I know (or think I know) that both devices can do this.

Basically I have the ISP provided router, which has wifi, but it doesn't work well. That gives wifi to most of the house, and then on the other side, I have an airport extreme that then hooks up to an xbox, ps3, etc, and provides wireless to the other side of house.

I want to replace the ISP wifi (well, turn off the wifi on the ISP router) with an Apple Base Station, to better extend the network. I would purchase either an extreme or express, and plug it into the router, and disable wifi on the router.

Is there a benefit to using one or the other? Can an Express have a Hard Drive attached to it for TimeMachine? Can an Extreme extend a dual band network from another extreme?

Update: I already have one extreme, and very use to the software. Just wondering if it would be better to get another extreme to extend the network, or just an express. The extreme runs dual band, has a HDD connected. Its mostly in a bridge mode, the ISP router still handles DHCP, etc. Just want to disable wifi on the router, and add a second base station.

1 Answer 1

  1. TimeMachine isn't supported and doesn't like to work with drives connected to non-TimeCapsule or non-Servers.
  2. The express USB only works for printers, not drives. (no file server included)
  3. Turning off WiFi on the ISP router and letting Airport run either in bridge mode (letting the ISP router handle everything) is the easiest option. I prefer to have my ISP router be a bridge and let the AirPort run the network to take advantage of it's software and logging / graphing tools. Some ISP don't like that and you need them to modify their upstream device - but most just work fine.

The benefits I see on AirPort are having one strong signal (turning off the ISP WiFi) and less interference as well as simplicity of managing the AirPort software.

  • Bit confused by your answer. My routers wifi, nor the extreme I currently use are powerful enough to just use one. But im having problems with the ISP wifi, so I want to get another base station, probably an extreme. Confused on what you mean 'one strong signal'. Also, using time machine currently on a remote disk. Don't really 'use' it though (store to a drobo as well). Id love to have the Airport run the network too, but the verizon fios router is hard to configure to do this switch.
    – jmlumpkin
    Commented Jul 12, 2011 at 13:44
  • I've never known setup problems airport to airport when extending a network. The devices just work together well when they are in range. If you fake out OSX to use non time capsule, it's less reliable and extra steps. Doable, but more risk. See this for fios tips - marco.org/2011/01/15/how-to-use-your-own-router-with-fios
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 12, 2011 at 14:32
  • What my question was is more towards what you would loose with going with one device versus the other. And, when using a dual band Extreme already, is it worth spending a few bucks more to get another extreme versus just getting an express.
    – jmlumpkin
    Commented Jul 12, 2011 at 15:30
  • My experience is the extreme works better if the interference is really terrible, but most deployments the express is powerful enough - especially if you drop the extreme transmit power down a bit - just enough for a strong link to the express so that the overlap area is cleaner. I wish the extremes extended both bands and guest network - but it looks like it only extends one channel in my testing.
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 12, 2011 at 16:44
  • That helps a lot, thank you. When you say you wish it extend both bands and the guest, it doesn't let you? Does it at least let you extend your 2.4 and 5GHz network?
    – jmlumpkin
    Commented Jul 12, 2011 at 17:12

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