New Apple Airport Extreme

I am trying to work out if the following configuration will be possible. My ‘problem’ is that Telefonica (my ISP in Spain) doesn’t support the Mac so at the moment I am using their router bridged to my current Airport Extreme.

So, what I am wondering is, based on the fact that the new Airport Extreme is advertised as working with the Mac + PC, is can I:

1. Install the new Airport Extreme by connecting it to my PC and configuring it to work with my ISP, i.e. basically replace my existing Telefonica router.

2. Connect via ethernet my Mac mini (it sits right by the router), a 2nd Mac mini that will sit in the lounge but I have a cable running through the wall, and the iMac (will need a long ethernet cable for that but no real problem).

3. Connect my USB printer and share it amongst the 4 Mac’s and the PC

4. Connect my PowerBook to the network and internet wirelessly.

5. Connect my two Airport Express’s wirelessly so that I can stream iTunes to either of them from any of the 4 Macs or the PC.

6. The iMac and the Mac mini both have external hard drives connected so I would want to be able to access those from any computer on the network.

I am pretty sure it will do all this. The ‘trick’ seems to be that I can set it all up from the PC which my ISP will accept. I am unsure though as this report talks about the inability to change a MAC address, which I think may be the issue I have with my ISP but I think I get around by connecting it through the PC.

At the moment I have pretty much the above set up with a Telefonica router bridged to an Airport Extreme, but although I can print from the PC onto the network printer I haven’t managed to get the PC connected to the Airport Expresses.

Any thoughts or suggestions most welcome.

11 thoughts on “New Apple Airport Extreme

  1. MyAppleStuff Post author

    Naive question/comment alert!!!

    My current Telefonica router modem connects me to the internet via a phone line. They provide a splitter that plugs into the phone socket, and one cable goes to the phone and the other to the router.

    Now, looking at the new AirPort Express there doesn’t seem to be a port that allows you to do this? Am I getting this wrong or is this just not going to be an option for me?

  2. Wayne LeFevre

    I’m not sure I’m understanding your set-up, Chris. You should have your phone line connecting to your Telefonica modem. It sounds like your modem, like mine, has what, three or four ports to connect to. A router shouldn’t have a phone line input, since it routes computers and is not a modem.

    You should be able to run a direct cat 5 patch cord from port one in your Telefonica modem into the WAN port on the Airport Extreme. From there you can hook up to 3 wired computers or printers and up to 50 wireless components. If you need more than 3, you can just patch a cable from one of the 3 ports into the input of another router or switch.

    As far as changing the MAC address, don’t understand why you would need to or even want to. I didn’t even know you could. As far as I know, every single electronic wired or wireless gear has it’s own unique MAC address. I keep extra security on my wireless router by only allowing the mac addresses to our computers and peripherals to access the router, thereby not letting anyone else even the ability to try and hack into our system. It’s also how I keep the kids off of certain computers after 9 at night. At night, I have the router turn off the MAC address of the PC’s lan card. Boom. No internet after 9. I can also control the Slim Device by the router because of it’s MAC address.

    Maybe I’m way off base from your question. If I am, let me know, and I’ll try to help a little better.

  3. Wayne LeFevre

    Sorry, got to keep the modem. 🙁

    The only better performance you will receive will be with wireless. Sands computer, if you are using wireless will probably be the only speed advantage you receive. All wired will stay at 100 Mbps. The Mac mini is not on the list, which is a drag because I have a Mac mini, but no problem because I always hardwire my main computer.

    Off topic: Can’t wait. I think I’m going to an actual Apple store on Monday! (Might take a little 2 day holiday to Boston.) I don’t know if I can stop myself from buying something, but I think the last place I want to buy something is at an Apple store!!

  4. MyAppleStuff Post author

    You understand perfectly 🙂

    What you describe is what I want to do. Ideally I would have liked to have done away with the Modem/Router (that is what they call it here) and used the AE to connect to the internet directly through the phone line 🙁

    Naive question (again) but I assume that the “speed/power” comes from the router rather than the ‘modem” so if I hook up the new AE to my existing “modem” I will get a better performance?

    I don’t know anything about the MAC address – wasn’t saying that I wanted to so ignore that!

  5. MyAppleStuff Post author

    🙁 question is though, does it matter which modem? I haven’t researched this at all, but are there faster ones or is it basically an uncalibrated pipe that just opens up to the speed of the actual internet connection?

