The modem provided by my internet provider also serves as a wireless router. How will the AirPort Extreme work in this situation? Is it redundant?

I do not understand how the Airport Extreme works when I already have a wi-fi network. What is the difference between the AirPort Express and the Airport Extreme?

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  • Best Answer:

    Your modem/router combo device is probably a sub-par router. I have a similar device from Comcast and the built-in wireless router is just awful. The best analogy here is Jack of all trades, Master of none. So yes, buying and installing an AirPort Extreme will mean you'll have two network access points, but the AirPort should provide far superior wireless functionality when compared to most ISP-provided modem/router combo devices. And I'd be willing to bet that their device is only 802.11n while the AirPort Extreme pushes 802.11ac (which is better but not yet supported by all devices).

    Regarding the difference between the Extreme and the Express, there are 3 key things to consider. First, the Express only serves 802.11n. Second, the Express has no Ethernet ports for hardwiring equipment directly to the router, it's wireless only. Third and last, the Extreme's form factor is larger (taller) and has some advanced antenna technology (along with a reportedly very quiet fan) that should help it outperform the Express even if you're only using 802.11n.

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  • I would recommend turning off the wifi in your cable internet router, as I did. I only use my Airport as a wifi access point, for the same reasons as above.

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  • With ATT or uVerse, you won't be able to use a guest network on the AirPort. Maybe the same with other providers.
    You have to pick one of the device to provide DHCP addresses: If you both set up as DCHP, they supposedly conflict.
    If you let the wireless router do DHCP, you can use set that up for guests, and use the AirPort (in bridge mode) for your private wireless. That's only necessary if you want to give guests internet access without giving them access to servers and printers.
    My Uverse wireless router can't provide a hidden network, so all my neighbors can hack away at it, and since I use it to provide access to the kids for gaming and their friend' phones, the passwords is widely known so I have to change it often.
    I have it set up that way at home, and it works (except uVerse is fairly unreliable).
    To extend the range with an AirPort Express, it's far easier to connect to an AirPort Extreme.
    There is some redundancy, so if you don't need a second wireless, and don't need to extend the range or attach a printer, you might not need the AirPort.

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