AirPort Extreme Base Station question

Discussion in 'Apple' started by John Heaney, Sep 11, 2007.

  1. John Heaney

    John Heaney Guest

    I have an Intel iMac and two G4 Powerbooks. The iMac should be 802.11n
    capable, but certainly not the G4s. The base station appears to operated
    at either of two frequencies. If I choose the higher frequency, which is
    less used (I live in an apartment building), I think my iMac will be OK.
    But will I not be able to use my G4s? Do I have to choose the lower
    frequency to include them?
     
    John Heaney, Sep 11, 2007
    #1
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  2. John Heaney

    David Empson Guest

    Correct.

    If you set the Airport Extreme to run at 5 GHz, it will be compatible
    with devices which support 802.11n and 802.11a.

    Earlier Macs use 802.11g (Airport Extreme) or 802.11b (Airport), which
    operate at 2.4 GHz.

    To allow these Macs to connect to the wireless network, you will have to
    run your Airport Extreme base station in the 2.4 GHz band, and make sure
    it is set to "802.11n (b/g compatible)", not "802.11n only (2.4 GHz)".

    If you have two base stations, you can set them up with different
    frequencies, which would allow you to dedicate one to the 2.4 GHz
    machines (b/g) and keep your iMac in the less cluttered 5 GHz band.

    A technical advantage of 5 GHz is that it supports wide channels, which
    allow almost twice the data rate which can be achieved at 2.4 GHz (up to
    250 Mbps instead of 130 Mbps for 802.11n).

    This would only be significant for internal file transfers between
    computers. Your Internet connection definitely won't be that fast, and a
    hard drive attached to the base station probably won't go fast enough to
    benefit from the higher speed (due to the limitations of USB 2.0).

    A disadvantage of 5 GHz is that the radio signal doesn't pass through
    physical objects as well, resulting in shorter range if there are walls
    between the base station and computer.

    My Airport Extreme base station is roughly in the middle of my house,
    and I get good coverage everywhere inside at 2.4 GHz, but lose the
    signal in some distant rooms at 5 GHz.
     
    David Empson, Sep 12, 2007
    #2
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  3. John Heaney

    Bob Harris Guest

    I think if you enable the 802.11n (802.11b/g compatible) mode,
    that you play in the 2.4GHz band. I am NOT positive, but that is
    what I am sensing when I did some google searches on the subject.

    What I did for my home is to keep my old 802.11b/g WiFi base
    station and configured things so that I used the new Airport
    Extreme at "802.11n only (5 GHz)" setting.

    The older 802.11b/g base station was set to disable the DHCP and
    NAT services. That is to say, I configured it so that it was a
    bridge.

    I connected the older 802.11b/g to my 802.11n router via ethernet
    cable. Since they are operating on different frequency bands it
    doesn't matter if they are near each other or in separate rooms
    (in my case I happen to have an ethernet cable running from the
    dinning room to an upstairs back bedroom, so that is where I put
    my 802.11b/g base station).

    In this instance made a decision to create a separate SSID network
    name for the 802.11n which was different from the 802.11b/g
    network. I did this since my 802.11b/g devices were not going to
    ever talk to the 802.11n network, so it was not necessary to worry
    about maintaining a roaming network.

    HOWEVER, if you did want to setup a roaming network, where an
    802.11n compatible laptop might roam far enough from the 802.11n
    base station to loose it signal, but still be in range of an
    802.11b/g base station, then you would give all your base stations
    the exact same SSID name and the exact same WPA (preferably) or
    WEP password. That way when the roaming 802.11n laptop found that
    the signal from the 802.11b/g base station was stronger, it would
    just hope from one WiFi base station to another without loosing a
    beat.

    NOTE: It is important that in any home setup where there are
    multiple WiFi base stations that there ONLY be one active router
    (the one attached to the broadband modem). All other WiFi base
    stations should be configured to disable their DHCP and NAT
    services and just act as WiFi extenders or ethernet to WiFi
    bridges. That way everything on the same home subnet and everyone
    has the same router in listed in their Network System Preferences.

    If you do not disable the routing functions in the other WiFi base
    stations, then you may find that various Bonjour sharing features
    do not work as expected (shared printers, file servers, etc... may
    not be seen across router boundaries).

    Good luck and enjoy.

    Bob Harris
     
    Bob Harris, Sep 12, 2007
    #3
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