Extending the home network

After my tribulations with the wifi hard disk "incident" and being a
sucker for punishment, I bought an Airport Express station from PC
World at the weekend and set about extending the home network. At least
that was the plan anyway although things like this tend never to go
that smoothly where my techical input is needed. I wanted to do this as
the balck hole that is our conservatory struggles to get any benefit
from the existing wifi set up. I've never been able to use the iPhone
wifi in there and the xbox 360 struggles to maintain an Xbox Live
signal.

Airport Extreme screen 2
Frankly
I was dreading this as I thought it could either go one of two ways, as
these tend to do, either a straightforward lucky set up or a long drawn
out protracted affair. Anyway, I plugged in the Airport Express station
in the kitchen, about 10 foot away from the xbox 360 , and opened up
Airport Utility on the MacBook Pro. That was a nice confident start
anyway. When Airport Utility opened it scanned for any nearby Airport
devices and found both the existing Extreme base station and the new
one straight away. I renamed the new one to identify it better and
started the configuration process. Here, I made a simple but crucial
mistake. In the manual configuration settings I asked it to "join an
existing network"  which it duly did no problem. I just had to enter
the existing network access passwords and that was it…or so I thought.

Now it was time to test things out so I headed into the abyss
(conservatory) with requisite life support apparatus on, fired up the
iPhone and scanned for the home network. It didn't find it. Shit. Back
to the MacBook Pro but first I thought I'd try and be smart and move
the Express station into the black hole and plugged it in there. Back
to Airport Utility for a quick rescan but this time it could not find
it. Double shit. So I moved it back into the kitchen when it had
originally been and went back to the MBPro to do some more fiddling.
Here, I realised my mistake. I should have asked it to "extend a
wireless network" in the drop down menu option under "wireless"
settings using the manual configuration option. Doh.

After that change it was back into the abyss to conduct the iPhone
test. Bingo, it scanned and found the home network with a full strength
signal. Remember to use the same named existing network and to give it
the same password. I then tested out the Xbox Live settings and
basically had to start from scratch again to make sure it connected to
the new improved network but that was easy enough to do. End result is
a much improved signal and much faster downloading of demos and stuff
speeds, in fact I have now gone from a 1 red bar reception on the xbox live connection test (flaky) to a full 4 bar signal…..job done and had I not made that silly error it would have
been done very quickly.

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