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Set up an AirPort Base Station for fast 802.11n-only use
Authored by: BobHarris on Dec 27, '08 09:14:22AM

> I do exactly this, with several Airport Express', and separate old Airport
> Extreme and Airport Express running an 802.11g network. Functionally
> works great, but what I didn't know - the more Airport Express' you
> have, the slower the network goes :( Any advice?

If you can connect all your Airport Express devices via ethernet, then you can create a Roaming Network where each of the 802.11g Airport Express devices are using a different channel, and thus not interfering with each other. I know getting ethernet to all the places you want to have an Airport Express can be a pain, however, if 802.11g performance is important, then this will give you the best 802.11g performance.

A roaming network is done by giving all the WiFi base stations in the the same SSID, the same security mode (WPA2 or WEP [WEP not recommended]), the same password.

Each WiFi base station in the 802.11g roaming network is assigned a different channel. Channels 1, 6, and 11 do not overlap. However, if your neighbors are close by (like in an appartment) and they are using some of those channels, you need to be creative to find gaps in the spectrum (utilities such as AP Grapher, iSumbler, Airport Radar, KisMAC, etc... will help you see the WiFi signals being used in your location).

Finally you want 1 and ONLY 1 active router in your home network. This should be the router which is connected to your broadband modem. All other WiFi base stations should be put into "Bridge Mode". Some routers have a configuration option that is labeled "Bridge Mode" (the Apple Airport Extreme/Express/TimeCapsule devices have a "Bridge Mode" option), or you have to configure them to disable DHCP and NAT services.

Once a roaming network is setup with all WiFi base stations connected via ethernet, you can roam around and your 802.11g laptop or portable device will automatically switch the WiFi base station with the strongest signal transparently. It can do this because all your 802.11g WiFi base stations have the same SSID and password. And you get maximum 802.11g throughput because you are not using any of your wireless bandwidth to relay signals between base stations.



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