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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Mac Mini does not have 802.11N...

Mac Mini does not have 802.11N...
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silverflyer
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Jun 26, 2008, 11:24 PM
 
Why has apple overlooked the Mac Mini?

I desperately want to integrate one into my network as a music server/attached directly to the stereo but it would slow down my entire network which is all N speed at the moment...



Does anyone know if Apple is planning on fixing this oversight soon?

or is it possible to replace the airport with an N-spec one?
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Cold Warrior
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Jun 26, 2008, 11:25 PM
 
You could get a cheap 802.11g router, put it in bridge/switch mode, and have the mini link to that. This way your main network stays n-only.
     
silverflyer  (op)
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Jun 26, 2008, 11:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
You could get a cheap 802.11g router, put it in bridge/switch mode, and have the mini link to that. This way your main network stays n-only.
I am a little dense here, how would that not slow down the wireless in the same way?

I also realized I could get an 802.11N Airport Express and hardwire the Mini to it with ethernet cable, but what a hassle.
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Cold Warrior
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Jun 26, 2008, 11:35 PM
 
Because it's acting as an independent wifi point. N routers can't manage non-N wifi and N traffic at N speeds, so something has to give. They trade speed for compatibility. A stand-alone router acting as a bridge/switch doing only G -- on its own dedicated channel -- will allow the main router to stay focused on N. Your mini would of course get G speeds, but at least it wouldn't drag down the rest of the network operating at N.
     
silverflyer  (op)
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Jun 26, 2008, 11:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
Because it's acting as an independent wifi point. N routers can't manage non-N wifi and N traffic at N speeds, so something has to give. They trade speed for compatibility. A stand-alone router acting as a bridge/switch doing only G -- on its own dedicated channel -- will allow the main router to stay focused on N. Your mini would of course get G speeds, but at least it wouldn't drag down the rest of the network operating at N.

So, lets see I think I was thinking about this backwards, would the G router be plugged directly into the Airport Extreme with an ethernet cable and acting as a G access point for the mini? That makes sense to me.
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Cold Warrior
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Jun 26, 2008, 11:43 PM
 
yes
     
silverflyer  (op)
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Jun 27, 2008, 12:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
yes
Thanks, I was a bit slow on that one...
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Simon
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Jun 27, 2008, 01:43 AM
 
This document (pages 48-49) shows you in detail how to do it.
     
Aegelward
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Jun 28, 2008, 04:33 PM
 
Not to rain on your hacking parade, but can't it be achieved with a USB adaptor?

some websites have advertised N-spec usb adaptors as being mac compatible
     
silverflyer  (op)
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Jun 29, 2008, 10:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
This document (pages 48-49) shows you in detail how to do it.
ok, thanks.
( Last edited by silverflyer; Jun 29, 2008 at 11:54 PM. )
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silverflyer  (op)
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Jun 29, 2008, 11:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by Aegelward View Post
Not to rain on your hacking parade, but can't it be achieved with a USB adaptor?

some websites have advertised N-spec usb adaptors as being mac compatible

I am not sure I want to "hack" the mini, I just want my N network to remain at N speeds.

I already bought the Mini and the Airport Express to plug it into, all seems to be working well.
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Helmling
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Jul 3, 2008, 06:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
Because it's acting as an independent wifi point. N routers can't manage non-N wifi and N traffic at N speeds, so something has to give. They trade speed for compatibility. A stand-alone router acting as a bridge/switch doing only G -- on its own dedicated channel -- will allow the main router to stay focused on N. Your mini would of course get G speeds, but at least it wouldn't drag down the rest of the network operating at N.
Woah! Are you saying that my mini is keeping my whole network at G-speeds!?!
     
Cold Warrior
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Jul 3, 2008, 06:22 PM
 
AFAIK, yes.
     
Simon
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Jul 4, 2008, 04:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by Helmling View Post
Woah! Are you saying that my mini is keeping my whole network at G-speeds!?!
From what I have seen, it is not capping all traffic at g speeds, but traffic between n clients and the router definitely suffers if the router has to offer g compatibility. Best performance is achieved if you have two different wireless networks for n and g and then wire the g router to the n router.
     
P
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Jul 4, 2008, 08:27 AM
 
What you're describing is true for b and g traffic - if b compability is enabled, you're limited to b speeds. For g and n, the situation is a little different because n can use the 5 GHz band as well as the 2.4 GHz band. A router might offer g compability on the 2.4 GHz band and still maintain full speed on the 5 GHz band. I'm not sure that any actual routers work that way, but in theory they can.
     
PLin
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Jul 4, 2008, 12:33 PM
 
I actually upgraded my Mac mini 1.66 CD to 802.11n. You need to buy the Airport card for the Mac Pro, and then swap out the card that comes in the Mac mini. The Mac Pro card has two antenna connectors, while the Mac mini only has one antenna, so I only used one of the connectors.

