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  1. #1


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    Exclamation Time Capsule as a Wireless-to-ethernet bridge with a non-Apple main router
    Hi all!

    I searched around the forums here, but couldn't find an answer that quite fits with our situation, so I hope you can give us a hand!

    We have a non-Apple wireless router creating the network for our house. We bought a time capsule to use as a backup for everyone's important documents, and to use as an ethernet bridge point for our Western Digital TV Live Hub. I've found conflicting reports that you can or can not use the Time Capsule as a bridge without having an Apple router as your main router, and other conflicting reports saying that the Time Capsule's ethernet ports will only work with Apple devices.

    We've fooled around with it quite a bit and can't get anything to work yet. Could someone please give us a straight answer for the questions above, and possibly some set up directions if it is possible to do?

    Thank you!!

  2. #2

    Slydude's Avatar
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    I am not dead certain this applies to the most recent Time Capsules but I never got this to work I was using a Belkin router as the main router and discovered the following.

    1 If I connected the Time Capsule to the Belkin via an ethernet cable the ethernet ports on the Time Capsule worked and the network could be accessed wirelessly through either the Belkin or Time Capsule.

    2. If I had the Time Capsule connect wirelessly to the Belkin to extend a network that arrangement worked wirelessly but the ethernet ports in the Time Capsule did not work.

    HTH
    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

  3. #3


    Member Since
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    Thanks for your reply, Slydude. The more we look into it, the more we're beginning to think that the Time Capsule isn't going to do what we want it to do, unfortunately. It's probably going to be going back in the morning.

  4. #4

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    The Time Capsule besides backup device is a Wireless Router and a good one, but pretty sure it's not an Wireless Bridge. Is there any way you can use the TC as the router also?

  5. #5

    mrplow's Avatar
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    As far as extending wireless networks go (while there are some exceptions) TCs, Extreme Routers and Airport Expresses only like to extend them if they are created by another Apple device.

    I have a few ideas:
    Replace your existing router with the TC (assuming it's a cable router) and get either an Airport Express or a cheaper generic bridge device to act as the wireless to ethernet bridge.
    OR
    Connect the TC to your existing router (turn DHCP off on the old router) and get either an Airport Express or a cheaper generic bridge device to act as the wireless to ethernet bridge.
    OR
    return the TC, get a cheaper generic bridge device to act as the wireless to ethernet bridge - but you have no backup this way
    Not been around these parts for a while. Trying to change that . .

    Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - bottom left of this post

  6. #6

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    Are you connecting the TC to your main router via ethernet or wifi?

    I use mine exactly as you're wanting and have done so now with 2 different primary routers. My TC is connected via 100'+ ethernet cable from the router. The TC sits in my entertainment center and has successfully provided ethernet access for my PS3, several Blu-ray players, satellite boxes, HD-DVD player, Roku, ATV2 and several computers. I also have 2 wifi networks, one on the main router and another on the TC - with the primary router handling all DHCP services.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  7. #7

    BrianLachoreVPI's Avatar
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    I can't come up with any good reason that this shouldn't work. In addition to some of the above suggestions - don't forget to turn off NAT on the TC - you may find that fixes your problem, if you haven't already done so.

  8. #8

    IvanLasston's Avatar
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    It seems there is confusion about what the OP is asking. I think it has to do with the use of the word bridge and ethernet. So like Bob - I have a netgear main router - that is bridged via 1G Ethernet wired - to a Apple Time Capsule. Connected wirelessly and retransmitting the signal are 4 Airport Expresses sprinkled around the house near speakers.

    So absolutely - wired ethernet is wired ethernet and I have a mish-mash of switches from dlink, netgear, linksys, connected to the Time Capsule, and Netgear router - all work. There is no special Apple wired Ethernet.

    There is a special WDS - Wireless Distribution System - where to extend Wifi you need Apple products talking to Apple products. That is like my Time Capsule talking to my Airport Expresses. So you cannot use the Time Capsule to extend a non Apple Wifi network, but you can connect it through Wifi (but it won't extend the signal) - The Belkin thing - you probably had to do some other setup in the TC to get the ethernet ports to work - but the TC wouldn't extend the network, just connect to it (Same is true of Airport Expresses)

    Bottom line - I have a main Netgear router being used as a router. I have a TC connected to the Netgear router through wired 1G Ethernet - used as the Wireless Base Station, NAS and Time Machine Backup disk. The Wireless is extended using Airport Expresses. The Netgear is not transmitting wireless (I shut it off). I had to set the TC to bridge mode and let the Netgear act as the DHCP server for all this to work. There may be a way to swap DHCP servers but I don't use the public network feature so I haven't looked into it.

  9. #9

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    Excellent post Ivan. I think we are still needing to know what the OP wants to do, but your message covered it all no matter what he wants! Thanks for posting that.

