Extend Time Capsule Wireless Range

in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
I am having trouble with my Time Capsule's wireless range. I am not a networking expert by any means. I own an old building that is 4 stories connected by stairs with thick walls. All the rooms ethernet cables converge in a cubby on the 3rd floor. I placed my Time Capsule in the cubby, but I couldn't receive a wireless signal from the 1st floor. This is ironic because I have an old Netgear G router that sends signals throughout all 4 floors. So I bought an Airport Express to extend my network wirelessly, but the signal has been unstable perhaps because the Time Capsule's wireless signal is too weak. So I want to connect the Airport Express on the 1st floor using the Ethernet link from the 3rd floor Time Capsule which is my main router. From my research, I discovered about WDS networks, which I believe you have to use in order to create a network with multiple Apple base stations linked through ethernet.

I called Applecare who told me:

-To connect from Time Capsule to Airport Express using Ethernet, must use WDS network. Setup Airport Express as Relay, NOT Remote.

-Relay- Direct ethernet connection from Time Capsule to Airport Express, then wireless connection from Airport Express to Macbook.

-Remote- Wireless signal from Time Capsule to Airport Express, then direct Ethernet connection from Airport Express to Macbook

I have several questions for you wise people out there:

1. To extend the Time Capsule wireless network using the Airport Express, but connected directly via ethernet, do I need to setup a WDS network?

2. I prefer to just use the simple Apple settings "extend network wirelessly". Will this setting only boost a wireless signal received from the Time Capsule? Can it not extend a wireless signal sent directly from Ethernet?

3. I'm considering getting a Quickertek Triband antenna to place outside the cubby. Anyone have any experience with Airport external antennas?:


Any information would be much appreciated! These networking issues have been giving me months of headache.

Thank you!



Apple Time Capsule 1TB

Airport Express N version

Connected with 2.4ghz. band to N capable Macs.


  • Reply 1 of 5
    I had the same problem with TC in a 2 storey house and it is not even fully concrete!. My solution is simple. Just string the Netgear to the TC using Ethernet cable, then set the Netgear on its own SSID. So you have two SSIDs and the Mac can autoselect and work seamlessly so who cares if its 1 SSID or 100 SSID ?. The Netgear is great becuase its XR range is really proven.
  • Reply 2 of 5
    OK, I'm a networking newbie so my apologies first.

    Regarding SSID's, if I connect the Netgear to my Time Capsule, will it extend the wireless network established by my original Time Capsule? I'm setting this up for my mom's business and want it to be 1 network that's seamless and easy to fix if something goes wrong. Does a different SSID require a different network name?

  • Reply 3 of 5
    bbwibbwi Posts: 812member
    The Quickertek solution looks pretty good tho I've never used them. That would be a simple and secure solution since the equipment would all be housed in one location. I too have a Time Capsule and am disappointed in the range.

    The above post would work also but yes, you would essentially have two networks. If the computers roamed between the networks their signal would drop and then start up again. This may cause issues with downloads or streams when roaming.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    Hi bbwi,

    Thanks for the info. I setup the Airport Express for roaming last night. The documentation on this feature, even within Apple's 77 page "Designing Airport Networks" was quite limited. I'm also planning to purchase the Quickertek solution as I think my cubby kills my Time Capsule's range. Unfortunately, I'm on a budget working on a 4,000 square foot space that's 4 stories tall, not so easy :-p


  • Reply 5 of 5
    Hi Hangu,

    Sorry I was not being very clear before but I think I can help you get ALL coverage in your 4 storeys since you mentioned you Ethernet cabling to all floors and rooms.

    Leave your TC in the cubby (you said it covers bottom floor and 1st floor. It has a network name (ie SSID), Leave it. It has Wan going to your broadband modem and 3 more GigE wired ports.

    ON the 1st floor, connect the AirPort Express Ethernet down to a wire port of your TC (using your cabling) Connect to Port1 of GigE on TC. You can configure it for WDS, so it extends the TC now, you have up to 3rd floor covered.

    On your 4th floor connect your netgear. But configure it as Access Point only. WDS will not work so give it a New SSID network name. For details goto to netgear site , click to knowledge base, search for "bridge mode 624". Configure as AP in that diagram. Then connect up the Ethernet Port1(Not WAN Port!!!) to the cable that goes down to your TC wired port 2.

    Now you have 2 SSID network name. Your Mac and PC will "see" the TC and do all the things you need.

    Good Luck.

    Note: If everything works well, do not expect it to be so, one day, one or more of your devices will not want to service any Mac or PC. This is due to increasing interference in your environment. Just use a Mac and change the channel from 6 to any of the remaining channels. Another channel will work better.

    PS: I used 3 wireless routers in my 2 storey house. A netgear 624 in bridged mode AP and ASUS 700gE also bridgedMode AP. TC range is poorest.
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