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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Are the first gen macbooks compat w/802.11n?

Are the first gen macbooks compat w/802.11n?
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MikeD
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Jan 13, 2007, 02:08 PM
 
Looking at the new airport base station and wanted to know if the macbooks could take advantage of them.

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brokenjago
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Jan 13, 2007, 02:29 PM
 
No.
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pra9ab0y
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Jan 13, 2007, 03:25 PM
 
Are the new core 2 duos?
     
galarneau
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Jan 13, 2007, 03:46 PM
 
yes
     
spencers
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Jan 13, 2007, 05:54 PM
 
now that really sucks.
     
pra9ab0y
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Jan 13, 2007, 06:06 PM
 
why?
     
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Jan 13, 2007, 06:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by ashleyman View Post
why?
why sucks or why the first gen not n ready?
     
wilsonng
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Jan 14, 2007, 03:00 AM
 
well the first gen MacBooks can use the new Airport base station but only at 802.11g speeds.
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pra9ab0y
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Jan 14, 2007, 12:56 PM
 
So the c2duo macbooks can use the 801.11N?

(reading back my question didnt make sense!)
     
mduell
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Jan 14, 2007, 01:38 PM
 
Core Duo Macs do not have draft n hardware.

Core 2 Duo Macs* have draft n hardware.

* except the 1.83Ghz 17" iMac
     
hadocon
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Jan 14, 2007, 02:55 PM
 
1st gen Macbooks do not have n, but they can go beyond g with a. I know Apple does not report that they are a compatible on the box, but I assure you that I connect to a networks everyday with my 1st gen Macbook.
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xsphat
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Jan 15, 2007, 06:39 PM
 
Where did you guys hear this? I though all Intel Macs could use n. Not that I don't believe any of you, but I like to look into things like this for myself.
     
xtal
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Jan 15, 2007, 06:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by xsphat View Post
Where did you guys hear this? I though all Intel Macs could use n. Not that I don't believe any of you, but I like to look into things like this for myself.
It was all over these forums when the C2D update happened last November. Here's a link:

Mac Rumors: Core 2 Duo MacBook Also Supporting 802.11n?


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ghporter
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Jan 15, 2007, 10:16 PM
 
There is "draft N" hardware in the Core 2 Duo systems (all of 'em I think), but NOT in the Core Duo systems. Again, this is DRAFT standard hardware-there's no guarantee that it will work with the finalized N standard when it is eventually completed. All you get with the new AirPort base station is a proprietary, faster connection (at presumed N speeds).

I'm frankly surprised that Apple brought out something based on a draft standard-it's not their style.

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frankthetank966
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Jan 16, 2007, 09:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by galarneau View Post
yes
No they do not. Apple just released the "n" last week. This is from the Apple website for specs of the Macbook CD2. "Built-in 54 Mbps AirPort Extreme (802.11g)" http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPL...2&nclm=MacBook

NONE OF THE APPLE LAPTOPS HAVE THIS TECHNOLOGY YET.
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xtal
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Jan 16, 2007, 02:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by frankthetank966 View Post
NONE OF THE APPLE LAPTOPS HAVE THIS TECHNOLOGY YET.
Sorry, you're dead wrong.

Apple - 802.11


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frankthetank966
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Jan 16, 2007, 04:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by xtal View Post
Sorry, you're dead wrong.

Apple - 802.11
I am pretty sure that means it will work on the wireless. It does not mean it has it built into it. Look up the specs for those laptops.
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Z4cane
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Jan 16, 2007, 06:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by frankthetank966 View Post
I am pretty sure that means it will work on the wireless. It does not mean it has it built into it. Look up the specs for those laptops.
No, it means a software tweak will enable the 802.11n chips in the Macs.
     
mduell
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Jan 16, 2007, 07:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by frankthetank966 View Post
No they do not. Apple just released the "n" last week. This is from the Apple website for specs of the Macbook CD2. "Built-in 54 Mbps AirPort Extreme (802.11g)" The Apple Store (U.S.) - MacBook

NONE OF THE APPLE LAPTOPS HAVE THIS TECHNOLOGY YET.
The hardware is there, the current laptops are just missing the driver. Apple is going to charge $5 for it.
     
ghporter
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Jan 16, 2007, 08:15 PM
 
The "specs" are for the features and functions that are enabled and operational as shipped. Why would they include specs for stuff they had intentionally disabled? People have posted pictures of the hardware, the FCC ID numbers for it, and so on, and it most assuredly IS "draft 802.11N" capable. As mduell points out, the drivers simply don't turn on the extra features.

