a/c) for its extended range and, I suppose, speed, and use the old Extreme in place of the defunct Express (to share printer, distant from base station and also, I suppose, extend the network into the garden) am I slowing down the new network or in any way making it less efficient?

Right now the current Extreme is set to Austria (no idea why) and "802.11n (802.11b/g compatible)" and channel "Automatic". I am not sure whether in this mode it selects both 2.4 and 5GHz bands or only one. I do not believe we have any more b or g devices on the network (see below). Is there anything I should consider to increase speeds, with or without the new Extreme?

Secondly, I have been keeping the old G4 (which has been reduced to serving up music) off the wireless, since I believe its Extreme card is 801.11b and this supposedly slows down the network. Is this so?

Thanks for any advice. And, BTW, is there a relationship between FTM and the new MacIssues?
_________________________
MacBook Pro 15" (2.33 Intel Duo/3GB/667MHz/120GB/10.6.8),
MacBook 13" (2.1 Intel Duo/3GB/667MHz/120GB/10.6.8),
PowerBook G4 12" (1.5 PowerPC/768MB/70GB/10.4.11),
Various LaCie Firewire HDs, Airport Extreme, Express

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#33372 - 03/10/15 07:06 AM Re: Old & New Extremes & Expresses [Re: spmcc123]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
different countries have different spectrums allocated to unlicensed use, so you can't use a CB you bought in the USA when you take it to Mexico (legally) FRS radios vary a bit that way, as does amateur radio use.

I assume the same goes for wifi. So make sure you straighten it out if it thinks its in a different country. Even if it IS on the right frequency, it may be operating at a greatly reduced (or illegally high) power level.
_________________________
I work for the Department of Redundancy Department

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#33377 - 03/10/15 09:35 AM Re: Old & New Extremes & Expresses [Re: spmcc123]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
This Wikipedia article has a good summary of the different 802.11 variants, but in summary to address your questions.
  • Unless your computer/iPhone/iPad device is capable of 802.11ac you will still be connecting via 802.11n or even b/g.
  • 802.11b/g is by definition in the 2.4 GHz band, 802.11n can be in either the 2.4 or g GHz bands.
  • Depending on the particular model Airport Express you have, it may be capable of operating only in the 2.4GHz band or it may be able to handle both 2.4 and 5GHz simultaneously. I have an older AE that is 2.4GHz only and another that is dual band.
  • If you want to really increase the LAN speed, reliability, and security dump the WiFi network and run Gigabit Ethernet cable.
  • As far as slowing the network down I have a WiFi network created by an 802.11ac capable Time Capsule (An Airport Extreme with a built in 3TB drive for Time Machine backups) and connected to that network an older Airport Express b/g, a printer with built in WiFi (802.11b/g), a Late 2012 Mac mini (802.11n) and a 2014 Mac mini (802.11ac). As near as I can determine each device runs at the speed appropriate to the particular 802.11 standard it supports. Ie. the 802.11 b/g devices do not slow down the entire network.
  • Since you are considering the purchase of a new Airport Express, I would encourage you to take a long look at the Airport Extreme or even the Time Capsule. Either is more flexible and has longer reach than an Airport Express albeit at a greater cost. (My Time Capsule successfully backs up three different computers without a hitch.)
  • I do not have any information to either confirm nor deny Virtual1's comment about frequency on the Austrian Airport Express.
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joemikeb • moderator

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#33396 - 03/10/15 02:29 PM Re: Old & New Extremes & Expresses [Re: joemikeb]
spmcc123 Offline


Registered: 08/06/10
Loc: Portland/Abu Dhabi
Thanks for the advice. I will be getting a new Extreme and moving the old Extreme to replace the defunct Express. Since I will be buying the new Extreme here (Oregon) I assume it will operate on US frequencies. The old Extreme will, I hope, extend the WiFi into the garden, share the printer and allow us to use an 2T Lacie firewire/USB3 drive at a Time Machine backup over wifi...

There is no US option on the old Extreme. All the countries listed are European (and I suppose Austria is selected since it comes first on the list). I bought it in Abu Dhabi when I lived there. As far as I can see the only difference is that Europe lets one use Channels 12 & 13 for WiFi and the US discourages this. On this note, I do see that most of the WiFi channels I can pick up are operating on Channel 11 (as is mine, though set to Automatic); is there an advantage to manually selecting a different channel?
_________________________
MacBook Pro 15" (2.33 Intel Duo/3GB/667MHz/120GB/10.6.8),
MacBook 13" (2.1 Intel Duo/3GB/667MHz/120GB/10.6.8),
PowerBook G4 12" (1.5 PowerPC/768MB/70GB/10.4.11),
Various LaCie Firewire HDs, Airport Extreme, Express

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#33401 - 03/11/15 09:42 AM Re: Old & New Extremes & Expresses [Re: spmcc123]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: spmcc123
On this note, I do see that most of the WiFi channels I can pick up are operating on Channel 11 (as is mine, though set to Automatic); is there an advantage to manually selecting a different channel?

Probably all those routers are clustering on channel 11 because that was the default set at the factory and their users are totally unaware there are different WiFi channel much less how to change their router channel assignment. Ideally a channel would be chosen that is not in use by other WiFi routers in the vicinity to prevent interference and noise on the channel. This is particularly critical in the case of the 2.4GHz bands because the channels actually overlap one another. Any time there are WiFi issues the first piece of advice is almost invariably to choose a clear channel and preferably one with no busy adjacent channels. The "automatic" setting on newer Airport Extremes does this — automatically. It appears the algorithm chooses the first clear channel which frequently results in choosing channel 1 in the 2.4GHz band and 149 in the 5GHz band.

From what I can tell the automatic settings do as good a job choosing optimum channel assignments as most of us can and probably better. Automatic will rescan the bands periodically and can change channels as environmental conditions dictate, which most of us are highly unlikely to do.
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joemikeb • moderator

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#33404 - 03/11/15 10:15 AM Re: Old & New Extremes & Expresses [Re: joemikeb]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Probably all those routers are clustering on channel 11 because that was the default set at the factory and their users are totally unaware there are different WiFi channel much less how to change their router channel assignment.

iirc, channels 1, 6, and 11 are the common default channels. There is some 'interference overlap" in the 11 channels, and only 1, 6, and 11 (the lower and upper, and the middle channels) can be used simultaneously without interfering in any way with each other. The closer you get, the more interference you get. I think Linksys uses ch6 on all of their products, and given how popular they are, getting OFF that channel alone can solve a big chunk of the wifi problems.
_________________________
I work for the Department of Redundancy Department

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