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What broadband cards are compatible with a Mac OS 10.5 Powerbook G4

Journeyman

What broadband cards are compatible with a Mac OS 10.5 Powerbook G4

I have a Apple Powerbook G4 with OS 10.5.8 Leopard and currently using a Compass 597 Sierra Wireless USB stick which is having issues.  I need to upgrade and seem to find anyone that understands what device goes with what mac and OS.  No I can't afford to buy a new Mac at this time so is there an upgrade for me?

Thanks

Logicbear

5 REPLIES 5
Journeyman

Re: What broadband cards are compatible with a Mac OS 10.5 Powerbook G4

Most of Sprint's cards work with OS X but it looks like newer versions of the SmartView app are moving to Intel only. On the download page 2.27 is the latest for PowerPC while 2.4 is for Intel. You're probably finding this a lot with OS X software as well.

How do you know it's the card that's specifically acting up? Did somebody at Sprint diagnose this or is it just a hunch?

What I'd suggest is looking at a wifi router like the Cradlepoint PHS300 if it's SmartView that's being flaky. You can pick a PHS300s, a Sprint-centric version, for as litlte as $40 on eBay. I haven't owned your card but it looks like it's supported at http://cradlepoint.com/products/phs300-personal-wifi-hotspot-3g4g. That'll solve your problem if it's software.

The other thing that's nice about this solution is you will move the card away from the computer which will be better for your signal. When you're in lower signal situations you can put the box up against a window.

If it is the card won't Sprint replace it for free for a contract extension?

Hope this helps.

Message was edited by: julesallen

Journeyman

Re: What broadband cards are compatible with a Mac OS 10.5 Powerbook G4

Hey Jules!

Thanks for the info.  I have not had the card diagnosed yet though I was thinking that the PCMCIA version would be better for me because a) the slot never gets used and b) it would free up a USB port.  Now The Cradlepoint device you mentioned, receives a Sprint 3G signal and distributes as WIFI?  That would be a possibility though I'm sure there is a way to set up security so no one can access it except me.  I appreciate all your help and further info you have to share.

David

Journeyman

Re: What broadband cards are compatible with a Mac OS 10.5 Powerbook G4

Hey, David.

Yes, that's exactly what the Cradlepoint box does, takes a 3G or 4G signal and turns it into wifi.

The security on the Cradlepoint box does a grand job of keeping things safe and secure. In addition to wireless encryption you can do things like limit access by MAC address and also require an additional Web-authenticated password before somebody can start using the connection.

Your Ethernet card and your wifi have a unique Media Access Code (MAC) that identify the interface. It's represented by six hexadecimal numbers and you can find yours by going here: http://www-dcn.fnal.gov/DCG-Docs/mac/ . Personally I think this is a little security theatre as it's really easy to set your MAC address to anything you like. For casual usage where a friend might also jump on your connection from time to time it becomes a pain in the rump, and if you change your computer you might find yourself banned from your Cradlepoint as the MAC would obviously be different.

The extra layer of Web authentication might be the sweet spot for you. Once you've connected to the hotspot you fire up your Web browser and enter an address. Instead of going there as normal you'll be directed to a Web server that's built into the Cradlepoint and be asked for a password. No password, no connection to the outside world.

The very first thing you'll need to do when you get the box is secure the wifi connection. If your computer is capable of supporting WPA2 pick that and AES as the encryption combination as they're the best there is at the time of writing. Don't bother with WEP as it provides very little security. Limit the network to 802.11g if you you can.

However, if you pick a lousy password you might as well not bother with encryption at all. Anything that can be looked up in a dictionary is a lousy password. Perhaps pick a phrase and separate it with numbers. "the1rain2in3spain" for example but do pick your own.

Personally I have a good password on mine and don't bother with the MAC filtering or the extra password. But if you're really into locking things down you can do all three. You could go further still and run everything through an encrypted proxy (http://google.com/search?q=encrypted+proxy) which is also very useful if you're using free wifi like that at many coffee shops, airports, etc.

As for hardware, you'll find that the USB version is much future proof than the PC Card Not every computer or router like the Cradlepoint comes with a PC Card slot and those that do often come at a premium. But just about everything has a USB port these days. If you upgrade your computer in the future and it doesn't have a PC Card you'll be back to needing to exchange it for a USB stick. Cradlepoint does manufacture a PC Card-capable router but it lacks a battery like the PHS300 which for me is a problem.

Hope this helps you decide and best of luck getting your prolems solved.

Highlighted
Journeyman

Re: What broadband cards are compatible with a Mac OS 10.5 Powerbook G4

Thanks Jules!

My dad called and got an updated stick which is not compatible with my Mac.  I can use it now by connecting it to the cradlepoint box so I will have 3G/4G connection depending on where I'm at as I understand and have read on the Cradlepoint website.  What about the device Sprint sells? The Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot?  Will this work?  It does not seem to need the software for charging, only if I tether it for internet use and why. I already have a microSD card reader I use seperately.

Am I understanding correctly?  So many choices and options, just want to make the right decision.

Thanks

David

Journeyman

Re: What broadband cards are compatible with a Mac OS 10.5 Powerbook G4

Hello, David. I haven't tried the PHS300s, the Sprint version, but I'm going to imagine it's a Sprint-only device. I don't know for sure so perhaps calling them might help.

If there's a slim difference in price I'd recommend going with the Cradlepoint one. So if you switch mobile providers in the future there's a better chance your stick will work with the box you invested in.

In theory the Overdrive is simply perfect and I was seduced by the marketing.

But look around the forums here, search with your favorite search engine, and you'll see there are a lot of very unhappy people with Overdrives. Count me in. For me it gets flaky when it gets hot after being on for an hour, randomly drops signals, won't charge from the USB port, etc., There have been several software (or 'firmware' to be technically accurate) updates that have improved things. But it's still not right and I've yet to hear from a single person who is anything other than a casual user who's happy. Right now I can't personally recommend it and I've switched back to a Franklin U301 as connectivity is a vital link to me paying my mortgage.

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