HOW  TO  AIRPORT  EXPRESS  WITH  A  WIRELESS  NETWORK


In this section I will teach you how to set up an Airport Express (wireless router) device with its own wireless network whereby that wireless network will be the only accessible wireless network within your home/office for example.

At the moment I have a NetGear DGN1000 wireless router switched on, broadcasting its wireless network called: Yoingco, with a NAS (networked hard drive) plugged into one of its ethernet ports (sockets). This means I can see the folders and files stored on the NAS hard drive via the wireless network called: Yoingco. I also have the mains cable of a brand new Airport Express wireless router device (Part: MC414B/A - Model: A1392) plugged in at the mains with the other end of that mains cable connected to the back of the Airport Express device - The mains switch on the wall, and therefore the Airport Express device, is Switched OFF though. And the ethernet cable that should be connected between the NetGear DGN1000 wireless router and the Airport Express device has only been plugged into a spare port (socket) at the back of the NetGear DGN1000 wireless router at the moment. I will plug the other end into the WAN Port (socket) at the back of the Airport Express device later.


To set up an Airport Express device with its own wireless network, whereby that wireless network is then the only accessible wireless network in the house/office, you first need to disable the wireless access point (wireless functionality/feature) associated with your wireless modem/router. So in this example I need to disable the wireless network feature of the NetGear DGN1000 wireless modem/router by logging into its control panel (IP Address: 192.168.0.1), unticking its ENABLE WIRELESS ACCESS POINT wireless setting and clicking on its APPLY button. Doing so will automatically disable and then hide the wireless network called Yoingco in this case and also disable wireless functionality for the modem/router.



Fig 1.0  Disable your modem/router's Wireless Access Point (wireless functionality) to continue

By disabling the wireless functionality of your wireless modem/router you are technically turning your wireless modem/router into a Broadband Modem only, as opposed to a Broadband Modem and Wireless Router. This means your wireless modem/router will now act as an internet connection only, for the airport express device - The airport express device will use that internet connection, coming from your wireless modem/router, to create a new wireless network for itself and therefore beam that new wireless network's signal (wirelessly routed internet connection) around the house/office; ready to be used by laptops, ipads, iphones and so on.

Once your wireless modem/router has had its wireless functionality disabled the next step is to launch (open/run/execute) the application called Airport Utility which resides in the UTILITIES sub-folder of the APPLICATIONS folder. So open the APPLICATIONS folder and then the UTILITIES sub-folder and double click on the Airport Utility application icon. Doing so will open the Airport Utility window (Fig 1.2 below).



Fig 1.1  Double click on the Airport Utility application icon to continue

The Airport Utility application is basically an Installation Wizard (hardware/software installer) that will guide you, step-by-step, through the process of installing your Airport Express hardware device and its software; which includes the installation of a new wireless network, if one doesn't exist already. So the first step of the installation wizard is to diagnose the airport express device in terms of whether or not it has been set up before and more importantly whether or not it has previously had a wireless network associated with it. In this example, because I am using a brand new Airport Express device, the installation wizard will not find any previously associated wireless networks or airport express configurations (set up/initialization settings/preferences) and will therefore have to configure (set up/initialize) the brand new airport express device from scratch.



Fig 1.2  The installation wizard is diagnosing the brand new Airport Express wireless router device




Fig 1.3  The installation wizard is now gathering information about your existing wireless network setup

The two steps above basically mean the Airport Express device is being detected and part configured (set up/initialized) by the Airport Utility application (the installation wizard) in order to create default settings (preferences), with a default wireless network, for the airport express device but only if the airport express device hasn't previously been set up (configured) and associated with (connected to) an existing wireless network. In this example a new, default, wireless network will be created for the airport express device, called John's Wi-Fi Network, because of it being a brand new airport express device - The default network name is always YOUR FIRST NAME plus WI-FI NETWORK, but it can be changed if you wish.



Fig 1.4  The installation wizard is preparing to set up a new wireless network for the airport express device

In the example below I have already changed the Wireless Network NAME from John's Wi-Fi Network to YoingcoAE (to denote: Yoingco Airport Express wireless network) and filled in the Wireless Network PASSWORD edit boxes. I have left the BASE STATION NAME edit box alone though because I'm not to worried about what the base station (airport express device) is called. The wireless network name (ssid) on the other hand needed changing simply because I feel John's Wi-Fi Network is naff! Anyway, with the new wireless network name and password dealt with, the next step is to click on the NEXT button.


Note Well - The password you enter here serves as the password for both the Airport Express device (Base Station) and the Wireless Network. You can change these later, if you wish, via the Airport Utility application so that they both use a different password.



