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Which iMac G3 models support AirPort? How do you replace or upgrade the AirPort card?
AirPort is supported by all slot-loading iMac G3 models -- those with 350 MHz and faster processors -- except for the iMac G3/350 (Summer 2000 - Indigo) which does not have an internal AirPort slot. No iMac G3 models had AirPort installed by default.
Installing an AirPort card in a compatible iMac G3 model is quite simple and nearly the same procedure as upgrading the RAM in the slot-loading iMac G3 models. Effectively, you turn off the computer, place it "face down" on a soft surface, twist a coin in the small door to "unlock" access to the AirPort slot (and memory banks), attach the antenna, and plug in the card. Apple provides step-by-step instructions on the Apple Support Site.
However, as aftermarket AirPort and AirPort Extreme cards are expensive, you may also wish to consider a third-party USB wireless device in lieu of the internal card if one has not already been installed and the iMac G3 is running a later version of MacOS X. Site sponsors Other World Computing and Operator Headgap Systems both have a selection of moderately priced third-party solutions.
Also see: Is there a wireless adapter that works with MacOS 9?
According to Apple's own AirPort FAQ, "AirPort [802.11b] is a wireless local area network (LAN) technology that offers a simple, affordable way to bring the Internet to every room in your home or every desk in a classroom--without cables, additional phone lines, or complicated networking hardware."
AirPort includes a "hardware access point" which acts as a base station for connecting to a phone line, Ethernet network, or high-speed modem (xDSL, Cable, etc.) and a "software access point" which uses a second iMac as the base station and the second iMac's modem as the Internet connection.
The AirPort technology uses radio signals for transmission, which can pass through walls and other solid objects. AirPort works within 150 feet of a base station and transmits data at 11 megabits per second.
Apple reports that Bluetooth is:
A cutting-edge open specification that enables short-range wireless connections between desktop and notebook computers, personal digital assistants, mobile phones, camera phones, printers, digital cameras, keyboards and even a computer mouse. Bluetooth wireless technology uses a globally available frequency band (2.4GHz) for worldwide compatibility.
In a nutshell, Bluetooth technology unplugs your digital peripherals and makes cable clutter a thing of the past. . . You can link your handheld device, mobile phone and other peripherals with Bluetooth technology -- and do it wirelessly, within a 30-foot range.
No iMac G3 models support an internal Bluetooth module. However, to add Bluetooth to an iMac G3 it is easy to use a USB Bluetooth dongle.
A number of Bluetooth dongles are available, but site sponsor Operator Headgap Systems sells one using the Broadcom chipset guaranteed to be compatible with MacOS X 10.2.8 or higher for less than US$20 including shipping. Site sponsor Other World Computing also has a variety of options.