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Airport Extreme WDS - Mac Networking

I am just starting to set up a wireless network. I began with an Airport Extreme base station, and an Airport card in my iBook, and may want to include a PC laptop at a later date. I also play music on my stereo using SlimServer software and a Squeexebox.My iBook did not usually see the Airport Extreme base station. This is understandable considering where they are normally positioned, as there are quite a number of walls in the way. I decided, since I could afford it, to go with the easy solution, which was to buy another Airport Extreme ...

  1. #1

    Default Airport Extreme WDS

    I am just starting to set up a wireless network. I began with an Airport
    Extreme base station, and an Airport card in my iBook, and may want to
    include a PC laptop at a later date. I also play music on my stereo
    using SlimServer software and a Squeexebox.My iBook did not usually see
    the Airport Extreme base station. This is understandable considering
    where they are normally positioned, as there are quite a number of walls
    in the way. I decided, since I could afford it, to go with the easy
    solution, which was to buy another Airport Extreme base station, and set
    them up as a WDS (Wireless Distribution system).

    All is working, but I'm not sure that I have them working to the best
    advantage.

    Specifically, I have an ADSL router with four ethernet ports. One is
    connected to my desktop machine, another to the Airport station which is
    set up as a
    main base station. the other Airport is set up as a remote station, and
    my laptop has an Airport card (not an Extreme card, as it's not a
    suitable model
    of laptop).

    Both desktop and laptop see both base stations (seeing one base station
    via the other, if needed). The desktop and laptop can communicate with
    each other, and the laptop can connect to the internet. When I want the
    laptop to connect to the network it shows both possibilities when both
    are in range, otherwise it only shows the remote one, which is still
    what I expect.

    However the main base station says that is is on "Daniels Network" (I
    changed the name from the default before getting the second base
    station), while the remote station says that it is on "Apple Network"
    (with a number - this is the default setting).

    Question 1. I am not sure if the different names are just a function of
    how I made the setup originally. i can change the name "Apple Network"
    to "Daniels
    Network" manually (I thought it was supposed to pick the name up when I
    set up as main and remote station), but is this the right thing to do?

    Question 2. If both base stations have the same name for the network,
    how does the laptop work out which station to connect to? Does it just
    check which has
    the stronger signal? As noted, at present I connect using one name or
    the other.

    Daniel


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    Daniel Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Airport Extreme WDS

    Daniel Cohen <com> wrote:
     

    For wireless bridging (WDS), all base stations must be set to the same
    channel and WEP key, so that they can communicate wirelessly, but each
    station may have a different network name (SSID).

    For roaming (base stations linked via Ethernet to create seamless
    wireless access), all base stations have the same network name and WEP
    key, but each uses a different channel to reduce interference.

     

    If set to Automatic, the Mac should switch to the base station with the
    best signal, either in a roaming or WDS network. WEP passwords for every
    wireless network you have used will be stored in your keychain. If you
    get an error message when selecting a wireless network from the AirPort
    menu, use Keychain Access to make sure the stored password is correct.

    Neill Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Airport Extreme WDS

    Neill Massello <net> wrote:
     
    >
    > For wireless bridging (WDS), all base stations must be set to the same
    > channel and WEP key, so that they can communicate wirelessly, but each
    > station may have a different network name (SSID).
    >
    > For roaming (base stations linked via Ethernet to create seamless
    > wireless access), all base stations have the same network name and WEP
    > key, but each uses a different channel to reduce interference.[/ref]

    Thanks. That helps a lot. I take it that on a WDS system, I can give the
    two stations the same network name if I wish. Is this a good idea?
     
    >
    > If set to Automatic, the Mac should switch to the base station with the
    > best signal, either in a roaming or WDS network. WEP passwords for every
    > wireless network you have used will be stored in your keychain. If you
    > get an error message when selecting a wireless network from the AirPort
    > menu, use Keychain Access to make sure the stored password is correct.[/ref]

    Thanks again. But *what* should I be setting to Automatic?


    --
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    Daniel Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Airport Extreme WDS

    Daniel Cohen <com> wrote:
     

    Offhand, the only drawback I can think of is that it might make
    diagnosing any problems with signal weakness or dropouts a little more
    complicated.
     

    The "By default, join" pop-up menu in the AirPort tab of the AirPort
    pane of Network Preferences on your Mac. It's the default setting, but
    you should also be able to use "A specific network" if both base
    stations have the same SSID. For more information, search for "Choosing
    your preferred AirPort network" in Mac Help.

    It is *not* a good idea to allow a base station to choose its channel
    automatically when it is in WDS mode, and (IIRC) the AirPort Admin
    Utility will warn about or prevent your doing so.

    Neill Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Airport Extreme WDS

    Neill Massello <net> wrote:
     
    >
    > Offhand, the only drawback I can think of is that it might make
    > diagnosing any problems with signal weakness or dropouts a little more
    > complicated.[/ref]

    Good. 
    >
    > The "By default, join" pop-up menu in the AirPort tab of the AirPort
    > pane of Network Preferences on your Mac. It's the default setting, but
    > you should also be able to use "A specific network" if both base
    > stations have the same SSID. For more information, search for "Choosing
    > your preferred AirPort network" in Mac Help.[/ref]

    Thanks again. I'll try "a specific network" as that would allow me to
    make a closed network. Overkill for protection for a home network in a
    small street, but there seems no reason why not to do that as well as
    WEP (which I still have to set, as I am currently experimenting with the
    network). 