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mduell
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Jan 16, 2007, 08:36 PM
 
If you want to demonstrate that the hardware is there, install Windows and load the driver for that chipset. *bam* draft n.
     
frankthetank966
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Jan 16, 2007, 10:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
The hardware is there, the current laptops are just missing the driver. Apple is going to charge $5 for it.
Are they only doing this for CD2? Or will they do it for CD? This is so annoying. I LOVE "n'. I have it in my house it is incredible.
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ghporter
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Jan 16, 2007, 10:53 PM
 
Only the C2D products have these cards. I haven't seen anything about an upgrade to allow those of us with Core Duo and PPC-based machines to take advantage. Not yet anyway.

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frankthetank966
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Jan 17, 2007, 09:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Only the C2D products have these cards. I haven't seen anything about an upgrade to allow those of us with Core Duo and PPC-based machines to take advantage. Not yet anyway.
I hope they can work something out.
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pra9ab0y
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Jan 17, 2007, 11:10 AM
 
$5 for a driver isnt bad!

i wouldnt mind if it out me above everyone else in my community and group of friends! This would be a must to upgrade if i wer egtting appl tv and also the new airport. I think it is a good expense as you will need one day or another!
     
Zeeb
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Jan 17, 2007, 12:56 PM
 
I find this irritating. Draft "n" has been availabe on cheap-o Dell laptops and almost everywhere else for 6 months and Apple is still playing games with this. Shipping the hardware but not the driver? And what is this about charging $5 for the driver? If that's true, it's a pretty bad case of nickel & diming their customers for basic features others provide for free.
     
frankthetank966
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Jan 17, 2007, 01:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by Zeeb View Post
I find this irritating. Draft "n" has been availabe on cheap-o Dell laptops and almost everywhere else for 6 months and Apple is still playing games with this. Shipping the hardware but not the driver? And what is this about charging $5 for the driver? If that's true, it's a pretty bad case of nickel & diming their customers for basic features others provide for free.
$5 is fine. It is annoying for people with the CD. Thats what angers me the most.
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pra9ab0y
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Jan 17, 2007, 01:08 PM
 
$5 is nothing... Only those poor people should complain.
     
xtal
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Jan 17, 2007, 06:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by frankthetank966 View Post
$5 is fine. It is annoying for people with the CD. Thats what angers me the most.
If you're angry that a newer model has features that yours doesn't, then I think all computer users everywhere should share your rage.


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ghporter
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Jan 17, 2007, 07:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by frankthetank966 View Post
$5 is fine. It is annoying for people with the CD. Thats what angers me the most.
It's really just a matter of buying what was available when you bought your computer. I got a MacBook Pro from probably the last week of Core Duo production, and it's a wonderful computer. I'm not (really) upset that I didn't get a C2D machine, nor that I didn't get draft N wireless hardware. It's just the luck of the draw, especially with how tightly under wraps Apple keeps product introductions and upgrades.

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pra9ab0y
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Jan 17, 2007, 07:48 PM
 
I find it a pain they keep it all quiet as there consumers will always have to wait for a new product only to find there isnt one but there will be at the next keynote!!

Means they either buy and be disppointed when the new ones come out or wait for aes ages just to keep it good for a year or 2.

Kinda stupid really.
     
