How To: Installing an Airport Extreme Card in an Intel Mac Pro

Posted on 18 Jul ’07 by Earl Moore

Installing an Apple Airport Extreme Card in a Intel Mac Pro is not considered by Apple to be a user installed option so you’ll find little or no instructional help from Apple.

It’s not a job for the timid.  You’ll need a steady hand and patience.  It will also help if you have small fingers. It’s difficult mainly due to the cramped space and small parts involved.

I purchased my intel Mac Pro from Apple as a refurbished unit and it didn’t have the 802.11b/g/n Airport Extreme Card installed as a factory option.  I wanted this capability, so I purchased a compatible Airport Extreme (802.11n) from FastMac and did it myself.

Disclaimer: Here’s the procedures I followed.  Use them at your own risk.  It worked for me but I’m not responsible for any damages you might do to your computer.

Instructions for Installing a Airport Extreme Card in an Intel Mac Pro:

1. Lift the rear latch and remove the side panel of the Mac Pro.

2. Place the Mac Pro on it’s side on a desk or workbench where you can have easy access.  Note the location where the new Airport Extreme Card will be installed.

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3. Remove hard drive bays 1 & 2 to give yourself some extra room. The latch in the back that was used to remove the side panel will have to remained released to remove the drives bays.  The drive bays pull straight out once this latch is released.

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4. Note the mounting points for the Airport Extreme Card. The card slot is spring loaded so when you put the card in the rear of the card will be elevated above the two rear mounting tabs.

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5. Gently push the Airport Extreme Card into the mounting slot leaving the rear slightly elevated.

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6. Carefully press down the rear of the card and insert the two mounting screws.  A small magnetic screwdriver may be of help here.  Locate the two WiFi antenna leads stored in the area above the cards mounting location and attached them to the two antenna post on the card.  There will also be a bluetooth antenna lead in that same area.  Inserting these screws and attaching the antenna leads is the most difficult part of this install due to the limited space and the small size of the parts involved.  Be patience and careful not to force things.

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7. Slide the two hard drive bays back into their correct slots.  Double check everything and remount the side panel.

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8. Reconnect the Mac Pro to the keyboard, mouse, monitor and network and boot.  On the Apple Menu check “About this Mac” to confirm that the Airport Extreme card is being recognized.

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9.  Go to System Preferenced/Network and configure your new Airport Extreme card.

10.  Download and install the Airport Extreme Enabler from Apple in order to use the card in 802.11n mode.  Reboot you Mac Pro.

11. You’re finished!  Enjoy your new WiFi capabilities.

What Others Are Saying

  1. Alex 28 Sep ’10 at 4:18 am

    hi. thx for this post – it helped me deciding to buy and installing the airport card by myself. there was only one irritating thing: my mac pro 2009 (8core, version 4,1) has the card slot behind the RAM-memory! so after a little piece of search i found it ;)

    it is a little bit tricky but doable – i used a small plier to hold the cables and putting them on. i recomend to lay the mac on the opposite side, so you can put the screws from above – and they will not fall in any gap….

    good look and thx to all

    alex

    • Damian Doherty 21 May ’11 at 10:11 am

      Thanks for this. I didn’t get Airport installed as an option and have since regretted it. Now following these instructions have installed one.

  2. Fernando 27 Oct ’10 at 6:59 pm

    3 years later!
    Only 3 years later I tried to use the Airport, and was unable to find any network or printer, being the airport present in the system.
    Thanks for the lesson, because I found the problem.
    The original installation was wrong, there was no antenna for the wireless connected and only the bluetooth was installed.
    Thanks, specially for the photos. Regards, Fernando

  3. Barrie Murdock 29 Oct ’10 at 1:39 pm

    Hi, I just got my card in the mail and your instructions are great.
    BUT my card has 3 pins for aerial wires n° 0 1 2
    AND my computer has 3 wires labeled 1 2 3??
    ANY ideas?
    Thanks
    Barrie

  4. Icram 8 Nov ’10 at 4:40 pm

    Hi!

    I have done the upgrade to my Mac Pro 8-core (2008), but the wifi is slow. My internet connection is 15 mbit/s on my macbook pro (they have even more distance beetween the router and the macbook) but the Mac Pro has only about 8-9 mbit speed. :( I’ve attached the number 2 and 3 cables to the card (MB363ZM/A). Please help me!

    • Barrie 9 Nov ’10 at 4:28 pm

      Hi
      I attached the {1 to 0} {2 to 1} and the {3 to the 2} and hoped it would work and I do get a link speed of 130Mbit/s using Network utility to check my connection.
      Putting those wires on the pins was the most difficult installation that I have ever don on a Mac.
      My eyes are not what they used to be.

