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AirPort – Forcing 802.11n or 5 GHz Mode

As you may recall, I've been struggling with a new wireless network setup.

It seems to me that some people might appreciate the ability to:

  1. Force 802.11n mode.
  2. Force 5 GHz mode.
  3. Choose a base station to connect to.

The second might effectively do the first if a base station's "Radio Mode" was set to "802.11a/n - 802.11b/g" ((The first is 5 GHz, the second 2.4 GHz.)).

In doing some reading it seems that Mac OS X attempts to choose the "best" settings when connecting to a network, but I have to question its logic sometimes.

I have an APEBS in the basement known as "Basement." Upstairs, half as far away as "Basement" from my Mac Pro, I have another APEBS known as "Upstairs." Why on earth does the Mac Pro connect to "Basement" instead of "Upstairs?" Heck, it'll even connect to "Basement" at 802.11g speeds - or b - rather than connect to "Upstairs." The "Upstairs" APEBS has only one wireless client: "Downstairs." The "Allow wireless clients" setting is chosen. Why won't anything connect to "Upstairs"?

Maybe it's not connecting to "Upstairs" because, in my current setup, this isn't a WDS. From what I understand it should be, yet my "Basement" AirPort config shows no "WDS" tab.

Every answer seems to leave even more questions.

5 Responses to "AirPort – Forcing 802.11n or 5 GHz Mode"

  1. On the dual-band AirPort Extremes, the WDS tab doesn't show up. Instead, on the "master" base station, you choose "Create a wireless network" and check "Allow this network to be extended", and then on your "remote" base stations, you choose "Extend a wireless network" for the wireless mode.

  2. [quote comment="56546"]On the dual-band AirPort Extremes, the WDS tab doesn't show up.[/quote]

    Thanks - that's good to know. And yes, that's how I have mine set up.

  3. The below assumes that you gave each APEBS a different SSID.

    Check the order of the SSIDs in the System Prefs - Network - Airport (source list) - Advanced (button). The list of SSIDs in there is the preferred order of connection, which defaults to LIFO (I think). Unfortunately, the order for network connection attempts does not (afaict) have anything to do with quality or signal strength. Once the computer is trying to connect to a given access point, that's when the "let's try to connect with the best settings" stuff kicks in, but it chooses the SSID connection order based on the order in that list.

  4. [quote comment="56548"]The below assumes that you gave each APEBS a different SSID.[/quote]

    I don't understand. Each base station has a different SSID for its various ports: ethernet, 2.4 GHz wireless, and 5 GHz wireless. It's just the MAC address. The only thing listed in the network prefs is the name of the network - you can't list each base station.

  5. Sounds like the same problem I had.

    The work around I chose was to name (SSID) the 2.4 Ghz b/g Extreme, then name the 5 Ghz n Extreme with an appended -N. I did this before the dual band Extremes so they are set to be only 2.4 b/g and only 5 N.

    That way I could force my N enabled devices to connect to the N router/network because I too saw that it would connect to the non N router by choice (via connection speed in Network Monitor/Tool).

    So I have MyNetwork and MyNetwork-N. Devices on either can be seen and used by all devices. Printer on non N (wired) can print from devices on N. Ethernet Disk on N can be used be devices on the non N.

    I don't know if this would work with the routers connected via wireless. I currently have them connected via Ethernet cable and they are only a foot or so apart.