Second AirPort to get printer back on network?

(Diane D) #1

I moved my cable modem to test an intermittent internet issue.

Good news is, I found where the problem is in my wiring (it’s an extra cable that runs up the outside of the house installed by Comcast)

Bad news is, I lost access to my printer and G4.

Old setup:
Cable modem and Airport in a spare bedroom. Internet plugged into modem, modem connected to Airport via CAT 5 and Airport plugged into CAT 5 that runs up the wall, under the attic floor and down the wall to my office down the hall. That plugs into a switch and puts the printer and G4 on the network.

Now, the cable modem and Airport are in the basement directly into the incoming cable line. Internet is working flawlessly but I need those items back.

I can run new CAT 5 fro the Airport across the basement ceiling and back up the wall to the office.

Or can I put a second wireless unit in the office to extend the wireless network, and plug that into my switch and get my other units back?


(Curtis Wilcox) #2

Running new cable is simplest. A second wireless unit won’t be extending the wireless network in the traditional sense because that would still require all clients to sign in with the WiFi password but your G4 is probably too old and your printer has no means to do it. Instead the second unit must operate in “bridge mode,” the second unit will join the AirPort’s wireless network (it should have a built-in web interface for entering the AirPort’s password) then devices connected to its wired port can get local, private ip addresses issued by the AirPort and their traffic to the Internet will go out via it.

Here’s what it would look like, with dashes for wires and parentheses for WiFi.

Modem — AirPort ))))) ((((( WiFi bridge — wired switch — printer, G4, etc.

(Diane D) #3

Ok thanks - I had a feeling the cable would be “easiest” and of course that’s relative to what I hit in the walls :wink:

I was hoping AirPrint capable also meant wireless but that has turned out not to be the case.

I’ve wanted to eliminate the stupid cable Comcast ran up the side of the house for a few years now anyway. What idiots! They installed a huge box on the side of my house and put in a bunch of couplers and splitters to provide internet while they lied and told me they had to run a second line. Imagine my shock when I opened the box and found it wasn’t a second line after all and the splitters had severely degraded my service. I cleaned all that up but never got rid of the cable because of the rewiring. Either the coupler is now bad or the second outside cable is, as internet has been great since I moved the modem.

Anyway, - thanks!

(Doug Hogg) #4

Another option is to swap a Netgear Orbi RBK50 router with extender for the Airport router. I have been testing and setting up this model of Orbi (there are others) with the latest firmware that my in-laws bought and it is performing very well over distances. The extender unit finds the main unit automatically and extends the Wi-Fi network. The extender has four ethernet ports. This review shows tests results over a variety of distances:


Doug Hogg

(Diane D) #5

That sounds great - but holy $$$$$ !!!

Despite that, would it replace my current switch? I’d just plug my printer and G4 into that directly?



(Doug Hogg) #6

Yes, the RBK50 Orbi that I bought has ethernet ports in the extension unit. Note: There are other models that do not have ethernet ports.

(frederico) #7

In my experience you will always always always always be happier with a wired connection over wireless. You should run CAT 6E these days to be certain it is capable of gigabit ethernet, even if your current devices don’t take advantage of gigabit. I don’t know how old your airport is, but it is probably gigabit capable.

Your switch may or may not be; it will say in the markings if it is 10/100 only or 10/100/1000.

More expensive printers that are Ethernet capapable and newer than 15 years old are also likely gigabit capable, and, believe me, printing large PDF and postscript files via gigabit versus 10/100 versus WiFi is HUGE for spooling time.

Your G4 should also be gigabit, if memory serves. I think the blue & white G3 and bubble iMac was the last 10/100 Mac.

If your switch turns out to be 10/100, and you want full gigabit to the printer and your internet connection, a switch can be had for under $20.

It’s worth running your CAT 6e cable externally if need be, but in that case, a new splitter or coupler and a new coax might be just as easy and is super cheap. Couplers rarely degrade unless they were not used with moisture-tight male connectors; splitters absolutely do degrade over time, but gold-coated splitters are under $5. It’s more likely though that poorly installed male coax connectors, especially non-watertight or gosh help you indoor crimp-style connectors have simply corroded and degraded. Personally, I’d try to replace this section, but if running Ethernet is just as easy, then you can still move your Airport back upstairs and right next to the switch rather than the basement.