      Barrie

      • Jake 10 Nov ’10 at 1:27 pm

        ICRAM, I don’t think anybody here truly knows the difference between the three wires or which combination is perfectly accurate. Most of us either did trial and error or just connected some of them in some combination described above and it worked. As a networking guy myself, your issue sounds more related to your router/access point or to some other factor in your environment. If you have the energy, swapping out the wires to the card would be an interesting test, though. I might be able to help you more if you tell me what router/access point you’re using and how they are configured (IE, 802.11G, 802.11N, or Auto, etc…)

        BARRIE, that sounds like you’re connecting at 802.11N speeds. For my machine, the default is/was 802.11G but you can buy an “upgrade” piece of software from the Apple website that supposedly bumps you up from G to N. Did you install that software?

        I ask because I did buy the upgrade after successfully installing the card, but when trying to install the software, I get an error saying that my equipment doesn’t support it. From my research, though, it technically should. Do you (or anybody) have any input on this? I’m beginning to wonder if this too has something to do with the little PITA wires…

        • Wolfman 29 Mar ’11 at 2:02 pm

          A late reply, but hopefully it helps clear up the wire confusion mentioned here.

          There are three wires marked 1, 2, 3. The Airport card should only have two wires connected to the card, no matter what.

          Wire 2 never gets attached. Only 1 and 3 and the order is actually not relevant. Apple attaches wire 1 to the connector facing down when installed, Wire 3 connected to the connector facing upwards near the screw.

          Connecting the BT wire to the airport will seriously degrade the Wifi signal. If you have bad reception, check for that. Sometimes the markings comes off, but you can detect the wires from where they are coming from (the wifi wires come in a bunch while the Bluetooth cable is a standalone cable).

          FYI; for those wondering where the actual antennas are on the Mac Pro’s: The Bluetooth antenna is under the grey plastic square where the serial number label is attached (by the video card ports) and the WiFi antennas are hidden under the model number label underneath the mac (at the bottom of the case)…

  5. Jake 10 Nov ’10 at 1:26 pm

    ICRAM, I don’t think anybody here truly knows the difference between the three wires or which combination is perfectly accurate. Most of us either did trial and error or just connected some of them in some combination described above and it worked. As a networking guy myself, your issue sounds more related to your router/access point or to some other factor in your environment. If you have the energy, swapping out the wires to the card would be an interesting test, though. I might be able to help you more if you tell me what router/access point you’re using and how they are configured (IE, 802.11G, 802.11N, or Auto, etc…)

    BARRIE, that sounds like you’re connecting at 802.11N speeds. For my machine, the default is/was 802.11G but you can buy an “upgrade” piece of software from the Apple website that supposedly bumps you up from G to N. Did you install that software?

    I ask because I did buy the upgrade after successfully installing the card, but when trying to install the software, I get an error saying that my equipment doesn’t support it. From my research, though, it technically should. Do you (or anybody) have any input on this? I’m beginning to wonder if this too has something to do with the little PITA wires…

    • Barrie 2 Dec ’10 at 4:53 pm

      Jake,

      I have a new Airport ‘n’ router that does b g or n and I have to be the only one on my net as all other machines are bg compatible only. I theoretically have a 300mbs vs. 54mbs as with the older LARGE airport cards. My wifi download inernet connection is only 1.5mbs which is fine as I recently only had dialup and life was not good.

  6. Icram 10 Nov ’10 at 1:46 pm

    I have done some test and I have figured it out maybe my router singal isn’t strong enough.

    It’s a Linksys WRT54G 2.2 wireless router. I tried to put my macbook pro right next to it, and istumbler showed only 70% signal strenght, als tried to put my macbook right next to the mac pro, and same slow internet speed and only around 20% signla with istumbler. Maybe I should buy a new, N router. :(

    • Jake 10 Nov ’10 at 2:41 pm

      Icram, read this link. She does a really good job at describing the factual differences between N and G.
      http://www.brighthub.com/computing/hardware/articles/47819.aspx

      Many people erroneously focus only on the the “speed” difference, when in reality that’s only one piece of what makes N superior. In fact, depending on what you do with your wireless, even a strong G signal at 54Mbps is WAY faster than what almost any of us get through cable or DSL internet service. In other words, the bottleneck in that scenario is the bandwidth that you buy from your service provider. However, with the advent of devices that allow streaming movies from your computer to your TV or hard drives shared on wireless networks within your home/business where large data transfer internally is a reality, then the difference in speed/bandwidth between G and N can and will have a significant impact because you are actually using that wireless bandwidth internally as well as using it to access the internet.

      If you are only using your wireless router to access the internet, then G should be more than adequate, but you’re still faced with the fact that G only uses the 2.4Ghz band (think of this almost as a channel) while N can use both 2.4Ghz AND 5Ghz. There is no “speed” difference between these bands, but there are big differences in range, materials penetration, signal strength, interference, etc. Designing the “best” wireless network is actually a very complicated job. For most of us at home, it’s good enough to know that we have access throughout the house and that the speeds are at least as good as what you pay your service provider for internet access (of course, now you need to consider if you are sharing a hard drive internally and wirelessly, etc…).

