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Customer Review

161 of 184 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rare find - a multi-OS Wireless N adapter!, October 25, 2009
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This review is from: Medialink Wireless-N USB Adapter - 802.11n, 2.4 ghz - Compatible with Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP (150 Mbps) (Personal Computers)
I recently added Mac OS X to my Windows Dell Mini 9. I had replaced the WiFi card in the Mini with an Intel 5300 which is great, but there's no Mac OS support. So I was on the lookout for an inexpensive USB adapter that supported OS X and Windows - if it was wireless N also, that would be a bonus. A couple of weeks ago when I started this search, I came up empty, but this time I found the Medialink adapter, which claimed to support Windows, OS X and Linux. I decided to give it a try.

When I received it I was upset to see that the packaging claimed support for Windows only, and the Medialink web site has only Windows drivers. But the instruction leaflet says that OS X and Linux drivers are on the CD and sure enough, they are.

Medialink claims that this is one of the smallest Wireless N USB adapters and I believe them - it's half the size of an Actiontec adapter I recently reviewed.

I first tried it under Windows 7. The driver installed nicely and the adapter worked, though I found the configuration utility confusing and could not figure out how to use WiFi Protected Setup (WPS). I did manage to create a profile typing the WPA2 key by hand and that worked. The signal strength was somewhat lower than the Intel card (with its three antennae in the netbook lid), which was understandable. Speed was excellent, though. Note that this is a 2.4GHz only adapter - 5GHz is not supported.

I then tried OS X. The CD contains drivers for several earlier versions of OS X, but not 10.6 (Snow Leopard). I tried the 10.5 driver and the installation appeared to hang after a while. However, when I rebooted and inserted the adapter, everything seemed to work. This time I managed to figure out how to use WPS and it connected with my router without problems. Unlike with an AirPort or some Apple-supported device, there's no indication in the menu bar that there's a connection, but the "Ralink Wireless USB" utility that launches when the adapter is connected confirmed it was there.

Medialink also includes a rather large desktop base with a hefty USB cable attached, should you want to use it. I tried it and it did work.

Pros: Support of Windows, OS X and Linux (I suppose - I didn't try Linux), compact size, good performance
Cons: Confusing configuration utility

Edit: December 29, 2010

I noticed that the Amazon description no longer mentions Linux and Mac support, so I called Medialink to ask what's up. I was told that they found the market for the adapter on Linux/Mac OS smaller than they thought and they didn't have expertise in those operating systems, so they no longer advertise Mac and Linux support. However, drivers for those ARE still on the CD and if they get any newer driers from Ralink (the chipset vendor), they'll pass them on (on the web site, I assume.) I still recommend this adapter for Mac OS users, but be prepared to be "on your own" if you're using Mac OS or Linux. (And sorry, I can't provide support either!)
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 5, 2010 3:18:39 PM PDT
_snowcrash says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2011 9:35:42 PM PST
Tested on Ubuntu Linux 11.10 and worked perfectly out of the box, no setup involved.

Posted on Dec 16, 2011 9:52:48 AM PST
CDaniels says:
Yes! Now you know (unlike many self-styled experts) that SUPPORTED means you can contact them for assistance. SUPPORT really has little to do with device capabilities. If only more reviewers would figure this out, life would be much easier for us Mac and Linux (and BSD!) users.

Posted on Mar 1, 2012 9:17:32 AM PST
Lun Li says:
Does it work with OSX 10.7.2?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012 5:41:17 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2012 5:41:34 PM PST
S. Lionel says:
I can't get it to work with 10.7.3 (had not tried earlier 10.7 versions.) The Medialink Products web site has the 10.5 driver for download, but it doesn't work. The Ralink Products web site has a 10.6 (Snow Leopard) driver, but I could not get that to work either. The install for that said that configuration in System Preferences > Network was needed, but the Medialink adapter did not show up there, nor could I find a way to add it.

Since the reason I bought this adapter was for a "Hackintosh" that can't run 10.7 anyway, it met my needs but is probably not useful for Macs running 10.7 or later.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012 5:47:43 PM PST
Lun Li says:
I recently install osx 10.7.3 in my lenovo y470, and there is no solution for intel wifi 1000 bgn adapter. That's why i need a usb adapter.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012 5:57:29 PM PST
S. Lionel says:
Well, yeah, as I wrote in my review, the Intel 5300 adapter I installed in my Mini 9 had no Mac support. Sorry, it looks as if the Ralink-based products such as the Medialink won't work for you. I suggest you find a community forum that has info on hackintoshing your Lenovo and see what other people are using. You might find a MiniPCIe card is a solution for you. I know many Mini users install a Dell 1505 (I think) which is natively supported in OS X. The trick is to find one with the same chipset as Apple uses in some product.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012 7:38:09 PM PST
Lun Li says:
Thank you. My y470 has a white list protection so I cannot replace the intel adapter with other adapters otherwise I have to reset the BIOS. I did some research and noticed that some of the Ralink chips are compatible with 10.7. I should find some models based on them.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2012 10:37:13 AM PDT
X. Li says:
Hi, it works on Lion 10.7.3, you just need to find and download from: http://www.ralinktech.com/en/04_support/support.php?sn=502

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2012 10:59:28 AM PDT
S. Lionel says:
Interesting - I did not see 10.7 listed when I checked the Ralink site, and when I tried the driver there it did not work for me. Thanks for the update.
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