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I have an Airport Extreme (AC) wireless router (the tall one), as my main wireless router in my studio. I also have the small Airport Extreme (hockey puck size) set up in a bedroom configured as an extension to the main network, being used for a wired Ethernet connection to a TiVo.

I have not been successful connecting a Toshiba FlashAir SD card to the small Airport Extreme; the FlashAir card only works on the 2.4 GHz network.

The first problem is when using the Airport Utility app, I am having difficulty setting up the names of the 5GHz network and the 2.4 GHz network so I can tell them apart wirelessly. I can't find how to set up the name of the 2.4GHz network, so I can configure the FlashAir card to use that network.

So, my questions: Using Airport Utility, by what method(s) can I clearly name both networks separately? Is there I way I can temporarily disable the 5GHZ network on the tall Airport Extreme so only the 2.4 GHz network is transmitting?
 


... The first problem is when using the Airport Utility app, I am having difficulty setting up the names of the 5GHz network and the 2.4 GHz network so I can tell them apart wirelessly. I can't find how to set up the name of the 2.4GHz network, so I can configure the FlashAir card to use that network. So, my questions: Using Airport Utility, by what method(s) can I clearly name both networks separately? Is there I way I can temporarily disable the 5GHZ network on the tall Airport Extreme so only the 2.4 GHz network is transmitting?
Actually Apple names the networks differently for you. Say you name your network "George" and you're in the Wireless section of macOS Airport Utility. At the bottom of the sheet you'll see Wireless Options; click on that, check the box for 5GHz name, and it will automatically be called "George 5GHz".
 



... Using Airport Utility, by what method(s) can I clearly name both networks separately?
  • Open Airport Utility.
  • Select the basestation and click Edit.
  • Select the Wireless tab.
  • Set Wireless Network Name: to the desired name for the 2.4GHz network.
  • Click on Wireless Options...
  • Select and set 5GHz network name: to the desired name for the 5GHz network.
  • Click Save.
  • Click Update and approve doing it.
Is there I way I can temporarily disable the 5GHZ network on the tall Airport Extreme so only the 2.4 GHz network is transmitting?
I have not found a way.
 


  • Open Airport Utility.
  • Select the basestation and click Edit.
  • Select the Wireless tab.
  • Set Wireless Network Name: to the desired name for the 2.4GHz network.
  • Click on Wireless Options...
  • Select and set 5GHz network name: to the desired name for the 5GHz network.
  • Click Save.
  • Click Update and approve doing it.
I have not found a way.
Thanks to Tim and James for the directions.

I note that when on the page whereby you can enable a separate name for the 5GHz network (which I have now done), down below you can set the preferred channel. One of the options for the 5GHz channel is "Off", which I guessed might disable the 5GHz radio completely. That would seem to not be the case, however, as after selecting "None" and restarting the AE, my wife's MacBook Pro still showed the 5GHz network as available for selection.
 





.,. One of the options for the 5GHz channel is "Off", which I guessed might disable the 5GHz radio completely. That would seem to not be the case, however, as after selecting "None" and restarting the AE, my wife's MacBook Pro still showed the 5GHz network as available for selection.
The WiFi channel selection is remembered unless you uncheck "Remember networks this computer has joined" in System Preferences > Network > Wi-Fi > Advanced....

A utility like WiFi Explorer can show you what WiFi channels are currently active.
 


My Apple AirPort Extreme started failing on me with its first failure being the inability to see USB hard drives attached. I like that ability, so I opted in to the Linksys Velop Mesh router, mostly because that's what Apple carries.

I like it so far. Web-based, but set up through the Linksys app. Very easy set up. The web page, as well as the app, gives you an incredible amount of info about not only the connection, but on all your devices that are using the wireless. Lots of nitty gritty control over everything, if that's your thing. It even come packaged in a nice "almost like Apple" box.

And, since I Have a Synology 218j NAS for backup, I was able to attach my USB drives directly to the NAS, and have global access to them. The only caveat here is for read/write access through the NAS, your USB media has to be formatted in FAT or FAT32. Not a big deal.
 



