like being disinherited -
If you’re a long time Apple computer users like me, you remember when Apple went out of their way to support older “legacy” hardware. That was of course when Apple’s main thrust was computers and not selling music and music player gadgets. You beamed with pride having an 11Mbps Airport Card enabled PowerBook or Power Mac while most Windows PC’s were bound by Ethernet cable. You were way ahead of the curve technologically.
Then just as suddenly, with the announcement of “54G” 802.11g Wireless from Apple with the Airport “Extreme”, those of you with Macs bought just weeks earlier were left out cold from Apples Extreme 54G hardware. How thoughtful of Apple, huh.
Also seems a bit ironic now that the very first computer company to put wireless inside a notebook and desktop computer is now so far behind in Wireless technology, where 108Mbps to 125Mbps is now the norm.
Real Mac owners
have to be resourceful –
Then with the release of OS X version 10.2.6 and Airport v3.1 some light shown through. With no direct intentions of Apple’s, 10.2.6 and that new version of Airport software seemed to recognize certain 802.11g CardBus Cards and PCI cards that used the same Broadcom 54G chipset that Apple Extreme uses.
A bit of “enlightenment” for the naïve Mac owner; Apple does not and hasn’t for many years, made any of their own computers and accessory hardware. There are no more Apple factories in the US and there are none in Taiwan, Korea or China. Made in China, means it was made by a contract manufacturing company in China and the same goes for all of Apple Airport gear.
It’s often the same as hardware branded for Linksys, Belkin or even a brand you never heard of. Apple is now only a “marketing company”. Often the same contract manufacturer is making PC’s on the assembly line right next to the Power Mac line. Sorry to break your heart.
I run the Asante AeroLAN-XG PC card in my own G3 500 MHz “Pismo” PowerBook quite happily and it gets better range by a 2x factor than my newer G4 1GHz Titanium PowerBook with an internal .11b Airport Card.
If you have a CardBus
“slotless” portable Mac, like all iBooks and pre Wallstreet
G3 PowerBooks, you’re still out of luck.
There have been no
USB 802.11g “adapters” made with the original Broadcom chipset
either, so we are left with only one alternative, a PCI slot solution.
Not long after the WMP54G reached retail selves and Mac owners started spreading the word about it’s compatibility, Linksys revised the card mildly and then again radically with a model they call “WMP54G v2”. We have one of the very first WMP54G PCI cards and we tested it in a G3 “Blue and White” running OS 10.2.8 and a G4 500 Sawtooth running 10.3.6. While the WMP54G equipped Power Macs recognized the card and connected to our Networks and Internet, both refused to connect to Apple “Updater” site. Pretty strange results we’ve never seen before.
We do know that the current Linksys model WMP54G v2 through v4 iare not compatible, because Linksys changed to a different Broadcom 54G chipset not used by Apple. So where does that leave us now?
There is one company still selling, although we hear it’s just the remaining small stock of advertised Mac compatible 802.11g PCI cards, is Sonnet Technologies. Their Aria™ PCI cards are made in Taiwan by a company we won’t mention, but they carry a pretty hefty retail price of USD$129.95.
Fortunately, because most network hardware companies make none of their own products, a number of them that march to the Broadcom chipset drum have been selling the same but privately labeled PCI cards. With a little detective work, calls to our contacts at Broadcom and friends in Taiwan where most of these privately labeled cards are made, we started buying ones to test for you.