The chipsets inside these computers are programmable for wifi. They originally shipped just with 802.11b and 802.11g (these are relatively lowers speed at 11Mbps and 54Mbps respectively). With the new Airport Extreme and Time Capsule, the Apple base stations can now run the ever better “802.11n”: (actually, it is called draft n since the standard isn’t closed which is more like 300Mbps with actual throughput about equal to a 100Mbps wired Ethernet!). This allows something called MIMO which means multiple input and multiple output. Essentially, it is a fancy technical term for using all the reflections and interference you normally get and getting even higher bandwidth.

AppleInsider | Apple serves up $1.99 AirPort Extreme 802.11n Enabler

Apple said Macs that have 802.11n hardware built-in include the MacBook Pro with Intel Core 2 Duo, MacBook with Intel Core 2 Duo, Mac Pro with AirPort Extreme option, and iMac with Intel Core 2 Duo (except the 17-inch, 1.83GHz iMac).

The company recommends that customers check to make sure that their Mac does not already have the 802.11n enabler installed before purchasing the software patch. To do so, Intel Mac owners should open the “Network Utility” application (found in the Applications > Utilities folder), choose “Network Interface (en1)” under the “Info” tab, and then inspect the information provided under “Model: Wireless Network Adapter.” If it says “(802.11a/b/g/n),” the Mac already has the 802.11n enabler installed. If it says (802.11a/b/g), the Mac does not have the 802.11n enabler installed.

For some bizarre reasons, they want to charge a $2 site license to upgrade these computers to 802.11n but if you buy their hardware you somehow automatically get it according to “Engadget”: go figure. Another strangeness somewhere in Apple world where I’m sure some product manager wanted to charge for the update but it didn’t work out in the consumer world.

Read Apple’s “official”: and be confused 🙂 or just use the network utility to check:

The Apple Store (U.S.) – AirPort Extreme 802.11n* Enabler for Mac

Before purchasing the 802.11n Enabler software, please check to make sure that your Mac does not already have the 802.11n enabler already installed.

* Open Network Utility (found in the Applications > Utilities folder)
* Under the Info Tab, choose Network Interface (en1)
* In the section “Model: Wireless Network Adapter,” if it says (802.11a/b/g/n), you already have the 802.11n enabler installed. If it says (802.11a/b/g), you do not have the 802.11n enabler installed.


I’m Rich & Co.

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