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Model A1297 Unibody: Early 2009, Mid 2009, Mid 2010, Early 2011 & Late 2011

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Is it possible to embed a 3G module?

Is it possible to embed an express mini card 3G module? Are there any free slots in the MBP 17"?

- OR -

Is the internal AirPort card a express mini card module and are there any 3G + WiFi modules supported by OS X which can replace the internal Airport Card?

- OR -

Are there any 3G Express Card modules which disappear completely inside the case?

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I don't know any express card that would completely disappear - the problem would be always the antenna.

the airport card is - afaik - in the clutch cover

the only way to get a "hidden" wwan would be the "hard way" - but maybe even then is not enough space inside your 17" mbp - soldering a 3g usb module to the usb port like the one did with his MacBook air.

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I'm not aware of a product that would satisfy any of your three questions. The iPhone and the upcoming 3G iPad are really the only Apple products that have 3G completely embedded. If you have an iPhone, you could always jailbreak it, and use one of the apps that lets it act as a WIFI hotspot, and then connect your MBP 17" to it via WIFI. Using this method you would be able to use your laptop wirelessly anywhere and with no add-on card.

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sounds fine to me - but i rather stick with my snow leo vaio p (gps/wwan/bt/wifi - 640gr ;-) )


I already own an iPhone, but I use the tethering feature instead of jailbreaking it.

In the end this seems the best solution, I wanted to do the other way around for:

1) It's more practical, and

2) It's more economic (I live in Switzerland, and there are many special offers for people aged 26 or less.)


You're lucky! AT&T (the only iPhone carrier in the US) does not allow iPhone tethering, so as far as I'm aware the only way to achieve that here is to jailbreak an iPhone.


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Just take out the optical drive to make some space, using an Optibay kit.

Then redirect the IR Receiver USB on the ribbon cable on this: , to a male USB connector. Plug the USB device in and seat it in the optical bay drive beside the secondary harddisk/ssd.

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Hi everyone,

I thought about adding a 3G Module to my MBP17 as well.

Basically, all you need is a USB-Port and any USB-based 3G stick that you can disassemble and somehow connect to your MBP.

The EC34-Slot privides a USB-Port. In fact, virtually all 3G cards, most memory cards for EC and most card readers for the expresscard slot use this USB port and NOT the as well provided PCIe interface.

There are adaptors for ExpressCard-Slots which expose this additional USB-Port or which even act as an USB hub to provide 3 or more additional USB ports. Virtually all 3G-Cards for the ExpressCard-Slot use the USB-Part, not the PCIe-Part, in fact.

Then there are "developer cards", exposing the EC34-included USB as well, some even have space for soldering stuff to it.

There are two things these adaptors have in common:

1.) You can't really buy em. I tried to find them on some EU stores, but there was no Store (online nor offline) which would provide them.

2.) They move the USB connection to the outside of the MBP, which is not what I want.

Anyway, if it is possible to make a connection to the internal USB Port of the EC34-Slot, you might disassemble one of those cheap 3G-USB-Sticks (e.g. iCon 210 and similiar) and stuff the plain board + SIM into your EC34-Slot.

Added some creative work of making a nice housing for this setup, you might end up with a 3G Card that lives entirely inside your EC34-Slot.

I don't know how long the antenna has to be, but maybe it's feasible to make a case that has an antenna just at the outside of the EC34-Slot. The case should be made of epoxy or something that doesnt work as a shield to the antenna. The antenna of the iPhone or iPad is as well just exposed through a small portion of plastic, I guess this would work for a "3G-ified MBP17" as well.

Kind regards,

Sascha Kaupp

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Hi. I Just stumbled on this forum.

I have made the modification using the DVD slot, My need was not a 3G card, but a PKI card reader.

Since i was mounting a HUB inside i decided to put in a 3G card and a EVDO card at the same time ( I live in China, so I need alternatives :0) )

Check out the modification here:

It can be done much nicer, but I didn't want to put too much work into it before i found out if i liked the mod… But now i think I am going to make the final changes. I will try to locate an alternative USB port in the mac and that way not waste my 3'rd external port.

This mod would by the way work on any mac with an optical drive.

For the people who don't like soldering, there is both 3G and EVDO cards available here in china that sits flush in the Express card slot… e.g. there is no antennas sticking out unless you decide to get better coverage and pull out the small antennas on the cards… my experience is that it works without doing this in most of china :-)

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