NMU Mac users will soon have access to WiMAX

Shaina James

NMU students with MacBooks will receive a USB WiMAX adapter before the end of fall semester that will allow students to use the Mac OS driver.

The original Motorola USB adapters that were purchased last year for the Macs did not have a Mac OS driver. Because these adapters had drivers that only supported Windows, few students picked them up, said David Maki, chief technology officer at NMU.

“We have been waiting for the adapters with the Mac OS drivers to clear FCC (The Federal Communications Commission) certification testing,” Maki said. “If they do not clear, we will be forced to go with a more expensive manufacturer.”

Seowon Intech is the manufacturing company customizing the USB WiMAX adapter for Northern. The company, based out of China, specializes in mobile information technology devices and already makes WiMAX USB modems.

“If the WiMAX adapters work, it will be a lot easier for us,” said senior Max Sterbenc, a photography major who works at Micro Repair. “The company kept telling us they were going to send the drivers, so we were telling the students the (adapters) would be in soon. We get about one student a week asking when the new adapters are going to be in.”

The new WiMAX adapters will be included in Mac students’ tuition, and they will be able to pick them up at Micro Repair in the LRC. Students with Macs already pay an extra $150 a semester.

“NMU should realize that art and design students cannot always travel to get WiFi, or some may not have financial funds to buy Internet,” said junior Zerek Twede. “I have been told that NMU has been working on an adapter so Macs could get WiMAX, but I have been hearing this for too long.”

Twede, a graphic communications major, lives off campus. He pays for Internet at his house and said after the cost of a router, modem, installation fees and the monthly bill, Internet is a very expensive utility. Twede said he is hoping the WiMAX adapters will be in soon.