    You mentioned a router or switch earlier – anu suggestions? Am stating to thnk that I may as well go cabled all the way i.e. Modem>AirPortExtreme (current)>Switch>5 connections (2 x Mac mini, iMac, PC, 1 AirPort Express). In Sands room I would actually connect the cable that was running from this switch into another switch that would feed her iMac and the 2nd AirPort Express.

    What you reckon to that?

    And on the “off topic” – shop man, shop. Don’t be selfish – share your purchases around your frends who don’t live anywhere remotely close to an Apple Store. And pictures!!!

  6. Wayne LeFevre

    The modem is usually as fast as Telefonica will allow, who will throttle it down at their end to whatever they like. I’m lucky, where I live our telephone company, Vermontel, has available to us ADSL2+. It runs at 24Mbps. It doesn’t actually achieve that speed, but I can download a 20Meg file in about 15 seconds.

    How many hardwire connections does your current APExtreme have? If 4, and you wanted to connect with cat 5 cable, you would have something that looks like:
    >switch or 2nd router>PC
    >Sands iMac

    The 2 APExpress are wireless, correct? I’m not sure, I’ve never used those. But with this setup you can have as many as 50 wireless computers on the first APExtreme.

    As for the 2nd, Boston is out. Decided on Salem, Massachusetts. Thought we’d go learn about the witch trials!

  7. MyAppleStuff Post author

    OK, so buying a new ‘modem’ wont improve anything. In a way that is good as it saves money, although I would kinda like something smaller and neater. BUT we can take that out of the equation for now.

    The AirPort Expresses are both currently running wirelessly. They are fine and could continue to do so. It sort of depends on the routers now.

    My current AirPort Extreme only has one ethernet port on the back, so this would have to be used to ‘bridge’ with the router?

    Now it seems a 6 & a 2 port router are not an option so I could look at an 8 port. Assuming that one of the ports is taken by the ‘bridge’ with the AirPort Extreme that would leave me with 7 available ports:

    – iMac
    – Mac mini
    – PC
    – 2nd Mac mini (eventually)
    – AirPort Express
    – AirPort Express
    – Spare

    That would work! Everything except the PowerBook would be running off an ethernet cable, and this could be connected to the spare port if necessary/desirable (width of current trunking may restrict that as an option).

    IF the cost of a 20 metre ethernet cable was too high (I will need one for sure to connect iMac) then I could keep the second AirPort Express wireless.

    So at the moment it looks like I just need an 8 Port router (any suggestions) and 2 x 20 metres of ethernet cable (plus a 4 metre on and a 1 metre one).

    Of course this has now got me thinking!!! I hardly use the PC. With it connected via ethernet on the same network I could actually just use it most of the time as an extra hard drive. So I wouldn’t need the screen connected all of the time. The screen sits right next to the PowerBook – see where I am going. Have the PC screen set up so that it can be switched between the PC and a dual screen on the PowerBook…………

  8. Steve

    The only snag that I see in your airport wish list is how you actually get your internet connection from the isp. The two most common connections here are cable modem or dsl modem. The box that you have from your isp is probably one of these with a router that servers you local IP address to your other computers inside your network using NAT. If this is the case you can’t really get rid of the ISP box but you could hook the airport to the isp router (either close or far) The upside to this is that you could break your home network into two networks and have the Airport get and ip from your isp router and have the airport dish out different network addresses to the wireless and any ethernet connections. If you don’t want to do this then you would just turn off the DHCP server in your new apple airport extreme and the isp router would control dishing out ip address (or for that matter you could use your own static address system)

    You probably can do all of this with what you have airport express and just add a print server box to the mix. I think the upside to the new Airport extreme is that you can hang one or many usb hard disk (using a usb hub) have a plug and play NAS. This would mean that you could move all of your usb hardrives to one spot. (as well as the extra noise) If you want to have them by the computers you can access them anywhere on network as long as you share the drives on the the mac that they are attached.

    Do you realize that you will not get the 802.11n speed and distance if you mix with 802.11b or 802.11g?

    Does the isp router have more than one ethernet jack?

    Do you want to have the airport expresses to be wirelessly connected to the Airport Extreme and have speakers connected to the express?

    I believe that you can do everything you have stated. I have not had a chance to play with the new Airport extreme so I am not totally sure that you can accomplish everything that I have stated above.

  9. MyAppleStuff

    I am resigned to having to keep the Telefonica connection, or at least something to do its job. I may look around and see if there is anything newer/faster.