      With your Linksys, you might want to try these things to improve your signal strength:
      1) Try setting the speed to 802.11G only as opposed to Auto. You’ll love backwards compatibility with older 802.11B devices, but so far it doesn’t sound like you have any. This will eliminate the router’s need to negotiate the proper speed.

      2) Change the channel that your Linksys is broadcasting on. If you and your neighbors are all broadcasting on the same channel, then you’re bound to have issues like what you describe. Even wireless phones will interfere with your router. There’s another fairly complicated formula that goes into this, and you of course need to know what your neighbors are using to use the formula, so the easiest/quickest method is to just arbitrarily change the channel, reboot, and test signal. Rinse and repeat until you find the best one.

      3) The obvious but often overlooked. Move your router away from your TV or other large electronic devices. Move your router away from everything, actually (as much as you can). Put it up as high as you can, and do your best to create a line-of-site scenario with your computers. This is just one of those deals where you can only do what you can do…

  7. Jake 10 Nov ’10 at 2:57 pm

    EDIT: you’ll “lose” backward compatibility, not “love”

  8. T.W. Day 27 Nov ’10 at 5:31 pm

    Everything went fine on my Airport installation on my new 5150 until I looked for the antenna wires. I found the Bluethooth wire, but the WiFi antenna wires are nowhere to be found. Any ideas?

    • Jeff 1 Dec ’10 at 3:20 pm

      Same problem here

      • Jeff 1 Dec ’10 at 3:34 pm

        Eventually found the wires. They are tucked in there. Have 3 wires on mine and only 2 terminals on the card. Hmmm.

        • Tony 6 Dec ’10 at 4:47 pm

          Working on an early 2010 MP, the AE connector is actually located on the lower part of the motherboard (not behind drive bays 1 and 2), behind the memory modules assembly which had to be pulled out. Wire #1 is for bluetooth, wires 2 and 3 are for Airport Extreme. Are the three wires in your MP labeled?

          • Gail Gebhard 22 Dec ’10 at 11:30 pm

            Tony, can you tell me where the post is for the Blue tooth? I see on the card where wires 2 and 3 go, but not #1.
            Gail

            • Tony 23 Dec ’10 at 11:46 am

              Gail, the bluetooth connector goes on a separate card altogether. If you are not installing a bluetooth card, just leave that wire hanging. If you wish to add bluetooth then you have to purchase a separate module, and this one needs even more screws (4). You’d be better off getting a D-Link USB bluetooth adapter.

              Regarding your other question, it’s unusual that you were provided with only one screw, but you should be able to get away with just one. The screws secure the card to the motherboard and have nothing to do with the wires which are supposed to “snap” into place — good luck with that. This is when your patience will be severely tested.

  9. David 14 Dec ’10 at 1:35 pm

    I’m needing the tiny screws for this. My mac does have any with it, and the card didn’t come with any either. I’ve been looking online for a place to order them, but can’t find anything. Any ideas? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Gary Davis 15 Dec ’10 at 2:01 pm

      I found some a couple of years ago but I don’t remember where. I had to buy 15 so I have extras. I can mail you some if you’d like. I’m leaving the 16th for 3 weeks so you’ll need to wait if I don’t hear back before then. I forget how many are needed.

      Gary Davis

      • David 16 Dec ’10 at 1:35 am

        Thank you so much for the offer Gary, that is so generous of you! I think i found some that will work and they are on the way to me, but if for some reason I receive them and they don’t work, I may take you up on your offer (after your 3 weeks). Thank you again. -David

        • David 19 Dec ’10 at 10:57 am

          Got screws, they fit, followed the great instructions here…success! Thank you.

          • kelly 4 Feb ’11 at 9:27 am

            I also need those tiny little screws – do you know where I can get them? Thanks!!

            • Earl 4 Feb ’11 at 10:49 am

              Hi Kelly, I believe someone on here mentioned they’d gotten a couple of screws from the Geek Squad at Best Buy. If you have any local computer repair places in your area you might also check with them. Anyone else have a suggestion?

              • Terry 4 Feb ’11 at 12:17 pm

                It would be nice if someone who has the correct screws would bother to post the size and thread count of them. If we knew that info, we could probably find them almost anywhere. They’re not magical beans. We just need to know the size/thread count.

            • Dada 9 Mar ’11 at 4:30 am

              Just find a crappy toy or something and remove some small screws from it, thats what I did, worked a treat!!

      • Marc Viner 20 Dec ’10 at 3:58 am

        Hi Mr. Davis. Are you still willing to sell a couple of the extra screws for the Airport Extreme card install?

        Thank you.

        -marc

    • Jake 4 Feb ’11 at 12:59 pm

      I personally wouldn’t know how to look at a screw and tell you the thread count… I can tell you this, though, they are kinda like magic beans, at least in that they are hard to get a hold of. I went to all of my local Mac repair joints, and none of them would give me the screws. I ended up stealing one of the two screws from the Blue Tooth card, so each card ended up being held down by only one screw. Works fine.

  10. wrongdoer 15 Dec ’10 at 7:10 pm

    Thanks for the instructions, I just used them today, so this post is still relevant.

