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Here is my configuration:

  • Living Room
    • MacBook Pro
    • NAS
    • Network printer
    • All connected to Time Capsule
  • Bedroom
    • Hifi System (with line-in)
    • Laptop, iPod touch (any wireless device)

As of today, the connection between the two locations is too weak (see this question) for me to use devices wirelessly in the bedroom.

What I would like to do is to add a PLC connection between the two rooms and place an airport base station in the bedroom to extend the wireless network.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so check below my existing configuration and the things I want to add (green bullets and green arrows):

enter image description here

I then have a lot of questions...

  • Will the wireless network created in the bedroom by the airport base station be an extension of the one in the living room or a new one? (first option would be easier to wander in the apartment without having to switch from one network to the other).
  • Will it still be possible to connect the other devices (printer, NAS) to the time capsule and would they be accessible from the bedroom (I suppose yes if wireless network is the same) and still from the living room wired network (I don't see why it would not be the case).
  • Do I have to connect the PCL as on the drawing or do I have to connect it between the modem and the time capsule? (edit: yes, replied to this one by myself)

I also then plan to connect the Hifi system line in to the jack connection of the airport base station.

  • Will it allow me to output on the hifi system songs from my iTunes library stored on MBP?
  • Will I be able to control it with Remote from the iPod Touch?

You can also propose other solutions which could work in my situation.
My first need was the network connection in the bedroom. The iTunes songs on the Hifi system was a bonus when I thought about Airport Base Station.

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Tumbleweed badge for the question I put the most effort in... Too bad the Genius Bar is so far away from home... –  LudoMC May 14 '11 at 16:07

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted
+50

Yes, assuming the express (and the PLC link) is in bridge mode, you will have one network so AirPlay, AirPrint and Bonjour will work like you have one router and everyone is in range or plugged in to the ethernet.

You can use the same SSID on both wireless networks, but then you can't choose which network you are joining if you start on one and the connection is simply better.

The big downside of PLC or ethernet link is you don't get automatic switching of the base stations if a device starts on the main and doesn't leave the signal range. You can remedy this by reducing the transmit power on the main station to ensure that by the time you get to the bedroom, the existing link is lost and the device has to join the express.

Making two SSID networks allows you to know which base station you connect - not leaving it to the software to determine based on a short measurement of the two signal strengths when you "join" the network.

Whether you have one SSID or two, I would recommend selecting different channels for both transmitters as far apart as practical or consider reducing the transmit power on one if you find bad interference in between the two wireless transmitters.

Use the logs and statistics graphs in Airport Utility to see the transmit speeds and which base station your devices are connected when you choose where to place the devices and what channels to use.

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If I choose to go for two different SSID, how to configure that the bedroom's one connect to the internet through the PLC and the time capsule? Is this something done in the Airport configuration? Then, would I be able, from the bedroom to connect to my NAS which is in the living room? –  LudoMC Jun 24 '11 at 12:21
    
Bridge mode meant the bedroom network doesn't start a separate network. Anyone that joins that net is seen as being at the end of the PLC - all the clients get handled by the main router. The PLC and second network are truly just a bridge for the packets to get back to the original network unmodified. –  bmike Jun 26 '11 at 18:58

In order:

  • It will be a different one, but I think if you give them the same SSID and WPA key and just put them on different channels things will hop relatively seamlessly. Configuring this might be "fun"; WDS might be a better alternative but I'm not sure how that works.

  • Yes, the Airport Express would just be another node on the same LAN, so it would have access to everything else on the LAN

  • Yes; as far as I know it will show up as an airplay device in iTunes once the Airport express is on the network. That's how the Apple TV works, at least. You would also be able to stream audio from the iPod touch to it as well.

  • You would control the MBP with the remote app; the MBP would be streaming its music to the base station. I believe you can also select AirPlay destinations from the remote app as well.

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WDS and internet sharing need a wifi link - not an ethernet link so that's not an option unless the OP substitutes a third base station for the PLC link. Devices generally only hop if the link is lost even if you get in range of the same SSID with a better strength. The rest of your points are solid! –  bmike Jun 21 '11 at 15:04
    
@bmike & @FallenNicolae I've checked WDS (I'm quite an ignorant in networking) and wander if it would then be better (and in which aspects) to replace my PLC for a third base station I would put in the corridor to keep a continuous signal. Having only one in the corridor and not in the bedroom would be OK on range side but I will then lose the ability to play music from my NAS on my bedroom's hifi system. What would be the benefits then of a 1 capsule and 2 base stations over the PLC solution depicted above? –  LudoMC Jun 24 '11 at 12:28
  • If you provide the same SSID and key for the second wireless network, devices will in fact be able to switch between these two without user intervention. If you configure your Airport Express that it acts as a bridge you will even keep your existing IP-Address. The downside to this is that your devices are not aware of the fact that there are actually two identically named networks. This can lead to them 'sticking' to the currently connected network instead to the other network, even when the signal strength of the former is nearing zero.

  • If you configure your Airport Express in Bridge Mode you will be able to use all devices, services or whatever you also have connected to your "main" network, just as if you were directly connected.

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