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A guide on how to install and use external USB Wifi adapter on Apple Mac and extend wireless coverage

Apple iMac and Macbook's built-in wireless card is known to have limited coverage as it does not feature an external antenna for better signal reception, however we can easily boost the Wi-Fi signal strength and range of any Apple Mac computer using external USB wireless dongles with external antenna. To get this working make sure you have an WiFi USB Adapter which is compatible with Apple Mac OS X and have drivers available for it, luckily for me the Realtek 8191 Chipset based Mini 300Mbps USB Wireless Adapter we used earlier to hack and make Asus O!Play wifi capable did the trick.

Once you have your wireless usb adapter connected to the Mac we need to identify it and install the correct driver for it, We will be using the Mac OS X "System Information" utility (find via spotlight search) to get our hardware information as shown below.

identify chipset of wifi card

Once identified use Google to search for Apple Mac OS drivers for your WiFi chipset/product, in my case this was a RTL8191SU based dongle and it had a working Apple Mac OS X driver for the most current Mac OS X Mountain Lion version (Apple Mac OS X 10.8.4). A simple download and install, followed by a reboot did the trick as shown below.

Install the correct drivers
Installing wifi drivers
Reboot and Wireless Network Utility Will Launch, Scan your network and Connect using it

As you can see from the screenshot below, we are now successfully connected to a WiFi network which was not visible with my iMac's built-in wireless card - but now works flawlessly with the external USB wifi adapter.

Successfully connected WiFi
wifi connected with better signal strength


Got the Bose. Installed a driver off the internet. Mac mini now connects to but won't connect to any other website. I get a recurring message of "system changes to my network" but can't figure out what to fix or how. Any suggestions?

After intermittent problems with AirPort Extreme card on my iMac I followed your advice and it worked! Thank you so much!

Great guide...worked a treat...thanks!!!

I received this wifi usb adapter, downloaded & installed the driver, reboot & installed with Wireless Network Utility & password, it was written connected but every 4 seconds it disconnected & reconnect & disconnect...
Any Ideas ?

Amazing and informative post about "external USB Wifi adapter". I followed your post step by step and got success. Thanks for sharing a great post.

thanks for the post, this works when I want to connect home (just need to insert the key and it connects perfectly). However, how can I connect to my university WIFI where both a password and a USERNAME are needed to connect ???? There is no room to enter a username.

Hello, were you able to solve the problem of the username of the university network??? I am struggling with the same!
Thanks a lot!

Hi, It's good post. I have followed these tips and connect my external wifi adapter easily on my MAC. Thanks...

help with usb wifi dongle adapter add-on...this was done, but the syncing features of iCloud don't work/function...any ideas on how to remedy this,,,along with portability of handoff options FaceTime connection to iPhone...making calls via iPhone on mac...etc etc etc


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