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TimeCapsule/AirportExtreme - make MBP choose 5Ghz instead of 2.4?

Discussion in 'Apple Products & Services' started by Matt_C, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. Matt_C

    Matt_C Active Member

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    Setting up my TC, which is the dual-band A1302 model, but getting a bit stuck on getting it to do what I want it to do.

    What I want it to do;

    1. Output two wireless networks - "main" and "guest"
    2. Main network (MATT_WIFI) to be 802.11n @ 5Ghz
    3. Guest network (GUEST_WIFI) to be 802.11g @ 2.4Ghz
    4. Main network to give me full server and sharing permissions
    5. Guest network to be internet only

    Here's currently what System Profiler is telling me I have

    [​IMG]

    Which I don't get as the bottom one (MATT_WIFI) should be 802.11n @ 2.4Ghz, not 802.11g

    And here's how it looks from the status bar;

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, 1 is fine - I've got both networks up. 2 is kinda right, but the problem is my MBP keeps connecting to the "MATT_WIFI" 802.11g @ 2.4Ghz on boot/wake/login/manual wifi toggle, instead of the "MATT_WIFI 5Ghz" 802.11n @ 5Ghz, which is what I want it to do! I've been into Network Preferences > Advanced, and deleted the MATT_WIFI entry, moved the MATT_WIFI 5Ghz up to the top and OK > APPLY, but then next time I log in, it finds the 2.4 network, and connects to it, making me manually click the 5Ghz to connect to that one (and sometimes it asks me for the password for the 5Ghz one then refuses it, even though it's right!!!!) How can I make it so that it always connects to the "MATT_WIFI 5GHz" SSID, which should be 802.11n @ 5Ghz?

    3 I wanted to be 802.11g @ 2.4Ghz only, but I can live with it outputting both g and n, no big deal. Devices will connect to the one they see best to (ie, iPhones will pick up 802.11n/2.4 and my old Dell laptop will pick up 802.11g/2.4. All good.

    4 - thats fine, seems to be working

    5 - also seems to be fine

    So primarily, my problem seems to be #2 - I don't want to have to manually change to the 5 Ghz freq all the time, I just want it to work!

    Oh, and if it helps, here's iStumbler's report (I think the first entry, virginmedia, must be a neighbour)

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012
  2. NewfieDrool

    NewfieDrool Active Member

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    Try this first.
    On MacBook open up system preferences.
    Click on network
    Make sure on the right you are on the setting you want ie.WI-FI
    You will see a button on the lower right called Advanced, click this.
    You will then see all the networks available.
    You can drag the preferred network to the top of the list, highlight and drag.

    This should force your MacBook to pick the network as default.

    Edit, just seen you did this and also deleted leaving the preferred network. Should work as that is all I have done and it's fine on my MBPS.

    I did enter a channel by manual means and I selected channel 48 but I did my friends network the other day and she has a TC and an Extreme as an extender and again I had no problem forcing her MBPS to the 5ghz channel.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012
  3. Matt_C

    Matt_C Active Member

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    Thanks, but I did say I had done that ("I've been into Network Preferences > Advanced, and deleted the MATT_WIFI entry, moved the MATT_WIFI 5Ghz up to the top and OK > APPLY, but then next time I log in, it finds the 2.4 network, and connects to it, making me manually click the 5Ghz to connect to that one")

    Strangely now, after sleeping it (closed lid) and brought back downstairs, it reconnected to wifi on the MATT_WIFI (which was previously listed as 802.11g/2.4) with no sign of the MATT_WIFI 5Ghz SSID, yet it's reporting that is IS connected as 802.11n/5Ghz

    [​IMG]
  4. NewfieDrool

    NewfieDrool Active Member

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    double check to make sure you have the 5Ghz network name ticked under the airport utility.
  5. Matt_C

    Matt_C Active Member

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    Ok thats really strange. I'm currently connected @ 802.11n on 5Ghz, but in the Airport Utility, the 5Ghz name is turned off (no idea why it's unticked - I had ticked it and relooked at it several times)
  6. NewfieDrool

    NewfieDrool Active Member

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    Does it all seem to be working now?
    Perhaps it had a hiccup somewhere along the line.
  7. Matt_C

    Matt_C Active Member

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    It's strange, I don't get it. I booted my Dell Laptop (54g card only) to check that would still work and it wouldn't connect to either the main or guest networks. So I changed the encryption on both from WPA2 Personal to WPA/WPA2 Personal, and now my Dell is able to connect, to both SSID's @ 54g (which I'm guessing is 2.4Ghz)

    When the TC updated and refreshed, my MBP woudln't connect, so turned off airport, turned it on and it connected to MATT_WIFI, but this time as 802.11g 2.4Ghz. Went back to the Airport Utility, looked again and AGAIN the 5Ghz network name had unticked! Anyway, refreshed the TC again, and now the MBP is connected once again to MATT_WIFI but at 802.11n 5Ghz, even tho the 5Ghz name, in Airport Utility, is still unticked!

