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Internet, Networking, and Wireless Discussion of networking, internet, and wireless including Apple's Airport products.

Advice On Network Setup

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JDnMac's Avatar
Member Since: Dec 12, 2007
Posts: 12
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I am reworking my home network and have a few questions on the best way to set things up. *Im essentially moving from a basic home network and WiFi set up that has been in place for years to a configuration that will allow my to take full benefit of Internet streaming, iTunes streaming, WiFi printing, etc. *

I have a mixed Windows and Mac environment and need to support an iMac, 3 iPads, and 3 windows laptops. *I also want to add Apple TV to my family room TV and internet streaming to the TV in the master bedroom (its an internet ready TV with Netflix, Pandora, etc, ready to go.) *I will use existing ethernet for the ATV and a WiFi ethernet adapter for the master bedroom.

All of the areas mentioned above are close to each other and close to my home office where my current ATT DSL router/modem is located. *

New hardware:
Airport Extreme Base Station
Apple TV
WiFi ethernet adapter

My first question in on configuring the AEBS. *Some posts seem to indicate the best way to go is to set it up in bridge mode and use the ISPs router/modem for DHCP. (I may also be changing from ATT to a TW cable modem in the near future if that matters.) It seems this would have a couple of advantages, one of which would be some additional ports since I would have use of the ports on the ATT router and the ports on the AEBS. Does this make sense? Anything else I should be considering?

My other questions relates to the potential need to extend the WiFi to the other end of the house. The current network does not get quite as far as I need. The good news (I think) is that I do have ethernet to that part of the house. Can I configure an old Linksys WRT54GS router to work on the same WiFi netowrk as the AEBS? (I have one available.) Would I be better of to spend the $99 and add an Airport Express? Would there have to be 2 separate WiFi networks? As you can see this part is starting to exceed my understanding.

Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance for reading and commenting.

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I have my Time Capsule setup this way - except I have a netgear router as my main router. The TC is bridged and only provides wifi access. The setup is simple enough. The only downside is if you want to setup a guest network -> the Extreme/TC need to be doing the DHCP duties so it can assign guest computers the proper guest address. I do not use this feature - you are either allowed on my network or you are not.

Here is a good article from Apple on wifi extension
Wi-Fi base stations: Extending the range of your wireless network by adding additional Wi-Fi base stations
Honestly if you are going Apple you are going to need to stick with their hardware. If you want to do network extension you need to get an Express for that.
Downside to network extension - FTA
Adding Wi-Fi base stations when it is unnecessary can reduce Wi-Fi throughput because the Wi-Fi network will require more data management overhead. The network configuration also becomes more complex. In the case of a wirelessly extended network, throughput may be reduced to less than 60 percent of that of a single device. The general rule is to keep the Wi-Fi network as simple as possible. You can accomplish this by using the minimum number of Wi-Fi base stations required to service the physical network area and by using Ethernet wherever possible.
I have iPads, apple tvs iphones all streaming spotify and netflix (and other streams like youtube) well now over my Apple TC and 3 Airport Expresses. I have very good coverage throughout my house. I got the Expresses for Airplay but since they were doing network extension I turned that on. That being said - Comcast was renting me a terrible modem and even though I could get speed tests in respectable ranges - streaming was horrible. I changed out to a Motorola DOCSIS 3.0 capable modem and I was then able to get full streaming from any site. So for me it wasn't the wifi hardware it was the cable modem that was holding me back.
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Member Since: Apr 06, 2011
Location: Louisville, KY - USA
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There is no need to use any "extenders" for Wifi. I live in a 3800 square foot, 2-story house, with the AirPort Extreme located centrally on the main floor. The whole house is covered and signal strength barely drops off at all in the furthest corners. Even my deck is covered easily. I have a Blu-Ray Wifi-N player, ATV2, MBP, iPad and iPhone running with an Airport Express hooked up to my main stereo for AirPlay music. Also on the network, but not on all the time, is an old dell wifi-G and motorola Droid X that my roommate has. Everything works and connects and streams just fine.

For note: I have my roommates stuff set up connecting to the Guest network. Never had complaints about connection from them.

I would let your modem be a modem and have the APEX run the DHCP - that way you have the most control.

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MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256MB RAM
iPhone 5S 64GB, iPad Air 2 128 GB LTE, iPod Nano Gen6 8GB, Apple TV 3 & 2
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