I have a White MacBook model 3,1 (bought in 2007).
My AirPort card seems to be busted. It has trouble picking up WiFi from a transmitter that is more than one meter away.
I know it's not an OS issue because I also have Ubuntu and Windows installed on this machine, and I'm having connectivity issues there too.

I want to replace it, but before I buy a new one I wanted to know if there are different models available, maybe something newer and better. Or is a new card of the model I currently have (AirPort Extreme (0x14E4, 0x88) according to my System Profiler) my only option?
And While on the topic, where is best to buy such card? is eBay ok?


I would not recommend using any other model or spec with your macbook, you could try ebay, but for service parts that you can trust you could also buy from www.welovemacs.com, who I can recommend.

Hope this is helpful.

  • I opened up my Macbook to have a look at my AirPort card. I read from it that it is Model No.: BCM94321MC. Is it safe to buy a similar looking WiFi card with that Model Number, that is not specified to be a Macbook part? i.e cgi.ebay.com/… – hizki Jul 18 '11 at 21:51

It's possible that you've got a damaged radio front-end module on your wireless card, but it's just as possible that you have disconnected or damaged antenna cables. On almost all models of Mac laptops, the Wi-Fi antenna cables go into or through the "clutch barrel" (hinge) of the display, and if you or someone else opened up the guts of your machine and didn't get the antenna cables positioned correctly when putting it back together, your cables could have become worn and frayed by rubbing against sharp edges while opening and closing your display.

My point is that you shouldn't just assume you need a new card. It may turn out to be much less severe, like you just need to plug a connector back in that worked its way loose over time. Or it may turn out to be a bit more of a pain, like if you need to replace the antenna cable assembly, which is difficult.

  • As is said in one of the comments, I opened my computer up today to look at my AirPort card and write down it's Model Number. Anyway, the antenas seemed to be connected properly. I wouldn't know how to check if it's my AirPort card or the antenas without trying to replace it first... Or is there another way? – hizki Jul 18 '11 at 23:39
  • @hizki Here's a tiny rudimentary antenna with a u.fl connector on it for less than US$2. Buy two, open up your laptop, stick these on, and boot your machine without putting it back together (so the antennas aren't hidden inside the shielding). If your signal strength is greatly improved, then it was failing antenna cables. Otherwise, it was probably a failing card. – Spiff Jul 19 '11 at 0:21

I'm not able to post comments yet but first I think we need more information about your problem.

You mention having Ubuntu and Windows on this macbook.

"know it's not an OS issue because I also have Ubuntu and Windows installed on this machine."

Are you experiencing WiFi issues on the Macbook when you're in Windows or Ubuntu? I think if the card was the issue, it would recur regardless of the OS? Not sure what I'm missing.

My suggestion/answer for this situation is to borrow someone's USB wifi card and see if the problem persists when you've connected via the usb dongle.

  • I stated that I have more than one OS precisely to convey that it is an hardware issue. And I'm not sure, but I think that a dongle is not a substitute to a faulty AirPort card... – hizki Jul 18 '11 at 21:48

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