Sysadmin > WirelessLAN > IeEE80211a > HowTo11aWithOSX

Howto use IEEE 802.11a with Mac OS X

PPC-based Macs

The airport extreme chipset comming with the PPC-based Macs is not able to connect to 5GHz. Therefor you habe to use a externel PC-Card witch is 802.11a capable and where you can find a Mac Driver.

"Cisco Aironet 802.11a/b/g Cardbus Wireless LAN Client Adapter (CB21AG), Release 3.0.1, PCMCIA, LMC, PCI 802.11b Client Adapter Driver and Utilities for Mac OS 9.X and Mac OS X (up to 10.2). 5 GHz Cardbus 20A 802.11a for Mac OS 9.X and Mac OS X (10.2 and later). Firmware 5.30.17 or earlier."

  • a Card with Atheros Chipset with OrangeWare driver (Problems with Tiger)
  • a Card with Atheros Chipset and the original Apple driver from the Intel Mac OS X

Try to adopt the original, universal Atheros driver from an Intel MAc OS X installation

  1. Some helpfull links
  2. copy the /System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext from an Intel Mac to a PPC Mac (tar cvfzp /tmp/bla.tgz /System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext)
  3. I have also copied some 80211* header files, but they seem not nessessary
  4. Insert your Card in the PPC Mac an boot
  5. use ioreg to exact the string that you card uses (ioreg -bl and search for Atheros)
  6. vendor-id ist the first number and device-id the second
  7. change to root (su - admin; sudo tcsh)
  8. patch /System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AirPortAtheros5424.kext/Contents/Info.plist for your card
  1. add your string in the array
    • in my case <string>pci168c,001b</string> for a 3Com 11a/b/g Card (3CRPAG175B)
  2. reboot
  3. kextload -i /System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext
  4. Ok - driver is loaded and the generic PC-Card Symbol does not appear in the menue, but the Card does not appear in the System Preferences or the menue
  5. Any ideas wellcome


Intel-based Macs

Allthrough Apple did not make any advertisement, the Intel-based Macs are 802.11a ready.

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