Friday, 20 April 2012

Installing Realtek USB WiFi drivers on Mac OS Lion

The airport card in my laptop died and I couldn't get it fixed before going away for a week. So I needed a stop-gap solution. There are many USB wifi adaptors on eBay that claim Mac compatibility. Some are super-cute little things that only just stick out of the USB port (how they have enough antenna showing to get a signal is anyone's guess).

They almost all seem to use a Realtek chipset. (You can verify this by going to System Information on your Mac, opening the Hardware>USB page, and selecting the device. The bottom pane shows the device info, included the manufacturer name (look at the Vendor ID line).

If you're lucky, you'll get a driver CD bundled. If you're very lucky it's even got some Mac drivers on it.

Don't even try to use them! They'll be hideously out of date.

And don't go to the Realtek website and download the driver that matches your chip number. no doubt that too will be hideously out of date.

I wasted hours doing that; it reminded me of why the Mac is (usually) a so much better computing environment that Windows and Linux. I wasted hours fiddling with different driver versions, 32-bit and 64-bit kernels, cleaning out old driver installations, Googling forum postings, trying other driver versions, and all sorts of tedious tomfoolery.

The simple solution I found, which works on Lion, with 64 bit kernels and 32 bit kernels, is to install the following Realtek driver:

http://www.realtek.com.tw/downloads/downloadsView.aspx?Langid=1&PNid=21&PFid=48&Level=5&Conn=4&DownTypeID=3&GetDown=false&Downloads=true

Select the RTL8188CUS>Others>Mac OSX 10.7 Install Package (UI ver 1.9.7) version.

Even though the chip number doesn't match my USB key, the software is perfectly compatible with older devices. And it has the added bonus of working.

Remember: the driver doesn't integrate into Apple's airport utility. So you'll have to run a separate client to set up the wireless network. It isn't pretty. But it works.

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been trying to fix this problem myself... would you mind clarifying which driver you installed? the link points to a whole page of them...

Pete Goodliffe said...

The 818 CUS version.

ash said...

How to run a separate client to configure USB WIFI in Airport Utility

Anonymous said...

Thanks, the 8188 CUS version did resolve my issues as well. To Ash... to use the "wireless Network Utility" in your applications folder to setup the USB wifi device. After you do this, you can see the USB wifi in the network preference pane.

Anonymous said...

Hi I keep getting "you don't have permission to open this page". Tried all the 6 sites. Am I doing something wrong?

Pete Goodliffe said...

OK, they're providing Mac drivers, but they don't support Mac browsers!

Try Chrome or Firefox.

Hunternight said...

Has anyone tried this with RTL8187L in Lion 64 bits kernel?

Anonymous said...

can't get the wireless utility to open it keeps crashing?

Mary Had a Little Lamb said...

Re: EW-7811Un and Wireless Utility problems.

I spent 2 days dealing with many of the above mentioned problem.

The installation CD that came with the product was on a mini disc. So, that was a no-go.

There was no driver for Mac OS 10.7 and download file for Mac OS 10.6 on the edimax site was corrupt and wouldn't open. I was using this site: http://www.edimax.com/en/support_detail.php?pd_id=347&pl1_id=1&pl2_id=44 and tried downloading at least 5 times.

I downloaded 10.5. The driver installed fine, but I experienced the same (above mentioned) problem with the wireless utility crashing upon starting every time.

I tried the realtek site and downloaded the 10.6 European version. Same problems!

I finally found a site (edimax USA) where I could download Mac OS 10.7
http://www.edimax.us/html/english/frames/b-download.htm
and the accomanying instructions.
http://www.edimax.us/download/drivers/EW7811unMacInstruction.pdf

Everything worked just like they said it would, and it was up and running after about 10 minutes.

Too bad it took me so long to find it.

Arg.

Anonymous said...

is there a way to have it remembering the last setup on startup? or at least do you think it's possible to script something like this? thanks!

555 Films said...

When I follow link I can't download driver from Realtek website it says i don't have permission

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your help! I dropped my laptop and managed to rip out the wireless adapter yesterday. I bought the Netgear WNA1000M today without reading the specifications... I managed to get it working for Lion OSX 10.7.5 following your instructions! Very straight forward. Downloaded the Realtek installation package, ran it, restarted the computer then opened the Wireless Network Utility to connect.

Mary Had a Little Lamb said...

You are very welcome. I'm glad to have been of use.

Thanks for letting me know.

Diesel C said...

Hi Tim,

I have installed the driver you said. I can see the WLAN adaptor in my networks (inside system preferences), but how do I actually use it?

You say "Remember: the driver doesn't integrate into Apple's airport utility. So you'll have to run a separate client to set up the wireless network. It isn't pretty. But it works."