    I would make one adjustment to the instructions you provide, however: it is easier to attach the little wires to the card before it is inserted into the slot and screwed down. I fidgeted with those tiny things for 15 minutes before unscrewing the board and attaching the wires with the board unattached. It was way easier.

    Thanks again!

  11. Terry 19 Dec ’10 at 12:25 pm

    What is the size/thread count of the screws needed to hold the card in place?

  12. Gail Gebhard 22 Dec ’10 at 10:24 pm

    I am also trying to attach a card. I have found wires, 1,2, and 3. Could someone please tell me where the post is for the Bluetooth wire #1? Also, My card came with only one screw. Do I need a screw for each wire or do they just snap on the posts?
    Thank you !

  13. Sean Michael Imler 29 Dec ’10 at 3:46 am

    Thanks for the instructions. They were extremely helpful and everything jumped into place easily. I figured out the following if others would like to know:

    Wire #2 and wire #3 are for the airport card, the longer of the two reaching to the outside antennae slot.

    Wire BT is for the bluetooth which if you don’t see a card below where the aiport goes, it’s not installed on your system. It seems there are issues with the “BT” labeling which is not always the case. If BT doesn’t work, use wire #1 because there are issues around apple support that they mislabeled the wires on some models.

    All wires snap into the posts.

  14. Terry 29 Dec ’10 at 2:44 pm

    Would someone provide a link to the Airport Extreme card compatible with this Mac?

    Thanks!

  15. Tony 30 Dec ’10 at 11:34 am

    Terry, this is where I purchased my AE card at a great price.

    http://airportcardsdirect.com/macproaimiai.html

    Nope, I don’t work for them. At first I was concerned, from seeing “2006” on the card (if I recall correctly), that it would not support 802.11n, but mine did, and I checked with the vendors and they said that it supports it. Anyway, they seem to have a liberal return policy.

    Good luck with your installation. My installations have ranged from half an hour to two hours following the same procedure. Sometimes, those wires are simply too difficult to snap into those tiny sockets. By the way, the flat rate for installing these cards into a Mac Pro is around $350, so even if it took you over two hours to do it, you can still pat yourself on the back for a job well done — well, as long as the installation was a success.

  16. Gail 30 Dec ’10 at 9:54 pm

    Well, If I can install an airport card in a Mac Pro Tower, anyone can do it. Thank you to the person who told me about which wires went where. #2 & #3 are for the airport card. Now I am waiting for my Bluetooth card, which I thought was in with the airport card. Could someone be so kind as to direct me to the directions on installing a Bluetooth card? I would really appreciate it.

    • Tony 30 Dec ’10 at 11:12 pm

      Gail, if you were able to install the AE card, the bluetooth module installation should be relatively easy. xlr8yourmac.com has a good step-by-step guide,

      http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/systems/Mac_Pro/Bluetooth_MacPro_install/Bluetooth_MacPro_install.html

      Remember that the newer MPs might have both modules in a different place on the motherboard (unlike the photos). With an early 2010 MacPro, the modules were located towards the bottom so the memory modules assembly had to be pulled out.

      • Gail 31 Dec ’10 at 8:46 am

        Thank you Tony,
        This is my first time of getting help on line. God Bless all of you with the knowledge and patients and time to help people like me.

        My MP is probably 5 or 6 years old. The sales person totally missed the mark by not asking me if I wanted a wireless card or bluetooth. I assumed they were automatically installed like the Macbooks. All I want to do is use a wireless keyboard!
        Thanks again,
        Gail
        retired teacher

        • Earl 31 Dec ’10 at 10:16 am

          Gail have you considered getting a USB Bluetooth Dongle such as the one here. That’s what I’m using on my MP with a wireless keyboard and it works fine.

          • Gail 31 Dec ’10 at 11:21 am

            Earl,
            Yes, I did consider that, but I had been using a USB wireless device and had trouble with it staying on line. I was constantly having to reboot it, so I just decided to go with the cards. But, I will look into it if I can’t get the card in.

            Thanks so much for helping. I’ll let you know how I do. I really appreciate the help, Earl
            Gail

  17. bart 2 Jan ’11 at 2:10 pm

    I have the “early 2008” Mac Pro.

    “Mac” sites such as “airptortcardsdirect” seem to be a bit (a lot) overpriced, so I’ve been looking at Ebay. I haven’t found BCM94321MCP3 P3 cards, as you have pictured in this tutorial, but I am able to find BCM94321MCP1 P3 cards. Images provided by sellers appear to be virtually identical between the “P1” and “P3” variants, but of course that really means nothing. The “P1” card I found is stated by the seller to be Rev 0A, rev 6.7r, as your install card appears to be, but because it is “P1 P3” instead of “P3 P3,” I am skeptical that it will work in My Mac. Any thoughts on whether this should work?

    I can’t find any information on what different “flavors” of BCM94321 cards exist, and how they might differ, and I don’t trust that Ebay resellers are in the business of helping me out . . .

