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Ask Max: Combining two networks into one using AirPort

Asked on 09/07/2006:

I am hoping you can give me a couple of pointers. I currently have two networks in the house, one is for the internet (Apple Network a70325) and the other is for printing (The Printer Zone). I'm using:iBook G4 with OS X (10.4.7) Airport Extreme Base Station (apple network a70325) running the internet from a cable modem. Airport Express Station (The Printer Zone), hooked up to an HP All in one Officejet 7310. Goal: to just have one network where I can print and get the internet, without having to switch back and forth in the taskbar. Is this goal possible?I'm also expecting that once the two stations are set up, the Printer zone should just disappear?


Having a single wireless network comprised of multiple base-stations is one of the things that sets Apple wireless products apart from the rest. What you will want to do is set up "WDS" in your network. WDS stands for Wireless Distribution System and it's what allows one base station to act as the primary connection to the internet, and every other base station in range to act as a repeater. With the latest version of Airport Admin Utility, connect to the Extreme base station. Click on the WDS tab. Check the checkbox next to "Enable this base station as a WDS" and set it to be the "main base station." Next, select the "+" button to add your Express base station. It will have to be within 150 feet for this to work. Select your Express and then click the Update button. After everything resets, your two base stations will act as one network and each base station can support a printer. This is the best way to setup multiple base stations and you can keep adding Express base stations to the network as your needs grow.Have fun.Jacob Loeb

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