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

WiFi Extender Queries


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Sawday

 
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I'm having fun (not) trying to set up my newly acquired Edimax N300+ extender to give a stronger signal to Apple TV, iPads (v2 & v3) and macbook when used in the most distant room from my Airport Extreme router.

My Extreme transmits at both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. The N300+ was chosen as that too operates at both frequencies simultaneously. Set up is proving a nightmare; two steps forward, one step back etc. So unless anyone can provide a detailed step by step idiot proof guide perhaps others can help with some more general queries to further my knowledge on the matter.

When I (sometimes) get to the Edimax set up screen it auto completes the 2.4GHz setup SSID but the 5Ghz has to be set manually which I have done to the best of my ability. Unfortunately, the 85 page Edimax manual is a bit sparse at this point and although I get a confirmation scree nthat set up has been successful I fear this itself is erroneous. I keep ending up with the iPads only seeing the 2.4 GHz network that seems to have acquired the 5Ghz SSID. This aside, I can connect to the network but thus far not to the internet. But I digress... so in order to add to my limited knowledge...

Q1. Although I bought it for it's dual band capability do I really need both, and if only one which should I plumb for?

Q2. Without the Extender in use iPads, iPhones and macbook see only the one network. With the Extender they see only one (albeit with a garbled name). Should they see both the new 2.4 AND 5 Ghz as separate networks or is the one name to be expected.

Q3. Re Q2 if the two bands should be seen when the Extender is fully set up which should I choose?

Q4. Once set up properly would you expect the Apple TV and others to seek out the best signal from the two channels (is that the word?). I'm assuming my iMac and macbooks do do this.

I note that had the Airport Extreme a WPS button setup would have been a two minute job. I can't even use the Airport Utilities to provide a similar function as Apple have removed this option so, good people, any other helpful ideas?

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mrplow

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sawday View Post
Q1. Although I bought it for it's dual band capability do I really need both, and if only one which should I plumb for?
If you can't get both working simultaneously then go for the 2.4Ghz band for greater compatibility

Quote:
Q2. Without the Extender in use iPads, iPhones and macbook see only the one network. With the Extender they see only one (albeit with a garbled name). Should they see both the new 2.4 AND 5 Ghz as separate networks or is the one name to be expected.
If the 2.4 SSID and 5 SSIDs are different you should see both networks on compatible devices. If they share an SSID then you will see only one network.
The documentation, as you noted, is poor. A true extender should be transparent to the end machines. I.e. it should re-transmit the same SSID as the main router. The devices then switch seemlessly to the main router or extender depending and the signal strength. This isn't how edimax advise it's used for some reason.

Quote:
Q3. Re Q2 if the two bands should be seen when the Extender is fully set up which should I choose?
choose the 5 if your device supports it (but you'll only be able to differentiate between them if they have differing SSIDs

Quote:
Q4. Once set up properly would you expect the Apple TV and others to seek out the best signal from the two channels (is that the word?). I'm assuming my iMac and macbooks do do this.
If you have an Airport Extreme setup to broadcast dual channel using a single SSID it will manage switching devices to the best supported channel.
This process may well be interrupted by you extender.

I'd start with the most seperated configuration and then add complexity.
i.e. Configure your Extreme to have 2 SSIDs: AE24 and AE50, Manually configure (if auto doesn't work) your edimax to connect to the extreme and create it's own SSIDs: ED24 and ED50.
Have the extreme and the n300 near each other and use you MacBook to search for wifi. I'd suggest using iStumbler as it gives you signal strength, manufacturer, band info and more.

You should see all 4 networks in iStumbler. Connect, try and disconnect each in turn.
If they all work reconfigure the N300 to use the same named SSIDs as the extreme.

Try iStumbler again and you should still see your 4 networks but you'll notice you have AE24 on an Apple device and AE24 on an Edimax device. The same will be true for the 5ghz band.

Connect and try each in turn again. Only this time you'll notice you connect to an SSID but won't know if it's the Edimax or Extreme (if everything's working!)

If this works to this point this is how I'd leave it. It means you have to make a concious decision to connect to 2.4 or 5 ghz networks but that's probably not such a bad thing.

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Sawday

 
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Mrplow, many thanks. I'll try these from the top and report back.

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