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Jan 17, 2007, 09:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by Zeeb View Post
And what is this about charging $5 for the driver? If that's true, it's a pretty bad case of nickel & diming their customers for basic features others provide for free.
Apple is blaming the charge on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that was put into place after the big Enron scandal. They claim that because the hardware was not originally advertised to be N-capable, they must charge to enable that ability. I do wonder, however, how they're playing off the fact that the card is A-capable, which according to another post in this thread was NOT advertised.

Whether or not the SOx excuse has any validity is debatable.
     
frankthetank966
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Jan 18, 2007, 01:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Apple is blaming the charge on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that was put into place after the big Enron scandal. They claim that because the hardware was not originally advertised to be N-capable, they must charge to enable that ability. I do wonder, however, how they're playing off the fact that the card is A-capable, which according to another post in this thread was NOT advertised.

Whether or not the SOx excuse has any validity is debatable.
hahaha, I love Apple but this move really annoys me. Do you think they could even come out with some adapter for the CD, or the older models?
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Jan 18, 2007, 01:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by frankthetank966 View Post
hahaha, I love Apple but this move really annoys me. Do you think they could even come out with some adapter for the CD, or the older models?
Technically, I believe so. The Airport Extreme card is nothing but a standard MiniPCI card. Unless the CD MB and MBP use a soldered-on wireless card (which I highly doubt, but you never know with Apple), you should be able to buy one of the newer cards and put it in. I would imagine this is the same for the iBooks and PowerBooks that used Aiport Extreme, but you never know.

However, Apple is still advertising the stand-alone $49 Airport Extreme card on its website as being B/G only, not 802.11n capable. Additionally, if Apple's BS $5 updater only runs in Tiger, then older laptops that are running older versions of OS X probably won't have the full capabilities of the card available.

I would imagine if/when Apple releases a new stand-alone card with advertised N compatibility, you could probably stick it in any Apple computer with a MiniPCI slot and Tiger installed. I doubt, however, that Apple will ever advertise this capability, since it would be an excuse for customers to not drop $1100 on a new laptop.
     
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Jan 18, 2007, 04:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by ashleyman View Post
I find it a pain they keep it all quiet as there consumers will always have to wait for a new product only to find there isnt one but there will be at the next keynote!!

Means they either buy and be disppointed when the new ones come out or wait for aes ages just to keep it good for a year or 2.

Kinda stupid really.
Yes, the FAR better option is to announce the specs of the next generation in advance, as well as the release date, thus allowing people to NOT buy the current product and ensuring that the funds necessary for actual development and production of the next release will not be available.

Excellent.

Do you live in the 90's? I mean, before Palm pretty much went broke for doing exactly that?

If the machine did what you considered worth spending whatever it cost on when you bought it, then it still does when the new model comes out. And considering that a computer generation these days is about six MONTHS, and consumers will usually buy a new machine about every three YEARS, the new model ALWAYS comes out "immediately" after you buy yours.

So the new model does X better than yours does. Tough. The new model ALWAYS does X better than yours. Or mine. Or anybody's. And it's probably faster, cheaper, and lighter too, or gets better battery life.

Judge whether a product is worth the cost, buy, and put the blinders on.
     
analogika
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Jan 18, 2007, 04:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
There is "draft N" hardware in the Core 2 Duo systems (all of 'em I think), but NOT in the Core Duo systems. Again, this is DRAFT standard hardware-there's no guarantee that it will work with the finalized N standard when it is eventually completed. All you get with the new AirPort base station is a proprietary, faster connection (at presumed N speeds).

I'm frankly surprised that Apple brought out something based on a draft standard-it's not their style.
Huh?

Airport Extreme and the whole "g" generation of hardware was released when 802.11g was still draft!

Don't tell me you've forgotten?
     
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Jan 18, 2007, 04:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogika View Post
Yes, the FAR better option is to announce the specs of the next generation in advance, as well as the release date, thus allowing people to NOT buy the current product and ensuring that the funds necessary for actual development and production of the next release will not be available.

Excellent.

Do you live in the 90's? I mean, before Palm pretty much went broke for doing exactly that?

