I have gone through a two step change to my network and the last step seams to have made it nearly unuseful.

Step 0: My network looked like this and have been working for years:

Internet coming in to the house to an edge router that handles firewall and dhcp. It’s connected to an airport time capsule with two ethernet cables going to different floors in the house. At the end of the first ethernet cable there was an old airport express and at the second an airport extreme.

Fiber —> edge router lite —> AirPort Time Capsule (802.11ac) 
(eth0) —> AirPort Extreme (802.11n)
(eth1) —> AirPort Express (802.11g)

Step 1: I replaced the AirPort Extreme (802.11n) with a newer AirPort Extreme (802.11ac) and removed the airport express. This worked well. I installed the new extreme by resting it and using my iPhone to basically taping next, next, next in the setup process. It’s in bridge mode and creates a new network with the same name (I have automatic on both 2,4 and 5 ghz). I ran this setup for about a week and had no issues except sometimes I had a weaker wifi signal at the spots were the express was located before.

Fiber —> edge router lite —> AirPort Time Capsule (802.11ac) 
(eth0) —> AirPort Extreme (802.11ac)
(eth1) —> nothing

Step 2: I then added another AirPort Extreme (802.11ac) and my network now looks like this:

Fiber —> edge router lite —> AirPort Time Capsule (802.11ac) 
(eth0) —> AirPort Extreme (802.11ac)
(eth1) —> AirPort Extreme (802.11ac)

I setup the new airport extreme the same way as the one before using my iPhone. But now several of my devices have both issues with getting a wifi signal and when they claim to be connected to the network apps can’t connect. This is for a wide range of apps like safari and social media apps.

I have tried a few different things:

When both airport extremes are on the network my wifi just won’t work reliably. Can anyone help me work this out? Thank you.

  • The setup looks fine, but that only paints part of the picture. What we can’t see is network congestion, the physical building layout, etc. one thing to keep in mind is that 2.4GHz while slower is able to penetrate walls and obstacles much easier than 5GHz. I suggest getting a WIFi analyzer to help you in determining optimal placement.
    – Allan
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 14:23
  • Also, I’m curious as to why you selected discontinued WiFi access points. Apple was not a strong player in this market and there are substantially better WAPs for much less cost.
    – Allan
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 14:25
  • Hi Allan, thanks for your response. Can you recommend a WIFI analyzer? Regarding network congestion, I tried disabling 2,4 and 5 ghz on the different airport extremes (keep 2,4 on one and 5 on the other) but I could not see any improvement. Maybe I should try to experiment a bit more. I choose to go with the AirPorts since they have been working so well during all these years. Would I buy a new wifi setup I would probably go with a mesh setup and it would most likely cost more. What bothers me is that the setup looks ok but its clearly not working and I can’t figure out why. Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 6:53
  • You might want to give these guys a shot: netspotapp.com. There are a lot of decent ones available on at App store. You just want to see where the signal is weak so you can address. The setup is fine, its your placement. But don’t rule out defective units. Personally, I like Ubiquiti
    – Allan
    Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 11:16
  • Sorry about the lack of feedback. This is still an issue.I have tried WiFi Explorer to help me get a better picture over my network. I will post here with updates. Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 13:34

3 Answers 3


After spending a lot of time trying to solve this issue with no success, I unplugged everything and went away for summer holiday. Came back a few weeks later and plugged everything back again and now it works.

Yeah, it has worked for over a month.


I would start with the easy stuff first:

  1. Make sure the ethernet connection plugging into both AirPort Extreme is going into it's WAN port (the one with the circles icon above it) -- on the newest units that's at the very bottom of the Extreme. Note: this is crucial as plugging into any other outlet can cause trouble. For example If either extreme has routing mode enabled and you connect the Ethernet coming from the time capsule into one of the other outlets you will get no connectivity and IP addresses will feed back into the network. If the units are not set up with routing mode, plugging into the other outlets can cause there to be WiFi signal but NO internet.
  2. Download the Airport Utility application on your iPhone or use a Mac for the next steps. Open the Airport Utility and check your configuration on each Airport Extreme and the Time Capsule. For your setup it should be set to:

  3. Base station tab-- Consider giving each unit a unique name so you can find them and configure them easier during troubleshooting.

