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I'm running an 802.11ac wireless network using three AirPort Extreme base stations. While setting these fellas up is very simple and straightforward, I've been running into several issues...

  • APE A is located in the living room, connected to the Internet cable modem and creating the wireless network
  • APE B is ~10 feet (2 walls) from APE A and has my girlfriends PC attached directly to a Gigabit LAN port
  • APE C is ~25 feet (3 walls) from APE A and has a Synology DiskStation, a PC and a 13" Retina MacBook Pro (late 2013) connected to the three Gigabit LAN ports

In addition, we have printers, iPads and iPhones and an Apple TV wirelessly connected. The base stations are using their default settings, except the 5 GHz channel is manually set to 36.

So that's the situation... now here's the list of problems:

  1. The way the new AirPort Extreme is extending the network is stupid. Instead of creating an intelligent chain by having the base stations connecting to their nearby sibling, they always connect to the base station that created the network. In my case, it would make much more sense to have C connect to B as those two are ~10 feet away from each other. However... I tried to make B the main base station and attached another router to A (which is what you have to do as AirPorts in bridge mode loose any routing functionality), but this is where my second problem kicks in.
  2. As long as the connection does not involve more than two base stations (A to B or A to C), the wireless performance is pretty good and I can transfer files with 60-80 MB/s from one client to another. This picture changes dramatically when I'm copying files from my girlfriends PC (connected to B) to the Synology DiskStation (connected to C)... she's getting very creappy transfer rates with less than a meg per second (~6 MBit) there.
  3. I've also noticed that magic 6 MBit barrier when looking at the connected wireless devices with the AirPort utility. Even my MacBook Pro which has an 802.11ac chip is having issues only connecting with 6 MBit/s... and most of the time, clients just won't connect to the 5 GHz network and use the 2.4 GHz network instead. To be honsest, I'd like to just disable the 2.4 GHz network and just use 5 GHz, but this seems to be impossible with these base stations.

So these are my issues... I honestly don't know what to do. AppleCare has not been very helpful and due to the limited functionality of the new AirPort utility (seriously Apple?!? that's gotta be a bad joke) I don't see any options.

Any ideas or someone with similar issues around here?

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