Mac Pro 5,1 BT 4 Antenna Recommendations

haralds

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 3, 2014
1,174
353
Silicon Valley, CA
The BlueTooth range with the stock Mac Pro 5,1 was horrific. But after upgrading to BT 4 with handoff, the situation is worse.

The stock antenna does not reach. I took the whole system apart to find the layout and did not see an easy solution. The new WiFi/BT combo needs two BT connections, I used the extra WiFi one and an additional wire purchased from OSXWiFi.com. The system does work, I get handoff and I can pair devices, if they are really close to to the box (< 1 foot.) But it is not good enough for normal use.

For now, I have added an IOGear GUP521 and it works well apart from EFI boot/FileVault2 login. Oddly enough, Handoff is also functional with this setup (probably because OS X detects the other card.) WiFi is working very well with good signal strength.

I do think, new BT antennas will solve the problem. What do people recommend? I saw some whip antennas on eBay, but the vendors did not have 12 in. leads, which I think are a requirement to reach the back of the case. And internal solution not taking up a PCIe slot is preferred.

I really would prefer not to completely disassemble the system for this.

Thanks,
-- Harald
 

haralds

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 3, 2014
1,174
353
Silicon Valley, CA
The BlueTooth range with the stock Mac Pro 5,1 was horrific. But after upgrading to BT 4 with handoff, the situation is worse.

The stock antenna does not reach. I took the whole system apart to find the layout and did not see an easy solution. The new WiFi/BT combo needs two BT connections, I used the extra WiFi one and an additional wire purchased from OSXWiFi.com. The system does work, I get handoff and I can pair devices, if they are really close to to the box (< 1 foot.) But it is not good enough for normal use.

For now, I have added an IOGear GUP521 and it works well apart from EFI boot/FileVault2 login. Oddly enough, Handoff is also functional with this setup (probably because OS X detects the other card.) WiFi is working very well with good signal strength.

I do think, new BT antennas will solve the problem. What do people recommend? I saw some whip antennas on eBay, but the vendors did not have 12 in. leads, which I think are a requirement to reach the back of the case. And internal solution not taking up a PCIe slot is preferred.

I really would prefer not to completely disassemble the system for this.

Thanks,
-- Harald
Dove in one more time, and followed the suggestions in post #31 on this page https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/1733267/ changing the antenna wire order. Seems to have helped significantly with only a very slight impact on WiFi (~9db noise.) Since I am hardwired to the backbone anyway, it's a small price to pay...
 

haralds

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 3, 2014
1,174
353
Silicon Valley, CA
Dove in one more time, and followed the suggestions in post #31 on this page https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/1733267/ changing the antenna wire order. Seems to have helped significantly with only a very slight impact on WiFi (~9db noise.) Since I am hardwired to the backbone anyway, it's a small price to pay...
And EFI mouse and keyboard entry is now working!

From top to bottom - WiFi to BT -3-1-2-BT (extra antenna) is the magic order!
 

haralds

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 3, 2014
1,174
353
Silicon Valley, CA
And EFI mouse and keyboard entry is now working!

From top to bottom - WiFi to BT -3-1-2-BT (extra antenna) is the magic order!
One downside is that with this configuration, Handoff from my iPhone rarely shows up.

I think, there is a reduced reception of BT LE. It now cannot see an iPhone with an open app right next to it, while the Mac Pro can see it several feet away.

I think, the only solution is another antenna set for BT...
 

haralds

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 3, 2014
1,174
353
Silicon Valley, CA
Just an update: Handoff works nicely with Yosemite release.
It is broken on El Capitan Beta for both Mac Pro and MacBook Pro. It does show up in General Preferences, bit just does not work.
 
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