I am using an Airport Express as an extender for the purposes of using its ethernet cable for a network device. In this setup, The Airport Express also the behavior of extending my network from my Airport Extreme. However this is causing me problems with our Apple TV since the Airport Express WIFI spec is much slower than the Airport Extreme.

We don't need to extend the wireless network. Is there a way to turn off wireless extension and leave the ethernet connected?

  • I don't believe you can, but since I don't have (any longer) AirPort Express routers, I can't really confirm. However, this is one of the reasons, I started to avoid them - they were not flexible enough IMO. Your best bet is to get a cheap 802.11n router from eBay or Craigslist and install DDWRT to configure it as a wireless bridge. It's too bad you're not closer, I have 3 of these in storage that I use for different (temp) projects similar to what you're describing.
    – Allan
    Oct 20, 2017 at 17:52

4 Answers 4


Yes you can do this in Airport Utility. Unfortunately I don’t have it open in front of me so I can’t show you a screenshot of where in the settings to do it but if you were able to configure it in the first place then just go back to the same place and there should be an option to disable wireless entirely.

If you have an older Airport Express then you’ll need Airport Utility 5.6 running on an older version of OS X. If you don’t have that handy, you’ll have to make it happen by installing an older version of OS X in a virtual machine.

Hope this helps.

  • It’s called client mode (connect but don’t extend). It’s not reliable though. I used it for a while and it went down and refused to connect for weeks at a time
    – Allison
    Oct 20, 2017 at 22:24


You can always run a wire from one AP to another and turn off WiFi entirely on Airport (express or extreme or time capsule). They then work as switches and AirPlay and backup devices. Just set them in "Bridge Mode" and connect the wires.

There's no provision for multiple WiFi networks to have wireless backhaul and bridging, though. You'd need other access points for that. Even those newer mesh AP work best when you wire the backhaul using copper / ethernet / power line carrier / whatever.


I encountered bugs while doing this, but I did eventually arrive at a solution.

  • Ensure bridging mode is enabled under the network tab.
  • Under the wireless tab, set it to off.

You may encounter an error doing this, if the settings don't apply correctly, this gets a bit weird:

  • Configure it to "join a wireless network". Once the settings are applied, this may cause some issues with your network if the cable is in, so after this point disconnect the cable.
  • in the settings again, ensure bridging is enabled, and then set the wireless network mode to off.
  • Plug the ethernet back in to the input port.

When I did this the wifi from the airport was disabled and it correctly picked up an ip address from the attached network cable only. The airport device was available for use.


Yes this can be done, but the tools necessary to do this are buggy.

I am using the Windows Version of Airport Utility, and perhaps the Mac version is not the same, but these steps likely work for both.

Once you turn off the Wi-Fi in the airport express, you can no longer discover or reprogram the AirPort Express on the network with the AirPort utility, even if it is working perfectly.

So the methodology is to set the AirPort Express up like you are creating a new wireless network connected to the network. I used a different name for that new AirPort Express wireless network than my main wireless network for testing purposes. As you create this network, make sure that ultimately the connection sharing (found under the internet tab is off (bridge mode))

You can test this network by joining it wirelessly and making sure that it is seen by airplay and is working well. Once you have done all the testing you want, you are ready to turn off the wireless transmitter.

You do this by going to the internet tab in the airport utility, and you change the wireless mode to off.

When you update in the AirPort utility, you will no longer be able to scan and find that base station using the AirPort Utility, but it will actually have programmed the WiFi off and the Ethernet will still transmit the signal to the AirPort Express. The ITunes speaker name that you set up earlier when it was wireless will be displayed in the Airplay device, and can be accessed like all other airplay devices.

Oddly, the iOS Airport utility will tell you that all is working, and the green light will be solid, but the Windows AirPort utility will no longer find that base station to reprogram.

As an aside the iOS AirPort Utility seems to communicate with the base station, but when I turned back on the wireless signal, I could not communicate with the base station. At that point I had to do a hard reset and start over.

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