Got a Dead Airport Card?

I had my Airport Card fail in an older Mac (cannot use the new Airport Extreme Card), so I needed to replace it with something else that could communicate to my Airport Extreme Base Station. I chose to try the LinkSys WET54G Ethernet Bridge which claimed on its packaging that it could be installed and used on a Macintosh (or just about anything with an ethernet port).

I want you to know that several calls to Linksys and a chat contact with technicians could NOT solve my problem.... over a three-day period. But someone I wrote to via internet... a lawyer in Canada...helped me resolve my problem completely and quickly.

Because my network and its computers are all Apple Products, the Linksys technicians had no idea how to help me. I was told several times that it could not be done! The instruction manual for the WET54G is useless for this kind of configuration. The problem was made worse by Linksys supplying a defective ethernet cable with the WET54G.

It turns out that the instructions for configuring the WET54G by a Macintosh for an Apple Extreme Base Station are very short and very easy. Linksys could have put these instructions into the box as a tiny slip of paper and made my life much easier, the configuration in seconds rather than in days, and saved Linksys some phone charges and technician time too!

The Linksys engineers put an easy system for automatic configuration into the firmware...that the tech support staff apparently have not heard about...and that the manual authors have not heard about either! Here is an instruction set that long as you have a functional ethernet cable in the box...

Configuring a Linksys WET54G Ethernet Bridge

Assemble the WET54G as described in the booklet.

Connect the Mac to the LinkSys WET54G with an ethernet cable from the Mac's ethernet port to the WET54G ethernet port. Set the X || switch to X. Make sure the Power and Wireless G lights light. If necessary, press and hold the reset button on the WET54G for 10 seconds.

On the Mac, go to the Network Preferences and set your TCP/IP preferences as follows:

Connect using Built-in Ethernet
Connect Manually
IP address =
Gateway or router =
Subnet mask =

Hit Apply and close the TCP/IP preferences.

Open a browser. Go to

Leave the username blank [note: since configuring mine, other people have written to me and said that for their newer bridges they needed to use admin for the username] and use admin (all lower-case) for the password but do not hit return at the end of the the button instead.

This will get you into the LinkSys web-based set up utility. Scroll down to the wireless section and hit the "site survey" button. The dialog should recognize your Apple Airport Extreme Base Station.

Select your Base Station...and click to save the settings.

Re-open the TCP/IP preferences and change them to:

Connect using Built-in Ethernet
Configure using DHCP
Hit Apply and Close the TCP/IP preferences

Surf the Internet!

If you purchase something that should work on a Macintosh, and the outsourced, third-world technical support staff of the company just cannot make heads or tails of what you are asking, check the internet for a friendly person such as the one who helped me!

And, if you are the CEO of Cisco or Linksys, I hope you will reconsider who you hire for customer service. People who tell your customers that your product cannot be used on a Macintosh or that they cannot help customers with configuration from a Macintosh is UNACCEPTABLE and WRONG. The staff just needs to learn how to make it work. The engineers have built it into the firmware, but the communication within the corporation needs to be worked out. The technical releases that the support staff use to advise customers need to be expanded to include Mac instructions. Now that Apple has stopped producing the Airport cards, I think you will see a spurt of sales to Mac owners.

This page © Ross E. Koning 1994.

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Send comments and bug reports to Ross Koning at koningre∂gmail⋅com.