Adding airport card to Mac Mini


robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
24,510
27
London
If you bought a Mac Mini without Airport or Bluetooth you need to get the special Airport & Bluetooth module for the Mini and have it installed by a Mac specialist. You cannot use the standard Airport Extreme card that Apple sell: it does not fit.
 

monty77

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 4, 2005
591
167
UK, South Coast
robbieduncan said:
If you bought a Mac Mini without Airport or Bluetooth you need to get the special Airport & Bluetooth module for the Mini and have it installed by a Mac specialist. You cannot use the standard Airport Extreme card that Apple sell: it does not fit.
Bugger. Thanks anyways...
Adam
 

stevep

macrumors 6502a
Oct 13, 2004
875
2
UK
Thinking about a mini myself, and have done a little research on this very topic.
Try:
http://www.byodkm.net/forums/showthread.php?t=667
and:
http://www.macworld.com/weblogs/editors/2005/01/miniopen/index.php

I'm not sure how easy it is to actually buy the parts needed (where are you??), but if you can get them I don't see why it isn't possible - after all, you can get them added by an Apple techie, and they're only human after all.

As to which parts, the first web site says that you need the standard Airport card - maybe someone else who has actually done this mod can help here.

Please post back if you find out any more info - if I buy a mini I'd probably want to do the same as you
 

wPod

macrumors 68000
Aug 19, 2003
1,654
0
Denver, CO
does anyone know if apple is installing these yet? i got my little bro a mini the day they came out from the apple store (so no BTO options) and they said then they couldnt put in wireless. ive seen apple's site go back and forht on the concept if they can actually be installed after purchase or not. just wondering.
 

stevep

macrumors 6502a
Oct 13, 2004
875
2
UK
wPod - look on the Apple web site:
Quote:
These options are not user-installable on Mac mini and can be added later only by an authorized service provider.
Unquote

Which means of course that they are user installable provided you can buy the bits and provided you don't mind about your warranty.
 

za9ra22

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2003
518
72
The Airport Extreme card itself in a Mini is a standard item - it's just the 'mezzanine' card (complete with antenna) that is specific to the Mini and which I am led to believe will be shipped only to authorized dealers to install. As yet, these don't appear to be available, though I was told by a local Apple service agent that they are expected soon.

My guess is that it won't be long before we see these appearing in small numbers on ebay - and from the look of it the install process is pretty easy.
 

redeye be

macrumors 65816
Jan 27, 2005
1,138
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BXL
a pdf on this site shows u how to open up the mini. If you can get your hands on the card, you can install is i'd say.
I do believe it is not a standard airport card. I doubt even apple isn't able to put them in, maybe they're just out of stock.
 

monty77

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 4, 2005
591
167
UK, South Coast
stevep said:
Thinking about a mini myself, and have done a little research on this very topic.
Try:
http://www.byodkm.net/forums/showthread.php?t=667
and:
http://www.macworld.com/weblogs/editors/2005/01/miniopen/index.php

I'm not sure how easy it is to actually buy the parts needed (where are you??), but if you can get them I don't see why it isn't possible - after all, you can get them added by an Apple techie, and they're only human after all.

As to which parts, the first web site says that you need the standard Airport card - maybe someone else who has actually done this mod can help here.

Please post back if you find out any more info - if I buy a mini I'd probably want to do the same as you
I'm in the UK, but travel reasonably frequently to the US so getting parts shouldn't be a problem. Pricey though! $140odd plus the Extreme card that I just paid £49 for ($90).

Think I'll stick with wired for now and use the extreme card in the iMac when I upgrade.

Cheers!
Adam
 

saunders45

macrumors 6502a
Jul 29, 2004
514
0
Um, yeah... I went through this whole debacle for a switcher friend of mine about 3 weeks ago. Here is what I was told by our apple business account manager, as she was the only one who could actually get us a straight answer.

Apparently, apple stores do not, and never will carry the daughtercard to attach the airport cards to the mac mini mobo. Also, they can't even order them to install for you. I was told that the only hope you have, is basically getting it from a reseller and installing it yourself. Oh, and you have to get the bluetooth also, its integrated on the daughtercard.

As I said, I spent countless hours on the phone with misc. apple reps trying to figure wtf waws going on. We told our buisness rep to put a hold on our xserve order (which rock btw) because the irony is, my switcher friend is also our inventory/acountant who handles all P.O's. Kinda sucked for everyone.

So what we had to do was return his mini, and they shipped him a new one, with the card already installed. It just arrived yesterday. Great, considering we picked up the first on on january 22nd.