    Yes, I've left both channels at their default of 10. I did try a hard
    reset at one point, which I gather checks for best channel.
    --
    Send e-mail to the Reply-To address;
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    Daniel Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Airport Extreme WDS

    Daniel Cohen <com> wrote:
     
    > >
    > > Offhand, the only drawback I can think of is that it might make
    > > diagnosing any problems with signal weakness or dropouts a little more
    > > complicated.[/ref]
    >
    > Good. [/ref]

    ....snip

    I am having some of the same signal issues as Daniel was having. I am
    on a Snow Basestation and when signal strength goes low (for whatever
    reason) the SLIMP3 just stopps, I assume it may be because of retry's
    which slow the music stream so as to become unusable.

    I am considering going to a 2 Airport Extreme network using WDS but, I
    was wondering how it is working out. Is the WDS solution solving the
    Slimp3 or Squeezebox issues?

    Thanks,


    AndyD
    Andy Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Airport Extreme WDS

    In article <1g9xkui.zay5ss1vrnmwcN%net>,
    net (Neill Massello) wrote:
     
    >
    > Offhand, the only drawback I can think of is that it might make
    > diagnosing any problems with signal weakness or dropouts a little more
    > complicated.

    >
    > The "By default, join" pop-up menu in the AirPort tab of the AirPort
    > pane of Network Preferences on your Mac. It's the default setting, but
    > you should also be able to use "A specific network" if both base
    > stations have the same SSID. For more information, search for "Choosing
    > your preferred AirPort network" in Mac Help.
    >
    > It is *not* a good idea to allow a base station to choose its channel
    > automatically when it is in WDS mode, and (IIRC) the AirPort Admin
    > Utility will warn about or prevent your doing so.
    >[/ref]

    I think that if you are using any connections that maintain state
    (telnet, long running FTP, ssh tunnels, file server connections, etc...)
    that a roaming setup with both base stations having the same SSID might
    be better. In a roaming setup you should be able to maintain the same
    local DHCP assigned IP address and that would be important if you have
    any telnet, FTP, ssh tunnels, file server connection, etc...
    connnections.

    I do _NOT_ have WDS at home, but I do have 2 Airport base stations, and
    I use telent into work a lot. I have an Airport Extreme base station
    (AEBS) as my router, DHCP server, NAT server and the guy that connects
    to my DSL Modem. I also have an original Graphite Airport base station
    (GABS) connected via Ethernet to the AEBS. The GABS is set to just
    Bridge Airport (WiFi) to the ethernet and the AEBS provides the IP
    address and routing services. The GABS has the same SSID name as the
    AEBS and uses the same WEP password.

    With this set up I can roam to any part of my house or outside front and
    back and never loose my telnet sessions, but my laptop will switch base
    stations when the signal from one gets too weak.

    And one day, I might like to get a WDS capable 2nd base station, but
    until then I have to make guesses about whether the setup I have can be
    applied to a WDS 2 base station setup.

    I hope this helps.

    Bob Harris
    Bob Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: Airport Extreme WDS

    Andy Dannelley <net> wrote:
     

    i haven't yet moved my Squeezebox settings to use the nearer Base
    Station. The signal strength on my Squeezebox from the further station
    seems to be around 20%, but I don't usually have any issues with this.
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    Daniel Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: Airport Extreme WDS

    Daniel Cohen <com> wrote:
     
    >
    > i haven't yet moved my Squeezebox settings to use the nearer Base
    > Station. The signal strength on my Squeezebox from the further station
    > seems to be around 20%, but I don't usually have any issues with this.[/ref]

    Wow, 20% and it still works! If the signal strength gets below about
    45% my WET11/SLIMP3 stops. Maybe I need to look elsewhere for a
    solution as maybe signhal strength is not the issue, unless the
    WET11/SLIMP3 is a lot more susteptable to signal strength issues than
    the Squeezebox.

    Later,

    AndyD
    Andy Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: Airport Extreme WDS

    Andy Dannelley <net> wrote:
     
    >
    > Wow, 20% and it still works! If the signal strength gets below about
    > 45% my WET11/SLIMP3 stops. Maybe I need to look elsewhere for a
    > solution as maybe signhal strength is not the issue, unless the
    > WET11/SLIMP3 is a lot more susteptable to signal strength issues than
    > the Squeezebox.[/ref]

    The sifnal strength can get *very* low (but then the Squeezebox does
    stop) if I stand right in front of it. I've just reset it to the other
    base station and the strength is up around 70%, so I'll keep it at that
    one (there are quite a lot of walls in the way of my main station).

    You could try upping the multicast rate (Airport Admin > show all
    settings > Airport > more) and see if that helps.
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    Daniel Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: Airport Extreme WDS

    Daniel Cohen <com> wrote:
     
    > >
    > > Wow, 20% and it still works! If the signal strength gets below about
    > > 45% my WET11/SLIMP3 stops. Maybe I need to look elsewhere for a
    > > solution as maybe signhal strength is not the issue, unless the
    > > WET11/SLIMP3 is a lot more susteptable to signal strength issues than
    > > the Squeezebox.[/ref]
    >
    > The sifnal strength can get *very* low (but then the Squeezebox does
    > stop) if I stand right in front of it. I've just reset it to the other
    > base station and the strength is up around 70%, so I'll keep it at that
    > one (there are quite a lot of walls in the way of my main station).
    >
    > You could try upping the multicast rate (Airport Admin > show all
    > settings > Airport > more) and see if that helps.[/ref]


    Yeah, I have spent quite some time reading every thing I can find (tech
    notes, NG postings, Apple Airport group, other web sites) and tuned and
    tuned. I set the Multicast rate to 1 ( suipposed to the best for signal
    strength and other things) and I've fiddled around with the channel and
    found the channel with the best signal strength. A surprise to me was
    that selecting different channels can mean as much as 20% signal
    strength difference in my network.

    I'm beginning to think that my only solution is to get 2 AE Basestations
    and set up a WDS network..

    Thanks for all the information!

    AndyD
    Andy Guest

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