    Maybe Ivans post should be stickied for others in the future as it covers so much relating to Apple Routers.

  10. #10

    BrianLachoreVPI's Avatar
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    I don't view Ivan's setup as quite the same thing as what the OP was asking, unless I'm just missing the boat - which isn't that unusual. Ivan does have a WDS set up using Expresses to extend the network which is a quasi-relay function, which reduces available BW, whereas the OP is just trying to bridge the network to another wireless router which will operate as an AP rather than a router.

    I guess it's tough to conclusively say having reread the OP but his last sentence
    and other conflicting reports saying that the Time Capsule's ethernet ports will only work with Apple devices.
    leads me to believe that he's connecting the two devices via wired Ethernet.

  11. #11

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    A wireless bridge is what i got but I do agree that last sentence is interesting and very untrue also. There is no such thing as Apple Ethernet ports and PC Ethernet ports. Ethernet it Ethernet.

    If the OP has his AE hooked to his other router Via Cat-5, then something is wrong somewhere as that will work if things are configured properly. Have that here. You would have to see this network here at the house. It's nutz. A lot of it is for testing WiFi Routers for Range and reliability and other things.

  12. #12

    IvanLasston's Avatar
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    Well the WDS isn't what the OP was asking but I believe that is where some of the confusion is coming from I believe. I also have the TC wired bridge to a netgear router - so in essence I have the netgear router creating the network for the house, and the TC is my backup and the Ethernet bridges to my media center PC through a couple of switches. Now when I say the netgear creates mt network, I am talking about NAT,dynamic dns, dhcp - not a wireless network.

    After typing all that I see what Brian is describing - and I see my mistake. After re-reading I believe the OP means wireless network - not the network I described.

    That being said - in airport utility you should have set the TC to bridge mode and join a wireless network. But you are right - there are some reports that configured like that the Ethernet ports will be off.

  13. #13

    Slydude's Avatar
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    I'll bet my soon-to-be vacated MOTM title that the OP wants to have the TC join his existing wireless network while still being able to use the TC's ethernet ports. As I found out the hard way that does not work. If the TC is connected to the network via ethernet it will work.
    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

  14. #14

    mrplow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slydude View Post
    I'll bet my soon-to-be vacated MOTM title that the OP wants to have the TC join his existing wireless network while still being able to use the TC's ethernet ports. As I found out the hard way that does not work. If the TC is connected to the network via ethernet it will work.
    Agreed, sounds like he wants to connect it to his western digital kit connected to his TV and use the TC to wirelessly connect to his existing network
    Not been around these parts for a while. Trying to change that . .

    Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - bottom left of this post

  15. #15


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    Similar situation needing assistance.
    Hey everyone!

    I'm in a situation similar to the original poster, where I'm having issues getting time capsule to be recognized on a device plugged into one of its Ethernet ports.

    Ok, so here's my setup: I just got an i7 iMac desktop, with a time capsule as a back up for time machine. In airport utility I made it join the existing network, as I don't plan to live with my parents forever, and we have an all-in-one modem/router from AT&T that also serves to separate the phone from the Internet, so it is entirely unreplaceable, not to mention on the other side of the house, so I can't run an ethernet cable from it to the time capsule. Now the time capsule is working perfectly with my iMac, but I also need it to allow me to remote desktop an HP Pavilion pentium 4 running windows XP SP1. The HP is plugged in via an Ethernet, and I can see some kind of "MAC bridge" enabled if I click on my computer, but the HP still has no Internet, and I can't use the Microsoft remote desktop access software that comes with the office suite to get to my HP from the iMac. When I put the HP's ip address in it takes forever then tells me something about the HP not being set up to allow remote access. I tried going to the Office for Mac site to get steps on setting it up, but once I get into control panel, with the correct view, I'm not seeing what I'm suppose to. I believe this is a result of not having SP3, but you can't download SP3 for a single computer without using windows update, and of course windows update requires Internet.

    I thought to contact Apple support since I still have free phone support, but I'm never home during business hours and the site doesn't deem this worthy of Express Lane. I'm also completely frustrated as I'm sick with a head cold, use to work at an Apple store, and need the HP to connect so I can run Microsoft visual studio to do the homework for my computer science minor. (YES! I should be more than capable of doing this on my own, but I've never done more than set up a basic home network following the instructions given and figure out how to gain access to files via a network. Never bridged or fully remote desktop-ed anything before, so forgive me. I'd have managed if any of the instructions seemed to be capable given my set up, but everything I've tried has failed and I'm tired!)

    Any help or tips would be greatly appreciated. If you need any more information, please just ask. I'm also willing to like skype or whatever if someone would need to "be here" in order to fully grasp the situation.

    Thank you all so much!

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