Can you tell me which client, where to get it for Mountain Lion.

Many thanks,

Diesel

Chris Briggs said...

I have a 2006 mac mini on 10.5.8 and i just installed a dlink dwa 130 wireless n adapter. Using your method, my connection is literally 10x as fast.

(from 2.8mb/s to 28mb/s)

Eternal thanks

spk said...

Thanks for the information!

Worked like a charm for my edimax EW-7811 on my Macbook Air OS 10.8


Fantastic!!!

Nielson Rolim said...

Wonderful post Pete! It saved me a lot of time. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hello, I have tried to install different versions of the drivers on Mac OS 10.8 Mountain Lion but the Wireless Network Utility always crashes...Am I doing something wrong? What version of drivers could help me? Thank you.

Pio.

Anonymous said...

Hi there Pete. Have bought AWUS036H with the Realtek 8187L chipset. Apparently KisMAC works with this chipset. Havent yet received the little blighter in the post, but would you mind explaining how I configure a client to hook up with the Apha AWUS036H and which client you suggest? Or will KisMAC act as the client? I am running Apple mac 10.7. Will the above lot all work together?? Thanks for your thoughts.

Pete Goodliffe said...

Hi,

Afraid I have no extra info that what I've posted here.

* I've not tried this on 10.8, but I would have expected that the same driver would have worked.

* Regarding AWUS036H, I have no specific information at all. I've not played with one of these specific devices, nor with KisMac. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

I bought a TP-Link TL-WN725N V2 which uses the RTL8188EU chipset... You mentioned that the RTL8188CUS works (which is the chipset used in TP-Link TL-WN725N V1). I wonder if anyone here has found a MacOS X driver for RTL8188EU ? Even the Realtek website does not mention the existence of the RTL8188EU chipset... I found my information at http://wikidevi.com/wiki/TP-LINK_TL-WN725N_v2

Anonymous said...

Worked like a charm. Thank you very much.

KenJ said...

I too have the TP-Link TL-WN725N V2. I have tried all sorts of the Realtek drivers now but none work as the Wireless Network Utility always crashes (or rather won't open). I have also tried the edimax drivers etc but all give the same problem. I am on Mac OS 10.8.4 so any help would be appreciated. The TP-Link TL-WN725N V2 works fine on a PC so it is a driver issue.

In hardware it shows as connect with device id relatek 8179.

Yannik said...

Wireless Network Utility always crashes on 10.8.4 for me using my wn723n. I tried versions for 1.9.7 and 2.0.1 for both 10.7 and 10.8.. All crashing :-(

KenJ said...

ANyone got it working with 10.8.4 yet?

mahasiswa teladan said...

hi...Im student from Informatics engineering nice article,
thanks for sharing :)

subere said...

tried with a TL- WN723N and 8188CUS (mac os x 10.8 ver. 2.0.1) and succeeded !

thank you man !

Anonymous said...

same issue: can't get the wireless utility to open it keeps crashing.
My system info: 1. 10.8.5; 2. tried realtek 8188CUS for Mac 10.8.x version and also edimax USA wireless adopter for 10.8beta and 10.7 verions;

No luck~orz... any updates for me?

Anonymous said...


check the version number on the silver of the USB connector on your USB dongle.

Mine is realtek 8188v2 EU version.
This version is difficult to find the corresponding driver. After a exhausting search, I found a useful link:
http://www.osx86.net/files/file/3539-tp-link-tl-wn723n-v3-tl-wn725n-v2-usb-wifi/

The driver fails me on v10.8.5 but works well after downgrading to v10.8.2.

Anonymous said...

Success with initial instructions on MacBookPro4,1 (17", late 2008 model) with Netgear WNA1000M. Thanks so much, Pete! Christian

AJ said...

anyone got a USB dongle working with Mavericks 10.9?

Anonymous said...

I am trying to do the same thing. Late 2011 MBP reduced to a paperweight after 10.8.5 update and wont fix. Upgraded to 10.9, nothing.
Wiped and put clean version of 10.8 on it, nothing. Got it working a little bit, updated to 10.9. Worked for a bit and stopped again. Ahhh!

igrapix said...

SUCH A GREAT MAN... ITS WORKING WITH NIRESH 10.8.2 WNA 1000M NETGEAR ..
THANKS A LOT
IGRAPIX GURU

Anonymous said...

I have an old MacMini with PowerPC and 10.5.8. I try to use a TL-WN723N V3 USB WiFi Adapter, and followed instructions as per above reccomendation of one of the commenters: http://www.osx86.net/files/file/3539-tp-link-tl-wn723n-v3-tl-wn725n-v2-usb-wifi/, install worked, but when clicking Wireless Network Utility, message says: "You can't open the application "Wireless Network Utility" because is not supported on this architecture." That means that the driver/application is not for PowerPC? Thanks in advance for gsome help...

