For a couple of weeks now I’ve been struggling with the task of sorting out a sensible network connection for my Mac Mini that Siân is using in her studio. Sadly I had the foresight to buy the Mini without the Airport option and there was just no aesthetically pleasing way to run an ethernet cable up the stairs from the main switch nor were there any phone sockets upstairs with which to connect a DSL modem.
For those of you who aren’t getting the taxing nature of this problem, the issue is that USB WiFi device for Macs is practically non-existent. However, with careful perserverence you may well succeed as I have just done. Eventually using the Mac System Profiler I managed to find out the make and model of the chipset on Siân’s CNET USB WiFi device that she uses on her laptop. Then referring to the website of the chipset manufacturer (http://ralink.rapla.net/) I verified the details and was able to download a Mac driver for the chipset. After that it was all Mac again; it just worked! The drivers were free and not time limited, came with a handy WiFi utility program (launches when you plug in the WiFi device) and the CNET USB device only cost about Eur 29. A saving of over Eur 70 on the cheapest known, definite solution (i.e. an Airport extreme card). Man I’m happy! 🙂 The details are CNET CWD-854 Wireless USB Dongle and the Ralink 11g-RT2500 USB driver v188.8.131.52 (for OSX 10.4.X) downloaded from http://www.ralinktech.com/supp-1.htm