Airport Extreme and SKY Fibre SR101 Router

HD Elvis

Active Member
Hi

I've recently had Sky Fibre installed and I'm enjoying significantly faster speeds than my previously paltry 1.8mb.:smashin:

However as ever, theres always room for improvement and I wondered whether an Apple Extreme Base Station would improve things a touch given I have a plethora of Apple products, iPhone 5, iPad 2, iPad Mini, MacBook Air, Apple TV, you get the idea.;) I understand the AEBS works on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands which the SR101 doesn't so should in theory improve things over WIFI.

The problem arises though when you realise the AEBS can't replace the Sky Router entirely without some sort of degree in Networking. I've seen a few threads on BB forums and it looks to be beyond my simple mind.

I do note though that you can connect the AEBS to the SR101 and allow the Sky Router to act as the router when hard wiring via Ethernet and to also assign IP Addresses etc but then allow the AEBS to cover WIFI duties in what I understand to be Bridge Mode. This does seem a little more straight forward for me to attempt.

I wondered whether anyone else has this set up and whether there are any issues I should be looking out for. Are there any issues around Sky On Demand with this set up for example? I've currently got my Sky box hard wired to the SR101 via a Home Plug so given it isn't over WIFI I wouldn't have thought there would be but thought I'd read something about it somewhere.

Any advice or guidance would be appreciated.:thumbsup:
 

bpsmith

Distinguished Member
Don't have Fibre, but do have Sky BB and an AEBS. Both work perfectly fine together, networked between Sky Modem and AEBS via Ethernet to the WAN port. Have used it with Sky solely doing the allocation of IP's and with AirPort solely doing the allocation of IP's, but now have a hybrid setup.

Basically WiFi is off on Sky, and AirPort setup with both bands for WiFi. Sky is dishing out the range of IP's, but the AirPort is set to only allow defined Mac Addresses onto the network, and each Mac Address is set to be given a static IP that falls within the range dished out by the Sky.

Just in case you're unfamiliar, a Mac Address is a unique Hex coded set of numbers that is hard coded into each networking device. In my setup it aids security as nobody can connect via WiFi even if they know my WiFi security password.

I have had no issues with this setup, and your Sky TV boxes will connect fine via Ethernet too.

Much better WiFi performance too. I use my 5GHz band for 3 ATV3's and then have everything else on the 2.4GHz band. Makes streaming perfect in 1080p to all 3 simultaneously from my Mac Mini Server which connects via Ethernet.

Any more questions, just ask.
 

HD Elvis

Active Member
Don't have Fibre, but do have Sky BB and an AEBS. Both work perfectly fine together, networked between Sky Modem and AEBS via Ethernet to the WAN port. Have used it with Sky solely doing the allocation of IP's and with AirPort solely doing the allocation of IP's, but now have a hybrid setup.

Basically WiFi is off on Sky, and AirPort setup with both bands for WiFi. Sky is dishing out the range of IP's, but the AirPort is set to only allow defined Mac Addresses onto the network, and each Mac Address is set to be given a static IP that falls within the range dished out by the Sky.

Just in case you're unfamiliar, a Mac Address is a unique Hex coded set of numbers that is hard coded into each networking device. In my setup it aids security as nobody can connect via WiFi even if they know my WiFi security password.

I have had no issues with this setup, and your Sky TV boxes will connect fine via Ethernet too.

Much better WiFi performance too. I use my 5GHz band for 3 ATV3's and then have everything else on the 2.4GHz band. Makes streaming perfect in 1080p to all 3 simultaneously from my Mac Mini Server which connects via Ethernet.

Any more questions, just ask.

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. Can you set the AEBS so that it automatically uses 2.4GHz and 5GHz for the devices that would best make use of it. I don't really fully understand the difference between the two but suspect that 5GHz is somehow better? Would I likely see a speed increase and Ping improvement over WIFI on my MBA for example?
 
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bpsmith

Distinguished Member
Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. Can you set the AEBS so that it automatically uses 2.4GHz and 5GHz for the devices that would best make use of it. I don't really fully understand the difference between the two but suspect that 5GHz is somehow better?

By default, each Apple device you have will auto connect to the best WiFi connection that it is able to join. You can set the AirPort to use the same SSID for both bands, or to have different names. I have mine set as different so that I can set each device to join what I choose. Some devices, like my iPhone, only use 2.4GHz but others can use both. The ATV can use both. Same on my iPad Mini. By only giving my iPad Mini the password for the 2.4GHz network, it means that it won't try and connect to the 5GHz. If I gave it both passwords then it would auto connect to the best connection band.

