Just how do we go about connecting to the internet wirelessly? A wireless network needs to have two components a Wireless Router/Modem to share the internet connection a suitable Wireless card in your laptop or desktop Just about every new laptop has a wireless card built in, the actual type is the mini PCI
But what if you have an older laptop that does not have a wireless network card built in?
Luckily though there is a number of options available to us to make virtually any desktop or laptop computer wireless. The best type of wireless card, which is suitable only for laptops, to install is the mini PCI type, you will need to make sure your computer has a mini PCI slot to accommodate this type of card, and then you will need to either remove the keyboard or small panel on the bottom, but once fitted its totally unobtrusive.
The USB wireless type or dongle is perhaps the most common as its just a case on installing its software plugging in the dongle and you are pretty much ready to go The big advantage of this type of network card is the ease of installation, but on the downside it means you will need to remove it if you ever travel and they do have a habit of getting knocked if your limited by your USB ports, this type of network card is suitable for desktop and laptop computers, just make sure your computer has USB type 2 ports or you might find it too slow.
For desktop computers a PCI card is a good choice, all we need to do is install the software, shutdown the computer remove the case, fit the card In a spare PCI port, put the case back on, power on the computer, it will then recognize the new hardware and automatically install the drivers for it and after a minute or so thats it all installed.
Lastly we have the PCMCIA type of wifi network card, although PCMCIA ports are pretty much redundant just about every laptop has one of two of this type of long horizontal port, if your short of USB ports this could be just what your looking for, maybe not as obtrusive as the USB type, but it still needs to be removed when travelling with your laptop though.
Due to the amount of wifi network cards around the prices have really come down a lot over the past year and now really good wifi cards can be bought for as little as 15 pounds by good we mean either a 54mbps or 54g type of card, rather than the much slower 802.1l b type of cards.
When installing a wifi network card, make sure that you read the manuals prior to installing, most cards need to have the software installed before the wifi card is connected or plugged in, otherwise the software drivers may fail to load or Windows will attempt to locate a driver from elsewhere, giving driver or configuration issues which can be a hard to resolve it may mean removing the card again.
Now your ready to connect, you should see a pop-up at the bottom right of the screen when a wireless network is in range of the card, click on the pop-up and you'll be able enter your pass key (if you have one set ) to connect to your wireless network.
Only connect to wireless networks you trust, especially if you need to disclose credit card details for any reason. If you have setup your own wireless network you must ensure that you have some form of wifi security, if your router is not protected, not only can anyone simply just connect and browse from your Wifi network, but if so could be much more malicious, performing such actions as changing your router passwords, stopping you from accessing your own internet connection, they will also be see any able to see any computers or devices attached to your router and may try to gain access to these.
Its imperative to make sure any wireless connections are secure, check out more articles on Wireless security, plus much more at So please make sure any wireless connections are secure, feel free to checkout more on Wireless security, plus all of our other articles at computer-adviser.com