Gotta love Apple. ;)
 

monty77

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 4, 2005
591
167
UK, South Coast
saunders45 said:
Um, yeah... I went through this whole debacle for a switcher friend of mine about 3 weeks ago. Here is what I was told by our apple business account manager, as she was the only one who could actually get us a straight answer.

Apparently, apple stores do not, and never will carry the daughtercard to attach the airport cards to the mac mini mobo. Also, they can't even order them to install for you. I was told that the only hope you have, is basically getting it from a reseller and installing it yourself. Oh, and you have to get the bluetooth also, its integrated on the daughtercard.

As I said, I spent countless hours on the phone with misc. apple reps trying to figure wtf waws going on. We told our buisness rep to put a hold on our xserve order (which rock btw) because the irony is, my switcher friend is also our inventory/acountant who handles all P.O's. Kinda sucked for everyone.

So what we had to do was return his mini, and they shipped him a new one, with the card already installed. It just arrived yesterday. Great, considering we picked up the first on on january 22nd.

Gotta love Apple. ;)
Crazy way to business if you ask me and it's not at all clear (on the UK website at least) that you need to have it BTO or not at all.

Anyone found a USB WiFi adapter that works yet? My D-Link DWL122 was hopefull but caused OSX to hang frequently :(

Adam
 

za9ra22

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2003
518
72
monty77 said:
... and it's not at all clear (on the UK website at least) that you need to have it BTO or not at all....
That isn't what Apple appear to be saying. According to both the US and UK Apple Store sites (and numerous Mac sources) Airport can either be bought as a BTO option or subsequently as an add-in through a service agent. The quote is:

"Wireless Options
Customize your Mac mini with an internal Bluetooth module for wireless access to printers, cell phones, PDAs, input devices and other peripherals. And get ready for the freedom of wireless networking from anywhere in your home or dorm by adding an AirPort Extreme Card. (These options are not user-installable on Mac mini and can be added later only by an authorized service provider.)"

My service provider says he currently does not have the add-in Airport/BT card, but is expecting them.
 

saunders45

macrumors 6502a
Jul 29, 2004
514
0
Correct. As our representative understood it, 3rd party resellers may get them, but apple retail stores will not.
 

monty77

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 4, 2005
591
167
UK, South Coast
za9ra22 said:
That isn't what Apple appear to be saying. According to both the US and UK Apple Store sites (and numerous Mac sources) Airport can either be bought as a BTO option or subsequently as an add-in through a service agent. The quote is:

"Wireless Options
Customize your Mac mini with an internal Bluetooth module for wireless access to printers, cell phones, PDAs, input devices and other peripherals. And get ready for the freedom of wireless networking from anywhere in your home or dorm by adding an AirPort Extreme Card. (These options are not user-installable on Mac mini and can be added later only by an authorized service provider.)"

My service provider says he currently does not have the add-in Airport/BT card, but is expecting them.
Oh I see...

When I read the usual 'authorized dealer' blurb I take that to mean 'it's easy to install, but we want to shaft you financially for the service' .. in this case it would appear some special powers are required, if only to source the parts at a reasonable cost :)

Anyone know if the iMac is the same deal?

Cheers,
Adam
 

za9ra22

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2003
518
72
monty77 said:
Oh I see...

When I read the usual 'authorized dealer' blurb I take that to mean 'it's easy to install, but we want to shaft you financially for the service' .. in this case it would appear some special powers are required, if only to source the parts at a reasonable cost :)

Anyone know if the iMac is the same deal?

Cheers,
Adam
I don't doubt that at least in part, Apple's motive in respect of the Mini is to keep initial cost as low as possible and subsequent profits from add-ins as high as possible, but since fitting an Airport add-in doesn't look like it would be hard, and that it's entirely possible the modules will appear for sale in places other than authorized providers, even if Apple don't intend for that to be so, it might be worth waiting for some users.

But the iMac doesn't have the same practical restrictions on add-ins and upgrades - meaning that amongst other things, a standard Airport Extreme card can be added by the owner with no difficulty, and without incurring Apple's displeasure!
 

stevep

macrumors 6502a
Oct 13, 2004
875
2
UK
monty77 - I've trawled almost all the web this afternoon on this topic!! Unfortunately without much success. It appears that its possible to buy the bits in the States (at a price), and if you don't mind about the warranty, there's plenty of info on how to take the mini apart and fit them.

My conclusion is that its easier and cheaper to go the BTO route. If you've already bought the mini, external bluetooth and wireless via a usb hub is the easiest alternative.

Thanks for posting this question - it has raised a load of interesting replies, with maybe more to come.
 

monty77

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 4, 2005
591
167
UK, South Coast
stevep said:
monty77 - I've trawled almost all the web this afternoon on this topic!! Unfortunately without much success. It appears that its possible to buy the bits in the States (at a price), and if you don't mind about the warranty, there's plenty of info on how to take the mini apart and fit them.

