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Option-Click AirPort Menu for Network Details

If you hold down the Option key while clicking the AirPort menu in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, you'll see not just the names of nearby Wi-Fi networks, but additional details about the selected network. Details include the MAC address of the network, the channel used by the base station, the signal strength (a negative number; the closer to zero it is, the stronger the signal), and the transmit rate in megabits per second showing actual network throughput. If you hover the cursor over the name of a network to which you're not connected, a little yellow pop-up shows the signal strength and type of encryption.

 
 

Mac Users Join the "A" List

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Mac Users Join the "A" List -- When Apple's AirPort Extreme (IEEE 802.11g) wireless networking system was announced in January 2003, Steve Jobs declared an older, equally fast system dead. He said 802.11a, which uses a different range of frequency from the AirPort (802.11b) and AirPort Extreme standards, would join the dustbin of history, as the lack of backwards compatibility doomed it. A year later, 802.11a has more legs because of additional frequencies allotted to its band, and the large number of wireless cards from non-Apple sources that can handle 802.11a, b, and g. 802.11a doesn't suffer from as much junk radio interference as b and g. But Mac users have been excluded from this revolution so far.

OrangeWare is now offering software drivers that they developed for 3Com to support a set of chips from Atheros, a competitor to Apple's wireless source Broadcom. Although the OrangeWare driver lets Mac OS X use Atheros-based wireless cards, Mac users have been able to use 802.11g cards made by Linksys, Buffalo, Belkin, and others that share the Broadcom chips used in the AirPort Extreme line-up ever since the AirPort 3.1 software update was released. With the $15 trialware OrangeWare driver, you can use 802.11a or a/g PC or PCI cards from NetGear, Fujitsu, D-Link and others. OrangeWare has a short list of cards they've tested. [GF]

<http://www.orangeware.com/endusers/ wirelessformac.htm>

 

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