    Any help appreciated . . .

    • gail gebhard 2 Jan ’11 at 8:03 pm

      Bart,
      I’m not as knowledgable as most and I’m assuming you are referring to the wireless and bluetooth cards. I didn’t feel airportardsdirect was very over priced and they provided me with what I needed and also sent along very good instructions. I’m not into ebay, so I guess that’s great for you. All I know is I put in the wireless card with little effort and it worked. I really can’t help you with your question. Perhaps someone else can.

  18. Eric 19 Jan ’11 at 7:00 pm

    Bought a card on E-Bay for $3.75 for my daughter’s older MacPro. Thanks for the instructions. I just connected wires 2 and 3 to the card before I mounted the card. The small connectors connect flat. I was trying to install them straight up but they go on flat. The most difficult part was finding mounting screws. The Apple store was unwilling to help (bring it in and we will charge you to install ..). My daughter went to Bust Buy and the boys at the Geek Squad gave her an assortment of screws one of which worked.

    The computer booted up and recognized the card right away.

    All I can say is follow the instructions. They work.

    This is the link to where I bought the card

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180606198280&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT

  19. jugarte 3 Feb ’11 at 11:46 pm

    very usefull!!!
    thanks a lot for the tutorial.
    regards from chile!!!

  20. steve_leb 9 Mar ’11 at 6:09 pm

    worked perfectly on my mac pro Quad-Core Intel Xeon, i got the part from ebay same seller as above mentioned (thank you Eric).. http://myworld.ebay.com/omegatech03/ the only problem i faced was that i couldn’t find the proper screws.. my bluetooth part that is already installed had 2 screws.. i took one off and used it for the wireless and voila.. they both work perfectly, with one less crew on both parts ;)

    P.S. this link was also very helpful http://guides.macrumors.com/Adding_Bluetooth_and_Wireless_to_a_Mac_Pro

    thank you all for the great help..

  21. philippe 21 Mar ’11 at 12:16 pm

    Thank you for this page !

    Further advice : if your Mac Pro has 3 wires, use wires 1 and 3 in any combination, leave 2 alone.
    (http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1987765&tstart=150)

  22. maxtu 13 Apr ’11 at 7:45 pm

    not easy to install the card !! bit I’m so happy !!!

    http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5149/5617853942_ec1b31ac3c_z.jpg

    http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5182/5617269145_82c72ccd00_z.jpg

  23. Fast Freddy 56 22 Apr ’11 at 1:51 pm

    Thank you for the great instructions. The pictures were very helpful. It took me about half an hour but I do this sort of thing for a living. I cannot believe that Apple would charge $350 do this sort of thing but if you can get people to pay almost $900 for an ipad anything is possible.

    Regards Fred

  24. Bal 2 May ’11 at 9:39 pm

    I would like to thank you for this post. I would not be able to instal this card without your help.

    Regards

    Bal

  25. Adam 3 May ’11 at 3:42 pm

    The generation and model of your Mac Pro apparently has EVERYTHING to do w/ how you do this. As maxtu showed, the placement of the Airport card in our Mac Pro (8 core, Intel Xeon, model 4,1) is behind the Ram / CPU block. But the big difference is the 3 wires. I read SO MUCH about these wires, but I guess nobody had the same Mac Pro as me. In mine, the 3 wires are the same length, and only labeled 1, 2, and 3. I literally tried every combination, top and bottom, and my result is clearly that 1 and 2 are the right ones, and it seems in either order. 1 on top or 2 on top, doesn’t seem to matter. I tried 2,3 3,2 1,3 and 3,1 also, and the results were awful. Low signal and transmit rates of 1-18. Now with 2,1 connected, transmit rate is 54 (same as my MBP sitting right next to me).
    Again, EACH MAC PRO IS DIFFERENT, so figure out which one YOU have, and then find the right blog/thread to help you.

  26. alan 14 May ’11 at 5:44 pm

    agh! i connected wires 2 & 3 and installed the card and restarted my computer and the damn network doesn’t see any airport card!

    i’m not connected to the internet – is this a problem? i’m 99% sure the antennas are on there – if i should have used 1 & 2 would it not recognize the card? the card snapped in the slot and i screwed both screws all the way in… dah, i was so proud of myself and now i’m so disappointed!

    any thoughts?

    • Barrie 15 May ’11 at 12:21 pm

      I had the same problem and then I got desperate.
      I used the Apple Help App and it walked me through the setup for an airport connection and the card was recognized and all works just fine,
      try the help function, it just might work.

      Barrie

  27. DIGITALUnderworld 23 May ’11 at 6:13 pm

    I am trying to install a AirPort Card in a Mac Pro (2008 8Core) and need to find screws that fit and ideas? I tried a “#4-40 x1/4″ but it is just too big. Also, what is the verdict on which of the 3 wires are the best to use?

  28. Stefan Pich 9 Jun ’11 at 2:59 pm

    A friend wanted this doing to his Power Mac ( 1.1) 2008, after reading this blog I thought “simple”. Bought the card quite cheaply on ebay and proceeded to install it.

