View Full Version : 802.11a Wireless Networking
Nov 11, 2002, 01:25 AM
Does anyone know when a Mac compatible 802.11a wireless notebook card will be available? I'm a student at the Air Force Academy, and our wireless network has recently been switched from 802.11b to 802.11a in order to decrease its physical range for security reasons (People off base were accessing the network by placing their wireless antennas inside Pringles cans.) My new 1 GHz Powerbook's AirPort card is worthless to me unless I want to set up an AirPort base station here in the dorms (does me no good in the library or in class).
Nov 11, 2002, 01:45 AM
Dude, man, I thought 802.11a was backwards compatible with 802.11b
Nov 11, 2002, 02:25 AM
No, 802.11b is not compatible with 802.11a. And, according to this Thinksecret article (http://www.thinksecret.com/features/airportupdates.html), it seems that Apple is planning to implement 802.11g in the future, but NOT 802.11a... sorry man.
Nov 11, 2002, 03:13 AM
I'm kinda surprised the US Airforce switched to version "a"... They could have just dumped all their PC's and "Switched" to Apple and Presto... no more problem... anyone who wants to listen can feel free, while the Airforce can feel secure.
P.S. ... did the Airforce say you could release its hardware specs Cadet?
Nov 11, 2002, 05:50 AM
switched from 802.11b to 802.11a in order to decrease its physical range
I hope they know 802.11a has a larger range than 802.11b :p
As long as they have proper security in place (like seperating the 'internal spy documents' server from the 'everyone can access' servers), there should be nothing to worry about. a and b are both insecure, just in different ways.
Nov 11, 2002, 05:52 AM
Intel, Cisco, and Proxim, their cards do not work with a Mac. I wish at least one of them did, they are the three that we are testing at work, but their client cards do not yet have drivers.
802.11b operates in the 2.4 GHz range and 802.11a operates in the 5 GHz range. 802.11b uses Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum, while 11a uses Orthagonal Frequency Division Multiplexing. So, no, they are not compatible in the least.
It is most likely that Cisco will release the first Mac drivers. Their drivers for 11b are out of this world. They are not a slave to Microsoft, so will be more likely to produce Mac drivers than, say Intel. Proxim will also have a high likelyhood of Mac Drivers. As a matter of fact, they say they will have Mac OS support for 11a in the first quarter of next year. So hopefully that is January 1st ;-)
I've done alot of checking to find a Mac compatible 11a vendor, I had thought that Cisco had drivers till double checking just now, but they do not. So I think you are out of luck.
as for 802.11g, it will be backwards compatible to 11b, it is what apple will probably use, but it will still be using the same frequency range as bluetooth and a lot of wireless phones.
Nov 11, 2002, 09:02 AM
I suspect it was Notre Dame. They just shut down your wireless network, the same way they shut down your "Option".
But seriously, that is tough. Perhaps you can get a cell phone that has dsl speeds? That is probably a spendy option.
Nov 11, 2002, 09:13 AM
I guess it makes sense for Apple to upgrade to a single mode 802.11g standard since it operates within the same frequency range and is compatible with the AirPort 802.11b standard, but hopefully Apple will look a little farther down the road before making this decision.
If instead, Apple decided to go with a dual mode 802.11g solution, they would allow their users to participate in both 802.11a and 802.11b networks. While this would limit users to speeds of 36 Mbps, it is still a big increase over the current 11 Mbps, and would allow Apple to make a natural progression to the 54 Mbps 802.11a standard in the future.
In the mean time, I'm hoping that one of the earlier mentioned companies in this thread will release Mac drivers for their 802.11a cards within the next few months. We'll see what happens.
(On the bright side, at least I'm finally getting a Mac, and won't have to put up with the world's biggest virus anymore-MS Windows XP)
Nov 11, 2002, 09:16 AM
Proxim already has a dual mode card for PCs that operates at up to 54 Mbps. Too bad they have no Mac drivers as of yet. www.proxim.com/products/all/combocard/index.html