Belkin F5D7000 Observations & Results

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sparky672, Apr 30, 2006.

  1. sparky672 macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2004
    First off, I only want to provide my experience here so that others will have less trouble than I.

    Hardware: Two Blue & White G3's running 10.4.6 and 10.4.6 Server.

    Summary: I purchased a Belkin PCI NIC model F5D7000 (version 4.00), popped it in the Mac and immediately it was recognized as an Airport card with no problems.

    The story doesn't end here because according to the bulk of online information, the F5D7000 uses the Broadcom chipset and works the same as an Airport Extreme card. I only later found out that this is an over-simplification and the version of this card is very critical. I only got lucky as there are now six versions of this card floating around out there. Not even Belkin Tech support can tell them apart.

    I needed to purchase a second one for my other Mac and this is where my aggravation really begins. I was faced with version 4.00 and 5.00 on the shelf. I only selected the 5.00 because it was newer and had a removable antenna where the 4.00 does not. This was a huge mistake as the 5.00 does not work as an Airport Extreme card at all... I could not get it to work... I exchanged it for a version 3.00 and subsequently purchased a version 2.00.


    Let me summarize my test results below.

    v1.00 - Untested but have read that this version contains the Broadcom chipset and works as an Airport card.

    v2.00 - Airport Confirmed with Broadcom chipset. :) Belkin told me this version was not Mac compatible.

    v3.00 - RT2500 chipset and not recognized as an Airport card. However I did get it working with the 11g-RT2500 Drivers provided at this link- -> Even though Belkin's F5D7000 product page mentions Mac compatibility, version 3.00 is the only supported card and that's only with OS 10.2 and 10.3. Belkin's drivers do NOT work in Tiger and Tech support will not assist you with Tiger.

    v4.00 - Airport Confirmed with Broadcom chipset. :) Also note, as far as I could tell, this is the only version without a SMA type removable antenna. Permanent mount that is upside down while in a PowerMac. Easily flipped 180 with some basic tools.

    v5.00 - I can only confirm that this version did NOT work as an Airport card. It may have the same RT chipset and work with the same RT drivers as the 3.00, but I did NOT figure out or confirm this before returning it to the store. :confused:

    v6.00 - ?? unknown. Some stores carry this version but I did not get my hands on one. :confused:

    Conclusion: I think this is a great inexpensive card but it's definitely in a gray area between Mac unsupported and fully supported. Belkin needs to decide which way to go and correct their online documentation and tech support people.

    If you can get your hands on a version 1.00, 2.00, or 4.00, you'll probably be ok with a great card you can setup as an Airport card in under a minute. With version 3.00 (and maybe 5.00 & 6.00), you'll need to do a little more work installing the RT drivers. Actually, setting that up was very easy too but since it's not recognized as Airport, you have to make sure to do the extra configurations so you automatically connect on start-up.

    If you get a Belkin F5D7000 that has neither the Broadcom or RT chipsets, then you are outside of my testing arena and I can't really say if/how that would work in a Mac.

    Other Comments: The most difficult part was finding comprehensive online information about this card, chipsets, versions, and Mac support. Also if you get a RT chipset, the Mac initially will not even see this PCI card, therefore, finding out what chipset you have is virtually impossible. Anyone with a Windows PC handy can install it in there perhaps to find out more details.

    I hope that some people will find my post somewhat helpful. I know I was dying to find a post like this about 24 hours ago.


    UPDATE: User on another forum has confirmed that his version 5.00 requires the RT2500 drivers from Ralinktech confirming my suspicions that this card uses the RT2500 just like the version 3.00.

    Now it would not surprise me to find out version 6.00 is using the Broadcom chipset if we can trust the "sort-of-leap-frogging" pattern here. Anyone using a version 6.00 yet on a Mac?

    UPDATE #2: It seems that once you get above a version 4.00, nothing works with Tiger. It was confirmed that version 6.00 has an RA Link chipset, however it's different than the version 3.00 and nobody has been able to get the RA Link drivers working under Tiger for this card. Version 5.00 has an Atheros chipset and I know of no drivers for that.

