Wireless internet dilemma

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Sgt.Pepper, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. Sgt.Pepper macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #1
    So my aunt has as old iMac that doesn't have wireless internet, and is connected to the internet router through a chord. She uses this computer for emails and everything because all her information is on the computer and she isn't keen to change.
    This creates a problem for my cousin and I because the router is now limited to chords length on the computer, and doesn't send signal everywhere in the house. Firstly the house is rather big, but also it's an old heritage house and has think, solid walls.
    We tried getting a bigger, better antena to boost the signal, but it's still hasn't completely work.

    My question is this, is there someway to give the imac wireless capabilities, thereby freeing the router from it's current spot, and allowing us to position it where everywhere gets signal?
     
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #2
    If she has an iMac with no wireless... it must be a G4 at latest, yes? It would help if you provided more specifics on what it is (model and OS version).

    1) There are USB wifi adapters which, depending on how out of date her OS is, might be harder or easier to find in a working model. So that's option #1.

    2) The iMac G4 at least has an internal space for a wifi card -- I think depending on the model it might be only for the 802.11b Airport card, though.

    3) You could get a wireless gateway or a second router and use them in one of a variety of configurations, such as using the gateway to connect the iMac to the wireless network with the router in another part of the house, or using the second router via WDS to expand the network coverage by placing it somewhere else in the house and having it extend the existing network.
     
  3. Sgt.Pepper thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 23, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #3
    It's a G4, OSX 10.4.11.
    What coarse of attack would you recommend now?
     
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #4
    Hmmm, at that vintage you might be able to find a USB wifi adapter, but the problem is finding out good data on what's compatible with OS X -- since Wifi has essentially been universal on Macs for several years, no one really bothers supporting OS X with these adapters.

    The gateway or router extender are both more straightforward in the sense that there is no compatibility with OS X issue.

    I guess if you feel adventurous, do some googling around to find a USB adapter that's available for purchase and has been reported to work with Tiger, and if not just go the other route. If your current router supports extension (WDS, etc) then that's probably the most flexible option, since then you'll have two access points putting the network out, and you'll have better coverage throughout the house as a result....
     
  5. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #5
    Depending on the model of iMac, it takes either an AirPort or AirPort Extreme card. They should be pretty easy to install, but Apple doesn't make either anymore. You should be able to find one on eBay, although it'll set you back around $100.

    By the way, your problem as you presented it isn't actually a dilemma. A dilemma is when you have multiple options to choose between. You didn't know of any options at the time.
     
  6. Sgt.Pepper thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #6
    My bad. Thanks for the correction though, I won't cluelessly misuse it anymore.

    I'll go to a computer store and see it they any USB wifi adapters that are compatible with the G4 and 10.4.11
     
  7. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #7
    Sorry, I don't mean to be an ass.

    I think that's a pretty specific requirement for a brick-and-mortar computer store. I suggest taking a look around online instead.
     
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #8
    Agree... I wouldn't count on finding it in a physical store.
     
  9. AmbitiousLemon Moderator emeritus

    AmbitiousLemon

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2001
    Location:
    down in Fraggle Rock
    #9
    I think you are going about this the wrong way. You could add wireless capability to the desktop but it would mean using a slower wireless protocol (wireless b) that has a smaller range.

    I would suggest first using wireless-n at 5Ghz (for better range) if you aren't already doing so and adding an additional wireless access point to your network. There is no reason you need to be limited to having to use just one access point. If one doesn't cover the house well then use 2. This is also a much simpler solution as it basically boils down to plugging in another access point.
     
  10. Sgt.Pepper thread starter macrumors member

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  11. AmbitiousLemon Moderator emeritus

    AmbitiousLemon

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2001
    Location:
    down in Fraggle Rock
    #11
    It doesn't involve a mallet or duct tape, but like most things worth doing it could involve either if you really wanted it to.


    The first thing you need to answer is what type of wireless network do you have now. Specifically it would be helpful to know whether it is wireless-b, wireless-g, wireless-a, or wireless-n. N is the current generation, g and a were two competing types for the previous generation, and b was the first generation. If you don't know then giving us the model number of the router would help us look it up (or you can look it up yourself). You also need to know what kind of wireless your computers use. No use going wireless-n if you have older computers than can't use the newest wireless.

    If you are already using wireless-n then I would suggest buying a second wireless-n router and setting it participate in a wds network. This basically means it will wirelessly extend the range of your current network. Similarly if you are using one of the older protocols (wireless g or b for example), but can't jump to wireless-n because some of the computers only go up to g then buy a new g (or b; whichever you need) router and use it to extend the range.

    If you have an older router (but new computers) then I would suggest buying a wireless-n router and first just seeing if the swapping-in the wireless-n router (which will have a greatly improved range) alone can provide you with a good wireless signal anywhere you need it in the house. You simply swap out the old for the new and call it a day.

    If it doesn't cut it by itself, then you can set it up just as I previously described. But you also need to ask yourself whether you want to replace the old router with a newer one as well so you can enjoy extended range and speed of the wireless-n. The network will only run on the slower speed and range if you have a mix of hardware.

    This all gets much simpler if you tell us what kind of wireless it is and what kind of wireless your computers support.
     
  12. Jhanson09 macrumors regular

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    Feb 24, 2009
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    kansas city, mo
  13. AmbitiousLemon Moderator emeritus

    AmbitiousLemon

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2001
    Location:
    down in Fraggle Rock
    #14
    because suspension bridges are lame! ;)
     

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