Great timing for a discussion. At home, I'm considering upgrading my franken-net (cable modem+Wi-Fi router, 2 Wi-Fi routers in bridge mode and powerline network) with a Velop mesh.

My plan (at least now) is to get a 3-node dual-band (not tri-band) Velop system, with the nodes connected via Ethernet as follows:
  • Existing cable modem/router reconfigured to become a dumb modem. (I'll probably replace this with a new modem, but I don't think I need to do that right now.)
  • Ethernet link from modem to primary Velop node
  • Ethernet link from primary Velop node to Gigabit Ethernet switch
  • Ethernet links from switch to a powerline network node (plus other computers in that room)
  • In each of two rooms:
    • Ethernet link from powerline network node to Gigabit Ethernet switch
    • Ethernet link from switch to remote Velop node
Based on what I've read so far, I think this should work. It appears that I need to have all three Velop nodes in the same room, meshed over Wi-Fi during the initial setup, but afterward, I should be able to distribute them remotely via the powerline/Ethernet links, causing the nodes to establish the mesh over Ethernet, freeing both Wi-Fi bands for my devices.

The powerline network nodes are rated for 500Mbit/s, so that should be plenty of bandwidth to keep it all working smoothly. And I know that modern powerline adapters can go significantly faster, if I need to do so in the future.

What do you think about a setup like this? My biggest concern is the use of Ethernet switches between the Velop nodes. Linksys doesn't seem to talk much about this type of configuration. What I've seen seems to indicate that it will work, but I haven't seen very much.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
... What do you think about a setup like this? ...
I need to do something similar to my own "franken-net", but I don't have much to add to your post. The one question it raised is about the actual speed of the powerline part - my impression was that actual speeds could be much lower than advertised. Have you done any speed testing there?
 


Great timing for a discussion. At home, I'm considering upgrading my franken-net (cable modem+Wi-Fi router, 2 Wi-Fi routers in bridge mode and powerline network) with a Velop mesh. My plan (at least now) is to get a 3-node dual-band (not tri-band) Velop system, with the nodes connected via Ethernet as follows:
  • Existing cable modem/router reconfigured to become a dumb modem. (I'll probably replace this with a new modem, but I don't think I need to do that right now.)
  • Ethernet link from modem to primary Velop node
  • Ethernet link from primary Velop node to Gigabit Ethernet switch
  • Ethernet links from switch to a powerline network node (plus other computers in that room)
  • In each of two rooms:
    • Ethernet link from powerline network node to Gigabit Ethernet switch
    • Ethernet link from switch to remote Velop node
Based on what I've read so far, I think this should work. It appears that I need to have all three Velop nodes in the same room, meshed over Wi-Fi during the initial setup, but afterward, I should be able to distribute them remotely via the powerline/Ethernet links, causing the nodes to establish the mesh over Ethernet, freeing both Wi-Fi bands for my devices.

The powerline network nodes are rated for 500Mbit/s, so that should be plenty of bandwidth to keep it all working smoothly. And I know that modern powerline adapters can go significantly faster, if I need to do so in the future.

What do you think about a setup like this? My biggest concern is the use of Ethernet switches between the Velop nodes. Linksys doesn't seem to talk much about this type of configuration. What I've seen seems to indicate that it will work, but I haven't seen very much.
Consider going with Netgear Orbi. I have this system:


Tri-band, one base unit and two satellites. Backhaul channel can be either wireless (dedicated backhaul channel) or wired. The satellites each have 4 gigabit ethernet ports. The base unit has a WAN port and three gigabit ethernet ports. Mine have USB ports for printer sharing, but the web site photos now show that those have been removed. I have 400 Mbps cable internet, and using wireless backhaul, I get full speed over wireless throughout the house. The lack of need to use ethernet for backhaul simplifies the setup.
 


