BearExtender Turbo Adds 802.11ac Wi-Fi to Older Macs - MacRumors Forums
Register FAQ / Rules Forum Spy Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Go Back   MacRumors Forums > News and Article Discussion > Mac Blog Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Dec 13, 2013, 10:07 AM   #1
MacRumors
macrumors bot
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
BearExtender Turbo Adds 802.11ac Wi-Fi to Older Macs




BearExtender today announced the launch of BearExtender Turbo, a new USB-based solution for adding faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity to older Macs. Regularly priced at $80 but available through Amazon for $70, BearExtender Turbo can boost Wi-Fi speeds by up to 2-3x for Macs supporting USB 3.0 but not 802.11ac natively.

Quote:
Using AJA System Test on Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks, a 2GB file was transferred between a Mid-2012 802.11n MacBook Air and a 2013 Apple Time Capsule at a rate of 10.66 Megabytes per second (MB/s not megabits). The same test with BearExtender Turbo connected to the MacBook Air's USB 3.0 port had a rate of 23.84 MB/s, more than twice the Macbook Air's internal Wi-Fi card.
While speed bottlenecks for most users will continue to be their actual ISP connections when connecting to the Internet, 802.11ac is particularly useful for transferring large amounts of data between machines within a network.

BearExtender Turbo supports maximum throughput of 867 Mbps and includes dual-band connectivity at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz for maximum speed and compatibility. The device's two antennas can also be removed for portability.

Article Link: BearExtender Turbo Adds 802.11ac Wi-Fi to Older Macs
MacRumors is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 13, 2013, 10:10 AM   #2
troop231
macrumors 601
 
troop231's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: NSLog(@"Earth");
Not as elegant as the solution I was devising for cMBP's http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost...7&postcount=96
__________________
iPhone 5
2013 15" rMBP 2.6
troop231 is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 13, 2013, 10:30 AM   #3
jclardy
macrumors 68020
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Seems decent...but I think I would just plug in a gigabit ethernet adapter if I am going to have a cord sticking out. AC is mostly going to be of use in your own home at the moment so portability isn't much of a factor here.
__________________
Swift Fox Software | Amounts - Expense Tracker | Rocket Chimp | TargetTap Lite | TargetTap
jclardy is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 13, 2013, 10:41 AM   #4
tomhumphrey
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
What about a thunderbolt version so i can use it with my mac mini. Pretty sure you can get gigabit ethernet ones of these tho so that could work
__________________
Late 2009 Macbook; 2011 Mac mini: Both with SSD and 8GB of ram; iPhone 5 16GB; iPad mini 16GB
tomhumphrey is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 13, 2013, 11:02 AM   #5
clukas
macrumors 6502a
 
clukas's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Quite an expensive solution for what it does. The chipsets inside probably cost a mere $5. I dont see the point of this, unless you have to share vast volumes of data on your home network, and if thats the case then a wired ethernet solution would probably be better and cheaper.
__________________
 iMac 27 (Late 2012)  13" MacBook Pro Retina (Late 2013)  iPod Touch 3nd Gen 8 GB  iPhone 5  iPad 4 ATV
clukas is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 13, 2013, 11:44 AM   #6
johnmacward
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
I really don't see the point in this. Considering the benefits of AC over N are negligible in the most realistic conditions, you also have to be within reasonable noise free distance of the AP and then have a piece dangling out of your Air. Why not get a dedicated gigabit cable and plug it into a much smaller and cheaper adapter. Even over long distances this is more reliable. The use case is so slim in my opinion
johnmacward is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 13, 2013, 01:21 PM   #7
jtara
macrumors 65816
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Maybe if you understand the point of Bear Extender in general, it would help...

Most current notebooks don't have an antenna connector any more. In some cases, you might need an external antenna - perhaps even a directional one - to get a good WiFi connection. The only means of doing this, then, is by using some external adapter, typically connected by USB. (Unless you want to hack your notebook to bring out an external antenna connector.)

So, that's the need that the original BearExtender addresses.

For most such uses, 802.11ac is a non-issue, as well as even N. People in this situation are usually happy to get any kind of signal at all, and are usually connecting to access points that support neither 802.11ac or N.

But this bascially fills-in their product line with something that will work with 802.11ac. Starbucks isn't going to have 802.11ac any time soon. But maybe you want to work from the pool, and your WiFi doesn't reach.

I'd think that given the overall focus for BearExtender, adding 802.11ac to older Macbooks is really a minor point.

There are a number of similar products from Alfa that are also excellent.
jtara is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 13, 2013, 03:28 PM   #8
mdelvecchio
macrumors 68000
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by jclardy View Post
Seems decent...but I think I would just plug in a gigabit ethernet adapter if I am going to have a cord sticking out. AC is mostly going to be of use in your own home at the moment so portability isn't much of a factor here.
plugging in an ethernet adapter would be completely useless in my home -- there is no router in all but one room of the house, and the house is not hard wired. so how could i plug in an ethernet cable?

so a wifi .ac solution is a much better solution for this common use case.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by clukas View Post
Quite an expensive solution for what it does. The chipsets inside probably cost a mere $5.
ah yes. so where is your EE degree from? where can i view your product portfolio? very interested in your expert work. you are an expert in the field of components, right?