  4. Internet tab-- Connect using DHCP. Consider entering manual DNS numbers such as or for cloudflare and google DNS numbers. Note: This step will help you determine if there are DNS issues from the Edge Router, or circumvent issues if the Time capsule or one of the extremes has routing mode on and is causing trouble.
  5. Wireless tab-- Create a wireless network. Try using the exact same name and password/security settings. Then try using a different wifi name for each extreme to see if it works better for you and you'll be able to troubleshoot which unit or which ethernet connection is having trouble. Note: when troubleshooting it is important to determine which of the two airports are causing issues, with one WiFi name it is hard to determine. With two you can join one, test to see if things work, then join the other and test to see if things work. This step is crucial in isolating where your issue lies.
  6. Network tab-- Router mode (Off Bridge Mode) Note: as mentioned earlier, having routing mode on can cause unexpected behavior, so set it to bridge mode so you can know what behavior to expect. You want all your traffic and routing to be determined by your Edge Router.

  7. If you’ve tried the steps above, then consider the WiFi scanning to change channels and such. It’s crucial to have the basics above done first. Cables running into the proper outlets, settings set as simple and expected as possible (bridge mode), and give yourself the separate WiFi names for testing purposes. Once things are working with the different names, then you can change the WiFi name back to the same name/security/password. Then if the issue returns you can try checking the WiFi channels.

Tip regarding WiFi scanners - sometimes the “free” channel looks open but there is other interference on that channel. I’ve had trouble with channel 1 on occasion - it looks clear with the scanners but the service is slow and troublesome. A quick thing you can do is when you’re trying a channel is hold the option key down on your keyboard and click the WiFi icon. You’ll get great info like TX rate. Then you can try channel 6, and channel 11 and see which one works best in your area.

Last tip is to consider separating out your 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz network while testing. I’ve had a AirPort Extreme that had antenna issues on one of the two and I only determined the hardware defect after splitting out the channels. The computer kept joining the 5Ghz automatically, and even nearby it had terrible service speeds.

All these steps boil down to: Try the simple stuff first, connections in right spots, settings as simple as possible. Then try to isolate where the problem is using different WiFi names, and consider splitting off the 2.4/5Ghz networks. Then simplify the network down to how you want it set once you’ve isolated the problem component or channel.

Note: I do not have the benefit of commenting in order to gather more info and ask basic questions. Each of these steps sounds simple but has a very concrete reason behind checking. Below each suggestion you will see the reasoning to do this.

  • 1
    I’m holding back a down vote because nothing in here is inherently “dangerous” to the network or device, but all of it is unrelated. Especially DNS and DCHP - what do those have to do with a poor signal on a range extender?! Same for the SSID - how does the name change the signal quality? It might be a good idea to do a little research before posting. I haven’t written an answer, but I’m more than happy in assisting you in getting a strong, helpful answer up on the board.
    – Allan
    Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 4:44
  • Thanks for your feedback. If my issues remains I will try your list. Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 13:35
  • Good luck! What a frustrating issue from the sound of it. Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 23:23

I literally had the same issue. Every time i restored everything, on the second airport i always chose "Extend this network" as i thought this would set the router to "bridge mode". And had the same issue. One airport consequently was not working (wifi) - the one that was restarted latest, was the one that was always working (so both was working, but only one at the time). I tried different SSID etc. etc. to troubleshoot if this was limited to a certain Airport Extreme. When I did everything from scratch, I chose "create a new network". This option would still set my airport to bridge mode. And my ISP router is handling the DHCP. Now I have same SSID on ISP router + my two airport extremes. And everything works perfectly.

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