How to configure a WiFi dongle to a router

Written by ryan bauer
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For computers that don't have a wireless card or integrated Wi-Fi, an external dongle is the easiest way to add wireless functionality to the system. These use a USB connection to communicate with the computer, and work just like a built-in card would. Since USB is used as the interface, a Wi-Fi dongle can be used on both laptops and desktops. Getting a Wi-Fi dongle configured to connect to a wireless router is relatively easy, and usually takes less than 10 minutes.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • USB based Wi-Fi dongle
  • Computer with a USB port
  • Wireless router

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  1. 1

    Plug the Wi-Fi dongle into the computer's USB port. Since it receives power through the USB connection, there is no need to plug it into an external power source. Wait for the computer to recognise it. Once it has been initialised by the operating system, a word balloon will appear in the lower-right hand portion of the screen.

  2. 2

    Insert the installation CD that came with the Wi-Fi dongle. Follow the steps that appear on the screen to install the device. If the installer prompts you to restart the computer, perform a complete reboot. Then wait for the computer to fully start before moving on to the next step.

  3. 3

    Double-click on the Wi-Fi icon in the lower-right corner of the screen, next to the clock. A list of wireless networks will appear.

  4. 4

    Select your router from the list to connect. If you have encryption enabled at the router, you will be prompted to enter your password. Once the wireless tool has finished connecting, the dongle is fully configured.

Tips and warnings

  • Wi-Fi dongles can be found at most major electronics stores.
  • Always secure a wireless connection, to ensure outsiders cannot gain access to your network.

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