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OldManMac Aug 6, 2013 11:40 PM
Add airport express to xfinity wireless modem
I just got a new Xfinity (Comcast) wireless modem. Before I had a hardwired Motorola Surboard modem, and an Airport Express, to get my house wireless. However, the range wasn't what I expected. Now that I have a wireless modem, is there a way to add the Airport Express, a little closer to the other end of the house, to get more range? I launched Airport Utility, but it doesn't find the Express. Thanks for any help.
abbaZaba Aug 7, 2013 09:15 AM
is the Airport Express able to be wired into the LAN? or are you trying to extend the signal wirelessly?
OldManMac Aug 7, 2013 10:05 AM
I'd like to able to extend the signal wirelessly. My old Motorola wired modem died, so Comcast sent me a new wireless one, but I still have the Express, and I'd like to extend the wireless signal.
abbaZaba Aug 7, 2013 10:20 AM
Extending a wireless signal is not the most preferred option, but it can work. There is a chance the mix of models could be an issue and what you are essentially doing is attempting to extend an already weak signal, but let us persist.

You'll need to reset the Airport Express to factory settings and attach it to your Mac via ethernet. Open Airport Utility and you should see it listed.

Highlight it and click Manual Setup. The Summary tab will be viewable: switch to Internet. Select Extend a wireless network from Wireless Mode. Select your Encryption of your combo modem and enter your Wifi password. WPA2 Personal is recommended unless you really need WPA for legacy devices; I have the best results with multiple APs if they are set to only WPA2 Personal. On your combo modem, check to see what your encryption settings are. WPA2+AES encryption is what you want.

Under Base Station tab, you can set base station name and configuration password if you desire. With the Wireless Mode changed to Extend a Wireless Network and with the proper credentials/encryption entered, click Update. the Airport Express will restart and apply the new settings. The light will be orange throughout this process. Give it a few minutes and with any luck, the light will turn green and the Express will be extending the Wifi network.

Sidenote: I am using Airport Utility 5.6- the newer one included in Lion/ML is a bit hampered. you can download 5.6 here
OldManMac Aug 7, 2013 11:03 AM
I think this may be an exercise in futility. The green light is on the Express, but the range doesn't seem to be increased. In Airport Utility, the Express shows up, but it says the device is not found, even though the light is green on the Express.
turtle777 Aug 7, 2013 11:18 AM
Does the Comcast wireless modem have an ethernet port ?

You can always go "low tech".
Get two ethernet-over-powerline adapter, connect one to the Comcast modem, and the other one in the remote room to the Airport Expresss.

OldManMac Aug 7, 2013 11:23 AM
I'll try the Ethernet over power line adaptors. As I mentioned, the green light on the express is lit, about 30 feet from the Comcast wireless modem, but I only get full bar signal a couple of feet on either side of the Express, and it still says, in Airport Utility, that the Express isn't found.

I also downloaded the 5.6 Utility, but it won't let me install it on my Mountain Lion iMac.

Thanks, both of you, for your help!
abbaZaba Aug 7, 2013 12:38 PM
turtle's beat me to my next suggestion.

I have used powerline to attach APs to a wireless network. it works well. last I checked there were some ActionTec's 500Mbps on Amazon for $42. the ports are limited to 100base ethernet so the AP attached via powerline will max out at 100base speeds, but this won't be a huge limiting factor.

going this route, instead of selecting Extend a wireless Network, you want to Create a Wireless network. the SSID, Password, and encryption all need to be the same as the one created on the combo modem.

The other setting you will need to adjust is under the Internet icon: Under Internet Connection->Connection Sharing turn to Off (Bridged Mode). This will disable the DHCP and NAT as the combo modem is handling these services.

Update the settings and attach the Express to the end of the powerline chain and you should be good to go. The Express will choose the wifi radios' channels automatically and these can be manually adjusted to avoid interference but we can address that once you have everything setup.

Edit: powerline kit I recently used:
abbaZaba Aug 7, 2013 12:43 PM
The link I posted for the 5.6 Airport Utility is actually an install package and will refuse to install on ML- you can go through some steps to extract it but I could throw my 5.6 copy on a host if you want to grab it quickly. The application itself runs fine in ML, it is the install package that i the problem.
turtle777 Aug 7, 2013 02:05 PM
Use Pacifist to extract the app from the installer file.

Waragainstsleep Aug 8, 2013 04:25 AM
In my experience, the Airport Express will only extend a wireless network created by another Airport box. Your other option then is to switch off the wifi on the modem and get a second Airport device. Plug one into the modem to create your wireless network and then use the other to extend it. It'll work like a dream.
abbaZaba Aug 8, 2013 08:56 AM
I have had some success with Airport Expresses extending a non-Apple wireless network, but it is flaky. Brand-coherence is really the best setup if you want to extend wirelessly
Waragainstsleep Aug 8, 2013 12:20 PM
For an extended continuous wireless network, no-one around can beat Apple IMO.

I just installed a second one this week and its so easy and so robust, if you have a big house, you shouldn't bother looking at any other system.
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