How to Set Up a Laptop to Be Wireless

If you’ve got a laptop that is not wireless, don’t worry; setting up a laptop to be wireless is a fairly painless operation. There are a number of different wireless options available, depending on the age and model of your laptop, none of which require you to crack open the case. Even those laptops from the “dark ages” (let’s say before 2002) can be made to work on today’s latest wireless networks.



1.Determine if your laptop has a wireless network card installed. As of 2009, the majority of laptops being offered come with built-in capacity. On many models, the wireless can be turned on and off, so make sure that if your laptop comes with wireless, the card is turned on and working. You can check to see if your laptop has wireless by looking in the user’s manual. You can also look in the “Networking” section of your operating system. It will tell you here if you have a wireless card installed.

2.Install a wireless USB adapter. If your computer doesn’t come with wireless networking installed and it comes with USB ports, you can use a USB wireless networking adapter. You can purchase these online or at the nearest computer store. Installation is simple — plug the USB adapter into an open USB port.

3.Install a PCMCIA wireless card. If you have an older laptop, it might not come with USB ports. In that case, you can use a PCMCIA card. These are larger cards that plug into the slots on the side of the laptop. To install, simply side the card into the PCMCIA slot on the side of the laptop. Eject the card by pressing on the button to the side.

4.Install any software or drivers that came with your wireless networking equipment. Examples of these might include diagnostic software for the equipment and drivers for your system that will allow it to recognize the new equipment. This will allow your computer to communicate through the wireless network.

5.Obtain the wireless key for the network where you are connecting. This will enable you to use the wireless network. If you’re installing the wireless for the laptop yourself, this will be on any equipment included with your wireless router. If you are connecting in an office, contact the network administrators. In a public area, such as a cafe or bar, the service staff will be able to help you with connecting.


6.Open the network connections on the laptop, then navigate to the wireless control panel. Scan for available wireless networks. Select the network that you would like to connect to.

7.When prompted, enter the network key. After you are successfully connected, save the connection.

8.Open a web browser and surf the Internet without the inconvenience of wire connections.