(Diane D) #8

Thanks Frederico!

The issue was, they ran the cable haphazardly up the outside of the house and I’d really like to remove that. Plus I’d like to turn that room back into a bedroom and really don’t want the extra lights and cables in there.

The printer is brand new, the Airport is pretty new and the switch is definitely gigabit. I didn’t know that about the G4!

I have since found out that wireless in the printer is an option (not sure on cost). AirPrint must run off the network somehow.

I’d already been thinking that if (when) I run a cable, the Airport may as well come back upstairs. But the wireless is working fine despite the distance. I’m going to keep the modem in the basement - I am so tired of Comcast telling me the issue is inside the house when I’ve proved every time it’s on their end.


(Curtis Wilcox) #9

I think you mean Cat5e, there is not a cable standard called Cat6e. Cat5e has been an extremely common cable standard since it was introduced in 2001 and is rated to support gigabit Ethernet for up to 100 meters. It’s so common and easy to work with that it’s often used for non-Ethernet signals. Cat6 and Cat6A cabling are progressively more stiff and have stricter installation requirements and can handle more bandwidth, Cat6A supports 10 gigabit Ethernet up to 100 meters.

At work, Cat6 has been the standard for installing new network jacks in rooms for a few years even though there’s no expectation that they’ll be used for more than gigabit. A/V installs have also switched to Cat6 for extending HDMI signals and such (I think with the right hardware they can do HDMI 2.0, meaning 4K). We also have some USB extenders that say to use Cat6 and we did see problems with one when we tried to use Cat5e.

Edit: Yes, the first PowerMac G4, in 1999, was the first personal computer with gigabit Ethernet and all subsequent PowerMacs did. I think the Titanium PowerBook (2002) was the first Mac laptop with gigabit. I think the G5 iMacs got it in 2005 and then everything else had it with their first Intel processor models. When the G4 iBook was discontinued in 2006, it was probably the last Mac to not have gigabit but only a couple of years later the MacBook Air was the first to drop the Ethernet port entirely.

(frederico) #10

No, I did mean CAT 6e, since that was what vendors started selling before the final ratification of CAT 6 standards; CAT 6e cables are still most commonly available and listed on Amazon, Home Depot, and various cable providers. Yes, it is not a legitimate listing, but it is functionally equivalent to plain CAT 6. (Cf.

I have a 1000 foot spool of 6e in my garage; I’m looking at the 6e marking of a homemade patch cable now; I have been almost exclusively wiring with it since ~2008-9.

Yes, CAT 6A is more “future proof”, it’s also generally more expensive and more difficult/sensitive to work with and likely overkill for a home install that is based on a G4(!!) Mac and an Airport, so I didn’t bother to mention it.

Isn’t home networking fun?



(Diane D) #11

Hey!!! I do have a early 2015 Retina MBP. I just have some legacy stuff on the G4 - which I should really move to my 2008 unibody!


(gastropod) #12

Diane D wrote: “Hey!!! I do have a early 2015 Retina MBP. I just have some legacy stuff on the G4 - which I should really move to my 2008 unibody!”

Don’t apologize for keeping old macs–they’re often still quite useful. I still have all but my first 128K Mac, which I still miss since I hand upgraded it to 512K almost as soon as I got it (you don’t really own something until you void the warranty.) Sadly, I had to sell it to get a IIci.

I recently acquired a first version luxo lamp iMac. With it I can dual boot between 9.2 and Tiger without having to set up a monitor, which I don’t have space for. I’m also vaguely considering getting an old laptop that can run 7.5 for the same reason. But if I ever get a bigger house, all of those oldies will get to come out of their cabinet and be given jobs of some sort even if it’s just running some of the old games. An emulator might be a saner choice, but more work and lots less fun.

(frederico) #13

LOL! Sorry! I did not mean to disparage your older hardware; if you can still use it, I applaud you and your willingness to not be wasteful.