    If you have a version 5.00 and above, I think you're out of luck and will have to get your hands on something older.

    Versions 1.00, 2.00, or 4.00 will work as Airport out of the box. Also in a pinch version 3.00 will work but you'll need the third party software and drivers from RA Link.
  2. GfPQqmcRKUvP macrumors 68040


    Sep 29, 2005
    Props on the grammar.
  3. sparky672 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2004
  4. Mr_Ed macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2004
    North and east of Mickeyland

    I picked up an F5D7000 v.5000 from a local retailer a couple of days ago and found it is actually using an Atheros chipset. Looking at the card itself showed the "Atheros" labeled chip plain as day. I could not get it to work on my 2x1Ghz G4 with the OrangeWare or IOExperts drivers either. I returned it and picked up a Linksys WMP54G (v4.1). If you are interested in that card, see my post here.
  5. sparky672 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2004
    I also discovered the Orangeware and IOexperts drivers do not work with the RT2500 chipset on my version 5.000 either.

    You had Atheros chipset on a version 5.000 ? Interesting. Can I assume you didn't even try the Ralinktech drivers just for the heck of it?

    A good source confirmed that version 5.000 had the RT2500 chipset and was able to get it working with the ralinktech drivers. That's a free download too.

    I got three of mine to work and returned the version 5.000 before knowing about the RAlinktech drivers.
  6. Mr_Ed macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2004
    North and east of Mickeyland
    I'm not entirely sure I tried the RT2500 driver on it. I might have since I was in that "try anything" mode.
  7. ce34482 macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2006
    I can confirm that the Belkin F5D7000 ver. 5000 I picked up today at CompUSA had the Atheros AT2413A chipset (VID_168C,DEV_001A). I did not try the Ralink drivers as described above. I was too exhausted after attempting to get it working as either a Broadcom or an Atheros card.

    I guess I'll be taking the card back tomorrow morning and rummaging through their shelves to see if they happen to have an old version.

    Does anyone know of cards by other manufacturers (Netgear, D-Link, Linksys) that might use the Broadcom chipset?
  8. sparky672 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2004

    Look for a Buffalo brand.... Airport out of the box using the Broadcom chipset.
  9. Xapplimatic macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2001
    Happy with Belkin

    I put the (sticker on card back says "v2000") Belkin card with Broadcom chipset into an old beige desktop PowerMac G3 and it worked flawlessly, no drivers needed. The box even said Mac compatible. So much for Belkin tech support's claim huh? This one also has a removable hinged antenna for convenience. No problems at all to speak of. It gets excellent speed.
  10. sparky672 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2004

    Correct. The version 2 was the second card I kept. My version 4 works great too but I like the version 2 because the antenna is removable.
  11. tweakers_suck macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I recently noticed that Belkin

    shows the F5D7000 as Mac compatable on its product description page.

    I was at a Circuit City last week and they had lots of these cards for sale -- mostly version 6000. I almost bought one.

    For only $35 I might just buy one and see how version 6000 works. If it doesn't work straight from the box I'd just return it.
  12. sparky672 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2004
    Yes- this was my whole complaint and the reason for this thread. Belkin product page says it's Mac compatible. Yet if you call and speak with Tech Support, they tell you that only version 3.000 is compatible and only with Panther!
  13. tweakers_suck macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    You are correct. It just doesn't work.

    I tried version 6000 and the Ralink driver on my mac running OS 10.4.7 and could not get it to work. I had a connection to the router, it did disconnect a lot, but many of the packets were in error. I could not get the internet to work at all. I tried both manual and automatic DHCP along with other methods. Could not get it to work so I gave up. Belkin is giving me a full refund.

    Belkin customer support, a very nice lady, tried their best to help me. She said I could either return the wireless card and specifically request version 3000 or try the Ralink driver. Well, I tried the Ralink driver and could not get it working.