If you leave the AirPort as default settings, then both bands carry the same SSID, and it will connect to whichever band is best. That's assuming that the device can actually use either band obviously.

I say best, rather than fastest, as fastest is only better if its got a good signal too. Differences between both bands are complicated, but basically the 2.4GHz is slower but has a better range, and 5GHz is faster but has a shorter range. In my new build type townhouse, both bands have the same range as AirPort is set up in centre of middle floor and barely anything to block signal throughout. In an older, more solid construction property, then the range is more of an issue and you'll find that the 5GHz suffers more as you get further away.

Overall, the AirPort is a great bit of kit, and I am still using a 4th Gen. The latest kit looks even better in fairness.
 

Moiizer

Well-known Member
Apologies for jumping in here but im a bit like the OP.

My issues is i cant get it into my head what the Airport Extreme will offer me over my sky bb.

Does it generally just boost the signal from the sky box?
 

HD Elvis

Active Member
Thanks for your advice
 

HD Elvis

Active Member
Apologies for jumping in here but im a bit like the OP.

My issues is i cant get it into my head what the Airport Extreme will offer me over my sky bb.

Does it generally just boost the signal from the sky box?

I think, if I've understood correctly, the AEBS has better wifi abilities over the SR101 Sky Router but that can't be replaced as Sky have locked it therefore the two devices need to be used together. Unless you have some sort of IT degree then you can unlock the SR101 and replace entirely with the AEBS
 

bpsmith

Distinguished Member
The AEBS has no modem in it, so could never be a one box solution. You can, however, get a small modem only box to replace the Sky one but does require hacking to work. Hardly worth the effort really.

The AEBS does duplicate the effort of the Sky kit, but it's far more effective and gives dual band also. Much better than the Sagem that Sky supplied me with anyway.
 

eximo

Well-known Member
On top of what bpsmith said the base station also allows WiFi printer sharing / HDD sharing so you could use it as a Time Capsule for wireless backups of OS X machines.

I believe the Sky router would be wireless N 5GHz which offers fast transfers over a reduced distance. Problem with these routers is they are not dual band so it will only run at the slowest device connected to it. e.g. if you have an iPhone and a Mac connected on the same network both devices will use Wireless N 2.4Ghz rather than 5Ghz

With the AEBS the Mac will be connected at 5GHz (if close enough) and the iPhone at 2.4GHz and they can still all talk to each other but they get the best out of their wireless hardware
 

Moiizer

Well-known Member
This sounds like it may be worth a purchase. I have noticed when streaming from my HDD to AppleTv a slight judder at certain points. I'm assuming the AEBS would solve this issue?
 

HD Elvis

Active Member
This sounds like it may be worth a purchase. I have noticed when streaming from my HDD to AppleTv a slight judder at certain points. I'm assuming the AEBS would solve this issue?

It might do, although that could be Airplay, have you tried hard wiring and see if it does the same?
 

HD Elvis

Active Member
On top of what bpsmith said the base station also allows WiFi printer sharing / HDD sharing so you could use it as a Time Capsule for wireless backups of OS X machines.

I believe the Sky router would be wireless N 5GHz which offers fast transfers over a reduced distance. Problem with these routers is they are not dual band so it will only run at the slowest device connected to it. e.g. if you have an iPhone and a Mac connected on the same network both devices will use Wireless N 2.4Ghz rather than 5Ghz

With the AEBS the Mac will be connected at 5GHz (if close enough) and the iPhone at 2.4GHz and they can still all talk to each other but they get the best out of their wireless hardware

I don't think the SR101 is 5Ghz unfortunately :thumbsdow
 

HD Elvis

Active Member
After a bit of reading I'm not sure its worth the hassle getting a AEBS, I'm fairly tech savvy but all this WAN, IP Address, DHCP jargon is over my head and I'm concerned I'm gonna brick my current setup leaving me sans Internet. After all the SR101 is no slouch, its just not 5Ghz and dual band. If I could see very simple step by step guide explaining how to carry out each task, it might make me think again but at the moment think I'm put off by it not being plug and play with my set up.
 

Tintin

Active Member
Setting up an Airport Base Station is a 2 minute job - just plug an ethernet cable between the Sky router and the WAN port of the Base Station...The Apple installation "wizard" will handle everything else...

IP addresses and DHCP are all handled by the Sky router and you do not need to worry about them.

When you are happy that everything is working fine then log into your Sky router and turn off the Sky wireless signal.
 

