Two Airport Extreme; best possible set-up for constant roaming.

  • Posted: 04 December 2009 11:19 AM

    Hey gang,

    Im kinda puzzled here and wanted to make sure my ethernet connection are right and my Radio waves are jelling right!
    I have two Airport Extreme (one of them is a Simultaneous Dual-Band II) we will call this one BSa. And the other one connected via ethernet at the other end of the house we will call this one BSb.. I used one of the ports from BSa and connected it to the Wan on the BSb. I think for the most part this connection is right. Both base stations have the same SSID and password. What I want to make sure happen is, whenever I float around with the Macbook pro, I want to make sure I have Constant roaming going. Despite putting in the same SSID and password on both Base stations Im still having two SSIDs and sometimes have to connect to the other one in order to obtain the best wireless frequency and achieve the lowest possible signal noise. How can I make sure this is right.

    Heres some Data Main Base station
    Wireless mode: Create a wireless network
    Internet connection: Sharing a public IP address

    Second base station
    Wireless mode: Create a wireless network (same SSID and pass as main BS)
    Connection is using:Ethernet
    Connection sharing OFF (Bridge Mode)

    Im pretty sure Im doing something wrong here and well thats why I turn to the Mac geek Gab community. I have been doing research here but still question my method.

    Thanks in Advance!!!!

         
  • Posted: 04 December 2009 03:37 PM #1

    Don’t remember where I got this info, but hope it helps:

    AirPort Utility makes it simple to extend the range of an 802.11n network if you are connecting another 802.11n base station. Connecting two 802.11n AirPort Extreme Base Stations greatly simplifies the WDS setup process.
    To extend the range of an 802.11n network:
    ? ? ? ? 1.? ? ? ? Open AirPort Utility and select the base station that will connect to the Internet.
    ? ? ? ? 2.? ? ? ? Choose Manual Setup from the Base Station menu, or double-click the base station to open the configuration in a separate window. Enter the base station password if necessary.
    ? ? ? ? 3.? ? ? ? Click AirPort in the toolbar, and then click Wireless.
    ? ? ? ? 4.? ? ? ? Choose ?Create a wireless network? from the Wireless Mode pop-up menu, and then select the ?Allow this network to be extended? checkbox.
    ? ? ? ? 5.? ? ? ? Next, select the base station that will extend this network, and choose Manual Setup from the Base Station menu, or double-click the base station to open its configuration in a separate window. Enter the base station password if necessary.
    ? ? ? ? 6.? ? ? ? Choose ?Extend a wireless network? from the Wireless Mode pop-up menu, and then choose the network you want to extend from the Network Name pop-up menu.
    ? ? ? ? 7.? ? ? ? Enter the network name and wireless password if necessary.
    ? ? ? ? 8.? ? ? ? Click Update to update the base station with new network settings.

         
  • Posted: 04 December 2009 06:32 PM #2

    RockyG - 04 December 2009 03:19 PM

    Hey gang,

    Im kinda puzzled here and wanted to make sure my ethernet connection are right and my Radio waves are jelling right!
    I have two Airport Extreme (one of them is a Simultaneous Dual-Band II) we will call this one BSa. And the other one connected via ethernet at the other end of the house we will call this one BSb.. I used one of the ports from BSa and connected it to the Wan on the BSb. I think for the most part this connection is right. Both base stations have the same SSID and password. What I want to make sure happen is, whenever I float around with the Macbook pro, I want to make sure I have Constant roaming going. Despite putting in the same SSID and password on both Base stations Im still having two SSIDs and sometimes have to connect to the other one in order to obtain the best wireless frequency and achieve the lowest possible signal noise. How can I make sure this is right.

    Heres some Data Main Base station
    Wireless mode: Create a wireless network
    Internet connection: Sharing a public IP address

    Second base station
    Wireless mode: Create a wireless network (same SSID and pass as main BS)
    Connection is using:Ethernet
    Connection sharing OFF (Bridge Mode)

    Im pretty sure Im doing something wrong here and well thats why I turn to the Mac geek Gab community. I have been doing research here but still question my method.