    So I bit the bullet and purchased the more expensive Sonnett wireless PCI card last night from OWC.
  14. sparky672 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2004
    Or version 2.000 or version 4.000 which work straight out of the box in Tiger without any special drivers.
  15. tweakers_suck macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    The card I had was version 6000 and contained a Railink RT2561T chip. There were drivers for RT2500 and something called RT61 that I tried and could not get to work properly.
  16. sparky672 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2004

    Interesting. You've confirmed that version 6.000 is shipping with two possible chipsets. I say "two" because several others at the Apple forums report the Atheros chipset on the version 6.000, I believe.

    This is all such a mess.

    Belkin advertises this card as being Mac supported even though only Panther with a version 3.000 will "officially" work.

    Version 2.000 and 4.000 is totally unsupported for Mac by Belkin yet they work perfectly with Tiger.

    Everything else is a total crap-shoot.

    Belkin needs to clean this up and either support all versions in the latest version of OS X at the least. Or totally remove the mention of Apple support on their sales pages.
  17. tweakers_suck macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I received and installed my Sonnet wireless PCI card today. It has the Broadcom chip on it and functions like an Airport Extreme card in my Sawtooth. I had it installed and connected to my Airport Extreme Base Station in 5 minutes.

    It is a little expensive, but also hassle-free and works.
  18. fuzzmaistah macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2006
    Chipset for version 6.000

    I've contacted the tech support and they confirm there are two versions of chipsets on Mac cards. They are (according to the agent) Ralink RT2527, RT2561T (RT61).

    I don't know if there are drivers for those cards. I still need to check them.
  19. mcduff macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2006
    F5D7000 version 6000

    I just got the Belkin F5D7000 version 6000 with a Ralink RT2561T chipset. So far I haven't gotten it to work in Tiger. If anyone has a link to a driver it would be much appreciated
  20. tweakers_suck macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I don't believe you will get that card to work in a Mac. I tried both drivers available for download from Ralink's website and could not get it to work. See posts above. I was using the exact card that you have (version 6000 with RT2561T chipset).

    EDIT: link to Ralink driver page added.
  21. sparky672 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2004
    I got mine at Staples. Drove to three stores where I found versions 2.00, 3.00, 4.00, and 5.00 in various quantities depending on location.

    I kept trying them out and exchanging for another version. Got 2.00, 3.00, and 4.00 to work. 2.00 and 4.00 as an Airport card without any trouble and 3.00 with the third party software from RALink and a little fiddling around.

    I kept the 2.00 and 4.00.

    This was my whole purpose in this post, trying to save others from driving around all week like I did.

    My recommendation is to find a version 1.00, 2.00 or a 4.00. Otherwise, give up, spend a couple more bucks and get a Buffalo card which everyone else claims will immediately work as an Airport card too. At least you won't have this Belkin problem of a cornucopia of random chipset versions and conflicting tech support information.
  22. mrsnak macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2006
    Came off the Apple board where I found this thread.

    Just picked up a 4000. After having no luck with the 6000, this, at least, is recognized, but it's not seeing the network. Airport hub is less than 10 ft away.
    Antenna on the 4000 only these only rotates left to right.
    Any thoughts? 10.3.9 on Mirror Door 867
  23. sparky672 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2004

    Not sure. I have Tiger.

    The 4.00 is one of the easiest ones to setup. If you're seeing an Airport icon then the hardest part is done.

    What do you mean by "not seeing"? What have you tried so far? Can anything else "see" the SSID?
  24. mrsnak macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2006
    See the icon, but no signal, no network recognized. Security is off at Airport Extreme base station. (Could problem be incompatibility with AP Extreme base?) Triede everything I could think of. My G5 and G3 ibook see it just fine.
  25. mrsnak macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2006
    I also have an unregistered copy of the Orangeware wireless software that I was trying to use for a Netgear card.
    Could there be a conflict?
    To deinstall this software requires logging in as root user.
    Unfortunately, Apple FAQ
    is apparently wrong for 10.3.9 users. When I follow the instructions, I don't get the option "other" when relogging in.

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