WiFi in Mac Pro

acearchie

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jan 15, 2006
3,276
103
I am expecting the delivery of my new Mac Pro this weekend.

I haven't opted for the airport card so I was wondering could I use one of the cheaper external USB WiFi adaptors that are on the market.

Will anyone work or will I need something specific with specific drivers?

Thanks
 

gugucom

macrumors 68020
May 21, 2009
2,136
0
Munich, Germany
Logilink WL0044, 300Mbps (MIMO), PCIe x1 for 37€

Look for a Mimo capable PCIe card with Ralink chip. Alternatively you can also go for a USB solution also with Ralink chip, but they are not as good as those with three antenna. For both solutions you get options that allow you to position the antenna or USB stick a bit away from the Mac Pro and turn them in different directions. Ralink provides Mac drivers on their website.

http://www.ralinktech.com/support.php?s=3
 

Dae

macrumors regular
Apr 30, 2009
129
9
In theory it should work, but USB devices require special drivers, so before buying you've gotta google if your desired USB adapter works with Macs.

You can as well get an Airport card and install it by yourself, it's not too hard if you manage to find antennae cables under the HDD bay 1.

Personally I went this way (see my last message there), I'd be easier and faster than a USB stick.
 

acearchie

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jan 15, 2006
3,276
103
I think I might go for a PCI card solution as I doubt I won't use up all the slots.

This will probably be cheaper than the airport card.

Pretty simple question but I have an old iBook which I bought an Airport card for but sadly died shortly after.

Could I reuse this card in the Mac Pro or are they different cards.

If not anyone know any good walkthroughs as I realise that this is not suggested as a user replaceable part.

Thanks
 

gugucom

macrumors 68020
May 21, 2009
2,136
0
Munich, Germany
The Mac Pro has PCIe and not PCI. Anything from iBook times will definitely not fit and be terribly slow on top. iBooks did not even have USB 2.0. :eek:
 

acearchie

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jan 15, 2006
3,276
103
The Mac Pro has PCIe and not PCI. Anything from iBook times will definitely not fit and be terribly slow on top. iBooks did not even have USB 2.0. :eek:
Three open full-length PCI Express expansion slots
(from the apple site!)

I was talking about the integral airport card that you could buy to put into the laptop.

Not the USB idea!

Anyone got any links to some good PCIe wifi cards? Preferably as cheap as they come! (Preferably UK but I'm sure I could find the cards over here though!)

Thanks
 

gugucom

macrumors 68020
May 21, 2009
2,136
0
Munich, Germany
How does that compare to the regular airport extreme in the Mac Pros? Does it require software running in the background to use it, or is it plug and play?
The Ralink chips use their own driver which is installed with an OS X .dmg file like any other program. They do not attach to Apple's airport program. They open an ethernet connection that uses WLAN as a medium. Because they use the highest integrated chips they provide the newest technology at the lowest price. If you look for it you get 300 Mbit/s N-draft WLAN with all the modern encryption standards like WPA. It is pretty much plug and play if you disregard some configuring options that are unavoidable. I used it in G5 PMs and PCs together with a Time Capsule but also with regular WLAN routers made by AVM.

The problem with the Power Macs and Mac Pros is their aluminum enclosure. To get the antennae out of it (under the case) and have it pick up a strong signal is usually a PITA. If you don't have the BTO in the first place you will soon realize that it is not worth the money to retrofit it for the poor performance you typically get. Even a good USB kit is better than the airport original let alone a PCIe MiMO kit with external antennae.
 

ungraphic

macrumors 6502a
Nov 15, 2007
596
0
Toronto, Canada
The Ralink chips use their own driver which is installed with an OS X .dmg file like any other program. They do not attach to Apple's airport program. They open an ethernet connection that uses WLAN as a medium. Because they use the highest integrated chips they provide the newest technology at the lowest price. If you look for it you get 300 Mbit/s N-draft WLAN with all the modern encryption standards like WPA. It is pretty much plug and play if you disregard some configuring options that are unavoidable. I used it in G5 PMs and PCs together with a Time Capsule but also with regular WLAN routers made by AVM.

The problem with the Power Macs and Mac Pros is their aluminum enclosure. To get the antennae out of it (under the case) and have it pick up a strong signal is usually a PITA. If you don't have the BTO in the first place you will soon realize that it is not worth the money to retrofit it for the poor performance you typically get. Even a good USB kit is better than the airport original let alone a PCIe MiMO kit with external antennae.