Bogdan Susala said...

I did found a solution here: http://noairportcard.blogspot.ro/2013/01/how-to-install-wifi-usb-adapter-to-your.html

So, to sum up the situation:
- MacMini with PowerPC, OSX 10.5.8
- One of the myriad USB dongles using Realtek's 8188XX chips (seems that the suffix after the chips' name, either SU, EUS, CU a.s.o, doesn't really matter on 10.5.8); mine was an TP-LINK product, TL-WN723N V3

Steps:
1. Go to http://www.edimax.com/en/support_detail.php?pd_id=347&pl1_id=24&pl2_id=84
2. Bottom of page, find the Mac driver package (v1.0.0.3, click under "Mac" column)
3. Inside the archive you will find several installers for several OS X-es. Choose the one which fits. Apparently, all versions have the most used Realtek chips, so they seem quasi-universal
4. Install, restart.
5. Insert USB WiFi dongle into an USB port.
5. Go to Network, see the newly discovered Ethernet card in left pane, click, then press Apply. That will activate the card.
6. Go to "Wireless Network Utility" (in my case was already running, otherwise Go > Applications > Wireless Network Utility
7. Set SSID etc. and voila.
Thumbs up Edimax!

Anonymous said...

You can avoid crash starting utility with root privileges: $sudo /Applications/Wireless\ Network\ Utility.app/Contents/MacOS/Wireless\ Network\ Utility
Works with OS X 10.5.8 on PowerMac G5

Anonymous said...

Bogdan, Thank you for your solution! I followed your instructions exactly and It worked perfectly on my powermac G5 quad with a TP-Link TL-WN725N which has a RTL8188EU chip. I'll add that it seems Edimax has updated their driver to v1.0.0.4, which wasn't an issue for me just an FYI. Way to be resourceful! It's been rough trying to get software/hardware to work right and update since there is less support powerpc macs as time goes on, it's a breath of fresh air whenever i'm able to find people still finding and making solutions to problems with these 'ol tanks. They are still viable machines, a G5 quad is no slouch and I hate having to put good computing power on the shelf or trash from lack of software support, so thank you! I'm now one step closer to putting a few of them back online (until the cooling system craps out). Also, thanks to Pete for his blog, cheers!

Anonymous said...

Dear pete

thank you for the trick with edimax driver . Working fine on powerbook g4 / tiger !

Anonymous said...

Works on 10.6 installed on a... Dell 1720 (Hackintosh..).
What's VERY curious, the 'inside' Wifi, which btw is only b/g, does not seem to find MY OWN Internet box anymore. But the b/g/n external USB stick does!!! So everything's fine. Thanxxxx a lot.

Anonymous said...

Totally Brilliant! Mary HaLL, you saved hours if not days! Cheers for posting!!!!!

Mary Had a Little Lamb said...
"...I finally found a site (edimax USA) where I could download Mac OS 10.7
http://www.edimax.us/html/english/frames/b-download.htm
and the accomanying instructions.
http://www.edimax.us/download/drivers/EW7811unMacInstruction.pdf
"

Paranoid Android said...

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)

Robert Tomb said...

it's mid way through 2014 and this advice still works. just bought a netgear WNA1000M to fix an out-of-warranty macbook pro that had a fried wireless card.

i downloaded the and installed RTL8188SU driver software and it installed fine. that gave me the courage to actually break the seal on my new network adapter and plug it in. the network utility fired right up.

thanks for the advice.

Brandon said...

I am trying to get an On Network N150MA to work with 10.5.8 on a Power Mac G4 Digital Audio. According to what I have been able to find it has an RTL8188CUS. I have downloaded drivers from Realtek as well as a variety of the links below. They seem to install correctly; however, the adapter doesn't show up in the network preferences. And, whenever I try to run the Wireless Network Utility, it crashes. I even tried running it with sudo, but it still crashes. According to what I see in the Console, the error is some kind of memory leak. Thoughts? Thanks!

Cole with Mr Hookup said...

What worked for me on 10.7.5 Lion on a A1237 Macbook Air was to run disk utilities Repair Permissions. Then install from the Realtek site, restart and boom the wireless network utility popped up.

But it wasnt working immediately saying to enable the WLAN adapter in System Preferences. Went to Network Prefrences and clicked new adapter in the list and then click the little gear on the bottom of that list. Clicked Set as Inactive, then clicked Set as active, Hit apply and the card showed up in the Wireless network Ulitity.

I then had to connect to my wireless network, once connected i had to click Add it to Profile at the bottom of avalible networks. I then had to retype in the wireless password and save it.

