New USB Wireless Adaptor on old G4?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by mayaboy, Aug 5, 2003.

  1. mayaboy macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2003
    D-Link has just come out with a USB wireless adaptor that supposedly works with OSX. It is half the price, more portable, and less hassle than installing an airport card. But I have an "older" G4 (purchased 2001). How can I find out whether my USB port is USB2 or 1? And depending upon that answer, wouldn't my USB port be a bottleneck, bringing my wireless connectivity down way below the advertised 11mbps for the wireless adaptor?
  2. MacManDan macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2003
    No Macs to date have USB 2.0 built in to them (with the exception of the G5, but that's not even shipping yet), unless you purchased an add-on card.

    USB wouldn't necessarily be a bottleneck, because USB 1.1 spec claims 11mb/s speed, while 802.11b ("Airport") is the same theoretical speed. However, you would never get 11mb/s from 802.11b. I wouldn't expect it to be much of a bottleneck, unless you have tons of USB devices.

    Of course, the Airport card may have better reception (if your computer is Airport-ready and has an antenna built in), so therefore it might get more speed. Also, you don't have to deal with an extra USB device, since Airport would be built-in to your computer.

    I can't comment on its compatibility with OS X though, I do not know for sure and have no way of testing. Good luck, and I hope this helps!
  3. mayaboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2003
    Sounds promising. Thanks for your help! Just one question for clarity...

    Apple's website mentions two kinds of USB: Low Speed and High Speed. The "low speed" is clocked at 1.5 mbps and the "high speed" is supposed to be 12 mbps. How do I know whether my G4 is equipped with the low or high speed USB? I would hate to get a USB wireless adaptor, then find that my USB port can only handle 1.5 mbps.
  4. MacManDan macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2003
    You're welcome. :D I'm glad to help

    The "low" and "high" speed are two standards supported within the USB 1.1 spec. Each device auto selects which speed to use, transparent to the user. So, for example, my USB keyboard and mouse probably use "low" speed while my PDA probably uses "high" speed. Don't worry about that part :)
  5. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Apr 10, 2003
    The "Garden" state
    *note: this refers to my experience with a linksys usb 802.11b adapter on a win98 dell*
    I would wholely recommend the usb adapter, with one reservation-it requires a good deal of your usb power. i tried plugging in other usb devices while using the interent, and i would inevitably be unable to gain enoguh power for a signal while the other device used my second port.
    ymmv, but i wanted to warn you.
  6. mayaboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2003
    Hmmmm.... Do you think connectivity would be impeded while printing to a USB printer (my only USB peripheral besides the keybord)? That might be a big downside.
  7. MacManDan macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2003
    I don't have personal experience in this field, but I think it depends on whether or not the two devices (printer, wireless usb adapter) are on the same root hub or not (if you have two usb plugs in the back of your computer, each one has a separate root hub I believe).

    Even then, however, I would assume that printing while using the adapter would slow things down on the internet end. On my girlfriend's computer, the USB keyboard would delay or the USB mouse would jerk around the screen while she tried to print. But that was a PC, and I'm not sure if a Mac would do the same.
  8. Macpoops macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2002
    Well. if you have an old G4 shouldn't it be airport ready?? I honestly don't see how installing an airport card would be any easier then setting up the USB adapter, it just sounds like trouble to me. On top of that you might want to look into getting a Ethernet wireless adapter. No bottle neck at all. I think Airport cards run around 50-70 bucks right now
  9. mayaboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2003
    Yes, my G4 should be Airport ready. I just have to install the card. But I'm a bit of a novice at these things, and liked the idea of a plug-and-play wireless adapter. I'm much more comfortable dealing with driver issues than hardware installation issues.

    Having said that, the point made by "Question Fear" about too many USB devices drawing power from the wireless adapter has got me thinking about spending the extra bucks (and the installation worries) for an airport card. I've seen airport cards for around $70, while the D-Link USB wireless adapter is being offered at $31 after mail-in rebate. But not worrying about dropping the internet connection while printing or scanning, or mouse troubles while downloading large files, might be worth the extra $ and effort.
  10. Fender2112 macrumors 65816


    Aug 11, 2002
    Charlotte, NC
    Yesterday I connected a USB wireless adapter to my Power Computing clone running OS 9.1. I got it from for $99. My problem is that this is the only product I could find that specifically states that is has drivers for Mac OS 9.1 A PCI card really is not an option because my slots are all being used by other devices, one being a 2 port USB card.

    I have the wireless adapter plugged into a hub along with a printer. I also have a second printer connected to the second USB port. I was able to print to both printers without losing any signal. Note: the USB PCI card draws power from the PCI bus and the USB hub is self powered.

    The wireless USB adapter, which I use with a D-Link wireless router, is 802.11b set at 11 Mbps. My broadband runs at 10 Mbps. So far I have not noticed any speed difference between the wireless USB and ethernet connection. Point is: the cable modem is the slowest link not the wireless adapter

    Having said that, if your G4 is Airport ready, get the Airport card and save your USB port for something else. Installing can't be any harder that popping in RAM or another PCI device. Should only take a few minutes.

    Good Luck

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