Thanks for the tip! I'm gonna make a note of the PCIe card for sure. I had a lot of problems with my builtin airport express card, i didnt take it BTO, so i added it earlier this year and jesus christ did i have a ton of problems with; http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=780872

Its working fine now, but my wireless G router is on the same top floor as my mac pro, in another room close to a window, and there is a small washroom in between my room and the room with the router. Looking at iStumbler's stats, the signal strength is at 43% with 14% noise (on average). This gets me good speeds, as I'm not a heavy downloader, HOWEVER I do think the signal strength could be better. For now, it serves me very well, but if over time I need something better, I may opt out for the one you suggested (so as long as it doesnt need any software running in the dock to use the card, I'm fine with that).

Thanks!
 

nullx86

macrumors 6502a
Jun 26, 2009
884
0
Wilmington/Jacksonville, NC
I am expecting the delivery of my new Mac Pro this weekend.

I haven't opted for the airport card so I was wondering could I use one of the cheaper external USB WiFi adaptors that are on the market.

Will anyone work or will I need something specific with specific drivers?

Thanks
Personally, I would get a mini pci-e Airport Extreme and a mini pci-e to pcie and use that. its all plug and play from there. (or do the Mac pros still have the mini pci-e onboard? could just use that if they still have them)
 

acearchie

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jan 15, 2006
3,276
103
So do the PCIe wifi cards come with their own antennae otherwise how do they penetrate the aluminium enclousure?

What would be the simplest cheapest option?

Thanks
 

Heitzman

macrumors newbie
Oct 1, 2009
12
0
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7C144 Safari/528.16)

Any luck finding a full size pcie wifi card for a 2006 mac pro? I can't find one anywhere in the uk.
 

Mr_Ed

macrumors 6502
Mar 10, 2004
443
8
North and east of Mickeyland
Did you order a brand new Mac Pro from Apple? I'm not trying to be a smarta$$ here, but if you wanted WiFi, why wouldn't you just order the WiFi option with your new Mac Pro? It's only $50.00 in the U.S. (£40.00 in U.K.) and you would not have to do anything, but turn your machine on. Even if you find some inexpensive after-market solution, you would likely have to install it, and whatever drivers it needs.

Just seems to me the time you are spending researching options, and will spend implementing a solution is worth money too. Add that to the cost of the component, and I don't see what payoff you could get over spending $50USD when you order the machine.

Of course, if you acquired the machine from another source and it simply did not have the built-in WiFi, then the situation "is what it is" and you do what you can. :)
 

gglockner

macrumors 6502
Nov 25, 2007
403
3
Bellevue, WA
Why not Keep It Simple? Bring your Mac Pro to a local store and ask them to install the AirPort (WiFi) card? I bought my Mac Pro from my local Apple Store and asked them to add the WiFi card. They did it while I waited.

Alternately, you could get a router that supports bridging like an AirPort Express. This will work perfectly and have no issues with drivers but will be expensive. There may be some USB dongles that will work but check that they provide drivers for OS X.
 

c:v

macrumors regular
Jan 20, 2010
160
10
For the UK lads

Sorry to revive such an old thread but I'm getting nowhere with my Aiport in my Mac Pro 2010. I can't run a Cat5 so that's out of the question. Now, it seems impossible to find an internal PCI card to fit the Mac Pro in the UK with at least 2 antennas. Can anyone recommend one that works 100% and doesn't cost an arm and a leg? Preferably PCIe (?) but USB would be a solution too (I just have all ports filled already).

Thanks in advance!
 

c:v

macrumors regular
Jan 20, 2010
160
10
Sorry to revive such an old thread but I'm getting nowhere with my Aiport in my Mac Pro 2010. I can't run a Cat5 so that's out of the question. Now, it seems impossible to find an internal PCI card to fit the Mac Pro in the UK with at least 2 antennas. Can anyone recommend one that works 100% and doesn't cost an arm and a leg? Preferably PCIe (?) but USB would be a solution too (I just have all ports filled already).

Thanks in advance!
C'mon guys, surely one of you will know something?
 

diazj3

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2008
879
135
IME, my 2009 MP has better wifi reception than any of my laptops (mbp or toshiba)... I'm not sure if a USB device will top that. But if you go with a USB device, and all your ports are used, I think you can use it through a powered hub, or get extra ports with a PCIe card such as this.