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Apple offers both 802.11b and 802.11g solutions. Their 802.11b solution is called "AirPort", and their 802.11g solution is called "AirPort Extreme". These solutions currently consist of 5 Base Station products and 2 client card products.

The 3 Base Stations are:

The 2 client cards are:

The 802.11g base stations can communicate with virtually any 802.11b or 802.11g cards, while the 802.11b base stations can communicate with virtually any 802.11b card. Likewise, either of the client cards can connect to virtually any 802.11 base stations. There is an antenna connector in all AirPort-ready Macintoshes that plugs into the client card; one could assume that you could hack a better antenna. The Lucent Orinoco silver card is a PCMCIA card that can be used nicely in older Macintoshes such as the Powerbook 1400 (see these detailed instructions for doing so). Older Macintosh desktops can use the Lucent card if the computer has an available PCI bus in which to insert the PCI adapter card which holds the PCMCIA card (the PCI holder and the PCMCIA card are quite often sold separately). However, there are a number of PCI and USB solutions for Mac that are far more elegant. I would recommend Belkin's cards, personally, but a host of manufacturers are available.

Pricing and Availability

All of Apple's 802.11b-based products have been discontinued, which means that you can only find them through resellers. Pricing on eBay for the client cards is usually between $50-$100, whereas for the base stations it's usually between $40-$60.

For the 802.11g products, the client cards retail for $79, while the AirPort Extreme Base Stations retail for $199. Interestingly enough, pricing for the PoE/UL2043 version was unavailable. The AirPort Express retails for $129.

AirPort Links

Offers most AirPort-related articles as search results.

iStumbler A nice utility for OS X that lets you find 802.11 and Bluetooth networks.

Wireless Network Products offers antennas.

A good site about the Apple Airport Base station, contains information on how to repair them if the capacitors in the power supply fail due to excess heat.

Directions on how to upgrade the Airport Base Station to 128bit encryption. There are also links on this page to configuration software that runs on other platforms.

Many Airport related utilities, written in Java.

FreeBase: Windows configuration tool for AirPort Base Stations Note that this tool does not set up port forwarding correctly on graphite base stations. Otherwise it is excellent.

Instructions for getting an old PowerBook wireless using a PCMCIA card.

AirPort Supported Radius Server

Free Radius Server

Aradial Radius Server

Hotspot Software

* RadiusServer

Macintosh Wireless Advice - PCMCIA and ExpressCard information

If you are trying to use a 3rd party wireless card, see the MacOS page for driver and software info.


CategoryMacintosh CategoryAccessPointHardware

AppleAirport (last edited 2008-04-13 16:32:57 by localhost)