    Fitting the card proved no problem at all – just open the case, remove the drives from bay one and two, slip the card in the slot (as described in this post) and use one of the bluetooth module screws to fasten it down.

    Now I started to look for the three wires which should be part of the “loom”. Nowhere to be seen – I even removed the CD drive chassis to see if they were tucked behind there – nope. Read in this post about the wires sometime being behind the RAM modules. Ripped them out to have a look – nope. Even took the front fan casing out just on the off chance they were sneakily hiding behind there. Basically, apart from removing the mother board to have a peek behind it, I have looked everywhere inside the case for these three wires.

    They don’t seem to exist on this Power Mac.

    My question is this: Am I being a moron and missing the obvious (that the wires are there but I can’t see them) or is there a possibility that this particular Power Mac doesn’t have them?

    • Darksun 19 Jul ’11 at 1:10 pm

      I’m in the same boat as you with my MacPro 3,1; I can see the BT wire which is connected to it’s module but no sign of the other antenna wires and I’ve looked every except behind the motherboard… grrrgh!

      • Wolfman 19 Jul ’11 at 11:06 pm

        It’s easy to find the wires. On Mac Pro 1,1 to 3,1 models, the 3 wires are bundled underneath the logic board and taped using a black fabric tape between the sata connectors of drive 1 and 2. Just look for the black fabric tape and pull it carefully off the metal. Then carefully pull the 3 attached wires out.

        Never use wire #2 on these models. Only use wire 1 & 3. The order is not as important, but I recommend 1 on the bottom and 3 to the top.
        FYI, wire 2 was meant for a 3 wire airport card that was never implemented for the Mac Pro, but only used in the 2007 MacBook Pro (3,1).
        Using wire 2 connects to a less efficient antenna (there are 3 antennas in the bottom of the case underneath the gray label.

        After installing the card, make sure to push the extra wire length back underneath the logic board and affix the tape in the same place, otherwise the wires can get in-between the the sata drive and connector and you could cut the cables when pushing the drive sled back in (drive 2). Hope this helps

  29. Slammerfly 25 Jun ’11 at 7:24 pm

    Thanks for these directions. Got it installed & working perfectly.
    Due to very tight space.
    My one suggestion is to attach the 2 antenna lines first then plug into pin seat & screw.
    I didn’t know which line went with which plug so …. I went with the ‘obvious thinking'; ie, short line goes to top pin and longer line goes to bottom pin.
    Kinda have to be careful and feed the card behind the Bluetooth line.

    By the way, I did notice the bluetooth line did have a mark “BT” on it.

    Best

  30. Tony 14 Jul ’11 at 7:22 pm

    My third installation… doesn’t seem to get any easier except that at least I already knew what to expect. This time it was on my own MacPro3,1. I opted for the more expensive 802.11n-capable card and even at my present location with just an 802.11b/g Airport Extreme, the connection is fast! I temporarily disabled ethernet and somehow the 802.11g connection tested faster than ethernet (almost the full 1.5/1.5 Mbps speed on my T1). But I’m sure it can’t beat ethernet for file transfers with my Mac OS X server.

    So when I move to my new location with business class cable and an Airport Extreme 802.11n I’m sure I will be a happy camper.

    Tips: This Mac Pro had factory-installed bluetooth so when I fished out the antenna wires (partially hidden behind the motherboard) I was surprised to find wires 1, 2, and 3. All along I thought wire #1 was for bluetooth. Anyway, I used #2 and #3, and this time I found it easier to attach the leads first before screwing down the card onto the motherboard. In previous installations, I found the reverse to work better for me.

    Make sure you have a strongly magnetized double-aught Phillips head screwdriver. Better yet, if your hands are not rock-steady, apply a minuscule drop of Superglue between the head of the screw and driver tip. Once the screws are seated tight, they will release easily from the driver.

    Another oddity. I set up a current model (mid-2011) iMac and its wireless connection was very slow until I turned off IPv6 which then normalized the connection speed. However, on this MacPro with this card, it does not seem to make a difference whether or not IPv6 is enabled.

    Total installation time: less than 30 minutes. I consider myself “lucky” this time since the connectors snapped into place after a few tries. My longest time in a previous installation was almost two hours, most of it just trying to connect the leads to the card. Good luck to you!

    • Earl 15 Jul ’11 at 7:49 am

      Tony, Nicely done and thanks for sharing your experiences!

  31. Daniel Pedro 30 Jul ’11 at 2:10 pm

    I live in Portugal where i can buy online ?
    it´s work with airdrop in Lion?

    thanks

    Daniel

  32. Marcus 1 Aug ’11 at 6:42 am

    Great guide. Picked up a cheap card and installed it in my Mac Pro tower following the instructions.

    Only fiddly bit was clipping the aerials on. A magnetic screwdriver is essential.

    Be warned however, you may not need the airport enabler. I purchased it but on install it said I had the wrong hardware. However the card is functioning perfectly and is happily running a “n” connection.

