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I have a 2009-era Airport Extreme that used to provide routing and WiFi for our cablemodem. Time Warner updated our cablemodem to a DG860, which comes with its own built-in WiFi.

I'd like to re-purpose the Airport Extreme as a WiFi bridge. Specifically, I'd like to be able to plug my wired ethernet devices (e.g. a printer in the basement) into a LAN port on the Airport Extreme, and have it bridge to the Time Warner WiFi network.

When I attempt this in Airport Utility the most logical option seems to be "Add to an existing network", but it seems to expect to be physically plugged into the network. I.e. it wants to be plugged into the other router:

Airport Extreme setup

Is there a way to bridge the Airport Extreme over WiFi?

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2 Answers 2

What you are describing is a WiFi extender. EG extending your Wifi network over WiFi. The basic two things you need to know are:

  1. No this Airport won't do that. I don't believe any will.
  2. WiFi repeaters just (usually) don't work very well.

TheWirecutter.com has a good take on it AND recommendations here http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-wi-fi-extender/.

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FWIW I used to use my Airport Express to connect to the Airport Extreme in this fashion. I thought that was standard bridging protocol, but perhaps it was Apple-specific. Unfortunately I think the Airport Express is old enough that it won't do 802.11n to the DG860. –  Caffeine Coma Jan 21 at 17:23

You can extend a wireless network on an Airport Extreme, however it MAY require the old version of Airport Utility to accomplish these steps.

What you would do is under "Airport", "Wireless" change "Wireless Mode" from "Create a Wireless Network" to "Extend a Wireless Network". Then under "Internet Connection" set "Connection Sharing" from "Distribute a Range of IP's" to "OFF-Bridge Mode". Make sure it sees the network it needs to extend and that's it your done.

You can follow Apple's own K-Base docs for these steps here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4259

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