How to Connect NETGEAR to AirPort

by Andy Walton

Connecting your Netgear router and Apple AirPort device together allows you to either extend your Apple network or provide Apple services such as AirPlay over an existing network. You will need to put one of the devices into bridge mode before connecting, however, as networks cannot have two devices acting as a primary router. Alternatively, the AirPort Express can be used as a wireless receiver through its Client Mode feature.

Bridging Explained

In networking, a wireless bridge is used to link two segments of a given network together. Bridging can be used as a means of extending the range of your existing wireless network beyond its regular capabilities, as it allows you to run multiple wireless access points across one network. In a bridge setup, one router continues to act as a primary router while the other is put into bridge mode, disabling its routing functions. Both Apple AirPort devices and most Netgear devices can run in bridge mode.

Netgear Bridging

One method of connecting your Netgear and Apple devices together is to run the AirPort device as the primary router and the Netgear device as a bridge. To do this, you will need to first connect both devices over Ethernet. Next, open the Netgear device's menu and select “Enable Bridge Mode” from the “Wireless Settings” menu. Finally, click on “Setup Bridge Mode Wireless Settings” and enter the network name of the AirPort device into the “Name” field, and then click “Save Settings.”

AirPort Bridging

If you already have a network set up on your Netgear device, you might choose to use the AirPort device as the wireless bridge. To do this, connect the two devices over Ethernet and then open up AirPort Utility. Select the AirPort and then click on “Network.” Finally, select “Off (Bridge Mode)” from the “Router Mode” menu to put the device into bridge mode. The AirPort's bridge mode function retains most of the device's advanced features, such as printer sharing and wireless Time Machine support.

Client Mode

AirPort Express devices can be put into Client Mode. Client Mode makes the AirPort a wireless receiver, allowing it to provide Wi-Fi connectivity to wired-only devices. Unlike bridge mode, you do not have to physically wire your Netgear and AirPort devices together to use Client Mode. To set up Client Mode, connect the AirPort to a device over Ethernet and then open up AirPort Utility. Select the AirPort device and click “Add To An Existing Network” from the “More Options” menu. Finally, select the Netgear's network from the list.

About the Author

Andy Walton has been a technology writer since 2009, specializing in networking and mobile communications. He was previously an IT technician and product manager. Walton is based in Leicester, England, and holds a bachelor's degree in information systems from the University of Leeds.

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