Enabling 802.11n help needed

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by muskysnax, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. muskysnax macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Muskoka region Canada
    #1
    Hey everyone, it's my first post here and hopefully someone can help answer my questions.
    I have a white Macbook which should have the ability to enable 802.11n with the available download from the Mac Store. I just bought the download and tried to use it. I get a message saying "Your computer does not meet the hardware requirements for this update."

    The thing is my computer DOES meet the requirements based on what I read on the download page. Anyone else had this issue? I want to enable my Macbook to use 802.11n since I just bought an N Wireless Router.

    Here's my Macbook specs:

    Model Name: MacBook
    Model Identifier: MacBook4,1
    Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
    Processor Speed: 2.4 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 1
    Total Number Of Cores: 2
    L2 Cache: 3 MB
    Memory: 4 GB
    Bus Speed: 800 MHz
     
  2. NewMacbookPlz macrumors 68040

    NewMacbookPlz

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    #2
    IIRC, your MacBook is the Early 2008 version, which would have the N feature available out of the box. It was the late 2006/early 2007 models of Core2Duo MacBooks that had to have the feature "unlocked."

    Edit: Yeah, after looking at http://guides.macrumors.com/MacBook, it seems as the MacBook 2,1 was the only one that needed the "upgrade." As long as you bought after May 2007 you won't need that file, sorry =\
     
  3. muskysnax thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Muskoka region Canada
    #3
    Are you saying that my Macbook already is using 802.11n when connected to the "n" router?
     
  4. eman macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Location:
    In the great white north
    #4
    Yes, you already have the 802.11n on the 2.4 macbook, it was standard with Leopard OS X.
     
  5. NewMacbookPlz macrumors 68040

    NewMacbookPlz

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    #5
    Yup. It very well should. Although, if you move too far away you may fall back to slower speeds and G instead of N. Wireless networking's speed is very distance dependent.
     
  6. muskysnax thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Muskoka region Canada
    #6
    Thanks so much for the quick answers guys. much appreciate it!:)
    I notice that my signal strength is often between 40% and 50% when scanning it with AirRadar. Would a USB n device increase my signal strength? I see that there are many to choose from but has anyone used one with a Macbook and did it work out for you?
    Which models/brands are Mac compatible?
     
  7. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #7
    Do you need the AirPort Extreme 802.11n Enabler?
    Before purchasing the 802.11n Enabler software, please check to make sure that your Mac does not already have the 802.11n enabler already installed.
    Open Network Utility (found in the Applications > Utilities folder)
    Under the Info Tab, choose Network Interface (en1)
    In the section "Model: Wireless Network Adapter," if it says (802.11a/b/g/n), you already have the 802.11n enabler installed. If it says (802.11a/b/g), you do not have the 802.11n enabler installed.

    [​IMG]

    source
     
  8. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #8
    i wouldn't worry about it. using istumbler, it never says my signal strength is higher than 75%, even if I'm within a few feet of my airport extreme
     
  9. muskysnax thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Muskoka region Canada
    #9
    Since buying the new router I do notice that my airport icon shows all the bars which I assume means a very good connection?
    Sorry for all the questions. I just want to make sure I'm getting the most from my gear. I find this whole "n" stuff a little confusing and really appreciate all the help.

    By the way my specs show Wireless Network Adapter (802.11 a/b/g/n)
    I just did some researching and saw someone mention an ethernet to wireless adapter. This might do a better job than the usb versions from what I read. Anyone use one with success ?
     
  10. KielderWolf macrumors regular

    KielderWolf

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Location:
    Northeast England
    #10
    If your AirPort icon shows all four bars and you are away from your router, you do not need any kind of boosting hardware. AirRadar isn't by any means accurate. I can be more than 100 feet from my router in the garden, and still have three bars and still be using the full speed of 802.11n. If only my internet was fast enough to make that matter.

    Best of luck in the future use of your Mac. Wolf ∑:•p
     
  11. muskysnax thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Muskoka region Canada
    #11
    Thanks!

    One final question,
    How to I see if I'm getting the full speed of my 802.11n ? I assume that the speed of my cable internet will be the first thing to find out? How do I go about
    speed testing the network chain from the cable to my router to my Macbook?

    By the way, this Macbook is my first Mac ever and I'll NEVER use a PC again! I'm fully converted! ;)
     
  12. andalusia macrumors 68030

    andalusia

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    Apr 10, 2009
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #12
    Glad to hear it ;)
     
  13. emt1 macrumors 65816

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    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #13
    Unless you are transferring files over a network, you don't really need 802.11n to be on anyways, so don't worry about it. Just enjoy your Mac.
     
  14. muskysnax thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Muskoka region Canada
    #14
    Believe me I DO my friend! ;)
     
  15. NewMacbookPlz macrumors 68040

    NewMacbookPlz

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    Sep 28, 2008
    #15
    To check the speed of your cable internet connection, you'll need to plug in directly to the modem over Ethernet cable. Then proceed to www.speedtest.net and run your test. You'll then re-run the test once you're connected wirelessly.

