Airport Express as an extender.

If you have an Airport Extreme setup and you want to use the Airport Express in repeater mode, does the Airport Express have to be hard wired or can it pick up the wireless from the Airport Extreme?

QA AirPort Extreme Base Station

QA AirPort Extreme Base Station

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8 Answers from the Community

  • Best Answer:

    All of the answers above provide correct information, however if you are looking for higher wireless speeds, I would recommend using a hardwire Ethernet connection and then extending the network that way. Wireless to wireless extension can lower streaming and download rates just as much as poor signal can. In my house, I use an Airport extreme from my modem on the second floor ad then an Airport Express to extend my network in an area that I have had poor reception. I have tried both with and without a wired Ethernet connection and I have noticed significant changes to my download speed. I always have signal and of course the apple family of products has yet to fail me, but I have noticed this interesting difference.

  • While folks are right, it does extend a time capsule (or extreme), with the new express if you want to do so over a wired network and you had tried to follow the default advice from airport utility you will have undoubtedly gotten confused as your network went away.

    Given this as your desired topology:

    Cable Modem ---- Time Capsule ---(LAN ethernet)---- Express (WAN port)

    Use the WAN port of the new express, not the LAN and click it in the LAN network of your time capsule. If you are unsure which one is the WAN, use the picture on the back of the box.

    You will have to use a more advanced setup than the default.
    1. Connect your express (LAN port) directly to your mac ethernet and fire up airport utility.
    2. Discover it (you may have to click on "Other Base stations" and pick LAN)
    3. Select Create New Network rather than extend when configuring.
    4. Under Wireless, enter the identical NAME, Security Type, and Password as your time capsule/extreme.
    5 Under Network, select Bridged.
    6. Let Airport setup finish, then unplug your express from the mac.

    Note you will want to rediscover your express and timecapsule/extreme together. Fire up airport utility again and click on Other Base stations/wifi. You should now see both.

    If the express is flashing yellow and you get a Duplicate NAT error, it reverted from bridged mode to router (because of the WAN port). If this is the case, in airport utility select Edit, go to Network and reselect Bridge. Click on update and thats that.

    After doing that, you have one heck of a cool home network. You can walk your iPhone from one location to the other and it will pick the strongest station around but the entire time thinks it is on the same 'network'.

  • You can extend both wireless and wired. though wired is much better for performance.

    it is very simple, just connect the express to your extreme via ethernet cable (make sure that both are powered on) and it is best if you reset your express to factory status since the process will do the needed for you.

    once the express is reset and connected via ethernet cable to extreme, open airport utility and power on the express, the airport utility will detect the express and will ask you which configuration you wish to proceed with, (first choice would be extend your current extreme's, click next and you are nearly done, few moments (depending on your system configuration) airport utility will prompt you that the process is done and that the express will extend your extreme wireless network via ethernet,

    Thats it, now you may disconnect the express and place it in any room that you dont have any or good wireless signal, just make sure that you connect it to ethernet plug that is connected to any LAN port on your extreme.

    One more tip, you may use a LAN hub between the extreme and the express if you wish to use more LAN ethernet ports, it will not effect the process.

    Did it myself and the whole setup is amazing.

    Hope it helped.

  • NOTE- using newer Airport basestations and the most recent Airport Utility app, you MUST NOT plug the basestation you intend to use as an extender into the main base station via ethernet. The utility software is now smart enough to figure out what you're trying to do, and that will force it to auto-setup as a wired ethernet extender, not wireless.

    For wireless extension, it's as easy as plugging in the power plug on the extender basestation wherever you want it to stay (within range of the main basestation), then firing up the Utility, finding the new basestation, and following the on-screen steps to set up as an extension.

  • I just changed my network from Airport Express to AirPort Extreme and wanted to use my Express to extend the network. It was amazing easy. All you have to do is
    1. Plug it in in the room you want it in and let it recycle
    2. Go to your computer and wait a few minutes and follow the instructions.
    3. No need for a hard reset
    4. Just select then network and the extend option

    This was so easy and quick and what an improvement in the signal strength

  • I read this string before buying an Airport Express today, confident that I could extend my current Time Capsule-based wireless network by attaching the new Express as a node on my wired network in a remote part of the house with bad wifi signal.

    Unfortunately, it does not work. The first time I plugged an Ethernet cable into the back of the Express and waited for Airport Utility to recognize it, my entire network crashed. After restarting my cable modem and Time Capsule, re-naming and re-creating my original network, re-establishing all the settings, etc., I finally got my original network working as normal.

    So naturally, I tried again, hoping I had done something careless the first time. Same result: catastrophic failure. As the evening wore on, I tried every conceivable way and every plausible setting to connect this thing to my wired network. It crashed the network every time.

    I have been able to successfully install the Express as a wireless range extender (not connected by Ethernet), but that is not what I wanted, and is not what the manual implies when it says the WAN port of the Express is for "connecting a DSL or cable modem, OR for connecting to an existing Ethernet network".

  • If you are wireless extending using an Airport Extreme... are the wired ethernet ports active? Can you plug in a wired device and get the network that you are extending?

  • If I'm not totally mistaken, it is not possible to use the cable even if you want to. It's exclusively meant for uplink. You'll have to extend it over wireless which affects performance too (50% of total bandwidth).