Switcher with some newbie AirPort questions.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by jrv3034, Oct 27, 2003.

  1. jrv3034 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2002
    Hello all! I just ordered a new iBook G4 for my fiancee, and being new to the Mac world, I have a few questions regarding airport.

    1) Airport card: I know the iBook G4 uses AirPort Extreme, but can I put in a regular AirPort card 802.11b and have it work? Also, would the speed make any difference for web surfing and email? I have Earthlink cable modem, if that makes any difference...

    2) AirPort base station: I really don't want to shell out $200 for the Apple base station (although it looks damn sexy, and works great probably). What are my options for a base station? Does it have to be 802.11g, or is b ok?

    3) 2 computers online: I will be getting a PowerMac G5 soon, and I want to hook it up to the cable modem also. Do I need an airport card for the G5 as well, or can I connect the G5 with a cable to the cable modem and also have the wireless setup going for the iBook?

    As you can tell, I'm very new to all this, both Macs in general and wireless networks. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!
  2. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
    The AirPort and AirPort Extreme cards are physically different and not interchangable. With the g (extreme) card you can also connect at b speeds so it's still compatible with everything else out there.

    The extra speed of AirPort Extreme won't be missed if you're just using it for the internet. 802.11b is already faster than your internet connection.

    Options for a base station are wide open. It doesn't have to be Apple. It can be 802.11b or 802.11g but I'd probably get g just to match your card--just in case it ever becomes important or in case you want to share large files on your home network.

    When you get the G5 you have a couple of options. Actually, you might want to get it before you buy a base station. You could get an AE card for the G5 and have both computers share your base stations connection. You could also forego the base station and get an AE card for the G5, then share the connection with the other computer. Or you could have the base station connecting the iBook wirelessly but have the G5 plugged into it. You have a lot of options.
  3. m4rc macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2003
    You can put in an 802.11b card. Price wise, no real difference, and the g is going to be more future proof. No speed difference at all for web surfing and email. Can't remember the speeds, but sure someone will post them but b is somethjing like 20 odd MB and g is 54 MB per sec. I doubt your internet connection will be more than 1 MB!

    Airport Base Station looks great and works a treat, but it is expensive. Lots of options, I just set up a wireless network in the office using a Netgear unit, cost me £60. Again, buy g if you get a g card, future proof. I think a g unit - NOTHING TO DO WITH 50 CENT - can see b cards just fine. No difference in price on b and g either.

    You can just stick the ethernet cable from the G5 to the base station, I do. If you have a wireless card in the G5 it just means you dont need wires running round the room.

    Hope that helps

  4. nickfit macrumors member

    May 31, 2003
    For the first question, you will need an Extreme card for the new iBook. I don't think that it would make much of a difference as far as DSL or cable connections. You would notice it, I think, if you were using it from a faster connection. Where you would notice it would be if you were transferring files between computers on a network, which you will be able to do when you get your G5. But again, the old airport cards will not fit in the slots for the new airport cards, so you will need to get the new card.

    As far as the base station, you do not need to get an Airport basestation. I don't see any reason to get one either. I plan on getting a Netgear that uses the faster g standard. You can find them for less than $100. Plus, I think that the Netgear router matches my new powerbook better (really not a consideration, but I like that it does). Also, the Netgear wireless router has four ports that you can hook your G5 into. You will connect the modem to the router, then the G5 to the router. Here's a link to the router I am talking about http://www.netgear.com/products/details/WGR614.asp?view=hm
  5. candan9019 macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2003
    Ontario-> Louisiana-> Colorado-> Ontario
    I do that with my ibook and imac. I use my imac as a sofware base station. My ibook works fine on it and the range is great. The firewall on the imac blocks the ibook sometimes though. I opened so many ports that I usually just turn off firewall when i use my ibook. Works nice though.

    It's cheaper if you're going to buy the G5 anyway.
  6. jrv3034 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2002
    Thanks for the replies, everyone! And nickfit: great link! I just ordered the netgear 802.11b from Amazon.com for only $33.94 after rebates, and an AirPort extreme card, all with free shipping and no tax!

    If anyone is interested, here's the link direct to amazon:


    I figure that for email & web only (which will be the only real use for the iBook, other than MS Office) that the 802.11b was more than enough, plus you can't beat the price!

    Again, thank for all the advice, everyone!

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