I need to do something similar to my own "franken-net", but I don't have much to add to your post. The one question it raised is about the actual speed of the powerline part - my impression was that actual speeds could be much lower than advertised. Have you done any speed testing there?
I haven't done much actual speed testing, but they don't seem to be a bottleneck at home. Most of my traffic is between the Internet (currently 60Mbps) and various computers. There isn't a lot of traffic between two computers on the LAN, where higher speeds might be possible. I'd have to set up some actual tests to see how close to that 500M speed my transceivers can actually deliver.
 


Great timing for a discussion. At home, I'm considering upgrading my franken-net (cable modem+Wi-Fi router, 2 Wi-Fi routers in bridge mode and powerline network) with a Velop mesh.
...
What do you think about a setup like this? My biggest concern is the use of Ethernet switches between the Velop nodes.
It is great timing! I have a similar, aging franken-net, and I'm thinking about a similar solution.

The biggest difference is that I already have separate devices for broadband, routing, and Wi-Fi, and I plan to keep that configuration. The main reason is that I frequently work out of a home office, and I can't afford service interruptions, so I maintain redundant Internet connections via a Netgear cable modem and an always-on DSL modem. I have both the cable and DSL feeding into a third party multi-WAN router, with cable as the primary WAN and DSL configured as a failover WAN.

I have a few LAN devices, including a Wi-Fi router configured as an [access point], wired into the LAN ports on the router, and everything else goes through the Wi-Fi access point or through powerline-connected bridged access points in distant corners of the house. In my scenario, I'd be putting the Velop (or similar) base station configured as an access point on the LAN side of the failover router, rather than using the Velop base as a router.

By the way, if anyone has tips on a current SOHO dual-WAN router that won't break the bank, I'm all ears. I've been mostly satisfied with mine, but it is six years old and nearing end-of-support.
 


I've got some powerline units I've been meaning to set up, too. I did actually start doing some testing to see how they performed. Using AV500 units I got speeds that varied from 80 mbps to 40 mbps. I used an app called "LAN_SpeedTest" for the testing. I was able to get close to the maximum speed with adapters on different breakers, but being on the same breaker was consistently faster.

Well, to be honest, on some of my tests I got 8 to 10 mbps writes, but that was because of the crappy SSD being written to. If I switched which computer initiated the test, I could reliably get the faster speeds mentioned above.

This is in a 100-year-old house with a variety of wiring types and breaker boxes that have seen some years.

I really should test the AV1000 and MOCA units I picked up cheap since then... Oh, and finish the networking project...
 


I haven't done much actual speed testing, but they don't seem to be a bottleneck at home. Most of my traffic is between the Internet (currently 60Mbps) and various computers. There isn't a lot of traffic between two computers on the LAN, where higher speeds might be possible. I'd have to set up some actual tests to see how close to that 500M speed my transceivers can actually deliver.
I second the notion that the actual power line transceiver speeds seem to be significantly less than the label. I find that the power line receivers are good for connecting laser printers.
 




Consider going with Netgear Orbi. I have this system:
Tri-band, one base unit and two satellites. Backhaul channel can be either wireless (dedicated backhaul channel) or wired. The satellites each have 4 gigabit ethernet ports. The base unit has a WAN port and three gigabit ethernet ports. Mine have USB ports for printer sharing, but the web site photos now show that those have been removed. I have 400 Mbps cable internet, and using wireless backhaul, I get full speed over wireless throughout the house. The lack of need to use ethernet for backhaul simplifies the setup.
I, too, am a very satisfied Orbi user. I did find that while the backhaul does work over the 5Ghz wireless band, it ended up diminishing the performance of other 5Ghz devices. I ended up hard-wiring the backhaul and got much better performance overall. Very easy to configure, too.
 



I used a 3-Orbi setup from 12/2016 through 4/2018, and the speeds were excellent, but reliability was troublesome, varying by device and culminating with the addition of an older iPad, which, when connected, would crash the whole network.

The house has walls with lath and plaster and metal mesh. It's small, but the yard is large, and there's a detached office. Getting good, even, fast coverage has been challenging.

