Airport Extreme Card Adventure

Just when you think you know everything about upgrading your machine (“been there, done that“) you find out something new. I have to admit that thanks to my wonderful Linksys WET610N ethernet bridge I’ve never felt the urge to really get into the whole Airport thing.

However, thanks to falling prices and my desire to upgrade my PowerMac G5 to the max I decided to order an Airport Extreme card for wireless internet. Well, little did I know…


My PowerMac G5 was one of the last ones ever built. According to coconutidentity, a nice small utility that tells you the age of your Mac, it was built between 16.01.2006 and 22.01.2006. (remember guys, Apple switched production to intel only by mid-2006). That’ll be important as you’ll see in the next paragraphs.

So anyway, I was really excited when the Airport Extreme card arrived here. Finally internal wireless! And one power-sucking device less. Quick consultation of my PowerMac G5 manual regarding Airport Card installation: Nothing. Except “for the installation of Airport cards, please consult an authorized Apple dealer“. Yeah, sure. It’s just popping in a small card. I really can do that myself, Steve!

So I unplugged the PowerMac G5, opened it up and looked for the empty Airport Extreme Card slot. There it is, right above the RAM. I plugged it in. Now, where is that antenna cable? I have installed a couple of Airport cards, mostly in old G3 and G4 machines and remember that if you forget to plug in the antenna cable, it’s not going to work. However, my PowerMac G5 didn’t have such a cable. Strange. Weren’t they included anymore? I would totally trust Steve to have made Apple selling those separately.

Anyway, I decided to reassemble everything and fired up my PowerMac G5. I was curious as to whether the PowerMac G5 would detect the Airport Extreme card even though I knew it wouldn’t be working. So I booted up Tiger and…. Kernel Panic. WTF? I restarted and again – Kernel Panic. This ain’t good. Opened the PowerMac G5 and dragged out the Airport Extreme Card, booted and it worked fine again. That’s odd. Several pages told me how this Airport Extreme Card would work beautifully with the PowerMac G5. Did the internet lie to me?

I was baffled. I did what you always do when you’re baffled – I looked for advice. So I posted my problem at a place where fellow Mac friends hang out. Initially no one seemed to know anything though, as there were no answers. Finally one guy came around and explained that Apple had created a new standard for the last line of G5 models (late 2005) that wouldn’t work with a regular Airport Extreme card. It would work only with an Airport Extreme with Bluetooth 2.0+EDR Combo card. Why Apple, why!? Geez, suppose that means I just wasted 30 bucks. Now ordering an Airport Extreme Bluetooth 2.0+EDR Combo card for my PowerMac G5 late 2005. Gotta do what ‘cha gotta do.

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One Response to Airport Extreme Card Adventure

  1. Tom CaliforniaGuy says:

    Thank you for posting this information regarding PoweMac G5 Airport Extreme card compatibility. Very useful, and greatly appreciated.

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