    So my advice is to test the card in OSX before you attempt to buy the enabler.

    • Earl 1 Aug ’11 at 6:50 am

      Marcus, glad it all worked out for you. Good advice about the enabler. At the time this article was written the enabler was required but Apple may have built the function into later releases of OS X. Thanks for the feedback on your results!

  33. HD Boy 5 Aug ’11 at 3:05 pm

    I have a late 2007 Mac Pro (2,1) that already has internal (factory-installed) WiFi and Bluetooth cards (mine has this WiFi card):

    Airport Extreme (0x14E4, 0x87); Firmware: Broadcom BCM43xx 1.0

    Surprisingly, it’s compatible with 802.11n 5GHz (though the reception is poor), but from what I’ve read, I don’t think it will work with the new ‘AirDrop’ feature in 10.7 Lion, which I am about to install today. Does anyone have any insight into a Mac Pro Airport Extreme card upgrade that might work with this older model and AirDrop in 10.7?

    Thanks for any leads.

  34. Tony 6 Aug ’11 at 11:00 am

    This card, Broadcom BCM94322MC Mini PCI-e Card 487330-001, supposedly works with AirDrop, although I still have to try it for myself. I bought one on eBay for about $17. Don’t know if it comes with the screws… will worry about that later. One caveat—xlr8yourmac reports this working in a 2009 MP, so if you have an older (or newer) model, your mileage might vary.

    I already installed another card in my 2008 MP but it does not work with AirDrop. If this one works, then I intend to get another one for my even older 2007 MP.

    • JR 6 Aug ’11 at 12:46 pm

      One of the reasons that I went to Lion was for AirDrop. I look forward to hearing if your fix does the trick.

  35. JR 6 Aug ’11 at 12:45 pm

    I just talked to an Apple rep who said that my early 2008 MBPro will not support AirDrop, nor that Apple has an upgrade WiFi card to do the trick. There must be a way. I don’t want to go back to Snow Leopard.

  36. Daniel Pedro 6 Aug ’11 at 1:44 pm

    If work´s tell me please because all cards i find not work. All people said the card for work with airdrop need Dual Band and 5 GHz and old´s cards only work with one channel.

    I´m waiting for news

    Thanks

    Daniel Pedro

  37. Daniel Pedro 6 Aug ’11 at 4:29 pm

    I have Mac Pro early 2008 and they say not have any upgrade to work with airdrop. Only buy a new machine. But i see one program free do the same that airdrop but not remember the name now.
    So i go to forget airdrop now :((

    • Tony 6 Aug ’11 at 7:17 pm

      As I wrote previously, the report on this card was for a 2009 Mac Pro. I’m trying it out just out of curiosity, and because I need a second card for my other Mac Pro, whether or not AirDrop works for either. I am getting essentially the same functionality out of Dropbox which syncs over LAN/wifi, just like AirDrop, as well as offering a wealth of other features that AirDrop does not provide.

  38. Rob 8 Aug ’11 at 5:05 pm

    According to this
    http://www.battery-online.org/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=132_137&products_id=5453
    that card is compatible with all Mac Pro models. So I just went and bought one on eBay. Ill try to post back once I install it.

    Rob

  39. Daniel Pedro 8 Aug ’11 at 7:02 pm

    Hi Rob

    I see the tech specs of the card, i think this card work with airdrob because is dual band, and airdrop for work need 5 GHz dual band Card, try and then tell us.
    Good Luck

    Daniel

  40. Fab 9 Aug ’11 at 7:52 am

    Hi everyone !
    Eurêka ! I succeded !!! Thank’s to all your advises and comments…
    My personal advise is to put the Mac Pro Tower stand up, in the back (sorry for my poor english…).
    It’s easier to put the little “heads” in place.
    My (working) installation is this one : cable “2” on top, and cable “3” below (on a Mac Pro octo – 2,26 Ghz).
    I have a little problem : i didn’t get any screw with my Airport card… but it doesn’t move…for now. Where do you think i could get those king of screws ?
    Thank’s again !
    Regards
    Fab

  41. shane 10 Aug ’11 at 3:39 am

    Have anyone tried and get the airdrop to work on older mac yet? Please share details about your card!
    I know so far, all the macbookA1181 have the same airport card, but air drop would work on some macbook, so can I say it is not all about the card?

  42. Tony 12 Aug ’11 at 2:00 pm

    YES! AirDrop works! As I posted earlier, the card was purchased on ebay, Broadcom BCM94322MC Mini PCI-e Card 487330-001 for under $17. Needless to say, the installation was not any easier than before but at least I was better prepared for it mentally. It took about an hour total.

