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Currently I have an older style Timecapsule 2GB, the flat type, connect to my cable modem, and distributing network to my apartment both through cables (Xbox, PS4, Apple TV) and WIFI (everything else).

I want to move this to a different room and in its place put a newer Airport Express thus having three base stations to provide wireless access to the network.

Reading the article leaves me with three concerns:

  1. Move the Timecapsule to a different room and ask it to join the WIFI network set up by the Airport Express
  2. Hook up nearby equipment (a computer and a NAS) to the Timecapsule, and thus spread the network to those units as well?
  3. Still continue backing up my iMac and MacBook Pro to it, without changes (provided I keep its name)

I read this article: Wi-Fi base stations: Extending the range of your wireless network by adding additional Wi-Fi base stations and it has this section:

Wirelessly Extended Network (802.11n)
apple units wireless coverage

I understand the part about being nearby, but the webpage mentions base stations as the unit you can use to extend and I'm not sure if a time capsule counts as a "base station" as it also mentions other types, so my question is, with the above setup, and the existing time capsule being the unit on the right, can I hook up a computer and a NAS to it using cables, and access them while connected to the left apple router over WIFI?

The setup would be:

  • Leftmost apple unit, connected to the cable modem with yellow cable, would server my Xbox, PS4, tables, MacBook Pro, iMac, using a combination of WIFI and cabled network
  • Rightmost apple unit, old time capsule
  • A server-like computer + a NAS connected to the time capsule using cables

So, in short - is the Time Capsule capable of working as a true Airport Base station?

  • One question per question is best for the site. I'll see if I can edit this down - feel free to ask a follow on question to continue to edit it if we have to put it on hold to clarify what this one thread will cover. – bmike Feb 16 '15 at 14:31
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Yes - Time Capsule is a fully functioning Airport and you can bridge, extend or perform any other function of Airport networking as needed without regards to there being a hard drive inside the unit.

You needn't worry about changing the network topology and having Macs not find the backup. Even if you actually change the name of the Time Capsule or change the password needed to mount the drive - once you remove the old "Time Capsule" backup as a destination from each Mac, you can add it back with the new name and/or password and the system will know it's the same volume and continue backing up just as it left off - no duplication or other ill effects will ensue due to you changing the names / networking.

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I do exactly as you propose/describe with one change. I have a new AirPort Express that wirelessly extends (dotted lines) my network and I hard wire it (solid line) to the Time Capsule that used to provide wireless extension. I then turned off the wireless on the TC and run it in bridge mode (it's basically a gigabit ethernet switch now that provides three ethernet connections for two servers and a NAS) so that it's part of the network and still accessible as a backup volume.

  • Side-question since you have experience with this. I am planning on buying a new Airport Express, the newer flat model, and setting it up in the time capsules place, then extend wirelessly to the time capsule. Would there be a speed difference if I bought two of the new Airport Express units, and extended using them instead, doing the same as you describe? Seeing as I will be hooking up a NAS to the TC that is, will I have higher speeds using two new Airport Extreme units vs. one new + the older Time Capsule? – Lasse Vågsæther Karlsen Feb 16 '15 at 14:41
  • I realize that may be worth a whole new question on its own, but it may also be a bit too localized to what I want to warrant a question... – Lasse Vågsæther Karlsen Feb 16 '15 at 14:42
  • Speed differences depend on three things: 1 - all hardware performing perfectly. I have turned off my TC since the amplifier is aging and performance was suffering. Everything else works great. 2 - what specific channels you are using and your specific signal/noise ratios. You can use Wireless Diagnostics on a Mac to start measuring your specific network and performance. 3 - exactly where you have placed your base stations will affect #2 above since walls, sources of interference, etc. might make a configuration that seems slower on paper work faster in your reality. – bmike Feb 16 '15 at 14:47
  • OK, since the local shop has open purchase for 30 days I will purchase one unit and see what kind of speed I get. Thanks for the info. – Lasse Vågsæther Karlsen Feb 16 '15 at 14:48
  • Your post was awesome and I didn't see a way to split it. Feel free to link here if/when you add it. I appreciate well documented issues to solve here. RSSI/noise/TX Rate and such will be useful as you set up the network and tune things. Adding a newer base station will almost certainly improve things - even if you end up disabling the TC antenna if you have mutual interference between the three devices. That new little device is much easier to locate in an ideal spot than the TC. – bmike Feb 16 '15 at 14:50

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