If the machine did what you considered worth spending whatever it cost on when you bought it, then it still does when the new model comes out. And considering that a computer generation these days is about six MONTHS, and consumers will usually buy a new machine about every three YEARS, the new model ALWAYS comes out "immediately" after you buy yours.

So the new model does X better than yours does. Tough. The new model ALWAYS does X better than yours. Or mine. Or anybody's. And it's probably faster, cheaper, and lighter too, or gets better battery life.

Judge whether a product is worth the cost, buy, and put the blinders on.
Both arguements have their merits.

In the case of the Airport Extreme hardware, had Apple previously advertised that the hardware was 802.11n compliant, they wouldn't be leveraging this ridiculous $5 charge to run a software update to enable the capability. Apple simply wanted to keep it secret until they chose to release their own Draft-N base station, at the expense of their own customers.

Apple shouldn't always just provide information on what's coming next and when it's coming...that would indeed run them into the ground. But with this mess behind the Airport Extreme card and the subsequent software update, it could have been avoided if Apple had not insisted on being so secretive.
     
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Jan 18, 2007, 06:51 PM
 
Apple to charge two bucks for faster Wi-Fi | CNET News.com

Some MacBook Pro and MacBook customers have the faster 802.11n Wi-Fi chip already sitting in their systems, but it will cost two bucks to light it up.

Apple on Thursday confirmed reports that it plans to charge customers a fee to download software that will enable the 802.11n capability in the Wi-Fi chips found in some MacBook and MacBook Pro systems. But it won't cost $5, as many reports indicated. It will cost $1.99, and will be available on Apple's Web site, said Lynn Fox, an Apple spokeswoman.

Every Mac with Intel's Core 2 Duo or Xeon processor has the 802.11n chip, except for the 17-inch iMac with the 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo chip, Apple announced last week at Macworld.

Customers who purchase the new $179 Airport Extreme Base Station also unveiled at Macworld will get the software for free as part of that package when it ships in February. But those who don't want to buy that product will have to pay to download the software, which will appear on Apple's site when the base station starts shipping.


Apple said it is required under generally accepted accounting principles to charge customers for the software upgrade. "The nominal distribution fee for the 802.11n software is required in order for Apple to comply with generally accepted accounting principles for revenue recognition, which generally require that we charge for significant feature enhancements, such as 802.11n, when added to previously purchased products," Fox said in a statement.

Several companies have been releasing 802.11n products based on a draft of the new wireless standard. The final standard is not expected to be ratified until later this year, but the Wi-Fi Alliance has said that it will begin certifying products based on a draft of that standard. The 802.11n standard offers significant improvements in bandwidth and range over the 802.11g Wi-Fi standard, and it's backward compatible with older Wi-Fi standards.
     
mduell
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Jan 18, 2007, 08:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Technically, I believe so. The Airport Extreme card is nothing but a standard MiniPCI card. Unless the CD MB and MBP use a soldered-on wireless card (which I highly doubt, but you never know with Apple), you should be able to buy one of the newer cards and put it in. I would imagine this is the same for the iBooks and PowerBooks that used Aiport Extreme, but you never know.

However, Apple is still advertising the stand-alone $49 Airport Extreme card on its website as being B/G only, not 802.11n capable. Additionally, if Apple's BS $5 updater only runs in Tiger, then older laptops that are running older versions of OS X probably won't have the full capabilities of the card available.
Even if they do use a miniPCI card, the antennas for draft n aren't there, so it won't do you any good swapping cards.
The Airport Extreme card Apple sells is for the PowerPC laptops and is b/g only. The Intel laptops have all come with wifi built in, so there's no need to sell the card seperately.
     
frankthetank966
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Jan 18, 2007, 08:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by Z4cane View Post
Apple to charge two bucks for faster Wi-Fi | CNET News.com

Some MacBook Pro and MacBook customers have the faster 802.11n Wi-Fi chip already sitting in their systems, but it will cost two bucks to light it up.

Apple on Thursday confirmed reports that it plans to charge customers a fee to download software that will enable the 802.11n capability in the Wi-Fi chips found in some MacBook and MacBook Pro systems. But it won't cost $5, as many reports indicated. It will cost $1.99, and will be available on Apple's Web site, said Lynn Fox, an Apple spokeswoman.

