Upgrade Questions

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I currently have an Airport Express (AX) that's about 4 years old (version with the removable plug). My setup is cable->modem->router (with Xbox attached)->AX (with sound system and printer attached). My AX puts out wi-fi for the house, and my Mac mini sends AirPlay back to the AX. The wi-fi is not great, so I was thinking about upgrading the router.

I looked at the Airport Extreme, but it's a bit pricey, so I was considering a non-Mac brand. I read that my AX will not be able to extend the range of a non-Mac router, which I would like to do.

Am I correct in thinking that a new router should increase signal range and strength for my wi-fi? Can the AX be used for AirPlay and printing if my network is from a non-Mac router? (I assumed yes, since the Airplay is coming from my mini, not the router.) If I then needed to extend the router's range in my house (upstairs, etc.) could I get another non-Mac router to do this? It seems like this would still be cheaper than an Airport Extreme and another AX (since the Extreme can't be used for AirPlay).

Thanks for the help, I have not done much networking in my house other than getting my AX working, so I don't even know what I would look for in a non-Mac router!
Brian
 
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You have a router attached to a router? You do know the Airport is a router right?
You cant hook the xbox to the Ethernet ports on the Airport?
It doesn't hurt anything but it is one more thing to go wonky.
 
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I am confused. Is the router handling DHCP or is the Airport Extreme? If the airport is handling your WiFi is the router handling DHCP which hands out IP addresses?

Either way I don't think you want another router. You want a range extender. I would google for range extenders that work with apple airport extreme. I do know it is tricky to get apple products to work with non-apple products but some will. Or you can get another airport extreme and use it to extend your wireless network. Here is an article from apple support on how to do this:

Wi-Fi base stations: Setting up and configuring an extended wireless network (802.11n)

Hope this helps. If you could clarify your set up some more I might have a better idea of what to suggest.

Lisa
 
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OK, I think I got it wrong the first time (as you can probably tell, this has been cobbled together over the years). My cable modem goes to my Airport Express (I don’t have an Extreme, which was mentioned in the replies), and the AX feeds the non-wireless router, which feeds the Xbox and my WDTV. I don’t know who or what is handling DHCP...

I basically need better coverage throughout the house. There are a couple of dead spots. I wasn’t sure if switching to an Extreme (or non-Apple router) would give me an initial big boost to my network. Then, maybe I would only need one AX (or, again, a non-Apple extender) to extend the network everywhere. As is, I probably need two more AXes (AXi?) to get full coverage. Also, I wasn't sure if a newer router would offer better speeds than I get now? And I was assuming (perhaps wrongly) that each extension of the network would be a weakened signal, and the spots in the extension would still have less than ideal signals.

I thought that maybe the Extreme or other modern router might offer some benefits that I’m missing now? Not sure what those benefits would be, hence my posting. Or is there benefit from getting a newer AX, rather than using the older version I have now?

Thanks for the help (and patience)!!
 
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Probably the modem is handling DHCP and whatever is on wireless has a 10.something IP address from the Airport.
Unless you just want to get a new router you might be better off with either moving the Airport to a better location or getting an extender.
 
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Don't necessarily want a new router (although I certainly wouldn't be upset if I had to get one), just thought that the network might be stronger if I had an AE or other newer router providing the signal and one or more AX extending. I can't move the AX I have, since it's next to my sound system and I use if for AirPlay.

Would a newer router--be it an AE, a current version AX, or a non-Mac router--provide noticeably better signal strength and speeds? Is an older version AX outdated in any way? If not, then I will just work on extending.

Also, does the signal get weaker each time you place an extender? Or can it boost it back to full strength (I'm sure that is not the correct terminology at all, but you know what I mean).
 
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Don't know if a new one would necessarily be better. I don't know the specs on each unit to compare.
An extender does not degrade the signal. It's whole purpose is to amplify the signal (or at least repeat what it gets) so the range is greater for the whole system.
 
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Thanks for the link, Lisa! That will also extend a network from an Apple router? I had ruled this type of product out. Is it just the other way that is a problem? (AX extending non-Apple router)

One more question, can a single AX extend a network while working as an Airplay device? One of my dead spots is also a location that I would like to add another sound system. I know I have read about differences about bridge mode vs. extending and whether the AX outputs will work, but I'm not clear on the limitations of that.
Thanks again!!!
 

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