    My transmit rate seems to swim around : went as low as 108, and as high as 300, and now dropped to 243, then 216....
  8. NewfieDrool

    NewfieDrool Active Member

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    That's a strange one.
    Interesting you mention the fluctuations on the transmit side of things.
    Mine holds at 450 yet my friends was jumping about, went from 450 to 364 or about that using my senior memory. She has always suffered this and I put it down to interference as her room is alive with gadgets. Before I extended her network it would simply fail to connect at times for a blink of an eye.
    Face time was poor, picture quality and sound. seems ok now even with the drops. I have a feeling it's her security system creating the probs as I did turn everything else off.
  9. Matt_C

    Matt_C Active Member

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    I remember reading (some time ago) about 5Ghz 802.11n needing to be on wideband (40Mhz) instead of 20Mhz in order to get the fastest speed and throughput (which IIRC is 300Mbps). How do I do this with Airport Utility? All I can see is "multicast rate" which Ive set to high. Is transmit rate not the Mbps its running at then?
  10. NewfieDrool

    NewfieDrool Active Member

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    I'll have a look. I updated the utility job yesterday and on the old settings there was a wide setting. let me have a peep.
  11. NewfieDrool

    NewfieDrool Active Member

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    it's gone, I can't see it now. use to be on the screen where you check the square box for 5Ghz.
    I'm not great with tech but is it not the MacBook that allows this rate through its hardware ??
    I'm getting 450 with a MCS index 23 reading.
    Mind you my broadband is slow so I doubt it makes any difference to me and the Extreme is 3 feet from me.


    edit.. Just updated firmware on the Extreme. I thought it was updated but only the airport utility was. still no wide band setting??
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012
  12. NewfieDrool

    NewfieDrool Active Member

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    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012
  13. Matt_C

    Matt_C Active Member

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    Confusing the hell out of me. I thought this was all supposed to be simple :(
  14. NewfieDrool

    NewfieDrool Active Member

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    I changed to a 5Ghz n only setting and the RSSI went up ???

    I know what you mean, sometimes it's best to start fresh. I can't see the profiles anymore either. Seems there is a few things different in the new Utility update and I have not the foggiest what the firmware update did??

    There is also no multicast rate with the latest update.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012
  15. Matt_C

    Matt_C Active Member

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    Thing is, I DID start fresh today - never had a TC/AEBS before!
  16. NewfieDrool

    NewfieDrool Active Member

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    There is an update to the utility available and I had a firmware update on the Extreme.
    I will confess I did not have to make up a guest network , I simply made up a 2.4 and 5 network which was straight forward for the most part.
    What I did like was my friends network who I setup her TC on Infinity as the router was very straight forward.
    To Extend it with the Extreme was almost a single click and it even read the passwords from her TC and within a few minutes was up and running.
    however I did find that to get the best from hers was to extend and she lost no bandwidth with it extended due to her signal issues.
  17. Matt_C

    Matt_C Active Member

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    Mines on the latest firmware (almost - I'm on 7.6, latest is 7.6.1 - but some reports say that the .1 update broke a couple features, so I didn't update it).

    The idea behind this TC was two fold - 1, my Netgear router is 10/100 and 54g only, so the upgrade was for gigabit LAN and 802.11g wifi. Secondly, to have a dedicated Time Machine disk so as to not worry about filling my NAS with it.

    The guest bit seems fine - and seems to be putting out both g and n signals (I'm guessing both are 2.4Ghz) and was just a case of ticking the Guest Network box, giving it an SSID and password and thats that. The main network was a case of giving it an SSID and password, then ticking the 5Ghz box to have an additional 5Ghz SSID.

    On paper it makes sense, but in reality, not so much...

    I deleted the 802.11g MATT_WIFI and Guest networks from my MacBooks keychain, so hopefully that will stop it auto connecting to those. So, at the moment at least, I'd just like it to connect at as fast a wifi speed as possible (Mbps and bandwidth) so transfers from the MBP to the TC (and/or NAS connected) are significantly faster.
  18. NewfieDrool

    NewfieDrool Active Member

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    fingers crossed it works out ok Matt. The TC is a great device and does a good job of backing up.
    I would be lost with that type of setup. I'm not great at this and try my best. How I wish I was younger! Even the TV controls send me crazy.
    hope it works out for you.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  19. bpsmith

    bpsmith Active Member

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    Sounds like its pretty much sorted now then. You have 2 radios in the TC, 1 for 2.4GHz and 1 for 5GHz. They are always both on despite whether you choose to name the 5GHz separately.