Quote:
I dont see the point of this,
a common problem. we'll forgive you.

Quote:
unless you have to share vast volumes of data on your home network, and if thats the case then a wired ethernet solution would probably be better and cheaper.
what good would an ethernet solution do in my patio? useless.


----------


Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmacward View Post
I really don't see the point in this.
again, a common shortcoming in techies -- inability to empathize with use cases not their own.

Quote:
Considering the benefits of AC over N are negligible in the most realistic conditions,
the test data says otherwise. further, besides transmission speeds, the big advantage of .ac i see in my own home is that of range -- finally my router can reach the back of the home and the patio.

Quote:
Why not get a dedicated gigabit cable and plug it into a much smaller and cheaper adapter.
living in a historic plaster home, wiring the entire thing for ethernet is not an option.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by troop231 View Post
Not as elegant as the solution I was devising for cMBP's http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost...7&postcount=96
where can we buy your more-elegant solution? oh, nowhere.

ive brought products to market before. things come up, limitations arise. everything is perfect in your mind until you hit reality, then compromises must be made. so thats why this solition is less elegant than the one in your mind -- because it's real.
mdelvecchio is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 13, 2013, 05:03 PM   #9
advancewarsbest
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Guys this isn't really for most people. I mean after a while the price would drop for people needing better range in a bigger home / bad wifi area.

This is perfect for businesses with big buildings with botched reception in areas, but most importantly a way to get faster downloads and big files across faster, which makes this device worth it, you save time, you save money in the long run.

Not to mention its a simple upgrade that anyone can do rather than buying a whole new sets of computers...Assuming troop231 doesn't work for that company
advancewarsbest is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 13, 2013, 06:26 PM   #10
furi0usbee
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
I'm returning my Bear extender (the version right before this). It's only 2.4Ghz and it couldn't pick up a network across the street I can get with my iPhone.
__________________
YouTube - Apple iPhone Support Hotline (Actual Phone Call Recording)
MacBook Pro 15" (Retina) 2.3GHz i7 / 8GB RAM  iPad mini (AT&T) (16GB)
furi0usbee is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 13, 2013, 08:39 PM   #11
9000
Banned
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Hyrule
But it's USB. Will the USB be a performance issue?

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by troop231 View Post
Not as elegant as the solution I was devising for cMBP's http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost...7&postcount=96
Haha nice. Sorry it didn't work out though.
9000 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 13, 2013, 11:36 PM   #12
rodriguise
macrumors member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: San Jose, CA
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmacward View Post
I really don't see the point in this. Considering the benefits of AC over N are negligible in the most realistic conditions, you also have to be within reasonable noise free distance of the AP and then have a piece dangling out of your Air. Why not get a dedicated gigabit cable and plug it into a much smaller and cheaper adapter. Even over long distances this is more reliable. The use case is so slim in my opinion
What a nearsighted assertion. Is a home-office a realistic condition enough for you?
__________________
"If you gotta ask, you'll never know..."

Late 2008 MBP | iPhone 5 | Box of stale Ritz | 3 Paperclips | A Roll of duct tape | Fifth of Tullamore (neat)
rodriguise is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 14, 2013, 12:00 AM   #13
AnonMac50
macrumors 65816
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
I believe that the AC card from the 2013 retina MBP can be used on the 2012 model.
__________________
[Tutorial] Three Finger Drag on Non-supported Multitouch Macs (MAJOR UPDATES!!! (8/7/2013))
Front Row for Lion
Now I know why the maps icon wants you to jump off of a bridge!
AnonMac50 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 14, 2013, 08:07 AM   #14
McGiord
macrumors 68040
 
McGiord's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Dark Castle
The current state of this solution is kind of cumbersome, if they make it a small dongle it would work better.
I am a home user and I do see the advantage of having something like this, as I have a MBP with n speed and the a AirPort Extreme AC therefore to have Time Machine backups over the air it would be faster.
Hopefully newer revisions and competitors may produce something more practical/portable.

Edit:
Here is one:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00CL5...tag=price33-20
Any functional difference between this and the bear extender?

https://discussions.apple.com/message/23324537#23324537
So the speed of the bus is still a limitation to get the right speed, unless they split the connection in parallel with the actual Mac Wi-Fi and combine it with the USB port input...
__________________
And now what is NeXT?

Last edited by McGiord; Dec 14, 2013 at 08:18 AM.
McGiord is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 15, 2013, 12:20 AM   #15
macgabe
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
deleted

Last edited by macgabe; Dec 15, 2013 at 01:49 AM.
macgabe is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 15, 2013, 12:43 AM   #16
Mr Dobey
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
I would be interested if it were a three antenna configuration for the full 1.3Gb/s 802.11ac experience.
Mr Dobey is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 15, 2013, 01:25 AM   #17
Jessica Lares
macrumors 603
 
Jessica Lares's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Near Dallas, Texas, USA
There are other ways to deal with ethernet cables than just shoving them through walls. You can just tape them to the carpet and they work just as good. Do it properly and you forget it's there. My dad does this, and so does my college. They just hook it directly to another router the machine (my college uses AirPort bases, the G4 era ones).

