Can I use an AirPort Express to extend my existing wifi signal?

AirPort Express

AirPort Express

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15 Answers from the Community

  • Not for anything other than Apple products. Apple has set up the express to only extend apple networks. I have called apple and asked this question and it was confirmed by Apple. Express can not extend any other network other than apple networks.

  • Best Answer:

    Yes, I just finished doing it about 5 minutes ago! I bought an AirPort Extreme and installed it as my WiFi network using the AirPort Utility on my MacBook Pro. Then I plugged in my Airport Express to a power socket upstairs at the other end of my house where I lose signal. The AirPort utility on my MacBook Pro recognized the Express and asked me if I wanted to use the Express to extend my existing network. I clicked yes...done! The whole thing took less than 10 minutes.

  • There are a lot of "Yes" answers here, but I had no success what so ever trying to extend a Billion router with the Airport Express, so do your research. I think that there will be many brands of equipment that are not compatible.

    The Airport extreme will connect with any equipment, but that is not the same as extending the wifi coverage of that equipment. If you need it for streaming music or connecting a printer or other such use cases then it should be fine as it will join the existing network, but using it to extend the coverage of non Apple wifi equipment seems tricky. In my case attempts consistently bricked the Airport Express which then required a hardware reset to bring it back to life.

    Extending wifi coverage is a common use case these days with access required throughout the house and I think that Apple's listing for this unit should explicitly detail what will and will not work when you use it to extend wifi coverage of non Apple equipment.

    I now have two units which are expensive adapters to make a set of wireless speakers. Not what I really had in mind.

  • Yes - if your base is an Apple Airport model.
    No - if your base is not an Apple Airport model.

    Case in point, I have Uverse and am using their modem that puts out a Wifi signal. When trying to extend that signal with an Airport Express the Airport Express times out when updating and bricks itself. I then need to do a hard reset on the Airport Express.

  • Actually -- you can extend a non-Apple wifi network if you use 2 airport units, or an airport and a Mac.

    --------- Using 2 Airports ---------
    1. Configure Airport 1 to join the wifi network
    2. Configure Airport 2 to Create a Wireless Network
    3. Connect Airport 1 client port to Airport 2 WAN port with ethernet cable

    Caveat: I think Airport 1 has to be an Airport Express.
    Configurations for AIrport 2
    Base Station: Any Base Station name and password
    Internet: DHCP
    Wireless->Network Mode: Create a wireless network
    -> Wireless Network Name: your SSID
    -> Wireless Security: WPA/WPA2 Personal
    -> Wireless Password: your password
    Wireless Options -> 5ghz network name: Another Network Name
    Country: Your Country
    -> 2.4ghz Channel: Automatic
    -> 5ghz Channel: Automatic
    Network: DHCP and NAT

    When both airports are working correctly, their LEDs should be green.

    --------- Using a Mac and an Airport ---------
    1. Connect your Mac to the Wifi network.
    2. Configure your airport to Create a wireless network, as above.
    3. Use an ethernet cable to plug the airport into the Mac. You may need a USB->ethernet adapter.
    4. Configure the Mac to use "Internet Sharing" FROM: Wi-Fi TO: your ethernet connection to the airport.

    That's it, your airport should be broadcasting a WiFi network that other devices can join. The airport will route to the Mac to use it's wifi. The Mac is still completely usable and can use it's own WiFi connection to the original network.

  • Yes you can, but you must understand the limitations.

    There is an excellent article under the Apple Support area search-

    "Wi-Fi base stations: Extending the range of your wireless network by adding additional Wi-Fi base stations"

  • Problem:
    Router in basement, poor wifi in upper floor.
    Hardware: Router with ethernet ports with hard wiring to outlets in various rooms, including the upper floor. Router also generates the main wifi signal.
    Position your airport express close to an ethernet wall port that is hard wired to the router and that is located such that the wifi signal from there can reach the parts of the property that were suffering from lack of signal.
    Fire up the airport express and, using the Airport Utility on Mac (or iPhone, etc) over wifi, select the device and choose to set it up as a NEW network.
    Enter a suitable name and password for the new network.
    When requested, connect the device to the ethernet wall port.
    When done, click on the device in the Airport Utility and choose Edit from the popup.
    Move to the network tab and change the router mode from DHCP to Bridge mode.
    Save/exit and then reboot the airport express. You may have to reboot the router (mine is temperamental!)
    Mac should now see new network in wifi list.
    Optionally, login to the router as admin (typically IP; sticker on router will have admin username and password) and disable the router wifi signal. Upside of this is that you only have one wifi signal to connect to so it simplifies your environment. Downside is that if airport express falls over then you don't have a fallback wifi signal to use until such time that you restart the airport express. Plus you'd have to change any incumbent devices such as security systems, TV, etc to use the new network name.
    I chose to keep the router wifi signal active.

    You now actually have an Apple network so additional Airport Express devices could be installed to extend this to other parts of the property if needed.

    Thanks to techie in Apple Store Calgary for helping to nail this down with me.

  • It will extend your network, but the trade-off is that it weakens your signal. Most find the trade-off very acceptable, some find it annoying.

  • Yes you can but if it is not an apple base station you need two express units one working joined to the network and the second used to extend the network. Also attach an ethernet cable from the client port on Express 1 to the WAN port on Express two.
    If you setup and connect express1 first and then connect up a factory reset express 2. Then when you select express2 on your mac it will recognise the connections and automatically create an extended network for you.

  • As per the info from Apple:

    Extend an existing Wi-Fi network’s range.

    If you already have a wireless network in your home and want to extend its range, AirPort Express can help. Just place it in range of your primary base station — an AirPort Extreme, AirPort Time Capsule or another AirPort Express — and near the area where you want your wireless connection. Launch the easy-to-use AirPort Utility app on your iOS device or Mac, and you’re mere minutes away from long-range Wi-Fi enjoyment.

  • Yes, either a completely Apple netword or a non-Apple network.

    I have a Comcast account w/one of their routers. I ran a ethernet cable from the Comcast router to an Apple base station (extreme not express). Your Apple network starts at that extreme base station and the you can extend that network either with another extreme or express. Signal drops off with distance so, your choices are don't extend your system and get lower, sometimes intermittent connection, or extend it and lose some speed with each extension unit (extreme or express). My own network is extended just over 130' to another building (concrete siding and 2x6 stud walls) where I have an extreme and works fine. The express can either be added off the other building's extreme or off the Apple base station.

    I do however pay for the highest Comcast speed available in my area which is about 180-200 mbps about 10' from the Comcast router and grabbing the wireless signal direct from their router. At the furthest point on my Apple extended system my actual download speed is about 25-35 mbps. Distance and extensions reduce speed and you just can't get around that.

  • You can use 2 Airport Expresses extend an internet connection. Hook one up to the router place the other Airport somewhere else. it works well, I do it at my home.

  • YES. It was about the easiest set up I have ever encountered with the utility app as long as you have another Apple AirPort as your base. Incredibly easy and now I get a signal everywhere in my apartment!

  • My Airport Extreme lost network connection and can't rejoin. Tried everything per manual and internet recommendations the unit will obtain a connection showing a green light on unit and in airport utilities. But when attempt to connect WiFi a message pops up saying can't join and move Extreme closer to computer even though the Extreme is right next to my Mac. So I removed the Extreme from the Airport Utilities and install my Airport Express (as a test) with no problems and now can join the network.

    I believe my Extreme needs repair or replacing and the unit is ~7 years old. So do I have to replace my Extreme or can I use 2 Express's instead which is a cheaper route. I mainly use the units for streaming music and for Apple TV

  • Yes.