I myself am still rocking a loaded and modified 2008 Mac Pro; I almost made it to Mojave, but they definitely took out enough code that my older Xeon will not handle it, even though I have a fast modern video card capable of Metal support. I’ve been grasping at it about three years longer than I would like, but of course, there is no new Mac Pro yet. And I still don’t know if I will buy what they do produce because I’m afraid it’s going to be too courageous.

And like most good Mac users, I too, have an attic and basement full of past and glorious hardware. My beloved G4 dualie was acting as a server until very recently. I also still have my oddball NuBus G3 7100, which is awesome to keep around for booting System 7 and Mac OS 8 and 9; and the floppy and Zip drives and SCSI are all very handy on both it and the Dualie; and there’s still a loaded SE in a nice travel case that gets pulled out once in awhile.

What’s really incredible is that Apple File Sharing still works with High Sierra to the old rigs.

I’ve been on the hunt for a dead Luxo iMac; I want to gut it and install a Mini or a Nuk to play media server. May or may not try to replace the terrible LCD with an IPS panel.

Anyway, unless you’re doing big media at home that is bandwidth constricted, stick with CAT 6e (or plain CAT 6); it’s often cheaper than CAT 5e because it’s more widely available and is worth using. Just be sure to use the appropriate jacket for your run, be it plenum or riser cable; from what you described I’ll assume you need riser cable in your walls; but if you’re planning on being inside a duct inside the wall to make it easy, or inside a drop ceiling in a basement that acts as a plenum, technically you should use plenum and junction to riser. But I’m also going to assume no one is ever going to code inspect your install, so riser it away because it’s usually cheaper and has a better bend rating.


(Diane D) #14

Life got simpler when I started screen sharing to the G4 and unibody. I had refreshed the unibody with SL but then had to “upgrade” to ML for some software. I need to do it again and make it a dual boot. I am using the unibody for iTunes but it has a 500gb just doing nothing so I’ll also use it for backup photo storage.

The G4 is Eudora, QB and Quicken but there is no reason those can’t go on the unibody under SL. My phone won’t work on the G4 anymore and I messed up Eudora when a hard drive failed (TWO 500gb drives plus a 20gb and external firewire drive on the G4).

I am lost with my 2015 MBP only having a 256gb hard drive.


(Diane D) #15

haha that is ok! See my prior post. I have a bunch in the attic as well, a couple tucked away on the main floor that the cats like to sleep on, a ColorOne Scanner is in the basement (has not scanned color well in years), even an Xante printer :slight_smile:

It’s an old house, I’m going straight up the wall. No drop ceiling in the basement. My ex had stuff going from the basement to the attic and back down again and he used pretty flimsy cable, so while I probably could re-use it, I think I’m going to use it to pull new wire. Well, I’l check out its specs first :wink:

My G4 is a DP 1.42 - it’s really a fantastic machine!

Thanks for the help :slight_smile:


(frederico) #16

Xante! Nice. I still have my pre-Xerox Phaser 340 that I warm up every year for holiday cards. Quark to PS to AppleTalk to Ethernet still works flawlessly, and I adore the smell of hot burning wax. I finally turned off my Apple LaserWriter 12/640 with extra trays and bulk envelope feeder; I don’t mail enough that I can’t just load them manually into my also unkillable 15 year old Brother 5170DN. I even knocked the thing off it’s 4 foot perch and bent the snot out of the frame, but an hour of disassembly, tweaking, and reassembly, and it just keeps printing perfect typefaces, albeit considerably louder now.

Somewhere I still should have a giant Apple ColorOne Scanner, and I definitely still have my trusty (pre-cheap-junk) UMAX Color 1200 SCSI. Sometimes when you just want to spend an hour waiting for one 3x5 color glossy to scan and spool at max res to TIFF, it’s nice to live the past.

But, c’mon, have you really not hacked an SSD into your Dualie? It’s like strapping a rocket to the old workhorse, as long as you understand that workhorse is still dragging an anvil. I have ten hard drives crammed inside of mine, plus two SSDs. Damn that 500GB recognition limit, anyway.