Recently I swapped out my Apple Airport Express routers for a Linksys WRT1900AC router. I wanted better coverage, and I was having issues with streaming media to multiple devices. I tried the Apple Airport Extreme, but it had issues dropping connections often, and wouldn’t hold my firewall configuration.
Everything worked great with the new router except it kept having issues with my wireless printer, and airplay to the apple TV’s. I was getting ready to take it back to the store, but I decided to do a little research. Nothing specifically came up on google, but a few stray forum posts got me thinking. I had originally setup the 2.4ghz and 5ghz SSID’s to be the same. When I changed one of them, I found it resolved the issue. This leads me to believe the devices were on separate networks when I was having problems. Apple broadcasts on both bands simultaneously and seems to handle the handoff seamlessly.
Because I wanted to force everything to use the AC wireless for performance reasons, I disabled the 2.4ghz network. I do still have a printer issue, my printer only supports the older standard. Luckily I still have 2 Apple Airport Express routers so one of those is now joined to the network and connected to the printer via USB effectively creating a wireless print server. Performance is up significantly, and Airplay works great. When I shop for a new printer I will have to make sure it works with the newer wireless technology.
Nothing groundbreaking, but worth sharing. Hopefully it helps others avoid frustration.
UPDATE: So this is a bit embarrassing, it occurred to me last night while I was falling asleep I had overthought this problem. The premise is still valid, but I realized that if I simply give the 2.4 ghz wireless a different SSID I can run the printer and older devices on that network. Since it is the same Layer 2 network, everything works, just different ways of getting there.