My conclusion is that its easier and cheaper to go the BTO route. If you've already bought the mini, external bluetooth and wireless via a usb hub is the easiest alternative.

Thanks for posting this question - it has raised a load of interesting replies, with maybe more to come.
What do you mean wireless by a USB hub? I've yet to find a USB WiFi adapter that works with the Mini :(

Nice and spicy this thread, loads of info :D
Cheers,
Adam
 

za9ra22

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2003
518
72
From experiences I've seen posted around the various Mac support sites, I'd say that USB Wi-Fi seems generally far too probematic to take it seriously as an alternative to an Airport/Airport Extreme card. Some users report reasonable sucess, but a lot report non-existent, poor or unreliable connections.

I'd agree with the notion that at present, if wi-fi is wanted, adding the AE option as a BTO would be the way to go. In my situation I decided against it on the basis that the Mini was going to be in a fixed location and that eventually I'd add the necessary mezzanine adaptor and AE card myself as and when I could obtain them, in the knowledge that Apple were not going to release the AE add-in as a publicly available part, but that typically these components, or copies, have eventually made it to market by other means than Apple's distribution channel.
 

stevep

macrumors 6502a
Oct 13, 2004
875
2
UK
Yes, not very clear. The usb hub is needed because you presumably also need to plug in a mouse and k/board. USB bluetooth dongles are ok, but I agree that folks have had 'mixed' results with usb wi-fi on OS X. I'm afraid I've no personal experience of using one on a Mac, but several guys at work use them on pc laptops without problems.

With an iMac or a PM G5 I would just use an ethernet cable, but an Airport makes a bit more sense on a mini - eg using it in the living room, linked to the hi-fi etc. Cuts down on the cabling.

Perhaps these components will start appearing on eBay over the next few months......????
 

monty77

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 4, 2005
591
167
UK, South Coast
stevep said:
Yes, not very clear. The usb hub is needed because you presumably also need to plug in a mouse and k/board. USB bluetooth dongles are ok, but I agree that folks have had 'mixed' results with usb wi-fi on OS X. I'm afraid I've no personal experience of using one on a Mac, but several guys at work use them on pc laptops without problems.

With an iMac or a PM G5 I would just use an ethernet cable, but an Airport makes a bit more sense on a mini - eg using it in the living room, linked to the hi-fi etc. Cuts down on the cabling.

Perhaps these components will start appearing on eBay over the next few months......????
I follow now...bought a Belkin 7 port USB hub to deal with the lack of ports on the Mini - works great.

re: The DLink DWL122 adapter problems - the drivers say they're only for OSX 10.2 so maybe there will be an update at some point. I've shot their support an email to see what they say.

Adam
 

jsfpa

macrumors regular
Oct 26, 2003
213
41
adding wireless

Isn't it possible to use an airport express? I was under the impression you can set up the ethernet port as a LAN. If I'm correct you can just connect to the ethernet port on the Mini. A bit bulky but I think it will work.

Anybody have any experience using an express this way? :confused:
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,089
4
Sol III - Terra
re: adding wireless

jsfpa said:
Isn't it possible to use an airport express? I was under the impression you can set up the ethernet port as a LAN. If I'm correct you can just connect to the ethernet port on the Mini. A bit bulky but I think it will work.

Anybody have any experience using an express this way? :confused:
Yes, this does work. Depending on how you want to set it up, you might need an Apple AirPort base for your main wireless base station.
 

rimmer

macrumors newbie
Apr 8, 2005
1
0
monty77 said:
What do you mean wireless by a USB hub? I've yet to find a USB WiFi adapter that works with the Mini :(

Nice and spicy this thread, loads of info :D
Cheers,
Adam
The Belkin F5D6050 works smoothly. It's a bit old (802.11b), but fine for home use.
 

Mechcozmo

macrumors 603
Jul 17, 2004
5,215
2
monty77 said:
re: The DLink DWL122 adapter problems - the drivers say they're only for OSX 10.2 so maybe there will be an update at some point. I've shot their support an email to see what they say.
That adapter had issues with OS X. Any version. Kernel Panics, etc.

Stay away!
 

cazlar

macrumors 6502
Oct 2, 2003
492
11
Sydney, Australia
monty77 said:
re: The DLink DWL122 adapter problems - the drivers say they're only for OSX 10.2 so maybe there will be an update at some point. I've shot their support an email to see what they say.
I don't have one of these, but by coincidence I was researching these adapters yesterday. Apparently what you want are the v1.7.4 drivers which are meant to be much more stable than earlier ones.