It's a much better setup than having a dongle hanging off your machine. You're sitting in your patio, relaxing, why would you want that in your way?

If you have at least ONE router, this is possible. Is it inefficient? Of course. But paying $70 for a solution like the BearExtender Turbo is neither more practical or efficient. It'll be a complete headache dragging that around the house.
__________________
Have You Hugged Your Mac Today?
Daily Expressions | iMac G4 | Late 2011 13" MacBook Pro | iPod Nano (7G) | iPad Mini | iPod Touch (5G) | iPhone 5S
Jessica Lares is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 15, 2013, 07:09 AM   #18
mikegrad
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
good idea, why not thunderbolt?

I wold actually consider using this on my 2010 imac - its in the same room as my new aiport extreme with AC, and my wife wont let me run an ethernet cable across the room. But since its only usb2.0 im not sure its worth it.

Last edited by mikegrad; Dec 15, 2013 at 07:09 AM. Reason: spelled using wrong
mikegrad is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 15, 2013, 11:47 AM   #19
Mr. Wonderful
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by McGiord View Post
The current state of this solution is kind of cumbersome, if they make it a small dongle it would work better.
I am a home user and I do see the advantage of having something like this, as I have a MBP with n speed and the a AirPort Extreme AC therefore to have Time Machine backups over the air it would be faster.
Hopefully newer revisions and competitors may produce something more practical/portable.

Edit:
Here is one:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00CL5...tag=price33-20
Any functional difference between this and the bear extender?

https://discussions.apple.com/message/23324537#23324537
So the speed of the bus is still a limitation to get the right speed, unless they split the connection in parallel with the actual Mac Wi-Fi and combine it with the USB port input...
Regarding that second link, that poster doesn't know what's he's talking about. USB 3.0 is 5.0Gbps, theoretical, 802.11ac is up to 1.7Gbps theoretical. That user converted USB 3.0 randomly to MBps, while leaving the other in Mbps. Different units.
Mr. Wonderful is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 16, 2013, 03:09 PM   #20
Botts85
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Quote:
Using AJA System Test on Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks, a 2GB file was transferred between a Mid-2012 802.11n MacBook Air and a 2013 Apple Time Capsule at a rate of 10.66 Megabytes per second (MB/s not megabits). The same test with BearExtender Turbo connected to the MacBook Air's USB 3.0 port had a rate of 23.84 MB/s, more than twice the Macbook Air's internal Wi-Fi card.
On my rMBP, with 802.11n, I routinely hit 20-25 MB/s to my early 2006 MacBook which hosts my Time Machine.

I'd be hoping for way better throughput than that to justify the expense.
Botts85 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 17, 2013, 05:52 AM   #21
johnmacward
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdelvecchio View Post
again, a common shortcoming in techies -- inability to empathize with use cases not their own.
If I had this need, this monstrosity at that price would not be my solution. My MacBook is mobile. Not a plant with branches and twigs sticking out of it. Because it's so ungainly the only place you can use this practically is at a desk, not on the couch where it falls down beside you and you crush it with a cushion (or your ass) or someone else sits down and wrecks it or pulls it out of the port.

Something tells me something more elegant may come around in the future and considering I "might NOT" get an actual 6 MB/s increase in "realistic" conditions, maybe 2MB/s then I think "negatives" win here against all the "positives".
johnmacward is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 3, 2014, 12:54 PM   #22
JamietheMac
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
BearExtender Turbo can boost Wi-Fi speeds by up to 2-3x for Macs supporting USB 3.0 but not 802.11ac natively.

so what macs are going to have usb3 but not ac natively?
JamietheMac is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 3, 2014, 02:25 PM   #23
drambuie
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamietheMac View Post
BearExtender Turbo can boost Wi-Fi speeds by up to 2-3x for Macs supporting USB 3.0 but not 802.11ac natively.

so what macs are going to have usb3 but not ac natively?
The 2012 Macs have USB3, but only 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi.
drambuie is offline   0 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > News and Article Discussion > Mac Blog Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
PowerBook G4 802.11b AirPort and 802.11ac Time Capsule abingor PowerPC Macs 0 Jul 27, 2013 03:19 AM
802.11ac bbapps Mac Peripherals 2 May 4, 2013 12:28 PM
Code in OS X 10.8.4 Suggests Future Macs Will Offer 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi Support MacRumors MacRumors.com News Discussion 67 Apr 22, 2013 09:16 AM
802.11n -> 802.11ac SparkyCanada MacBook Pro 35 Feb 5, 2013 11:45 PM
Apple Reportedly Strikes Deal with Broadcom to Add 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi to 2013 Macs MacRumors MacRumors.com News Discussion 125 Jan 12, 2013 10:52 AM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:18 AM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2013, MacRumors.com, LLC