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Connect Airport Express with Network Hub

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I'm wondering if I the airport express will meet my needs.

 

Currently I have an iMac which is wired to my Airport Extreme and I connect via wireless my macbook pro and 3 tivos (soon to be 4)

 

What I would like to do, if is possible, is buy an airport express and plug in down stairs by my TV. I would like to connect a small 5 port hub

to the express and through that hub connect a Tivo and my Xbox360, and possibly an AppleTV when that time comes.

 

So can I connect a normal 10/100 5 port hub to the Airport express and have the express connect wireless to the airport extreme upstairs

for getting the devices connected through the hub onto the internet?

 

 

Thanks

Brad

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This sounds like a question for Network Expert Graham, but I'll weigh in anyway.

 

I have both an Airport Extreme and an Airport Express. I have used the Express to extend the range of the Extreme, but I haven't considered plugging a hub into for more wired connections. I have no idea if the ethernet port on the Express can be used that way.

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I haven't tried it, but I don't think this will work, because the LAN/WAN port on the Express won't be able to get an IP address. But with the "Connection Sharing" mode set to "Off (bridged mode)" the LAN/WAN port may be able to get an IP address from the DHCP server running on the Extreme... Kind of a tough thing to think through in my head...

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The ethernet port on the express can't be used for this (for connecting to WAN's only - ie takes input only). You'd either need to get a second extreme or some other router that supports the black art of WDS.

Edited by Graham

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So can I connect a normal 10/100 5 port hub to the Airport express and have the express connect wireless to the airport extreme upstairs

for getting the devices connected through the hub onto the internet?

That should work. Apple's description of WDS illustrates a device connected by ethernet to an AirPort Express, which in turn connects wirelessly to an AirPort Extreme connected to the internet. This is exactly like the network you describe, except for the ethernet hub which shouldn't matter. (The picture shows some extra base stations in the WDS, but the walk-thru describes how to set it up with just two: an AirPort Extreme as the Main station, and an AirPort Express as the Remote station, exactly like what you want to do.)

 

As per the notes, all Remote and Relay base stations in the network (the AirPort Express in your case) will be set up to not distribute IP addresses. Translation: all DHCP requests will be forwarded to the Main base station, so it can coordinate IP address assignment across the entire WDS network. (You wouldn't want a wireless device's IP address to change as it moves between base stations.) As far as DHCP/NAT is concerned, all stations except the Main station will be acting as simple hubs. Your non-wireless hub should fit right in.

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It should work, but it doesn't. I plugged in my express to try it out and it wasn't having any of it before I replied. Admittedly I only poked around for a couple of minutes as I had more pressing things to do, but I'm pretty confident in my answer.

 

BTW, the device hooked up to the express in that picture you linked to is a stereo using AirTunes. Nothing to do with ethernet. You could use an airport express to extend the network wirelessly, but you wouldn't be able to use the ethernet port for this.

 

This is one of the differences between the express and an airport extreme.

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Thanks, Graham.

 

That was my guess for the ethernet port on the express, but I didn't know for sure.

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It should work, but it doesn't. I plugged in my express to try it out and it wasn't having any of it before I replied. Admittedly I only poked around for a couple of minutes as I had more pressing things to do, but I'm pretty confident in my answer.

 

BTW, the device hooked up to the express in that picture you linked to is a stereo using AirTunes. Nothing to do with ethernet. You could use an airport express to extend the network wirelessly, but you wouldn't be able to use the ethernet port for this.

 

This is one of the differences between the express and an airport extreme.

I admit I don't have an AirPort Express to test with, but this seems odd. When I pore over Apple's documentation, it seems to me that they expressly say this works. (Sorry about the pun. It wasn't intentional, but I left it in.)

 

Look at the AirPort Express FAQ, especially question 2, answer 2 ("Yes, it can bridge a wireless network to wired clients") and question 5 ("the ethernet port can be either a LAN port or a WAN port, although not both at the same time").

 

Is it possible that I'm misunderstanding the OP's question? I read it as that he wants to set up his network so that it looks like:

 

---(internet)---> AirPort Extreme <---(air)---> AirPort Express <---(ethernet)---

 

That is, he's using the Extreme to set up a wireless network; he's using the Express to bridge that wireless network to wired clients; those clients are connected to the Express' ethernet port, which is acting purely as a LAN port. Isn't that exactly what the FAQ says will work?

 

There are some gotchas. The Extreme and Express have to use the same network name, same network password, same admin password(?), and same channel. Both have to be enabled for WDS: the Extreme as a 'main base station', the Express as a 'remote base station'.

 

My apologies if I'm wasting bandwidth on this, but when there's this big a gap between theory and practice there's a part of me that just can't let it go. I know somebody's going to ask me this question someday, and I'd like to know the real answer, not just that the question was thrashed about.

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That document seems to be referring to the old airport admin utility, since it also says

"Question: Does AirPort Express work with accessory antennas?

Answer: No, but this feature is available in the AirPort Extreme Base Station."

 

And the current basestation doesn't.

 

So, it may be possible with the older software, I've not managed to get it working here. Not that I'm trying anymore, since I've spent weeks before trying to get WDS to work in some cases. But I digress. I've had WDS working here before, but have never managed to get the express's ethernet port to be anything more than a WAN port.

 

Like I said before, I may be wrong, but I really think this is one of the things that separates the product lines.

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I have tried something like this is the past with no luck, it was trying to connect to just one device but it should be the same problem. I was using the newer extreme with gigabit ports.

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I called the apple store (the 800 number) and after being put on eternal hold (15 min ) after asking the rep the question, I got hung up on.

 

Is there anything that would work for this? Would I need to buy another extreme? If thats the case It would be cheaper for me to just buy the needed wireless adapters for my 360 and TivoHD.

is there a less expensive bridge that would work? I could allways stream my music through the 360.

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You don't necessarily need another extreme. Any router that supports WDS should do it. But like I said, WDS is a seriously black art. And it's performance sucks (as Adam said on the last MacCast). I'd just get the wireless adapters and be done with it.

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