4 Replies Latest reply: Dec 26, 2010 10:18 AM by Allan Jones
robphoton Level 1 (20 points)
I own an old imac G4 (the kind that looks like a lamp) and would like to "convert" it to be able to use WiFi. Is there a product I can stick into the USB port that would give it WiFi capability?

27" imac i5 quad, mbp 15", Mac OS X (10.6.5), many TB of external drives, iPhone 4, ATV
  • MGW Level 7 (27,025 points)
    You can Google for Wifi dongles, I found [this|http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=200602140626039] which might be helpful.

  • Allan Jones Level 7 (33,942 points)
    Is there a product I can stick into the USB port that would give it WiFi capability?

    Yes, but how well it works depends on the exact variant of the imac G4. Early ones had only USB 1.1 ports and a wireless dongle would be very slow, no faster than wireless "b" speeds. Later iMacs had USB 2.0 and with some dongles can achieve wireless "n" speeds, the fastest currently available.

    So look at "About this Mac..." in the Apple menu and then click "More Info..." That brings up System Profiler, whose first screen has a precise identifier for your model Look for something like "Machine ID: PowerMac4,2. Post that identifier, processor speed and your screen size and we should be able to figure out if you have slow or fast USB ports

    It's very important to understand that few USB wireless adaptors you find in an electronics superstore will come with Mac drivers or have Mac drivers available on the manufacturer's web site. To avoid this deal-breaking problem, I recommend buying online from a known Mac accessory distributor. Were I in the market for such a gadget, I'd buy this one:


    I've bought thousands of dollars worth of Mac goodies from this vendor over the years and am completely happy with them, their service, and the products. (Disclaimer: I have no connection with this firm other than as a customer)

    However, check you OS level BEFORE buying. Every USB wireless dongle I've seen requires Mac OS 10.3.9 to work. Older iMac shipped with a much lower OS level.

    Awaiting to hear what you find,

  • robphoton Level 1 (20 points)
    I ended up using a Netgear G54 adaptor. Costs about $30. In the box it only has PC drivers but you can download the Mac OS 10.4 driver from the Netgear web site, however it was difficult to find on the website. I had to search the web using Google to find the link to it. Then, once installed, you have to click on a number of things to get it to wake up. Anyway, seems to work.
  • Allan Jones Level 7 (33,942 points)
    Excellent! Nice to have the adaptor info and the fact that you can get Mac drivers for it.

    I was worried about your getting "just any" adaptor other than teh ones that Other Workd Computing sells because I visited a big Fry's electronic Sperstore in Portland OR last summer and they had six brands of USB wireless adaptors. None shoed Mac support on teh box info, but I jotted down the makes/models and later check the makers' web sites and five had no links to Mac drivers. One had a link for Mac suipport to a third-pary site that didn;t work.

    Glad we have another option. Can you post a link to the driver? That way, if someone else needs it, people here can boolmark it and post it for others not so skilled as you in ferreting out hard-to-file files.