Last year I started using a Plume system with four SuperPods, and it has been very reliable. It does take control of WiFi's technical aspects, and there is a subscription involved, so not the best choice for everyone. But for ease-of-use it can't be beat.

WiFi speed across the LAN is about 200 Mbps. The Orbi was about twice as fast but not as consistent or reliable.
 


By the way, if anyone has tips on a current SOHO dual-WAN router that won't break the bank, I'm all ears. I've been mostly satisfied with mine, but it is six years old and nearing end-of-support.
Can you elaborate on what tasks you need this box to perform? And, also what you currently use?
 


In my fairly-spread-out NYC apartment, the Minister of the Interior long ago decreed no wires from one room to another. I have tried different iterations of powerline - my latest one is the TP-Link Tl-PA8010P Kit AV1200 Gigabit, rated up to 1200Mbps. I used it in conjunction with an Eero router.

I pay for a 300Mbps Internet connection from Spectrum (Time Warner), and I get consistently close to that, wirelessly, when a machine is in the same room as the router or in an adjoining room. My office, however, is about as far from the router as one can get and still be in my apartment, and it's on the other side of the kitchen, so there are major appliances between it and the router. The newer iteration of Eero, however, combined with a Beacon (Eero's range extender), made the TP-Link unnecessary.

With the TP-Link, I could get close to 50Mbps, which in practical terms is fast enough for my purposes (and over 20Mbps upload). It's hard to complain about these numbers, considering what others have to put up with... With the Eero Beacon, I can get close to 100Mbps down and 30 up.

I keep both connected; sometimes the WiFi speed is affected by something, and I turn WiFi off and use the TP-Link.
 



So my question with all the mesh talk:

Our home is hardwired with Cat5e ethernet - ports in every room. Cable modem in our central closet with AirPort Extreme as a router. Ethernet out from the router to the patch panel, so all ethernet ports around the 2-story house are live. I have other AirPorts hard wired around the house in bridge mode for the same secure wireless network, and all is fine.

So, when my router finally bites it (or the AirPort Utility stops being supported), I'm not sure that I "need" a mesh setup. I have essentially unlimited wired access points all over the house. What I need is something close to what I have now, which works perfectly....

If I am using terms wrong, please educate me - can't say this is my strong suit....
 


So my question with all the mesh talk:
Our home is hardwired with Cat5e ethernet - ports in every room. Cable modem in our central closet with AirPort Extreme as a router. Ethernet out from the router to the patch panel, so all ethernet ports around the 2-story house are live. I have other AirPorts hard wired around the house in bridge mode for the same secure wireless network, and all is fine.
So, when my router finally bites it (or the AirPort Utility stops being supported), I'm not sure that I "need" a mesh setup. I have essentially unlimited wired access points all over the house. What I need is something close to what I have now, which works perfectly....
If I am using terms wrong, please educate me - can't say this is my strong suit....
When your "router finally bites it", you can replace just that unit with anything that meets your requirements, or even one with firewall capabilities. There is no technical reason that your Ethernet network should need revision.

As far as the Ethernet-connected access points ("AirPorts in bridge mode"), AirPort Utility is 64-bit already. It runs on the current and recent releases of macOS. For the purpose of resetting an AirPort basestation to Bridge mode, no further support from Apple is needed. Keep using whatever you have until they 'finally bite it'. Hint: Along the way I have collected a couple of Gen 5 AirPort Extreme basestations, which are not satisfactory as an IPv6 router but are perfectly good as an access point when in Bridge mode.

It is important to export the AirPort configurations for possible future use. The .basestation files are in XML text format - confusing at first but quite useful. Even in the future without Airport Utility, you can extract configuration information from the .basestation file to set up non-Apple replacements.
 


So, when my router finally bites it (or the AirPort Utility stops being supported), I'm not sure that I "need" a mesh setup. I have essentially unlimited wired access points all over the house. What I need is something close to what I have now, which works perfectly....
Here is my limited understanding of some of the issues:

You don't really need any of the wireless network extension features that "mesh" usually gives, since you would probably want any wireless access points (APs) to connect to the rest of the local network (and through that to the Internet at large) using the wired connection.