    I have the early 2008 MacPro3,1 which did not come with an Airport card. I reported on the installation of the previous card, a Broadcom BCM94321MC, with no AirDrop support. The …4322MC does. Aside from supporting AirDrop, I don’t see any difference in the performance, the only odd thing being that System Report only shows it as a “Third-Partry Wireless Card” while the older card was correctly identified. Here is the AirDrop window,

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2241210/AirDrop.jpg

    and the System Report,

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2241210/Wi-Fi%20info.jpg

    I also took a photo of the card before installing it,

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2241210/IMG_0507.JPG

    Now at least we know that AirDrop can be enabled in the MacPro3,1 (early 2008). It is not a guarantee that it will work with the older models, but this is encouraging after all the comments that AirDrop requires specific hardware (other than the Airport card) in order to be supported. A reader report on xlr8yourmac does claim that the BCM94322MC enabled AirDrop in their MacPro2,1 (8-core, April 2007). This is good to know because I have one of those and will be my next project.

    The only thing I’m unhappy about over this last purchase is that the card did not come with screws. It’s fine if you are replacing an older card, not fine if it is a first installation since there are no screws in the Mac Pro for the card. I used only one of the screws and will use the other one to size it in order to find out where to get more. This community can sure use a bunch of those screws, no?

    Cheers!
    Tony

  43. Tony 12 Aug ’11 at 2:20 pm

    Me again. Just read another success story on an even older Mac Pro, as reported on xlr8yourmac:

    “My MacPro 1,1 is running Lion but without AirDrop.
    “I used the Aug 4 list of AirDrop supported cards … and started searching. I found one (on ebay) for under $16 (listed as a New Apple Atheros Dual-Band AR9280 AR5BXB92 AGN 300Mbps). I just swapped out my OEM Airport Extreme card, the new one works fine.”

    The MacPro1,1 was introduced in August 2006, with two dual-core Intel Xeon “Woodcrest” processors.

    Tony

  44. HD Boy 12 Aug ’11 at 2:48 pm

    Tony Said:
    “My MacPro 1,1 is running Lion but without AirDrop. I used the Aug 4 list of AirDrop supported cards … and started searching. I found one (on ebay) for under $16 (listed as a New Apple Atheros Dual-Band AR9280 AR5BXB92 AGN 300Mbps). I just swapped out my OEM Airport Extreme card, the new one works fine.”

    Tony: please clarify.
    On the one hand, you say Lion is running without AirDrop, but on the other hand, you say that the new OEM Airport Extreme card “works fine.” In my mind, these two statements cancel one another (to me, if the new card “works fine” it [ideally] should support AirDrop, even on the old machine). So, does the replacement Atheros card support AirDrop with the old MacPro 1,1 or not?

    Thanks, in advance, for any clarification.

    • Tony 12 Aug ’11 at 2:56 pm

      I did not say that. It was a quote I copied from another reader feedback on xlr8yourmac. That’s the reason for the quote marks.

      As I understand it, the person’s MacPro1,1 came with Airport Extreme originally, but that after installing Lion, AirDrop was not supported. Then after installing the new Atheros wi-fi card, it sounds like AirDrop now works. You had better read the article yourself, since what I pasted here was just part of their feedback.

      • Daniel Pedro 23 Aug ’11 at 6:08 pm

        Thanks Tony my mac pro is 1.1 early 2008 i not understand why the apple not sell this cards.. They want make us stupis to buy e new machine….
        thanks
        Daniel

        • Tony 23 Aug ’11 at 7:35 pm

          Just so you know, in consolation, Apple never made the Airport Extreme card for the Mac Pro available as a retail product. You either had to get it as a BTO option when you purchased your Mac Pro, or you could take it back to an Apple Store or Authorized Service Provider and have one installed as an after-market add-on.

          I hope I made it clear that I have no personal experience with the MacPro1,1 and AirDrop, but I see no reason to doubt the validity of the person’s report about his MacPro1,1 and the Atheros card supporting AirDrop.

          But now that Apple has been using Broadcom products widely for their newer Macs, I would put more faith in that brand rather than Atheros.

          Tony

  45. Fab 14 Aug ’11 at 5:51 am

    Hi !
    “not fine if it is a first installation since there are no screws in the Mac Pro for the card”
    You’re right Tony. I ‘ve installed mine without any screws. I found a web site selling those screws but the price is…almost the same price i paid the card !!!! No way ! My card will stay without the screws !

  46. tobyone 19 Aug ’11 at 9:58 am

    thanks for this tutorial.. managed to install card, only hassle was getting those darn antenna wires plugged into the card.

  47. Paulanthony 23 Aug ’11 at 10:06 am

    this was a pain in the ass! to install but sooo many thanks for this post, it works super fast and had no problems except for the fact that I should of opened my mac pro ages a go to give it a clean, it was full of dust!

  48. Fab 23 Aug ’11 at 11:05 am

    Where did you find the screws…???

  49. HD Boy 23 Aug ’11 at 8:41 pm

    In the interest of simplifying this thread and minimizing the potential for misunderstandings, can someone create a single post that summarizes the Airport Extreme WiFi card/AirDrop issue in Mac Pro models, list the replacement product models (with links) that do work and clarify if both Atheros and Broadcom solution options exist?

    It would help everyone…

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