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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Setting up (non-airport) wireless?

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Member Since: Nov 04, 2005
Posts: 19
pal is an unknown at this point

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I've had my mini running in the office for a little while now, trying to iron out the bugs in my understanding of how it all works. It has been happily plugged into the adsl via a 100meg cat5 back to the switch.

It's about to migrate down into the house, where I'm setting up a new home for it in the entertainment unit in the lounge where it is planned to become a media streaming / entertainment hub type machine. Part of that process required bluetooth k/b and mouse, which now happily share a bt dongle in one of the usb ports. Part two of the plan, was to plug an 802.11g adaptor into the other usb port, so it can hop on line, and also access the nas drive on my local network, via the wireless I have in the house already.

As the battery had gone flat in my bt mouse, I had temporarily plugged a hub into the usb port when I first tried to attach the 802.11g dongle (an MSI US45G by the way). There was a standard wired mouse in one port of the hub, and the dongle in another. A message popped on screen that a device had been disabled because there wasn't enough power for it on the usb port. I unplugged it, and later when I didn't need the other mouse any more, tried again. This time nothing happened at all. The power light on the dongle came up, but that was it. No hardware detection message. No attempted driver installation. Nothing...

Under network settings, Airport was greyed out, so the mini doesn't know about the dongle, but I couldn't find anything to initiate a hardware detection, and can't find out if the initial "disabling" has to be reversed somewhere before it will work again. Or perhaps, I'm just completely on the wrong track...

...That's my biggest bugbear with MacOS. I'm new to mac, but I'm not a computer newby. I've been playing with computers since one of the first Texas Instruments machines hit my High School in 1978. I even have certificates hanging on my wall to suggest I know a thing or two about it. I may know exactly what setting I want to put where, but the route to "where" has been so completely obfuscated by the OS that I end up going round and round in circles getting nowhere, and give up in frustration - heading back to my pc where I can just get something done. That's the main reason the mini is being demoted from the office to the lounge room in the first place!

Maybe if Apple reps are lurking, they could take back a suggestion to incorporate an "Expert Mode" switch somewhere to cut through the "choose only one of these two big friendly buttons" mode that it works in by default, and offer those who have used other computer and network products for more than five minutes, an opportunity to not feel like a complete idot. I wan't to love my mac, really I do. Any opportunity to ditch Micro$oft for good has to be worth trying. It's just that MacOS makes it so bleeding hard to do anything but the bog standard default options!

Thanks for listening. I feel better now, really...

...I'd still like to get the wireless working though!
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Member Since: Jan 12, 2005
Location: Ceres, Ca
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The problem is with the drivers-- there aren't any for the MSI US54G stick you are using. As a matter of fact, it seems pretty rare to find anything that you can use other than Apple's airport hardware. I have an old D-link USB stick that had drivers for Mac, but they quit updating it and they no longer run on the current version of OSX. It didn't work with the Mini anyways, install the drivers and plug it in and you got the OSX equivalent of the BSOD (only time I've seen it with a Mac BTW). Most companies don't support the Mac when it comes to wireless networking.

I was able to find a Canadian company a while back that sold me the airport/bluetooth upgrade package for the Mini. It was a royal PITA to install-- it didn't actually take that long but you have to pry open the case with a couple of putty knives and then disassemble just about the entire thing in order to plug in the card and route the antenna cables. Needless to say, the warranty is likely void after such surgery.
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Member Since: Nov 09, 2005
Location: Northern VA
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Mac Specs: MacbookPro 15.4, 2.2ghz i7 (Late 2011), Macbook 1,1 1.83ghz CoreDuo

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I got my Airport with bluetooth installed at APPLE for $99 + tax. and they set everything up and config it too. You could do that. Plus ive only seen one Dlink USB dongle that works for the new macs. its on in the catalog.
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Member Since: Nov 04, 2005
Posts: 19
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Argh! Foiled again...

Perhaps the truth was stretched a little when the salesman told me airport was built on 802.11, so 802.11a/b/g stuff would "just work".

OK. So what is my prospect of success with plan B?

I have an old generic 802.11b access point that used to drive my wireless lan before I upgraded. If I set it to bridge mode, and plug the cat5 into the mini's lan port, that should be a driver free solution shouldn't it? Only concern would be that the reduced bandwidth may render the "streaming" application sub-optimal...?

Any comments?

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