Possible to add Airport Express to extend open wireless network?

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
I set up a wireless network for my parents, on which we run two Macbooks and the occasional Windows PC. Because we have rock walls and my Macbook is plagued with ever-dreaded intermittent connection drops, I have been kicking around the idea of getting an Airport Express to keep in my room so that our network will spread to the back of the house.



Great. Fine. No problems.



My question for the forum is this: I will only be living with my parents for the remainder of the summer and then I move back to the dorms. Same problem with the Internet as here. We have plaster walls with wire mesh grating inside (it's an old building) which play havoc with everyone's wireless, but especially my poor little connection-handicapped Macbook. If I were to buy an Airport Express and take it to school with me, is it possible to use it to extend the network that exists there?



It's an open wireless network that requires no password. Obviously I don't know any of the actual physical settings of the network because I'm not there, other than Linksys routers are used all across campus. Normally I'd just plug it in to the provided Ethernet jack in the room, but my Macbook also has the dreaded defunct Ethernet jack (along with a small crack in the case and a once-fried HD). But I digress.....



Is this something that is feasible or even possible? Just curious before I actually buy one and take it there to find it doesn't work.



Thanks.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    areseearesee Posts: 776member
    Plug your express into the ethernet jack and go for it.
  • Reply 2 of 7
    I was going to do that. However, for reasons that I do not understand, this creates its own new network that is not connected to the campus network. The Ethernet and the wireless on campus are not the same network. And the Ethernet is severely underpowered due to the fact that everyone WITH an Ethernet jack plugs in their Xbox 360, being as the entire basement serves as one giant system link. I was hoping to take advantage of the "wireless campus" our campus keeps promoting without leaving my room if I so chose.



    Are there any other ideas?



  • Reply 3 of 7
    kishankishan Posts: 732member
    This is straight from Apple's FAQs for the airport express:



    Question: Can AirPort Express wirelessly extend ("repeat" or "rebroadcast") the network of a third-party access point?

    Answer: No. But it can wirelessly extend the range of a WDS network that is being hosted by an AirPort Extreme Base Station or another AirPort Express.



    In other words, the master router would have to be configured for WDS. I've done this at it works great, but you would need to get access to the master router. Your airport express can indeed join the network and serve as an airtunes site, but it will not act as a relay without WDS configured.



    Link to the FAQs
  • Reply 4 of 7
    bbwibbwi Posts: 812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kishan View Post


    This is straight from Apple's FAQs for the airport express:



    In other words, the master router would have to be configured for WDS. I've done this at it works great, but you would need to get access to the master router. Your airport express can indeed join the network and serve as an airtunes site, but it will not act as a relay without WDS configured.



    Under no circumstances would your university allow you to extend their network. You'll have to deal with the shotty wireless coverage or plug into the ethernet
  • Reply 5 of 7
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,209moderator
    You don't have to get an Airport, any wireless repeater will do. Something like this - it's also a router:



    http://www.broadbandbuyer.co.uk/Shop...ProductID=2324



    It has a mode for extending a network.
  • Reply 6 of 7
    Excellent! Thanks for all the help. I found a bunch of sites dedicated to wireless repeaters. My new question is.... should I look for something that has an extension mode like the Buffalo or flash something like a Linux router. The jury seems to be out on that subject.



    If I have to flash a router, is this something that's easily done on a Mac or will I have to do that through my virtual machine XP?



    Appreciate all the input.
  • Reply 7 of 7
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,209moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MisterMack View Post


    Excellent! Thanks for all the help. I found a bunch of sites dedicated to wireless repeaters. My new question is.... should I look for something that has an extension mode like the Buffalo or flash something like a Linux router. The jury seems to be out on that subject.



    It's a lot less hassle buying one designed for this. They are pretty cheap. Flashing a router will require getting the right firmware hack for the model you have and probably using some utility for Windows - not sure if you can apply it through the web interface.



    You can also brick your device applying a firmware mod.



    If you want to save money, you could even have one of the people who has a machine with wifi to turn on internet sharing. This means someone has to leave their computer on all the time though. The other problem there is you might get a subnet conflict - OS X gives out 192.168.2.x IPs by default, which is quite common. It also means you aren't on the Campus network directly - you're on a subdomain.



    I reckon buying a repeater device will be your best bet.
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