Every Mac with Intel's Core 2 Duo or Xeon processor has the 802.11n chip, except for the 17-inch iMac with the 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo chip, Apple announced last week at Macworld.

Customers who purchase the new $179 Airport Extreme Base Station also unveiled at Macworld will get the software for free as part of that package when it ships in February. But those who don't want to buy that product will have to pay to download the software, which will appear on Apple's site when the base station starts shipping.


Apple said it is required under generally accepted accounting principles to charge customers for the software upgrade. "The nominal distribution fee for the 802.11n software is required in order for Apple to comply with generally accepted accounting principles for revenue recognition, which generally require that we charge for significant feature enhancements, such as 802.11n, when added to previously purchased products," Fox said in a statement.

Several companies have been releasing 802.11n products based on a draft of the new wireless standard. The final standard is not expected to be ratified until later this year, but the Wi-Fi Alliance has said that it will begin certifying products based on a draft of that standard. The 802.11n standard offers significant improvements in bandwidth and range over the 802.11g Wi-Fi standard, and it's backward compatible with older Wi-Fi standards.
Thanks for the official news. Nothing about CD's.

p.s. everyone Belkin makes a USB adapter for N but I am not sure if it works with Mac. It doesn't work, check it out

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shifuimam
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Jan 18, 2007, 09:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Even if they do use a miniPCI card, the antennas for draft n aren't there, so it won't do you any good swapping cards.
The Airport Extreme card Apple sells is for the PowerPC laptops and is b/g only. The Intel laptops have all come with wifi built in, so there's no need to sell the card seperately.
I wasn't aware that there were different antennas for N compared to B/G or A. I was under the impression that the antenna part of wireless is nothing but an insulated coaxial wire - whether or not it does N should purely be dependent on the card that the antenna is connected to. It should act the same as coaxial video cable works - you can use any composite cable, including the ones that came with your DVD player, to connect to the HD component connections on your TV - what the wires connect to determine what the wires can do. Similarly, people have added 802.11g PCMCIA cards to original Airport-capable Apple computers with success.

"Wifi built in" means nothing. Most laptops come with "wifi built in". This doesn't mean that the wireless chip is soldered to the logic board. In fact, the guide from iFixIt.com shows very clearly that the card itself is still a separate, removable card:

http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/86/images_large/28.jpg

The pin connection on the card looks to be exactly like the current miniPCI standard found in any other laptop on the market with built-in wifi. It is, however, difficult to tell if this is a proprietary size of such a card; it looks like it might be longer than a standard miniPCI card, which means it wouldn't fit.

But if it's the same size, I don't see why it wouldn't work. We won't know until we can see clear pictures of the new cards in the C2D MB and MBP that show the dimensions of the card.


Further research shows that the new Airport Extreme cards in Intel macs are MiniPCI Express, as seen here. Scroll down or search for "PCI Express Mini Card" to see pictures of the two cards.

However, Dell will be releasing a draft-N wireless card using the new MiniPCI Express standard. Dell uses a Broadcom chipset in their wireless cards that has been reported to be compatible with Tiger - those who played with installing Tiger on non-Apple Intel hardware can confirm this, and I know for a fact that, at least since the first Airport Extreme cards, Apple has used the Broadcom chipset line in its wireless hardware.

If you're into modding, I doubt it would be too complicated to get the Dell/Broadcom MiniPCI-e wifi card to work with Tiger, and the benefits would obviously be worth the effort to those who (a) want the new Apple TV or (b) just need high-bandwidth wireless at home.
( Last edited by shifuimam; Jan 18, 2007 at 09:44 PM. )
     
mduell
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Jan 18, 2007, 09:55 PM
 
draft n uses multiple antennas. The Macs designed for b/g only have one.

