When AirPort is not enough

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When AirPort is not enough

Has your home network been letting you down lately? If you’ve experienced any of these warning signs, it could be time to upgrade it:

  • You have dead spots around your house where you can’t get wireless coverage.
  • Your collection of wireless devices is growing rapidly, and network speeds are slowing as a result.
  • Nearby networks are creating interference.
  • It takes forever to perform a network backup.
  • Streaming video looks choppy, even in the next room.
  • You want to do more multimedia streaming—a whole-house wireless music system such as Sonos or Squeezebox.

Even the latest AirPort Extreme ( ) or Time Capsule ( ) base station alone may not be able to handle all of these large bit-pushing tasks.

Maybe you’ve been expanding your wireless net around the house, and those far-flung wireless devices aren’t receiving data fast enough; throughput falls rapidly the farther you go from the base station. Or maybe you’re putting more data on that network than AirPort alone can handle: a 10GB backup can take an hour or more over Wi-Fi, and even occasional dropouts in a live video stream are unacceptable.

But there are three solutions to these problems: you can augment your AirPort network using wired Ethernet, more Wi-Fi hardware, or powerline adapters. In the pages that follow, we’ll explain these three alternatives, when they make the most sense, and how to implement them.

Note: These aren’t either/or choices. You can use Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and powerline, or any combination thereof, on the same network at the same time.

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