Apple Mac Airport Extreme Card
|Use Apple's AirPort Extreme card to add/join wireless networking almost anywhere in your building (up to 50 feet at 54 Mbps). Airport Extreme lets you provide network/internet access to multiple users without installing expensive cabling. With AirPort Extreme-enabled Macintosh systems, it's a snap to exchange files or play multiplayer games. And because AirPort Extreme uses radio waves for communication, it can even work through walls. AirPort Extreme is backward compatible with the 802.11b wireless networking protocol, which means all AirPort products, as well as Wi-Fi certified 802.11b wireless products, will work with AirPort Extreme. For highest performance you need to have both the Airport Extreme Card and the AirPort Extreme base Station. The range of AirPort Extreme is up to 50 feet at 54 Mbps and up to 150 feet at 11 Mbps. AirPort antennas are built into most AirPort Extreme-ready systems (Except the G5 Towers, which use an External Antenna), so in most cases all you need to add is an internal AirPort Extreme card for each AirPort Extreme-ready system you want to bring onto a wireless network. This will allow you to join any of the thousands of Wi-Fi certified 802.11b/g wireless hot spots running in coffeehouses, bookstores, airports, hotels, motels, and even the Chehalis Library!, yep, there is even wi-fi in my local small town library.
If you want to create your own wireless network in your home or business you can add an AirPort Extreme Base Station to communicate between your AirPort and AirPort Extreme-ready systems as well as the Internet; Or if you already have a wired dedicated G4/G5 Gateway/Proxy/NAT/Server machine that is left on 24/7 you could easily add this AirPort Extreme Card to the system, and create your own 802.11g wireless network. MDD G4s are pretty good for this, but a G5 with lots of memory, running Leopard with a good external after-market antenna and an AirPort Extreme card makes for an optimal 802.11g base-station/router/gateway/proxy-server/firewall machine. With Leopard, you can install one of these cards, go to the networking section in system preferences, turn on the card, give it an ip address that's in your internal ip range, use the little pull down menu and pick Create Network. come up with a name for the network, choose your security options, once you have the airport extreme card setup, you then go to the "sharing" section in systems preferences, and turn on internet sharing for the airport card. Bingo, you have just added a wireless network to your already existing wired network (Boy Howdy, ain't UNIX with a Mac GUI a wonderful thing).
This Airport Extreme card will work in a wide variety of AirPort Extreme-ready PowerBooks, iBooks, eMacs, iMacs, G4 MDD Machines and G5 Desktop Machines (NOTE AirPort Extreme Cards cannot be used in the earlier AirPort ready computers with the original AirPort Card slot, OR later systems designed for use with Airport Express).
Network cards generally tend to work, or not work; with the usual exception being that they will work when transferring small-files/amounts-of-data, but have problems when transferring large files, like multiple 1GB Video_TS files. Problems other than cards being pretty much dead, will usually NOT show up with diagnostics or test programs, but WILL show up with actual usage after cards have gotten warm. These cards are tested in G5s running OSX (Leopard 10.5.8) for about 5 hours, which is plenty of time to get the card warmed up, and see if it has any problems.
I test these cards not just for functionality, but to make sure they run at normal speeds. In order to do this type of testing I've had custom antenna cables built that directly connect airport extreme basestations to G5 machines. This eliminates any interference or sunspots from affecting the tests. The first part of the test involves a 3 hour warm-up, by playing "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" across the network. The second part of the test is to copy a 7GB Media Folder between machines three times, transfers usually take about 40-43 minutes each. If the three transfers take more than 46 minutes each, then the card is rated as B-Stock for functionality, anything over 50 minutes gets tossed in the recycle bin.
Approximately 5-10% of the cards seem to be slower than normal and get rated as B-Stock. I've got no idea what could be causing this other than possibly the antenna plug-in on the card not making a good connection?. These cards still play DVDs across the network with no stalls or problems. I've left them running for days, and never seen "dropped connection" errors. So everything seems to work just fine, but the file transfer tests are consistently slower than normal, this is the type of problem you may not even notice if you are just using it to watch videos from a local server or surf the net. If you want to move large files most of the time, or are far away from the basestation/router then this may not be the card you want.
Often the cards will work/function properly, but may have a few little scratches, dents or dings on them. Although these cards function as they should, they are just not as "Pretty" as the A-Stock ones, and will be rated as B-Stock for Cosmetics. These B-Cosmetics cards probably look as good, or better than the typical Used Card on eBay, while the A-Stock ones would look more like what a typical dishonest eBay or Amazon seller would say is "New Without Retail Packing", "New Other", "New Condition" or "Sold Without Box, To Save on Shipping".
If you have two G5 machines (with antennas) networked together with these cards, you can usually play a DVD between machines with no problems, upto about 30 feet away if both machines have good antennas (a bit less with the small T antennas). A machine plugged into a basestation and one wireless also seems to work really well. However if you are connecting something like a USB flash drive thru a base station, and it's a couple of hubs/switches/stations away it seems to add just enough lag that playing a DVD (or DVD Media Folder) can result in the playback stuttering at random intervals. This seems to depend more on network configuration and the basestations than the A1026 card. Since the 7GB folder that usually transfers in about 40-43 minutes contains about 5 hours of video, this stutter is surely not because the cards can't transfer the data fast enough, it feels more like the apple DVD player program does not ask-for/cache adequate data ahead of when its needed, so if there's a lag or stall in the network, it's just enough to pause things as the player asks for the next clump of data.
Using VLC across the network seems to suffer from a similar of problem, but VLC has some advanced settings that can be muddled around with and more or less eliminate the stutter. I initially figured there would be some setting to increase the input buffer for VLC, but was not able to spot anything so obviously labeled. Playing/Stumbling-around resulted in some settings that appear to work. Tho I have NO CLUE what these things are really doing, they are included below.
VLC-1.1.0, which can be found in the Softwares & Utilities area. This is one directory UP from the install PDFs, so if you want you can snag VLC first, and then go to the AP_A1026_Installs sub-directory, and get whatever PDF you need.
First open System Preferences; Airport; Advanced; unless you have some reason for using IPv6 on your local network, just turn it off.. then check the MTU under Ethernet, this is normally set by default at 1500.. Then open the VLC Preferences and select ALL rather than Basic, so you get access to the extra settings. The topmost item is "Input / Codecs" click on this and scroll down to the Network interface area, and make sure the MTU is set to the same numbers that show up as the MTU when you looked at it the system preferences, and click on Force IPv4 located just below the MTU stuff. This keeps both the OS and VLC from wasting time/recourses on IPv6.
Next click on the "Advanced" section of the VLC Preferences, (Also click the little triangle to the left of this so it opens the CPU subsection).. Change the "Memory Copy Module" to Altevec memcopy, then bring "Adjust VLC Priority" up a bit from zero, 2 or 3 usually seems to work. Finally click on the CPU features and make sure the CPU Altevec Support box is checked.. Click to "Save" these settings and with any luck VLC should now stop the video stutters.
Install Tip Here. Older machines can have oxidation on antenna/card-slot connections. When testing cards, I take antenna cable and sort of push it into card, and then while still pushing twist it clockwise/counter-clockwise a few times. This will rub connection points together a bit and clean off most oxidation that may be on card to antenna connection points. The cards Edge-Connection (that goes into computers slot) is already cleaned, but if there's oxidation on pins in computers slot You may get poor connection, between card and computer.. plugging and unplugging card a few times should rub off most oxidation that may be in the slot itself..