How to Set up Apple’s AirPort for Extreme Speed

If you’ve been following the ongoing situation with my home wireless network, then you might be aware of the different methods I’ve tried to harvest a fast, reliable connection throughout my home. I have two AirPort base stations and am constantly having signal issues resulting in slow speeds and unpredictable connectivity. All I want is for my connection to be fast and consistent from the basement all the way up to my home office.

Recently, I received an email from Dennis (a member of the LockerGnome community) making me aware of a plan that allows two AirPort base stations to share the same network and Internet connection without creating an issue between them. To my surprise, it worked.

This setup is called “roaming” which allows you to pass between base stations without dropping your connection to the Internet. By doing so, you effectively double your available wireless coverage area giving you consistent speed throughout your home. Here’s what I needed to do to set up my Apple AirPort base stations to do this:

  • Connect all of the AirPort Extreme Base Stations and Time Capsules to the same subnet on your Ethernet network.
  • Give each device a unique name.
  • Give each device the same network name and password.
  • Set up the devices as bridges. (More information on how to set up Apple’s AirPort as a bridge can be found here.)

AirPort wireless devices are configured by default to bridge the connection between an ethernet network and a wireless AirPort network. This means that your wired network is connected to your wireless network through the AirPort device, allowing your wired systems to communicate and share resources with wireless ones.

Once you’ve got everything configured, you should be able to pass through rooms without the two base stations battling it out with one-another and causing interference. They theoretically would work as a team on either 2.4GHz or 5GHz.

This setup is working for me in my home office, and it may work for you. If you know of a better solution to the problem of keeping a solid wireless connection going throughout your home, please email me and let me know. I’m always looking for a better way to increase performance without having to spend an extreme amount of money to do so.