View Full Version : Connecting to wireless network with PowerBook G4
Jan 19, 2010, 10:17 AM
Hello. I'm hoping someone can help me out here. I got this laptop from a friend but I'm having trouble connecting to the wireless network in my house. It's a PowerBook G4 15" FW800, and it uses a plug-in Orinoco Wi-Fi card, with 128-bit encryption (not sure what type of card, it uses the long, but not very tall port on the left side of the laptop).
This works okay, although the card kind of stinks and even a couple walls in the way completely eliminate the signal. However, after half an hour, the internet no longer works can I get a message saying that the 802.11 IOXperts driver's 30-minute demo is over and I need to reset to get it working again. The internet cuts out at this point.
Obviously, the IOXperts driver just interfaces with the Orinoco card to find the wireless network. My question is, with my model of PowerBook, is it possible to find a free driver instead of IOXperts that doesn't demand money, or alternatively is IOXperts, for a presumably one-time fee of $20, a good way to go?
Suggesting a cheap but better alternative to the lousy Orinoco card would be welcome as well.
Jan 19, 2010, 11:08 AM
I have a horrible feeling I have not understood this post properly.
However, according to http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=86459 this Powerbook 15" FW800 has Airport built in, so why bother with a 3rd party card? Or is the inbuilt airport broken?
Forgive me if I've got this all wrong...
Jan 19, 2010, 12:12 PM
Thanks for replying. I don't know if this has AirPort built in, or how I would use it. The laptop did not come with any kind of wireless base station or anything like that, however. It's running Tiger, by the way.
Jan 19, 2010, 02:26 PM
Check System Preferences under Network. Make sure Airport is turned on, then configure it to access your router/access point.
The laptop would not come with it's own wireless base station, but if you're connecting wirelessly with a card you have a wireless base station, router, or access point nearby, because you're already connecting to it with the IOXperts card.
Jan 19, 2010, 04:51 PM
I don't see any references in System Preferences to AirPort at all. Here's what my Network settings look like:  (http://img687.imageshack.us/img687/6893/picture1de.png),  (http://img135.imageshack.us/img135/4108/picture2xe.png). This is with ioxPerts uninstalled. When it is installed, I believe there's a reference in  to Ethernet Adaptor (en1), which works.
Jan 19, 2010, 05:19 PM
For starters, I don't know anything about that Orinocco card or the driver which you got a trial for...what I can offer is a possible alternate solution.
First, some backstory: The AirPort Extreme card was an optional CTO configuration for the PowerBook G4 with the 1 GHz processor. Only the 1.25 had it built-in as standard.
That said, if you can find one (an AirPort Extreme card) on eBay or another e-retailer I would recommend going that route as the driver for that will be already in the OS (looks like you have 10.4, should try to update to 10.4.11 before installing the AirPort hardware). To install the card, pop out the battery and there's a slot with a hinge that you can expose and install the card into. Don't forget to connect the antenna or it won't work properly. When you power on the system and login, and access your Network preferences it'll probably report that it's found a new interface and prompt you to confirm the configuration. Then it's just a matter of turning on the AirPort card and then looking for a WiFi network to connect to.
Jan 21, 2010, 02:54 PM
Does anyone have any more info on this? I've uninstalled the 802.11b IOXperts driver and I know my Orinoco card can connect to the internet. All it needs is a driver to help it. Are free ones available, or should I just plonk down the $20? See my above post for screenshots of my Network settings.
As for JediMeister's suggestion: Will an AirPort Express have better signal strength than my current card, which is easily stopped by more than 3 walls?
Jan 21, 2010, 06:37 PM
An AirPort Express is a wireless router. An AirPort Extreme can refer to either a wireless router or the actual AirPort card that is compatible for your system. I would assume that the Extreme (card) would be of higher performance/quality than the Orinocco, since it was specifically built by Apple to work with the system natively with the drivers embedded in the OS.
That said, signal strength is not so much an issue with the receiver, as it is with the broadcaster. Routers which support the g standard can penetrate certain housing materials, routers which support the n standard cannot penetrate as many but may allow for quicker speeds. Look over this article (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1365) which discusses sources of interference and how to try to combat them.