I'm not sure how much these cards cost, but I bought mine at CompUSA when they were liquidating. I paid about $40.
     
hwojtek
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Jul 4, 2008, 05:26 PM
 
I've replaced my stock 802.11g with an 802.11n from a Macbook Pro. Easy as a pie, however there are no known Minis in the Universe to connect to any N router (even one standing 10 inches away) with more than 130 Mbit/sec.
Wojtek

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PLin
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Jul 4, 2008, 07:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by hwojtek View Post
I've replaced my stock 802.11g with an 802.11n from a Macbook Pro. Easy as a pie, however there are no known Minis in the Universe to connect to any N router (even one standing 10 inches away) with more than 130 Mbit/sec.
What makes you say that? According to Network Utility, my 802.11n upgraded Mac mini connects to my Airport Extreme Base Station at 270 Mbit/s, which is the same as my MacBook Air. My MacBook Pro is able to connect at 300 Mbit/s for whatever reason.
     
Simon
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Jul 5, 2008, 03:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by hwojtek View Post
I've replaced my stock 802.11g with an 802.11n from a Macbook Pro. Easy as a pie, however there are no known Minis in the Universe to connect to any N router (even one standing 10 inches away) with more than 130 Mbit/sec.
My guess is that you set up your router for g/n. Try it again after setting the router to n only.

Also, just because a device connects to the router a 300 Mbps does not mean you will ever get close to seeing actual throughput of 38 MB/s.
     
P
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Jul 5, 2008, 06:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by PLin View Post
I actually upgraded my Mac mini 1.66 CD to 802.11n. You need to buy the Airport card for the Mac Pro, and then swap out the card that comes in the Mac mini. The Mac Pro card has two antenna connectors, while the Mac mini only has one antenna, so I only used one of the connectors.
802.11n uses MIMO technology - basically, using multiple antennas to reach a higher speed. You will not get full speed by only using one.
     
PLin
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Jul 5, 2008, 11:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Also, just because a device connects to the router a 300 Mbps does not mean you will ever get close to seeing actual throughput of 38 MB/s.
Agreed. My MacBook Pro is only able to transfer files at about 10-11MB/s when extremely close to the base station even though it's associated at 300 Mbit/s. On the other hand, with a different 802.11n router I tried before I got the Airport Extreme, I was only able to associate at 130 Mbit/s, and my real world transfer speed was about 5MB/s.
     
PLin
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Jul 5, 2008, 11:51 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
802.11n uses MIMO technology - basically, using multiple antennas to reach a higher speed. You will not get full speed by only using one.
That may as well be the case. I haven't really benchmarked my Mac mini using my 802.11n upgrade, since I now have it connected using gigabit.

I found this solution though, which includes the 802.11n card and multiple antennas:
http://www.quickertek.com/products/acard_mini.php
     
w8ing4intelmacs
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Jul 5, 2008, 06:27 PM
 
Out of curiousity, what applications work with n speeds that don't work with g speeds? im streaming video from my mac mini to my apple tv just fine (the mac mini is in the basement).

of course, i do have my linksys wrt150n upgraded with dd-wrt

(i also have a macbook pro (802.11n) and a macbook (802.11n) on the network.
     
P
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Jul 6, 2008, 03:10 PM
 
802.11n also brings several other bonuses, mainly an increased range.
     
w8ing4intelmacs
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Jul 6, 2008, 04:46 PM
 
what other bonuses?

by the way, using dd-wrt to increase the output signal strength increased the range on my previous wireless g router far greater than the default range of my wireless n router.

Originally Posted by P View Post
802.11n also brings several other bonuses, mainly an increased range.
     
PLin
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Jul 6, 2008, 11:40 PM
 
For the best throughput, you have to use 5GHz, and higher frequencies don't travel as well through walls, so it would be necessary to sacrifice speed and use 2.4GHz to achieve the best range.
     
hwojtek
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Jul 7, 2008, 05:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
My guess is that you set up your router for g/n. Try it again after setting the router to n only.
I've tried N-only and this didn't help. I use triple antennas stuck in the Mini (the stock one plus two of the MBP antennas). However, I believe in the mixed mode, the "N" should be transmitted on 5 GHz band, while "G" is on 2.4 GHz, so theoretically a full-speed "N" should be available. Seems I have to dig deeper into my router manual (DLink DIR-655).
Wojtek

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PLin
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Jul 9, 2008, 04:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by hwojtek View Post
I've tried N-only and this didn't help. I use triple antennas stuck in the Mini (the stock one plus two of the MBP antennas). However, I believe in the mixed mode, the "N" should be transmitted on 5 GHz band, while "G" is on 2.4 GHz, so theoretically a full-speed "N" should be available. Seems I have to dig deeper into my router manual (DLink DIR-655).
802.11n can run on 2.4GHz or 5GHz. If you have a D-Link DIR-655, you won't be able to achieve 300 Mbits/s, because the DIR-655 only supports 2.4GHz. Some PC drivers may allow you to use 2.4GHz for 300 Mbits/s, but in Mac OS X, to achieve 300 Mbit/s, you definitely need a router that supports 5GHz wide band.
     
   
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