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My colleague has a cheap Cisco Access Point on another floor. The wireless is very spotty.

He is using a Mac Pro.

Will an Airport Express work to extend this network?

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In my experience I have not been able to make an Airport Express extend anything other than another Apple router. –  Justsomeguy Nov 21 '12 at 0:43

5 Answers 5

Apple seems to be saying in a round-a-bout way here that other routers are not supported for wireless range extensions (with a router connected to Ethernet and the Express not):

Extend an existing Wi-Fi network’s range.

If you already have a wireless network in your home and want to extend its range, AirPort Express can help. Just place it in range of your primary base station — an AirPort Extreme, Time Capsule, or another AirPort Express — and near the area where you want your wireless connection. Launch the easy-to-use AirPort Utility app on your iOS device or Mac, and you’re mere minutes away from long-range Wi-Fi enjoyment.

However, this is only if your AirPort Express is not connected to Ethernet. Otherwise, you can setup a roaming network. The newer Airport Express models (the ones compatible with 802.11n) can do this.


First, you need the Express connected to Ethernet. Make sure that the main non-Apple router is set to share a public IP address. Next, when setting up the Express, just set up its Network name and Password exactly the same as the network used by your non-Apple router. The network mode needs to be "Create a wireless network," it should Connect Using "Ethernet," and Connection Sharing needs to be "Off (Bridge mode)."

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so you're saying connect the Express to the Modem (ethernet) ? Then what will the other AP be connected to? –  Tom Geee Nov 21 '12 at 1:16
    
the Cisco access point needs to be connected to the modem. to create a roaming network, the Express will have to be connected to another Ethernet source (i.e. another modem or a cat5 source). note that a Mac can use a Wi-Fi source to share to its Ethernet port. –  Ethan Lee Nov 21 '12 at 1:24
    
That’s how I have mine setup. Router is plugged into the modem. I run an ethernet cable down the side of my house from the router into the Airport Express downstairs. I configure both the router and the Airport Express to have the same SSID. Express is in Bridge mode. This setup works great. –  paulgrav Dec 26 '12 at 21:50
    
Thank you very much for clarifying that a roaming network can be used even when an extension of the network can not! Saved me $200+ bucks. –  Stembrain Aug 29 '13 at 20:52

[UPDATE]

I was wrong. The Express can be added to an exisiting network, but then it wont increase the range. Sorry

I don't know what the other tried, but I had no problem to extend my existing WIFI from a non Apple router with an airport express 1st generation. I don't think that the type of router mattered. I used a no-name router from 2006. When you are configuring the airpot express for the first time, the airport utility from apple gives you the option to extend an existing wifi (see below), You select the network you want it to extend and it automatically gets the password from the keychain.

Please leave comments, if you need more information.

enter image description here

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What brand of non-Apple router are you using here? It may very well work with some brands but not with others)? –  patrix Mar 16 '13 at 12:29

One minor comment - you need to setup the "network name" (everyone else calls it a SID) and password to be the same, as described - but you ALSO need to make sure your security mode is the same - e.g. if you non-Apple wifi uses WPA2-Personal, you need to do the same.

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I got mine working, Airport express connected via ethernet to linksys router, both running their own WiFi networks with the same SSID's and passwords, allowing devices to roam between them. Also, the fact that it is in bridge means the linksys gives out the IP addresses, allowing for faster roaming (theoretically, have not done testing in the middle of a transfer)

Setup was easy, if u wanna do it that way you gotta connect the WAN port to the upstream router (assuming this is a 2012 airport, else theres only one port so use that one)

Then set it up as a "new" network

You can also repeat a signal in theoory with out the cable, have not tried that though as it increases lag, halves the speed, and i have an ethernet cable where i want the router. If thats what u wanna do though, you would probably have to put it halfway between you and the other router, because it doesnt seem to be able to pick up a super weak signal (it sees about the same networks as my laptop can in the same location, so it isnt like its super powerful)

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You can only hook up an early 2009 Mac Pro by using a e cord attached to the base station, The base station must be plugged into the modem or the router, Sad but true, Oh well, At least I'm going to saVe a couple hundred bucks!..

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What is an e cord? –  Mark Sep 3 '13 at 12:42
    
Ethernet?, I think the question clearly states that the router is on a different floor. Depending of the Cisco Access point model they do make Wifi extenders (or repeaters) that might work in your case. –  hoss Sep 3 '13 at 13:52

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