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Which iMac G4 models support AirPort and which support AirPort Extreme? How do you replace or upgrade the AirPort card?
The original and "Spring 2003" iMac G4 models -- those with 700 MHz and 800 MHz processors -- support AirPort (802.11b) -- and all subsequent models -- those with 1.0 GHz and 1.25 GHz processors -- support AirPort Extreme (802.11g), but none had either wireless standard installed by default.
Installing or replacing the AirPort or AirPort Extreme card is quite simple -- effectively you need to place the computer "face down" on a soft surface, remove the plate on the bottom of the computer, attach the antenna, and plug in the card. Apple provides step-by-step instructions and a helpful video of the process.
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. Site sponsors Other World Computing and Operator Headgap Systems both have a selection of moderately priced third-party solutions.
AirPort (802.11b) provides a maximum wireless data rate of 11 megabits per second, and AirPort Extreme (802.11g) provides a maximum wireless data rate of 54 megabits per second, which is five times faster. AirPort Extreme is backwards-compatible with AirPort, and works in much the same way. However, it is worth noting that at 54 megabits per second, the "Base Station range" is only 50 feet, whereas the range is 150 feet 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.
Later iMac G4 models -- those with 1.0 GHz and 1.25 GHz processors -- support internal Bluetooth 1.1, but none had it installed by default. To add Bluetooth to iMac G4 models that do not support internal Bluetooth or do not have it installed, 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.