However, the older AirPort devices do not do a particularly good job of dealing with things like when a device moves from close to AP#1 to close to AP#2. This is something that the client device is supposed to do automatically but often fails to do. Modern fancy APs that can talk to each other can more easily notice when clients move from place to place and then the APs can reduce power levels and disconnect clients from one AP to encourage them to connect to the other AP. With multiple antenna designs they can potentially form shaped signals that track connected devices' locations to give higher power and better connection speeds to individual devices while minimizing interference issues with other devices.

OK, at least some of the above is more "marketing fluff" than actual real-world effect, but at least some of it has impact on actual deployments.

I am in the process of trying to set up a small office with lots of wired access points, but the growth of mobile devices has made their multi-AirPort AP setup irritating, particularly when moving devices from one side of the building to the other.

We finally set up a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X to do all the office router stuff, replacing the AirPort Extreme for DHCP and firewall tasks. Many of the "mesh" systems want to be the network router (Google's for example), so we are looking at some of the Asus AiMesh devices, as implemented in recent firmware updates to a fair number of Asus WiFi routers. Set up as "AiMesh AP Nodes" with one "AiMesh AP Router", they seem happy to do their thing all within our local network, using it as the "backhaul" for inter-node communication rather than doing that over the wireless systems.

I have not yet got it all tested, and I just had a hardware failure that requires a replacement, but the initial testing has been positive. One downside is that I think is that it is going to be a bit of a challenge creating a "guest" network with the AiMesh devices that will get properly segregated from the local network and properly routed to the Internet by the EdgeRouter. We may end up keeping some of the AirPorts doing just WiFi Guest duties.
 



So, when my router finally bites it (or the AirPort Utility stops being supported), I'm not sure that I "need" a mesh setup. I have essentially unlimited wired access points all over the house. What I need is something close to what I have now, which works perfectly....
Adam, other than the extra ethernet ports (which I miss in a couple of places), I’ve replaced my AirPorts with EnGenius APs. I went with the EAP1300EXT as NewEgg had a really good deal on them a year or so ago. I would have gone with mesh but wired the house with Cat5 a long time ago, and this seemed like a better way.

I suppose I could have used a mesh system that supports wireless backhaul, but over a year ago, there weren’t too many options (promised for Orbi, but not available).
 


I have the LinkSys Velop 2-node system. It has been rock-solid, fast, and reliable with one irritating exception: because each interchangeable unit has 2 Ethernet ports, any of which can be the one that connects to the modem, when the power goes out and everything reboots... it's at least a 50/50 shot that something other than my Velop router will grab the DHCP from the modem, crippling Internet access for everyone. To get out of this, I have to isolate just the Velop and the modem, restart with everything else disconnected, and after everything comes back up, then I can hook up the rest of the network. No big deal you say, but it caused my wife to have to endure a day without Internet access when I was not home...
 


One of my colleagues recommended Ubiquiti ceiling-mounted access points, when my client was moving to a new premise. At under $100 each, they take power over Ethernet with an included adapter, can be configured from a web interface or an iPhone app, and best of all they have been super-fast and problem-free. Note that these are access points, not routers; you hook them up via 1000-Base-T Ethernet (note you won't get full speed if you use crappy old wires).

 


Can you elaborate on what tasks you need this box to perform? And, also what you currently use?
I just need simple failover from the cable WAN to the DSL WAN in case the cable network goes down. I haven't used or needed more complicated load balancing or QoS features, and VPN isn't required.

I've been using an early version of the TP-Link TL-R480T+, and it has been very reliable, if a bit clumsy on the user interface side, but I'd like something with gigabit ports on the LAN side. I've looked at newer TP-Link devices, but I'm ambivalent about TP-Link, as they range from very slow to non-existent with firmware updates. I'd like to stay in the less than $300 range.
 