    Chances are your Cable connection will be slower than your N, I know that's true for my 802.11G connection. Small apartment= full speed everywhere, but my Comcast connection is only 16Mbps down ~4-8Mbps up.
     
  16. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    #16
    Just to be clear, 802.11n isn't a feature of Leopard; it is a feature of the hardware (built-in AirPort Extreme or, with Mac Pros, AirPort Extreme card).

    Apple secretly made AirPort Extreme in the first few Core 2 MacBooks and iMacs with hardware support for N, but they shipped firmware without support, most likely because they were still testing it (or because they wanted to surprise us later, or...). In this particular case, it happened to be firmware-related, but the most important part was that Apple manufactured the hardware with this potential in the first place. No amount of software upgrades will enable older Extreme cards to use N.

    They included this firmware with subsequent releases of MacBooks (and other computers), but it doesn't come with Leopard. The AEBS also comes with this update, or (due to whatever crazy accounting system Apple claims to be using that makes you pay for any new features) you can pay $1.99 or whatever it is to upgrade N-capable Extremes with this firmware.

    Although ... pretty much the only time you'll need it but not have it (at least until wireless N becomes more prolific at hotspots) is if you bought an N-capable router besides an AEBS (the horrors!). :D
     
  17. muskysnax thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Muskoka region Canada
    #17
    I'm getting more confused again...

    So my Macbook does have the 802.11n capability built in but needs the $1.99 download to enable it correct?

    I already had purchased the download and tried to run it but got the message that my computer is not compatible although all indications say it should be. Am I trying to enable something that already is enabled? To my knowledge the computer will only use 802.11n once it has been enabled and that can only be done with the new $1.99 download. I should add that my Macbook was a refurb but no one would have known about the enabling download back then.
     
  18. JoeG4 macrumors 68030

    JoeG4

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    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Bay Area, Ca.
    #18
    If it needed the update, it'd only say a/b/g not a/b/g/n. I remember when that came around, and before the update they didn't say n.

    I don't believe it's a firmware update per say either. Before that update, the cards would connect to 802.11N networks within Windows.

    802.11N is usually about as fast as a funky G network (range/speedboost or mimo cards + routers in a 'perfect' environment that only works under windows)... the nice thing being that you as a Mac user can actually use all that great tech that made 802.11N actually better than G (the speed boost though? Eh whatever).

    If you want to get the most out of your connection, and are using a single-band 2.4ghz 802.11N router, disable B/G on the router and only run N on the 40MHz band (it should be possible). Also, make sure you're using WPA2, check whether you have better results with AES or TKIP encryption (IIRC, AES encryption might be the one that works better with N.

    Those things will maximize your results on a B/G/N router, but if you have a dual band router (like the airport extreme 802.11n ones), you're good to go as it is.

    If you have a router that supports 5.8GHz but you're not sure if it's dual band or not, try setting it to only run on 5.8Ghz.. problem is you'll have a lot less range if you do that.
     
  19. NewMacbookPlz macrumors 68040

    NewMacbookPlz

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    Sep 28, 2008
    #19
    No. The 2.4ghz models shipped with functioning N-capabilities. Only the older C2D models needed "activating."
     
  20. Shake 'n' Bake macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

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    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Albany
    #20
    I've got a mid-'07 mini purchased in March '08. Does this support 802.11n? If so, can I enable it without buying that Apple enabler?
     
  21. NewMacbookPlz macrumors 68040

    NewMacbookPlz

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    #21
    Nope, the harware doesn't support it. N-wireless support didn't come to the Mini until the 9400M update this year...so the enabler won't work as there's nothing to enable.
     
  22. Shake 'n' Bake macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

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    Location:
    Albany
    #22
    Darn. Oh well.
     
  23. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    #23
    Sorry if my post confused anyone: early Core 2 MacBooks didn't have 802.11n abilities in the supplied firmware (even though the hardware was actually capable of it), but later ones already do.

    Again, if your computer is one of the following (or anything more recent...but so far no MacBooks come with anything more recent than a Core 2 processor :)):
    • MacBook Pro with Intel Core 2 Duo
    • MacBook with Intel Core 2 Duo
    • Mac Pro with AirPort Extreme option
    • iMac with Intel Core 2 Duo (except the 17-inch, 1.83GHz iMac)
    ...then you have n-capable hardware.

    As others have mentioned, to find out if n is enabled on your hardware, open Network Utility (in Applications/Utilities), go to the "Info" tab, choose "en1" (this should be your wireless adapter), and read what it says in the "Model: Wireless Network Adapter" section. If it says (802.11a/b/g/n), you've got n; if it says (802.11a/b/g), you don't but could enable it if you have one of the above computers.

    [​IMG]

    See this Apple document for more: http://store.apple.com/us/product/D4141ZM/A
     

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