Airport ExtremeóGreat For Windows Users

by Hadley Stern Feb 27, 2003

image Being an Apple user is always a fine balance between unbridled pleasure and sometimes overwhelming frustration. We are always two steps ahead of the Windows world in some areas but a few steps back in others. Appleís newly announced Airport Extreme is yet another example where being tied to an OS thatís in the minority is a pain.

Airport Extreme (802.11g) promises speeds five times faster than the current airport standard (802.11b). Since faster is always better (at least when it comes to computing), I was happy to hear Airport Extreme announced at MacWorld San Francisco 2003. I currently have a hard-wired Linksys router going to a G4 Quicksilver and an older Titanium PowerBook. Iíd love to be able to use the PowerBook untethered but have waited for prices to come down. Iíve also been wary of the slower speeds of Airport versus an ethernet connection. The announcement of Airport Extreme assuaged any concerns about speed and made me ready to buy. Amazon features the new Linksys routers so I thought I was all set. The only question was whether to go with Appleís Airport (which offers a usb port for sharing a printers which is handy) or the cheaper third-party Linksys product.

All was dandy until I did more research. It turns out Airport Extreme is only available for the newest Macs. Older Macs, including ones you can go into an Apple store and buy today, are not compatible. No problem! Back to the Linksys option. Linksys makes a PC card adapter and a PCI one too. Perfect!

But no Mac drivers.  And then came that sinking feeling that we Mac users get in our stomachs when we realize that all those Windows users out there can just buy this and use it while we have to wait and wait and wait. Apple should have thought about this when they released Airport Extreme. It is not good enough that it is compatible with the older, slower standard. There is no reason why Apple should not make a PC and PCI card for older Macs. And no, Iím not asking for a Nubus version. If Linksys and countless other third-party vendors can do it for the PC market then Apple can and should do it for the Mac market.

In the meantime Iím sticking with good old twisted-pair Ethernet cable. At least its not localtalk.


  • If you haven’t yet bought the Linksys card, then I recommend an Agere/Orinoco card (now owned by Proxim). There are indeed drivers for Mac. For an OS X driver go here:

    I have installed these cards in many Mac and PC notebooks, and all is well in WiFi.


    Zane9 had this to say on Feb 27, 2003 Posts: 2
  • Of course there is no 802.11g card from Proxim/Agere (former I guess)/Orinoco available so it’s of no use to help with this at all.


    Mike had this to say on Feb 27, 2003 Posts: 1
  • Oops. Given that Proxim has an 11g AP in release, one hope that the client cards are on their way.

    Zane9 had this to say on Feb 27, 2003 Posts: 2
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