Setting up Airport Extreme in Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by yochiar1, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. yochiar1 macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2010
    Looking for ay help in making sure I have correctly installed and configured the airport extreme card in my Mac pro.

    Background info
    - Mac Pro 1.1 Quad core Xeon 2006
    - Airport Extreme card a/b/g/n from FastMac
    - Airport Extreme card had three ports for the external antenna; however, there are only two antenna wires. I used the top and bottom ports to connect the wires labelled "2" and "3"
    - card installed and configured, receiving 5bars of signal but only 56mps transfer rate in the"g" mode
    - router is new Airport Extreme with "n" capability

    1. Did I hook the wires up to the correct ports on the card?
    2. Why is the card operating in "g" mode even though both it and the base station are "n" capable? I have a 2007 iMac on the same network that is running at 256mbps in "n" state.
    3. Also, it takes forever to load pages in Safari and it won't access my remote speakers via Airport Express (my iMac has no problem streaming music over the same network).

    I'm stumped and could really use the expertise of the forum to figure this out.

    Thanks for any help.
  2. MRiOS macrumors regular

    Jun 2, 2010
    there should have been a third connection wire, probably located close to the Bluetooth connection wire. I would open the pro back up and see if you can find that wire labelled #1 and connect that up. I just installed a similar card in my Pro (1,1) last week so I know the wire labelled #1 is in there. Also make sure the wires are in the correct spots on the card. (on my card at least) there should be little numbers beneath the wire connectors on the card that help identify which wire goes to which connection.
    also if it helps the #1 wire is a little shorter than the other two, so that may be why you missed it.
  3. yochiar1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2010
    How many wires?

    Thanks for the help. Does your airport work fine? How many wires were in your computer? I had three in mine labelled 1, 2, and 3. Another article online said to use the one labelled 1 for the Bluetooth and the other two labelled 2 and 3 for the airport card.

    Do you have Bluetooth? If so, what wire did you connect it to? Did your computer have 4 wires?
  4. MRiOS macrumors regular

    Jun 2, 2010
    Yeah, Mine had 4 wires. There were the 3 for the Airport (labelled 1,2,3) and then a fourth labelled Bluetooth. Currently I don't have bluetooth. My Airport Card works fine, though I admit mine is technically a Sonnet Aria Extreme N model, not an official Apple Airport card.

    If you want, I've got to get into mine tomorrow to install a HDD in my second optical bay, I can try to snap some pics of the three wires and the bluetooth to help show their approximate location.
  5. yochiar1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2010
    Pics would be great!

    Hey thanks. If you could take a few photos that would be great. I took the 1st and 2nd drives out of mine today and had a long look inside trying to find a fourth wire.

    There were three wires labelled 1, 2 and 3 attached together with tape to the bottom of the optical bay in the upper left (when looking into the case) corner of the cabinet. This is where the wires seem to be on everyone else's machine. I couldn't see a fourth wire labelled "BT" which everyone else seems to have.

    I could see labels on the wires for the hard drives, but no fourth antenna wire.

    Maybe it is under the optical drive bay case or the fan housing????? Seems strange though as I don't think this computer ever had Airport or BT installed and the other wires were right out in the open.

    If I can find the fourth wire I will hook 1, 2 and 3 up to the Airport card and BT to the bluetooth card.

    I will also be calling "FastMac's" technical department to see if they can shed any light on the issue.

    I really need the Airport because there is no other easy to get internet access at the computer's location.

    Thanks for your help.
  6. yochiar1, Nov 8, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2010

    yochiar1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2010

    Ok, so I looked again and yes, I found a wire labelled BT. Attached is a photo of the card showing the model number, the three ports on the Airport card and the BT card. Right now I have wire labelled 1 going to BT, wire 2 to the top port of the Airport card and wire 3 to the bottom port of the Airport card.

    I have been corresponding with the folk at FastMac and they don't think that I need a third wire on the Airport card. But then why is it only operating in g mode even though I am running Snow Leopard?

    Pretty happy to have found that fourth wire though. :D

    Attached Files:

  7. MRiOS macrumors regular

    Jun 2, 2010
    Ok so you do have all four wires, thats good. Here's a shot of my airport card with the 3 wires on it. I think it needs all three to utilize the bandwidth for Wireless N.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I took out the front fan assembly in mine to get easier access to the ODD SATA ports.(also, since I don't have a bluetooth card I just tuck my BT wire back in up near the HDD sata docks) As you should see on mine there's a little number that corresponds to a specific wire above each port on the airport card itself, I think I can see something similar on your card, though the picture is rather small to clearly see if this is the case.
  8. yochiar1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2010
    Almost there

    Great. Working with the folks from FastMac and with your help, I think we're almost there. We now have the card working correctly in 802.11n, I just need to improve the reception.

