Improving signal of Airport card, external wireless antennae for Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Dae, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. Dae macrumors regular


    Apr 30, 2009
    Hi everyone,
    my Mac Pro has a very weak wireless connectivity — 4-10% packet loss on average, so I want to try to upgrade it's Airport antennae (I've had the same issues on my PC before I bought Mac Pro, I fixed them by upgrading the antenna).

    Does anyone have any experience with external antennae for the built-in Mac Pro Airport card?

    What are the plugs in Airport called? (RP-SMA — is that right?)

    Are there any converters to RP-TNC, so I could plug a normal external PC antenna? Will there be any problems?

    (If you wonder how: possibly I will remove one of the PCI-e back plates and use an antenna with a long cable to place it outside the chassis).

  2. alam macrumors regular


    Mar 16, 2008
    Saudi Arabia
    all i know is that mac pro wireless sucks
    good luck with your project :D
  3. Dae thread starter macrumors regular


    Apr 30, 2009
    Great to know I'm not alone :)

    I will make an illustrated guide if all goes well.
  4. JollyRogers macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2008
    I have same problem and thought of the route you are contemplating. I decided instead to relocate my Time Capsule closer to my Pro and use LAN to the TC and use the TC's wireless to my router. IT worked for me. If you do get this to work please post pics and how to.
  5. product26 macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2005
    My mac pro gets poor signal as well..

    here is a page that explains the types of antenna connectors

    looks like you would want to get a couple of MC male to RP-SMA female pigtails like this and hook them up to the outside of the case via a PCIe card slot. and then plug in a couple of decent antennas.

    I however went with this option:
    the upgraded antennas, tomato firmware with boosted signal and additional passive cooling internally = full bars.
  6. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    Antennia tech and signal boosting is well documented and home remedies are common. If you search around there are many many designs that can be applied. I dunno the Airport but if you can get at the antenna leads most or all of these can be applied and almost all of them can be made with simple parts from the hardware store and Radio Shack.

    I've done a few in the past and they are extremely effective! Good luck, tell us what you decide and how it comes out.
  7. Dae thread starter macrumors regular


    Apr 30, 2009
    I thought and decided to do the same, instead of dealing with external antennae.

    I bought a cheap wireless router Zyxel P330W for like $40 (btw: new Airport card without installing costs $170 in Apple Premium Reseller store here), connected it to my Mac Pro with an ethernet cable and turned a "Client" mode for wireless networks. Signal strength on default antenna is 70%, but I don't have any packet loss at all anymore and the pings are normal now.

    I returned the Airport card back to the reseller, so basically it saved me $130. Additionally I don't need to get the pigtails anymore (+$10), two external antennae (+$40) and deal with the inners of Mac Pro :)
  8. JollyRogers macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2008
    That was the easiest and cheapest way IMO. It's what I am doing also, cept my MP is hardwired to my Time Capsule (not a cheap option though), TC is a client to my Airport Express, which is in my attic (long story:rolleyes:). Works great. Good for you:cool:
  9. gugucom macrumors 68020


    May 21, 2009
    Munich, Germany
    Logilink WL0044, 300Mbps (MIMO), PCIe x1 for 37€ will do it nicely.

    Look for a Mimo capable PCIe card with Ralink chip. Alternatively you can also go for a USB solution also with Ralink chip, but they are not as good as those with three antenna. For both solutions you get options that allow you to position the antenna or USB stick a bit away from the Mac Pro and turn them in different directions. Ralink provides Mac drivers on their website.

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