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Use the Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 (10.3.5+) Install
I would imagine that most people know that Apple introduced support for the Verizon Wireless 3G card in Mac OS X 10.3.5. What most people don't know is that the Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 used by Telecom in New Zealand (and by Sprint in the USA) is the same card. The only reason that Mac OS X does not recognise it is because the Vendor ID is different than the Verizon card.

To fix this, all we have to do is edit the XML text file inside the appropriate kernel extension. Once this is done, your PowerBook will recognise the card and you will be enjoying 3G speeds (415kps from the NZ test site) in no time at all -- as long as you are in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch at the moment.

Read the rest for the how-to...

NOTE: These are instructions are for advanced users who know what they are doing only!
  1. Remove the card if it is already inserted.
  2. Log in as an Administration user.
  3. Open the Terminal application.
  4. Go to the IOSerialFamily kernel extension PlugIns folder by executing the following command: cd /System/Library/Extensions/IOSerialFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/
  5. Execute the ls command to view the directory, and you should see amongst the other plug-ins one called AppleVerizonSupport.kext and the other called AppleVerizonSupportKicker.kext. If you do not see these directories, then you are probably not running Mac OS X 10.3.5 or later, as they are installed by default.
  6. To enable support for the Sierra Wireless card, we need to change the Vendor ID number in the two Info.plist files contained within the two kext's above. I like to use pico, but any text editor will do.
    1. Type sudo pico AppleVerizonSupport.kext/Contents/Info.plist
    2. Scroll down until you see a line that says <key>idVendor</key>
    3. In the line underneath, you should see <integer>3901</integer>
    4. Replace the number with 4505 (which is the vendor ID of the Sierra Wireless card)
    5. Save and exit the editor
    6. Repeat process for the AppleVerizonSupportKicker.kext plist file
  7. Rebuild the kernel extension cache by executing these two commands:
    1. sudo rm /System/Library/Extensions.kextcache
    2. sudo kextcache -k /System/Library/Extensions
  8. Restart your Mac (you can do this from the command line with a sudo shutdown -r now command)
  9. Insert the Sierra Wireless AirCard 580
  10. When the dialog box pops up asking you if you want to configure it, click OK
  11. Click OK and it will create a new profile in your Network system preference called "AirPrime CDMA Wireless PC Card"
  12. In this new profile, edit your Service Provider, Account Name (mobile@jamamobile in NZ), Password (telecom in NZ) and Telephone Number (#777 just about everywhere)
  13. Hit the Apply Now button
That's it! Use the new Verizon Card menu item to connect to the Internet and enjoy 3G speeds!
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Use the Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 (10.3.5+) | 14 comments | Create New Account
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The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Activating the card...
Authored by: robg on Dec 07, '04 07:44:02AM
Hints reader Marc sent in the following note about this process:
The Aircard must be activated prior to its first use. This requires the Windows drivers (the internal Mac drivers don't cut it), so you'll need to get a friend to install the drivers and use the card for a few minutes. The activation process is invisible and happens in the background the first time the card is used. Unfortunately VirtualPC doesn't allow you to recognise the card and activate it.

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Activating the card...
Authored by: fcmadison on Dec 31, '04 01:39:05PM

Rob, good point. As far as you know, would the cards work with an Italian provider if one changes the SIMS to one of a local provider? There is an outfit that sells "unlocked" phones and cards. I travel a lot to Europe, and it is not always possible to find a Wi-Fi connection.


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Activating the card...
Authored by: bos3ood on Jan 25, '05 08:33:11PM

I wanted to know how do I find out the device ID and Vendor ID for a specific aircard?

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Activating the card...
Authored by: StretchedOutSoft on Feb 04, '05 01:59:48PM

By the way, you no longer need a PC to activate these cards, if you hold down the option key when you select the Verizon card menu, there is an Activate Card menu item!

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Use the Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 (10.3.5+)
Authored by: sunseeker on Jan 21, '05 08:13:08PM

I am in Australia and have a Telstra Australia Sierra Wireless Aircard 580 and have successfully made the changes you suggested and my Mac found the card. Thanks!

One problem though....I dont have the Australian vendor number for the card!! I have made numerous phone calls and no one can help. C1 consulting in Australia have not answered 8 phone calls!!


Any ideas?


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Use the Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 (10.3.5+)
Authored by: cje on Apr 05, '05 09:37:57PM
Try 4505 Remember to set modem type to Verizon Support (PC 5220)

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Use the Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 (10.3.5+)
Authored by: dutchrapley on Apr 20, '05 01:57:37PM

does anyone know if this also works with the Sierra Wireless 550?

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Use the Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 (10.3.5+)
Authored by: StretchedOutSoft on May 05, '05 04:58:21PM

It does not. But if you go to our website, we have a driver for sale...


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Use the Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 (10.3.5+)
Authored by: Technoman on Jun 07, '05 06:02:50PM

I have a Sprint version of the AirCard 580 I am trying to get working in a PwoerBook G4 with 10.3.9 and it seems to recognize the card, but when I try to configure it nothing happens. I have sucessfully used the card in a Windows notebook, so it is activiated. Any suggestions?

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Use the Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 (10.3.5+)
Authored by: jmh on Jul 02, '05 09:12:59PM

Were you ever able to get your Aircard 580 using Sprint to work? I have a Powerbook G4 running 10.3.9 and I followed these directions. However, I am not able to even see the card and I know it is activated.

Please tell me what you did to make it work.


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Use the Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 (10.3.5+)
Authored by: leo99 on Jun 21, '05 10:29:45PM

I'm on OS X 10.4 and I was about to give up as no one in NZ seems to support getting the AirCard to work on a Mac including Telecom, but I followed these instructions and they actually worked! Thank you, I'm wireless and happy and I didn't have to become a programmer to get it to work either.

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Use the Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 (10.3.5+)
Authored by: Perks on Jan 07, '08 06:40:06PM

Does this work with the Macbook Pro using a Elan U142 PCMCIA adaptor

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Does this work worldwide?
Authored by: ngng on Oct 24, '05 11:12:00AM

I live in Israel and my friend uses this Sierra Wireless AirCard here on his PC. Will I be able to do this same Terminal workaround and use a Sierra Wireless AirCard on my Powerbook?? Has anyone done this in Israel?

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Use the Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 (10.3.5+)
Authored by: richzucc on Apr 11, '06 05:28:59PM

I am in United States using a sprint 580 sierra card. Is the US-sprint card vendor ID Number the same as the NZ card number---
Replace the number with (4505) does this number work on US and NZ?

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