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NetworkI know little of nothing about network setup and configuration:  NAT, DHCP, Bridge, DNS, Proxies, Subnet Masks, etc.  What little I do know is from my own exploration and experimentation.

The home network was becoming a huge pain in the rear.  It was divided up into 3 wireless networks and 1 wired network.  The connectivity issues with the AppleTV were a direct result of having conflicting DHCP servers, competing channels with other wireless networks in the hood, and general configuration issues.

The latest issues that were driving me mad related to the iPhone and iPads and the network.  The house is so large and has so much interference in it that it requires 3 airports to provide adequate coverage.  But the iOS devices wouldn’t gracefully switch from one (with so little signal strength the iOS device couldn’t hit the internet) to the other (which would be physically closest to it).  I had to always manually change from one network to the other in Settings.  Grrrrrrrr!  Then the iPhone began dropping the network during Facetime calls.  Grrrrrrr!

In frustration I called AppleCare.  The support agent was a bit horrified at the network mess I had created in my ignorance.  He put me in touch with a wireless specialist at Apple who delighted in his job and literally spent hours on the phone with me while I ran around the house like a madman redoing everything.  He was awesome!

Now the house has three networks:  one wired network for the heavy lifting data transfers and two wireless networks that do not compete with each other:  one is the main network while the other is for house guests.  The main wireless network, with 3 airports throughout the house, now functions as a single network.  Now all iOS devices have a strong signal on one network no matter where they are physically located in the house.  Our network no longer is on the same channel of any of the other networks in the hood.

Our home network actually has 21 devices running on it.  Because setting it up was so complicated and time consuming, requiring several router configurations, I saved all of the config files and mapped out the network.

Getting a tech support person who is both extremely knowledgable and eager to help understand what you are doing and why is absolutely a godsend!  When Apple gets it right, which is most of the time, they knock it out of the ballpark.  No wonder they just reported doubling their earning in one hell of a recession!  Thanks @AppleCare!