Some Macs don’t come with Airport hardware built in, and if you have an older Mac, it can be difficult to find the hardware you need to go wireless. AftertheMac specializes in after-market components for Macintosh computers.
I purchased their n300 wireless USB adapter (802.11n) and installed it for one of my customers. It wasn’t as easy to install as most Mac users would like, but it wasn’t too terribly hard. The package included a CD and good, step-by-step instructions. Once installed, I could see and connect to wireless networks that were outside the range of other wireless Macs or PCs in the same offices. That was impressive. I connected to the wireless router and confirmed that the computer could connect to the Internet.
Then I shut the computer down and restarted to make sure all my changes were saved. This computer had been in service for several years already and had a significant amount of corruption in the file system. When I turned the power back on, the system didn’t detect the adapter plugged into the USB port. I had to reinsert it before it would work again. Restarting the system without powering down didn’t have the same problem. AftertheMac’s tech support people recommended repairing disk permissions and running some other routine cleanup utilities. I tried two different utilities before their tech suggested I try OnyX. I installed that and ran the cleaning utility as well as a few others to clear application and system caches and repair disk permissions again. That time it worked!
The only real drawback to this adapter was the tech support. AftertheMac is a small company with limited resources. Nine times out of ten, their 800 number rang to an answering machine, and it usually took a day or more for anyone to call me back. Once I had them on the phone, they were always very helpful and seemed to know what they were doing.
AftertheMac’s n300 is compatible with OS X 10.3+ and will connect to 802.11b, g, or n routers. You can see more information at their website. If you’ve used this adapter (or another after-market Mac accessory), let me know in the comments. I’m curious about your experience with it.