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Getting WLAN (Wi-Fi) to work with an Asus Eee PC 1008HA and Mac OS X

Background: The Asus 1008HA comes pre-installed with a Wifi card that is not supported by Mac OS X (its label says: AR5B95, Windows XP says: AR9285). And there is little chance that there will be made a driver for it.

There are two current options:

  • Get an external USB Wifi adapter. I just bought a D-Link DWL-G122, Rev C1. Had to get new drivers from here: Ralink Mac drivers, the ones for USB (RT257x/RT2671). Works well under 10.5.7.
  • Open the Asus case and install a different Wifi card. A list of options can be found here: MSI Wind: Working Wifi cards (substitutes)

I've decided to replace the internal Atheros Wifi card with a DW 1510 from Dell. Here are my experiences with it:

Replacement of the card was rather easy (after getting through the somewhat difficult task of opening the case, see below). The most critical part was getting the antenna connector off and back on, without breaking or bending it.

First, I made sure the card works with the pre-installed Windows (XP). Automatic software update would not find the driver. I then downloaded the driver from dell.com, by looking for drivers for: Laptops / Inspiron / Dell Mini 10v / Networking (direct link). Download was very slow (took about half an hour for 100MB)!

When running the installer, it would refuse to accept the hardware and not install the driver. Fortunately, a manual install (by using the card property's "install driver" button) worked, directing the hardware install assistant to look for drivers in c:\dell\drivers\R208883\DRIVERWith that, the card worked under Windows XP.

Next I booted OS X (10.5.6). It took longer to boot than before, about 5 minutes where it appeared to be frozen, but eventually it came up and recognized the new Wifi card as if it was an Airport card. Works well now.

Note: I had also done a clean install of OS X 10.5.4. That version did not detect the Wifi card. Upgrading to 10.5.7 (and then booting with "-x" option) solved this.

Note: To get the long boot (> 5 Minutes) fixed, try this: boot with "-t" option (not sure if this is necessary), then use "DSDT Patcher GUI" to create a "dsdt.aml" in your volume root (you can move the file into /Extra thereafter if you like).

Opening the Asus case to replace the Wifi card

The case has to be opened, which will involve breaking a "warranty void if broken" seal under the keyboard. (Whether this really voids your warranty is debatable - I've had cases where even the official support of a PC maker admits that this is only to "scare people off", so that those without a clue get stopped doing damage. Plus, laws in some countries void such seals as well.)

I used this disassembly guide: Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell Netbook Disassemble Guide

Important notes on the guide:

  • It forgets to mention a 7th screw you need to open on the right side under the keyboard, right below (away from screen) the right USB port, probably hidden by a black cable (which has to be disconnected as well).
  • When removing the blue connector, the beige colored clip that holds it to the board is folding upward, not moving flatly! I reckon you can remove it by just pulling on the blue connector's tail on a slightly upward direction.

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Page last modified on 2009-07-29, 19:42 UTC (do)
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