    I currently have an AirPort Extreme hooked up to it via cable, so I am thinking that I may just be better off keeping the all that in place and adding some router ‘extender’ onto the Airport Extreme so that I could connect the computers to it.

    This would mean that I would have:

    – Telefonica Modem connecting to the internet,
    – AirPort Extreme connecting to this modem,
    – Some sort of router extender connected to the AirPort Extreme,
    – Mac mini, iMac, PC and possibly a 2nd Mac mini connected to this router extender via cable.

    The PowerBook would then pick up the internet wirelessly

    The two AirPort expresses could pick up wirelessly as well, or I could connect the one in the lounge to the router extender (what are they called!!!) as it is very close and I guess that if I connected a second router extender in Sands room I could connect both the iMac and the AirPort Express to it. (This room is going to require a 40cm able so only want to run the one cable that far)

    That would mean that everything would be connected via cable, except the PowerBook which 90% of the time is in the same room as the AirPort Extreme so picks up a really strong signal.

    To answer your specific questions:

    – yes I realised that re the mix. What I am not sure of though is does it depend what I have connecting to the Internet? If I keep the existing old Telefonica modem and add the new AirPort Extreme will I get 802.11g

    – the ISP router has four jacks

    – i have the AirPort Expresses set up like that at the moment, but as above they could be cabled in new configuration.

  10. Steve

    It seems that you have DSL. If this is the case then you will need some box to convert the data coming from the phone line to ethernet. You can buy these boxes but it probably is a no go on getting rid of the ISP modem.

    The wireless system will use the lowest speed network. If everything is 802.11n then you get the extra speed and range. If you add a 802.11g or b to the network everything runs at 802.11g and b. The new Apple Airport would not give you any advantage over buying the old version. The question you would have to answer is will the two apple airports have a strong enough connection to provide you with adequate bandwidth to play music and if you have a hard connection close enough to one of the two places where you would like to listen to the music. The other Airport Express could be located close to the other place and you should be able to stream the music from any of the computers you have attached to the network.

    Will this also provide you with enough signal strength to allow you to run your laptop at acceptable speeds.

    If the answer is no then you would need to add another airport of any kind somewhere between the two or add an antennae (I don’t think this is easy on the airport express).

    Apple allows you to keep adding airports and have them work in tandem using using the WDS option in the Airport Admin utility. One Airport is the Master and all off the others are slaves. You can keep adding range by adding more Airports.

    I hope this is of some help.

    Oh on another front…. your digital photo dilemma.. I would hold pat for a month to see what new products enter the mix and what Camera’s will be discounted. PMA is happening in early March. I did not really go over all that you have written but I should be of some help here since Photography is one of my hobbies. Well I need to make the enhanced podcast so I need to run.

  11. MyAppleStuff Post author

    I am ‘resigned’ to keeping the Telefonica Modem/Router. As a seperate issue I may look to repace it with something smaller and newer in due course. I was told at the time that the benefit of a Modem/Router was that as Telefonica increased the ADSL speed the M/R would automatically pick up the increase, whereas a straight modem wouldn’t. So if that is true whatever I replaced it with would need to be able to pick up any increase in speed. I just don’t want or need the wireless option as it just seems overkill to have two (this and the AirPort Extreme) and I am not convinced that they don’t slow each other up somehow? For some reason I can’t switch the Wireless feature off on this router. Have logged into the web service 192.168.x.x. but can’t see the enable/disable feature. Have emailed support but so far no joy 🙁

    At the moment the two AirPort Express do have a strong enough signal, but as I am going to run some trunking (conduit) and ethernet cables throughout the apartment I think I may as well have everything connected via ethernet.

    I intend to bridge the Telefonica Modem/Router to my existing AirPort Extreme. This will have a USB printer attached to provide a network printer. If I want to add another printer in due course I am sure that I will be just have to add a 2 port printer hub?! It will also bridge to an 8 Port Switch, that in turn will run ethernet cables to everything that I have, or may get:

    – Mac mini
    – iMac
    – PC
    – PowerBook
    – Mac mini (future plans)
    – AirPort Express
    – AirPort Express

    That way everything should run at the same speed, and it will be easy to transfer music, pictures and movies around.

    If I want to move the PowerBook around, or people coe to stay with Notebooks, then the AirPort Extreme will provide wireless connectivity for them.

    Regards the DLSR – many thanks. Good to see another enthusiast – you post your pictures anywhere?

    Again, thanks

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