Can older macs be made Airport Extreme Capable?
December 3, 2007 3:47 PM   Subscribe

Inherited an Airport Extreme Basestation with Gigabit ethernet and would like to enable a B&W 400mhz G3 and 400mhz G4 AGP to use this wireless network at the faster speeds. Is this possible? (this is anon because it's a gift to people who know me and read Askme)

I know the G4 is Airport capable, but can it use an Airport Extreme Card at the Extreme speeds? Apple sells refurbished Airport Extreme cards on their site and was wondering...

Would A PCI card work better? If so, which? Or can these older macs successfully use a USB 2.0 wireless adapter?

On the wireless network they would be accessing a printer, other computers and the internet.
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
No dice on Airport Extreme cards for older G4s with Airport slots. Your best bet is a PCI card - I wouldn't bother with the USB wireless.

Under current versions of Mac OS X, many wireless 802.11g PCI cards are natively supported - check's reader reports for a complete list.
posted by porn in the woods at 4:45 PM on December 3, 2007

A quick google for 'g4 airport extreme' brought.

AirPort Extreme Card: Compatible Macintosh computers

I don't see why they wouldn't be able to utilize the speeds of a 802.11g network.
posted by mphuie at 4:47 PM on December 3, 2007

Porn in the woods is correct in that a PCI card really would be be the simpler/possibly best solution, and xlr8 is a good resource.

That said, I know several people who have used this Hawking USB adapter with Tiger (10.4.x) and been very happy. Stores like Micro Center often have it on sale for around $40.

The OS version (10.3, 10.4, 10.5) your using, or planning to use may be a deciding factor in your decision. Make sure the card or adapter works with the OS version on the machine(s).
posted by -t at 6:45 PM on December 3, 2007

I'm very skeptical. You'd need 3rd party hardware for both machines and there'd have to be some kind of Mac driver. The B+W in particular I'm not thrilled about; it'll never run Leopard, and it is really pretty near the border of what I consider the OS X hardware limit. I would not be surprised to learn that, if you got the B+W on the fast wireless network, that its poor ability to run the browser would be the bottleneck.

The Airport Extreme does 802.11n, by the way, not just 802.11g; 802.11g sucks because nearby 802.11b networks totally destroy 802.11g in the vicinity. So I am not sure that this would be the best gift for these folks. I am pretty sure that most of its goodness would be wasted on them and that if you bought an old iMac G5 for $200 it'd make a much better gift.

Most of this answer was composed with help from my friend at Apple.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:46 PM on December 3, 2007

I would avoid the AE for now. I am experiencing the issue described here by me and dozens and dozens of unhappy users, and there is no fix in sight.
posted by jules1651 at 9:02 AM on December 4, 2007

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