I'm aware of how the wifi radio is connected to the motherboard in most laptops. My point regarding "built in" was that Apple has no reason to sell a miniPCIe card, since all of the laptops that could use it already have wifi built in.
     
shifuimam
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Jan 18, 2007, 10:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
draft n uses multiple antennas. The Macs designed for b/g only have one.

I'm aware of how the wifi radio is connected to the motherboard in most laptops. My point regarding "built in" was that Apple has no reason to sell a miniPCIe card, since all of the laptops that could use it already have wifi built in.
I can understand the second part - I misunderstood your previous comment. I did see that draft n is dual-band and works on both the 2.5GHz and 5.0GHz bands. This ability, however, doesn't (at least to me) completely negate the possibility of a mod project to bring N-wireless to CD Intel macs. I like project, though, so if I had a MacBook and the money, I'd probably try the mod.
     
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Jan 19, 2007, 09:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by frankthetank966 View Post
Thanks for the official news. Nothing about CD's.

p.s. everyone Belkin makes a USB adapter for N but I am not sure if it works with Mac. It doesn't work, check it out

Belkin : N1 Wireless USB Adapter
Most of Belkin's stuff is Mac compatible. I use a Belkin router, and recommend them to all my Mac customers.
     
frankthetank966
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Jan 19, 2007, 09:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
draft n uses multiple antennas. The Macs designed for b/g only have one.

I'm aware of how the wifi radio is connected to the motherboard in most laptops. My point regarding "built in" was that Apple has no reason to sell a miniPCIe card, since all of the laptops that could use it already have wifi built in.
Not fully true. The Macbook CD has two antennas. One vertically and one hortizontally in the monitor.
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Jan 19, 2007, 10:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by frankthetank966 View Post
Not fully true. The Macbook CD has two antennas. One vertically and one hortizontally in the monitor.
The two antennas in the MacBook (and other laptops built for G wireless) are part of a "diversity system" in which both antennas' inputs are combined for better signal processing. Not the same thing as a MIMO system at all. MIMO sends and receives different signals (on different channels IIRC) on the different antennas instead of sending and receiving the SAME signal on the two diversity antennas in a G system.

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Jan 21, 2007, 06:17 PM
 
Multiple antennae are just to improve range. They have nothing to do with being 802.11n or b, or g especially since they are all at the same frequency. Obviously, Apple doesn't want the complaints they had with the TiBooks about wireless range.

I'm a bird. I am the 1% (of pets).
     
frankthetank966
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Jan 21, 2007, 06:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
The two antennas in the MacBook (and other laptops built for G wireless) are part of a "diversity system" in which both antennas' inputs are combined for better signal processing. Not the same thing as a MIMO system at all. MIMO sends and receives different signals (on different channels IIRC) on the different antennas instead of sending and receiving the SAME signal on the two diversity antennas in a G system.
Yes, I know. That is why I said not fully true. No offense, but you do not have to explain to me what MIMO is. I know a lot about this subject seeing as I was a Windows user and this technology has been available for a while. No offense but Apple is very slow to getting this. That is why I am so upset.

BTW MIMO = Multiple Input, Multiple Output. This refers to the antennas form of communication.
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Jan 21, 2007, 07:23 PM
 
A diversity system can be applied to any receiver; it's simply a means of improving received signal quality. Your common USB wireless dongle has ONE antenna; a patch antenna that's almost certainly circuit board plating and nothing more. The majority of early 802.11G adapters, and almost all 802.11B adapters used only a single dipole antenna. Every PC card adapter for B or G uses a single dipole antenna. In other words, you're quibbling about a receiver feature, not a wireless feature.

MIMO refers to multiple SIGNALS at once, and it does not necessarily require multiple antennas. It is much more effective with multiple antennas, but they are not imperative.

I am not trying to talk down to you in my earlier post. However, not to boast, but I have over 25 years of experience in the radio maintenance and design field, including almost 12 years as an Air Force Master Instructor; I tend to explain things in detail, even when the immediate reader is not obviously in need of that information because some OTHER reader may need it.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
frankthetank966
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Jan 21, 2007, 09:33 PM
 
alright, its cool. i am just frustrated with my macbook.
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