    Thanks in Advance!!!!

    That looks all correct to me, and I think that your experience matches mine. I am pretty much doing the same thing, except that I have a wired router that connect to the public internet, with both Airports connected to it by ethernet and set to bridge mode, with the same SSID and WPA2 passphrase. The only thing that I would check is that they are on different channels (I have mine set to 1 and 11 for 802.11 n/b/g compatible mode.)

    I really don’t pay too much attention to which base station my Mac is connected to at any given time, because my transmit rate is always high enough not to matter all that much. I just checked, though, and despite the fact that I was in the same room as one base station, my Mac stayed connected to the other one when I walked from the other side of the house.  However, when I put it to sleep and woke it up, it connected to the closer station. (Then I walked back to the other side of the house with the Macbook on; it’s stayed with the other one. I’ll check in a few minutes to see if it ever changes. Later It still has not changed [though it still is reporting a transmit rate of 78 to 104 mbps, depending on when I check it, so it’s not bugging me all that much. In fact, I’ve walked about as far away as I can, and it still stays connected, despite being only feet from the other one. That said, transmit rate is still high, so, again, it’s not bothering me much.)

    Anyway, if you think that you should be connected to the other one, you can always do a toggle off and on of the Airport adapter, or put the computer to sleep and the wake it. Maybe if you wait long enough, there is some time threshold that passes that allows the Airport adapter to switch to the other base station.

         
  • Posted: 04 December 2009 07:49 PM #3

    Based on my experience with my home network and my university’s campus-wide wireless, I believe that Macs won’t start searching for a new base station until the signal reaches one bar on the Airport menu.

    Just like the previous poster said, as long as you have the networks with the same SSID’s and MAKE SURE THEY ARE ON THE SAME CHANNEL, you will be good to go. Just toggle the power to your airport card if you want your mac to switch networks.

    Best of luck!
    -Alex

    Signature

    Your Average 18-year-old Mac Geek,
    -alex

         
  • Posted: 07 December 2009 09:48 AM #4

    Hi

    I do believe that you should keep them on separate channels, as the same channel would only cause collisions. At least that is how I set this up, and that is also the way that the ?ber-geeks recommended for me last summer.

         
  • Posted: 07 December 2009 12:51 PM #5

    peertimo - 07 December 2009 01:48 PM

    I do believe that you should keep them on separate channels, as the same channel would only cause collisions.

    I agree with this. See DD-WRT documentation on setting up roaming: http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Wireless_Access_Point#Roaming_access

    If you are installing additional Access Points to cover a broader area with Wi-Fi access, it is possible to allow clients to roam freely between them. The common method is to use the same SSID and Security settings on each access point.
    Use a different channel on each AP. e.g. if you are in the US and installed two access points, use channels #1 and #11. Or if three access points, then use channels #1, #6, and #11 (setting the channels at least 5 apart should help keep interference between APs to a minimum). If you have a residential gateway with wireless turned on, and just one AP, then the same applies: each gets a different channel.
    When using multiple Access Points, each one should be connected by LAN to LAN uplink as described above. They can even be attached to different switches within the same organization.

    Also, I believe that you want to the connection to be somewhat “sticky”, even if a stronger signal is possible to another router, as each time that your computer reconnected to a new access point, it would interrupt any network traffic that is currently live. You probably do not want your computer ping-ponging between two access points when you are on the margins where connectivity might be stronger to one or the other. If the algorithm was to change when the signal to noise ratio was lowest, or transit signal was higher, or whatever the trigger is, there are likely points in your coverage map in your home where the choice could be either AP at any given time, based on circumstances (interference, etc.), so setting a threshold that is very definitive - you reach a location that is particularly weak as a signal to look for a better connection - seems like the right choice.