USB Wifi Dongles for OS X?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Ruahrc, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Someone I know has an older white plastic Macbook (It's got an Intel Core processor) whose wifi has stopped working. She took it to the apple store and they told her that the antenna was the problem. They said since it was out of warranty, it would be expensive to replace (they probably would replace the whole screen) and would likely not be worth it given the age of the computer.

    Has anyone found a USB wifi dongle that works with OS X? I see lots of them for PC but don't know if any of them have OS X drivers? This would be a much cheaper solution than getting the screen replaced, or getting a replacement computer.

  2. broncopde macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2007
    Conway, AR
    A lot of them here.

    And it might be the perfect time to get one of these if she could use extended range as well.
  3. Giuly macrumors 68040


    1.49$ incl. shipping on eBay. The plugs fit the AirPort cards and you could place them anywhere under the cover. Search for "WiFi antenna internal".

  4. Ruahrc thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Thanks for the tips. I did search google before posting here :) but was having trouble with finding results because a lot of them were either way outdated (referring to products several years old and long ago discontinued, or talking about compatibility with OS X 10.2 or something) or had misleading information (i.e. product stated PC+MAC but then if you follow the link and look at the specs, it only listed Windows OS under compatible OSes). I was looking to see if anyone here had some firsthand experience.

    Newegg link looks promising as it specifically states OS X in the specifications.

    Interesting idea on the internal antennas but I am wary as none of them specifically state they work with Macs. I understand where it's just an antenna and electrically it works, but finding room to put the antenna inside can be an issue given the myriad of internal layouts for laptops. Not to mention the issue of possible interference by laying an antenna right next to/on top of other circuitry. Besides, the disassembly of the old Macbook is too involved for this person to do on their own.

    I found this site:

    which states they have "officially endorsed by apple" wifi adapters for Macs. Another bonus is that they have the "gumstick" design which would seem a little more compact than the Rosewill one on newegg with its large external antenna. Reception is not really the issue here it is just that wifi does not work.

  5. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
  6. Giuly macrumors 68040


    It's a piece of copper with a wire and a plug. Your hands, eyes and ears aren'd specifically stated to work with Macs, they do anyways.
    Nearly every laptop uses such an antenna. Macs are Intel PCs with special software, that applies to the AirPort cards, too. PCs just call em Atheros-(or Broadcom) based mini PCIe Wireless cards. Identical thing. The antennas are nearly as slim as a piece of paper, they fit under the battery.
    If you want to do it right, remove the display and place them behind it, that's where these things are placed on PCs. Apple places the AirPort antenna there, too. They're located where the coppercolored things are you see on pages 18-20, but attached on the display assembly. Getting a used display and replace it would be even nicer, but it's rather 149$ for a MacBook with defective Logic Board then 1.49$.

    Btw, if your Bluetooth works and you don't need that, switch the antenna cables. The antennas work both for WiFi. Quick, cheap and dirty. Only thing that can have happend to your antenna is A) the cable broke or B) the soldering attaching the cable to the antenna broke. Solder in a new cable would probably work, too. Any computer repair shop can do that, but I guess in the US they charge you double when they see the :apple:.

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