Fig 1.5  Fill in the wireless network details and then click on the NEXT button to proceed

At this point the installation wizard will complain that it cannot create the new wireless network, called YoingcoAE in this example, because it cannot find and therefore cannot use a valid internet connection for that new wireless network. This is because I haven't plugged the other end of the ethernet cable into the back of the Airport Express device. If you remember from above, I already have one end of the ethernet cable plugged into a spare port (socket) at the back of my NetGear DGN1000 wireless modem/router. So now is the time that I have to plug the other end of that ethernet cable into the WAN Port (socket) at the back of the airport express device.



Fig 1.6  Now is the time to plug the other end of your ethernet cable into the airport express WAN Port (socket)

After plugging the other end of the ethernet cable into the airport express WAN Port (socket) you need to wait a few seconds for the new wireless network to be established (publicly visible/available). You will know when this happens because you will see the following, Setup Complete, message whereby you just need to click on the DONE button.



Fig 1.7  The new wireless network, called YoingcoAE, has been created successfully - Click on the DONE button to continue

At this point don't get too excited, because only the new wireless network has been set up successfully. The airport express device still has issues with the wireless modem/router, denoted by the red/white NUMBER 2 button. It means there are two outstanding issues, which you can only see by clicking on the red/white NUMBER 2 button. In this case the first issue is that the airport express device has a Firmware Update - The airport express device needs its internal software updating.

A Firmware Update is a piece of software that usually bug fixes and improves the functionality and/or compatibility between the Airport Express device, OS X (Mountain Lion) and/or the Wireless Modem/Router. The Firmware Update (Software) will be downloaded and installed by the installation wizard once you have clicked on the red/white NUMBER 2 button (Fig 1.8) and then on the UPDATE button (Fig 1.9).



Fig 1.8  Click on the red/white NUMBER 2 button to view the two issues between the airport express device and the wireless modem/router




Fig 1.9  Click on the UPDATE button to update the software inside the Airport Express device




Fig 1.10  Click on the CONTINUE button to proceed - The airport express device and its wireless network will become unavailable.




Fig 1.11  Wait for the Firmware Update (updated device software) to be installed




Fig 1.12  The Firmware Update (updated device software) has been installed - The device is restarted with new updates in place.

Now that the Firmware (the Airport Express device's internal software) has been updated the next step is to take care of the last issue, which is a conflict of IP Addresses between the airport express device and the wireless modem/router. The issue here is that the airport express device is trying to use its own private IP Address but realizes it is connected to a wireless modem/router that normally takes care of all IP Address issues and allocations. In this case the wireless modem/router is trying to automatically allocate a private IP Address to the airport extreme device even though the airport extreme device can allocate and use its own private IP Address. Ignoring these technicals! What you need to do now is put the airport express device into BRIDGE mode. This will resolve the IP Address conflicts.


To put the airport express device in BRIDGE mode begin by clicking on the red/white NUMBER 1 button (Fig 1.13) and then on the EDIT button (Fig 1.14). Doing so will bring up the Airport Utility application window (Fig 1.15) whereby you then need to click on its NETWORK Tab (window) in order to then select OFF (BRIDGE MODE) from the ROUTER MODE drop-down menu (Fig 1.15). When you have done that click on the UPDATE button (Fig 1.16) to apply BRIDGE mode. Technical Note: OFF means you are switch off DHCP AND NAT mode and switching on BRIDGE mode.



Fig 1.13  Click on the red/white NUMBER 1 button to view the last issue between the airport express device and the wireless modem/router




Fig 1.14  Click on the EDIT button to bring up the Airport Utility application window




Fig 1.15  Click on the NETWORK Tab (window) and select OFF (BRIDGE MODE) from the ROUTER MODE drop-down menu




Fig 1.16  Click on the UPDATE button to apply the BRIDGE MODE setting




Fig 1.17  Click on the CONTINUE button to proceed - The airport express device and its wireless network will become unavailable.




Fig 1.18  The airport express device and its wireless network are now fully working and ready to use

After clicking on the UPDATE button (Fig 1.16 above) and following the steps thereafter you should end up with a fully working Airport Express device that uses its own wireless network whereby laptops, ipads and so on can connect to that wireless network in order to gain an internet connection and from there browse the internet and check e-mail for example. The above installation took around 9 Minutes to complete.



Fig 1.19  The new YoingcoAE wireless network is enabled and working - The old Yoingco wireless network has been disabled

Hopefully the above wasn't too painful for you! I wanted to get across the point about the cables and the disabling of the wireless network belonging to the wireless modem/router so that you are 100% sure what to connect, when to connect it and what to disable.