View Full Version : Wireless Access Point--am I thinking about this right?

Matt Meiser
01-13-2014, 9:46 AM
Our main wireless access point is an Apple Airport Extreme (last year's model) which is connected by wire back to a gigabit switch. It covers all our house well, except my daughter's bedroom which it can only "see" through a wall mounted TV in another room and two bathrooms. The TV is probably 1/2 the problem. There's really no other good central place to mount it so I'm adding a second access point. I want the whole network to use the same SSID so that devices can roam freely.

I bought an Airport Express and only after installing it did I realize that the wired ports on it aren't gigabit. I'm thinking a 100mb connection is a significant bottleneck. Am I thinking right?

There are numerous new-in-box Airport Expresses like the one we have on eBay for about what I paid for the Express so I'm thinking of returning it and buying a second matching Extreme.

phil harold
01-13-2014, 10:13 AM
100mbs a bottle neck?
100mbs it standard cat 5 connection
ieee 802.11n (wireless) is theoretically 300mbs but I never seen that
write now my internet connections is 11 gig but I only get 30mbs download 5 up

Do a speed check @ http://www.speedtest.net/ to see how fast your internet connection

now if you need to transfer files a gigabyte per-second what are you doing? at that speed you could copy a dvd in seven seconds...

Matt Meiser
01-13-2014, 11:33 AM
These are acting as access points, not the router between my ISP and my network. So all clients connected to the AP Express are sharing the 100mbit connection to the wired network which is where our NAS sits which is where all our files, backups, music, etc lives. Unfortunately this sits at the same end of the house as my office so I'll be as likely to connect to it from there as the main one even though I have an "excellent" signal from the main one in my office--all that stuff doesn't block it.

My thinking is if three laptops all try to backup (which is managed automatically by Windows Home Server so this is likely) even if each has a 65mbit+ wireless connection which is what the Airports are reporting, each effectively is going to get 33.3mbit--1/3 of the 100 connection to the wired network. But before I deal with the hassle of a return, I just want to check my logic. Add a couple i* devices doing whatever maybe any future wireless streaming devices they do all the time and I'm thinking it could get slow.

Tom Stenzel
01-13-2014, 11:40 AM
Hi Matt,

After reading your second post I have rethink what I wrote. But my first suggestion would be to try it and see if there is a problem during the laptop backup.
-Tom Stenzel

Shawn Russell
01-13-2014, 11:51 AM
100mb is not a bottleneck. I am running the same setup with an Airport Extreme and Time Capsule. I am streaming to 3 Apple TV, have numerous other wireless devices and daily backup 4-12gb over wireless.

Do you have both Airports plugged into a wired connection? If so you are likely running into a double NAT situation. If this is the case unplug network cable from the Airport Express and set it up in bridge mode.

If you do not have both plugged in you may be getting reduced bandwidth due to wireless distance or if you have interference.

Could you write-up a description of your network?

phil harold
01-13-2014, 12:01 PM
back ups can eat up bandwidth
scheduling at different times can help with traffic
also deciding what is critical and needs full backup compared to partials can help
also you can install a speed test on your server to see connection speeds between clients and servers to see what your connection speeds are

hope that helps

Matt Meiser
01-13-2014, 12:32 PM
DSL Modem -> Router -> Gigabit switch

Then plugged into the gigabit switch directly
- Airport Extreme
- Airport Express
- Windows Home Server
- Various other network devices--DVR, home theater receiver, Blu-Ray player, work laptop's docking station, etc, etc.

iPads, iPhones, Roku, family laptops are all on wireless.

Airport utility actually detects the Double NAT issue and suggests setting changes so the device just access as an access point. This is similar to how most consumer routers would work if you turned off the DHCP server and connected them via a LAN port to the switch. Everything on the network gets its IP from the separate router and all are in my LANs private IP space as configured in the router.

The point is moot though as I went ahead and ordered a refurb Extreme which will arrive Weds and the local Apple store (independent, not an "Apple Store") agreed to waive the return fee since they too didn't know it was 100mbit only and its actually not listed on the box either. Even if its not a problem now, it might be in the future with the cost the same that just doesn't make sense.

Duane Meadows
01-13-2014, 2:05 PM
Except its gigabit, not gigabyte!

Jim Becker
01-14-2014, 7:46 PM
How fast is your Internet service? If it's less than 100mb, GigE really doesn't do anything for you unless you are transferring very large files between computers on your own internal network. I get this kind of question all the time from customers who are worried that one particular IP phone (older model) only has a 100mb port and they think that the person's PC that plugs in behind it will feel like it's on the old AOL dialup. Not so. Most folks don't use even 100mb most of the time...

If you would be more comfortable with another Airport Extreme, by all means pony up the extra money. But I'm perfectly happy with both Airport Express APs I have in this house...and I have 75/35 service which performs at about 83/38.

Greg Portland
01-14-2014, 7:56 PM
I bought an Airport Express and only after installing it did I realize that the wired ports on it aren't gigabit. I'm thinking a 100mb connection is a significant bottleneck. Am I thinking right?This is definitely an issue with uncompressed Bluray ISO streaming. I had to go with wireless-ac + gigabit networking to get a perfect stream. Note that wireless-N + 100Mb easily handles compressed HD streaming.

Matt Meiser
01-14-2014, 10:32 PM
If you would be more comfortable with another Airport Extreme, by all means pony up the extra money.

Well, that's the funny thing...I actually saved $4 after 2 day shipping for the refurb previous-gen Extreme (same as the one I bought a year ago) direct from Apple. Not including two trips to the store that is.

Matt Meiser
01-15-2014, 11:13 PM
The refurb Airport Extreme showed up from Apple today. Other than the fact it came in a plain white box instead of the usual Apple box, there's no telling that its a refurb. Same with the H-Squared mount from Amazon Warehouse Deals. All set up with 1gb goodness.

Jim Becker
01-16-2014, 5:19 PM
I was only commenting that for anything coming from the Internet...the speed is limited by your ISP connection. There certainly is no harm with using GigE on your network!

And the Apple refurbs are very nice buys...!