HD Elvis

Active Member
Setting up an Airport Base Station is a 2 minute job - just plug an ethernet cable between the Sky router and the WAN port of the Base Station...The Apple installation "wizard" will handle everything else...

IP addresses and DHCP are all handled by the Sky router and you do not need to worry about them.

When you are happy that everything is working fine then log into your Sky router and turn off the Sky wireless signal.

Thanks Tintin

Can you tell me what options I should select if given a choice by the Wizard? i.e bridge mode?
 

Tintin

Active Member
Correct - select Bridge Mode (which means that the Sky router handles IP's and DHCP)

Once you are happy that it all works save the configuration settings on the Base Station then if something happens you can reload them and get all your passwords and things back !

Base Stations are very, very stable and the signal seems much stronger than anything else.
 

HD Elvis

Active Member
Just one other thing (for the min, ha) does the Sky Router continue to act as the box where everything would be connected via Ethernet? I.e my Sky HD box? In other words the AEBS would simply handle wifi?
 

Tintin

Active Member
The Sky router would continue to act as the Ethernet router (though you will lose one ethernet port to the AEBS but the AEBS will provide another 3 ethernet ports) and you can connect ethernet devices to either the Sky router or the AEBS.

The AEBS comes into its own when you can locate it nearer to where you actually use the wifi and where that happens to be near set-top boxes, Blu-ray players etc

My modem/router is in the dining room and the AEBS is in the living room near a Humax HDR and Blu-ray player which conveniently connect by wifi. One ethernet cable from the router to the AEBS or you could use Powerlinbe adaptors.....
 

bpsmith

Distinguished Member
Locating near to stuff that requires multiple Ethernet ports is good, but this isn't always the ideal location for your WiFi. If you're lucky, then it can be a good trade off though.
 

rsreid2000

Active Member
Setting up an Airport Base Station is a 2 minute job - just plug an ethernet cable between the Sky router and the WAN port of the Base Station...The Apple installation "wizard" will handle everything else...

IP addresses and DHCP are all handled by the Sky router and you do not need to worry about them.

When you are happy that everything is working fine then log into your Sky router and turn off the Sky wireless signal.
Tintin, I've been using an AEBS for around 2 years now and havent turned off my sky's wireless signal, is this something I should have done. Everything is working as it should. I bought one because of my very very slow broadband.

Thanks
 

CamFire

Distinguished Member
Perhaps, you should - just for the sake of power consumption (and electricity bills) as well as security if the password used on the sky router is weak(er). I have the same setup - and the main router/modem is configured to turn on its WLAN for a brief period in the morning. Otherwise, the AEBS' WLAN takes over as the main wireless access.

FYI, the AEBS is configured in bridge mode - leaving the modem/router as the "master" of the sub-net of our home network.
 

bardel

Well-known Member
I have sky fibre and an Apple Timecapsule (Aebs with a hard disk in it) and removed my sky sr101 yesterday as desired by some here.

Now I am technical, but actually the guides make it sound worse than it is....

So, there are 2 key activities.

First is determining your current sky username password.
Second is configuring the Aebs to use it and remove the sr101.

Item 1 is well documented, but in smile terms, install Wireshark on your laptop, plug your laptop cable in to the back of the sky router, set your laptop to use a fixed IP address rather than dhcp and then start Wireshark which monitors the traffic on the cables. Switch the sky hub off and back on and when it starts up it will start generating traffic on the network to connect to the fibre modem of which your username and password can be extracted from quite easily, the guide was very clear to follow.

The 2nd piece which wasn't as easy to search out, but easy to implement is adding your username password to the apple device. This is done by saving your Aebs configuration to a backup file, then editing that file and inserting your username and password into the file. Save it, the load it back into the Aebs.

Then unplug the sr101 and plug the Aebs wan port directly to the fibre modem, reboot and your set!

There were two reasons I wanted to get this sorted. Firstly, my sr101 is doing nothing other than consuming electricity. The second was that with the Aebs in bridge mode you cannot enable the guest network feature which for me is preferable so that visitors can use my broadband without nosing around.

I'll see if I can find the links for the 2 activities outlined above and post them here for reference.
 

John Hunter

Novice Member
Hi,

I would like some advice on this thread if possible. I have the Sky SR101 hub and would like the following:
airport extreme as a bridge (acting as the wifi master)
I will also be adding a synology has to the system and would like it to be accessible from outside as well as inside.

I am ok with making the aebs a bridge but was wondering in this setup if it would be possible to make the nas accessible from outside as well as inside?.

Thx,

John
 

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