    If they are named the same, then usually it will connect to whichever has the best signal for you. 5GHz is faster, but a shorter range, therefore not always giving you the the best signal dependant on locality to the TC.

    If you name them differently then you can force certain devices over set networks to separate the usage.

    If you enable the Guest network then it uses the 2.4GHz radio but keeps it separate from your main network. Either only giving Web access or allowing all Guests to see each other.

    Just remember that each network is only as fast as the slowest connected device.

    Enjoy!
  20. mikelj

    mikelj Active Member

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    Hold down the Option key when you select Radio Mode is the Wireless Options menu, this presents more choices - are any of these helpful?

    Just wondering why you want to force 5GHz? I went though this when I bought my TC and tbh, I found manually choosing the 5GHz network didn't always result in the best transmit rate. In fact, after much playing around I came to the conclusion that it was best just to leave the Radio Mode and 2.4/5GHz channel selection in automatic as I appeared to get better results that way.
  21. Matt_C

    Matt_C Active Member

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    I was going for 5Ghz because the TC/AEBS doesn't support 40Mhz band on 2.4Ghz, and I was under the impression that the 40Mhz band (wide band) is faster/has more bandwidth (for file transfers over wifi) than 20Mhz band on 2.4Ghz. Holding down Option doesn't do anything for me (compared to pressing it without holding Option)
  22. bpsmith

    bpsmith Active Member

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    Forcing your Macs onto the 5GHz is useful if you want to use a slower device on the 2.4GHz and not slow down the speed to your Macs.

    If you have a G standard device for example then every other device would drop to a max of 54Mb then.

    Holding option used to give you a way of choosing to use n only on each radio mode, which you could do without holding it down. Might be different after the new Airport tool was released.
  23. NewfieDrool

    NewfieDrool Active Member

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    You should get a long list of frequency choices. Thats very strange as it should show them when you hold the option key down.
    Not sure why not, perhaps someone can help.
  24. bpsmith

    bpsmith Active Member

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    Yes, just checked and no longer need to option click for the added options.

    For those who don't like the new tool and/or want access to the settings they removed, then you can still grab the old tool from Apple 's site.
  25. Matt_C

    Matt_C Active Member

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    Well, my own gear wise, I have the Mac, an iPhone 4 and a Dell Laptop. The Mac can obviously use 802.11n/5Ghz, the iPhone can only use 802.11n @ 2.4Ghz (and is obviously 2.4Ghz b + g compliant) and the Dell only has a 802.1b+g (2.4Ghz) card in it.

    But there will be other visiting devices from time to time (other smart phones that might or might not be 802.11n, and I often end up with a laptop here and there to (try to) fix problems on etc. So that was the thinking behind the guest network being 2.4Ghz only for n and g. And the Main network needs to be both 5Ghz N, and 2.4Ghz N + G.

    So in those settings I have the following (ignore the blue highlighted - the one with the tick is what I'm using)

    [​IMG]
    (Those are the options I see when normally clicking - Option + Click doesn't show me anymore)
  26. NewfieDrool

    NewfieDrool Active Member

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    Heres mine to compare.

    [​IMG]

    Edit.. blast you managed to beat me lol
  27. bpsmith

    bpsmith Active Member

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    Mine is on the bottom option as only want n nowadays, but you guys should be on the 5GHz - n, 2.4GHz b,g & n option otherwise you won't get n on the 2.4GHz if you choose just b & g obviously.
  28. Matt_C

    Matt_C Active Member

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    So should I be using this one then?

    [​IMG]

    And does it mean 802.11n 5Ghz + 802.11b/g/n 2.4Ghz (simulcast)

    If so then I guess at the mo I'm only outputting 802.11n @ 5Ghz and 802.11b/g @ 2.4Ghz - so my Mac is on N @ 5Ghz, my iPhone is on G @ 2.4 and my Dell on G @ 2.4 also.

    So using the one arrowed I'd get; Mac = N @ 5Ghz, iPhone = N @ 2.4 and Dell = G @ 2.4

    And then anything visiting on the Guest network with get either N or G @ 2.4Ghz (depending on what they decide is best)

    Correct?
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012
  29. NewfieDrool

    NewfieDrool Active Member

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    Sounds right but I am not sure to be honest.
    Can you try it out?
  30. Matt_C

    Matt_C Active Member

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    Will give a go, but not till later - currently running it's maiden TM backup, so don't want to change anything that will need the TC to reboot - been on half an hour now and done 14.22gb of 52.82gb :eek:

    Probably should've done it over LAN, but thought what the hell, I'll do it over wifi and leave it overnight :D

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