After that everything started working, only caveat is the speed of my RTL8188CUS is terribly slow compared to the factory antenna. I can use the built in wifi if i am very close to the access point. I had broken the solder joints on the Macbooks Airs wifi antenna when I was replacing the broken Hinge!

This realtek is only a temporary fix until the new antenna arrives from good old eBay!

jaspreet singh said...

any other alternative link to download.wifi en eventos

Anonymous said...

Hi all, this worked for me: My airport broke. Bought a €10 TP-Link USB Adapter: TL-WN725N. For OS X Mavericks 10.9.5, this worked: http://www.hackintoshosx.com/files/file/3539-tp-link-tl-wn723n-v3-tl-wn725n-v2-usb-wifi/

Success!

Kris Duffy said...

So I just purchased a new Asus N10 Nano that uses the same chipset (probably just rebranded) as the Realtek and have to say I was soooo lucky to find your post. I am currently running a beta version of Yosemite and the drivers that came on the CD didn't come close to working and the wireless utility that comes installed with the driver wouldn't even run!

I simply want to say thanks as this was the only thing I could do to get the device to perform as expected. I do find it a little depressing that I just bought this device and drivers are almost 2 years old and I'm sure the hardware is even more than that. Well, at least it was 12 Euro's. :>

Rock on, cheers and thank you,

Duffy

Mary Had a Little Lamb said...

Hey there Kris Duffy,
Thanks for letting me know it worked.

Matahari said...

I have a problem. I found the 10.8 driver for Mac OS but when I install it and plugged in the USB Modem, nothing happens

Jerome Charvet said...

few years later you still managed to help me to solve my problem. thanks a lot.

David Wickstead said...

tried just about every download from this post but still can't get it to work. Installed Wireless Network Utility but when I launch it just crashes. Noticed that this is the same for many others. Didn't anyone get their wireless network utility to work that was originally crashing?
Trying to run on Mac Pro running 10.7.5. This machine already have 2 ethernet ports so not sure is that has anything to do with it not being able to run.

Jerome Charvet said...

David, I follwed the steps from Pete and it works when you are done install, check your Applications you should have a Wireless Network Utility. Also don't forget to reboot. Like you it seems I have the macbook tower.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! I just to confirm that I used this instruction on an old Mac Pro 2008 with Yosemite 10.10.2. works as charm.

Anonymous said...

Purchased a Netgear A6100 Wifi Usb Mini Adapter for my MAC with OS X 10.7 Lion and the link that Mary Had a Little Lamb posted worked:

Mac Driver
http://www.edimax.us/html/english/frames/b-download.htm

Manual pdf
http://www.edimax.us/download/drivers/EW7811unMacInstruction.pdf

Mark Stevens said...

For the latest "hacks" to make it work on a Mac (all the way up to Yosemite 10.10" try:

http://www.hackintoshosx.com/files/file/4331-tp-link-tl-wn723n-v3-tl-wn725n-v2-usb-wifi/

Iván Rojo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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GJKB said...

Great info on:

http://noairportcard.blogspot.ie/2013/01/how-to-install-wifi-usb-adapter-to-your.html

Works with Mac OS X Yosemite on my 2009 MacBook Pro. More recent drivers (again from Edimax) available at:

http://www.edimax.us/html/english/frames/b-download.htm

Search for 'EW-7811Un'

TJ said...

Mary HALL, great fix!

I used Mary's advice, adapted for my OSX version 10.9, works fabulous! I had just replaced the keyboard in Macbook Air model A1466 due to my wife spilling water on her keyboard, then discovered the ribbon cable to the track pad was corroded, ordered and installed that, keyboard works, that ribbon cable might have been the whole problem.

Anyhow, managed to pull off tiny little soldered connector to Airport card, then a while later the other one. I had a TP Link TP725 nano USB adapter from a previous endeavour laying about, could not get it to work until today.

Thanks, Mary!

downloaded from: http://www.edimax.us/html/english/frames/b-download.htm , and line "EW-7811Un, EW-7722UTn v2.0 802.11n Nano USB Driver/Utility for Mac OS 10.4 / 10.5 / 10.6 / 10.7 / 10.8 / 10.9 / 10.10 Links are on left PDF"

Anonymous said...

Hi,

could anyone really install and get running the drivers for RTL8187L chipset cards on Yosemite? I'm trying to find and install some driver for my usb WiFI anthena Wisacom HP-1000 which has an RTL8187L chipset but after trying so many different drivers i still couldn't find none which works.

Thanks!!

PD: Just in case this can help someone http://www.hackintoshosx.com/files/file/4587-all-in-one-kext-for-realtek-wireless-usb-adapters-el-capitan-ready/

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