Great timing for a discussion. At home, I'm considering upgrading my franken-net (cable modem+Wi-Fi router, 2 Wi-Fi routers in bridge mode and powerline network) with a Velop mesh...
I do not think this will work as well as you want it to. The delay (and speed reduction) introduced by the powerline routers is probably going to inhibit the Velops' ability to properly inter-operate. If the rooms are completely isolated, I suppose that wouldn't matter, but with respect to really utilizing the mesh to roam around with your devices... I would expect uneven performance at best.

As far as powerline adapters (HomePlug AV standard, et. al), I have curtailed my use of them in general, except where no other viable alternative exists, and here's why: they are flaky in general. They down-step speed over time (light goes from green to yellow on some models to show this), and rarely step it back up - sometimes you can restore higher speed by manually unplugging and re-plugging one end. Rinse and repeat.

In the end, I got tired of getting calls from customers whose networks went wonky, and having to either walk them through sequentially restarting all the powerline adapters or having to drive out and do it myself. 98% uptime looks great on paper, sort of, but I want it to work 99.9999% of the time or more, thank you.
 




BKN

Last year I set about to replace the aging D-Link router and two satellite routers set up as range extenders (an Apple AirPort Extreme and a Securifi Almond) in my parents' ~4200 sq. ft. home with two floors. Testing determined that WiFi performance would be significantly enhanced by upgrading to a newer model router, and I'd heard good things about both the Orbi and the Eero.

After some research and cost analysis, we bought the Orbi and two satellites. Their home is partially hardwired for Cat-5e Ethernet in many of the rooms. I used it to obtain the best connectivity and throughput by connecting the Orbi and satellites that way. After some initial frustration getting one of the satellites to sync properly and show on the network, things seemed to work well –– at least at first. I liked the web interface for settings it has, and the view it gave of the devices on the network, but I also found it to be buggy. For example, you could give a name and an icon to a particular device on the network, but even after saving, it wouldn't stick through power cycles or resets. Sometimes it would just forget them on its own. I made sure the firmware was up-to-date on the Orbi and both satellites, but to no avail.

Within a couple of days, the real problems began to occur. Suddenly their iPhones couldn't connect to WiFi, or WiFi would appear to lock up and not let any device access the internet. Powering down the Orbi router would fix it for a few hours, then it would have to be done again. I even tried full factory resets on the Orbi and both satellites, but nope. After a few days of that nonsense, I boxed up the everything and sent it back to Amazon.

So, I decided to try the Eero (Gen. 2) next and got it plus two satellites, then hooked them up the same way. By comparison to the Orbi, the Eero has been a dream. More expensive yes, but worth it. Rock solid connections and never has to be reset. I wish the Eero had a web interface settings page that allowed extensive tweaking instead of just a very simple iPhone app, but it gets the job done.

I do worry that with Amazon purchasing Eero that things may go south, but if Jeff Bezos and his underlings are smart, they'll leave a great product well enough alone.
 


I have the LinkSys Velop 2-node system. It has been rock-solid, fast, and reliable with one irritating exception: because each interchangeable unit has 2 Ethernet ports, any of which can be the one that connects to the modem, when the power goes out and everything reboots... it's at least a 50/50 shot that something other than my Velop router will grab the DHCP from the modem, crippling Internet access for everyone.
What's your topology?

I would expect this if you have it wired with:

Modem --- Ethernet Switch --- Velop​

I would not expect this with:

Modem --- Velop --- Ethernet switch​

If the latter allows any device on the Ethernet LAN to grab the public IP address, then it means Linksys is bridging those two ports together, which also means there is no firewall isolation between your LAN and the Internet, which strongly implies that Linksys wants all networks to be Wi-Fi only and that if I want to use their product, I'll need to put it in bridge mode and get yet another router.

Sounds like I need to look for a completely different product.
 


By the way, if anyone has tips on a current SOHO dual-WAN router that won't break the bank, I'm all ears. I've been mostly satisfied with mine, but it is six years old and nearing end-of-support.
We have very good experience with Peplink's multi-WAN product line. Excellent management tools (local or cloud-based), integrates WiFi management as appropriate, and provides an extraordinary level of individualized tech. support.
 


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