New Networking Gear. The Same, Only Better


I recently bought new networking gear for my home.  Not too exciting.  But, I have less gear and better coverage.  I did have an Apple Extreme Base Stations (802.11g) with 3 Apple Remote Base Stations (also 802.11g).  I ran all of these in a Wireless Distribution System configuration or WDS.  Apple made is relatively easy to make the remotes “repeaters” expanding the wireless system.  This worked well given my house is 3 stories and right at 6000 square feet.  I did have a 4th repeater.  But, I’ve been carrying that in my briefcase for use situations where I have Ethernet connection and want to turn that into a wireless network (my office, hotels, etc.)

The Remote Base Stations served multiple purposes.  They have Ethernet ports AND AirTunes jacks for music distribution.  I had one Remote behind our Xbox 360 in the basement allowing for Xbox Live and for Netflix movies streaming.  I also had one behind our Blueray player upstairs for system updates and for Pandora, Netflix and YouTube streaming.

It seems though that WDS repeaters need to be very carefully tuned so as to broadcast in just a certain area.  Otherwise you have signals stepping on each other.  I grew tired of tuning and adjusting the devices.  After a consultation at the Apple store, I realized it was time to move to 802.11n.  Now I have a new Extreme Base Station and 2 new Remote Base Stations.  And, only the Remote upstairs allows wireless clients.  The one downstairs is merely for extending the network to the Xbox and allows no wireless clients.  I seem to have more coverage with only 2 devices broadcasting.  Further, Apple made it very simple to setup the network.  Before I had to setup all sorts of details on the devices.  Now, I was able to tell a Remote to extend the network and let the Extreme and Remote set each other up.  More range, less points for devices to connect, easier setup.  It’s not like showing off an iPad.  But, I now have better performance and less to bother with.  And I sold my old gear on Ebay!


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