    I hope hooking up the third wire gets the reception to where I would like it to be. On my card from top to bottom the ports are labelled 0, 1 and 2. This makes less sense than your card, but I think I will put wire #3 into port 0 and wire 1 into port 1 and wire 2 into port 2.

  9. yochiar1, Nov 8, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2010

    yochiar1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2010
    Pretty disappointing experience

    I wanted to start by thanking those who have tried to help me install the wireless card in my Mac Pro. Unfortunately, after three days of trying, it is still not working and I am giving up. I have much, much better things to do with my time than keep trying to get this hunk of aluminum to access the internet.

    What a joke! I bought this Mac Pro so I could add things without having to take it to a dealer. Big mistake. I have spent the past three days more or less completely trying to get the damn Airport card to work. I have unplugged and re-plugged it so many times I can't remember!

    Something that sounds so simple is incredibly difficult. This is a 2,000 dollar plus machine and I can't access the internet with it. Ridiculous.

    For an Apple product, to have so much trouble and frustration installing something as important as Airport is very, very disappointing.

    There are only four wires and they are all labelled, yet when you connect them up according to the labels they don't work. And let's not discuss how difficult it is to hook them up in the first place. It would be bad enough to do it once, but I have done it a dozen times trying every possible combination under the sun all to no avail.

    At one time I had ok reception, but even though my computer claimed to be connected to my base station, I couldn't open any windows in my web browser and I couldn't stream music to a remote Airport Express. So, sorry no, but I don't think it is working.

    By comparison my 3 year old iMac works flawlessly, flawlessly. Fast N, yes N connection to the router, seamless streaming to the Airport Express.

    A hundred and 60 bucks and three days of my life lost and the damn thing still isn't working. If I had wanted frustration I would have bought a Windows computer, but, to be fair, even Windows computers do wireless better than this piece of crap.

    I'm selling this thing and getting an iMac. Even though you have to take the iMac apart to do something as simple as replace the hard drive, at least they work when you put them back together again.
  10. Mechnoch macrumors newbie


    Feb 8, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    FYI, cable 2 is never used (in the US, at least). Connecting cable 1 to the bottom connector (labeled 2 on the card) and cable 3 to the top connector (labeled 0 on the card) gives me full AirPort signal. Leave the center connector (labeled 1 on the card) empty.

    Unfortunately, AirPort cards in the Mac Pro were never meant to be customer-installable. It's unfortunate that you had such difficulty getting the FastMac card to work, since neither Apple nor FastMac provide instructions.

    If you've not sold your Mac Pro yet, try this. It worked for me.
  11. yochiar1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2010

    I did end up selling the Mac Pro without getting the card to work. I do however miss the machine, especially the ease of upgrading.

    After re-reading my last entry I realize it was one that probably should have been left until cooler heads prevailed. Referring to a Mac Pro as a "piece of crap" was pretty harsh and something I regret saying. I have owned/do own several Apple products and their engineering and operability are top notch. Some will disagree with me, but with the exception of the airport card incident I have never had a problem with a Mac.

    I did not end up buying the iMac. Having calmed down I will probably try another Mac Pro. Hopefully the card works this time :D
  12. Cyno macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2010
    More Mac pro airport card issues

    Hi I spent a lot of time reading this and other related threads yesterday as I attempted to install both the Bluetooth and Airport extreme cards (apple cards for Macpro) in my 2006 1.1 Macpro. Armed with the reports of how tricky the connections were to make I didn't expect it to go easily.
    The bluetooth is connected and functioning with pretty good range with the mouse and keyboard. I used the BT cable for that card.
    however when I installed the airport card initially using cables 2+3 then 1+3 the mac doesn't see the card at all let alone get reception. Any help on this would be very gratefully received.
    thanks in advance:confused:
  13. Mechnoch macrumors newbie


    Feb 8, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    @Cyno If your card isn't seen in System Profiler at all, check to make sure it's fully seated first. If reseating doesn't solve it, you may have a bad AirPort card, or a bad card slot (which is part of the logic board). Even if the antenna cables were completely disconnected you would still see the card in System Profiler, although you wouldn't have very good signal strength.

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