Going Wireless with an Older Mac

in Genius Bar edited January 2014
I gave my girlfriend my family's old iMac. It is a graphite, G3 iMac, 500 MHz. She's put it up in her room, but wants to get it on the internet. She doesn't want to run a cable upstairs.

The iMac does not have airport built in, but I know that some companies offer USB dongles to receive a wireless signal. If I bought a USB dongle and a wireless router, would I be able to get the iMac on the internet? Are they all mac compatible? Or do I need to buy one from Apple?

She's on "High Speed Lite," which is basically as slow as dial up. As the iMac has only USB 1 (or 1.1, i don't know) will a USB dongle be fast enough?

Any help is great, thanks!


  • Reply 1 of 4
    danosaurdanosaur Posts: 258member
    Is there no way to do this? Is the only solution to run a cable upstairs?
  • Reply 2 of 4
    benzenebenzene Posts: 338member
    There are a couple of USB adaptors that are mac compatible. Here's one, for example.

    USB 1.1 will do fine, speedwise, in the example you gave.
  • Reply 3 of 4
    Thank you!

    Just 2 more questions:

    Some USB adaptors will not work with Mac, right?

    Can I use a USB dongle to pick up wireless from any router? Or do they have to be from the same company?
  • Reply 4 of 4
    Because of driver problems, I don't think all wireless USB dongles work with macs. I'd make sure the specifications explicitly state that they do.

    As long as the USB dongle itself works with the Mac, it should be able to pick up any 802.11 (wireless internet) traffic. Now, some cards don't support all authentication methods, but as long as you own the wireless router and can set the authentication type, you're ok.

    This brings me to a pet peeve, which concerns why manufacturers of wireless mice and keyboards insist on using proprietary wireless protocols instead of bluetooth. Bluetooth chipsets are cheap and versatile, so why the heck do they force me to buy not only the mouse, but some extra USB dongle as well?
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