How to Convert a Laptop to Wireless

Written by brent watkins
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How to Convert a Laptop to Wireless
A PCMCIA wireless network card can add wireless networking to your laptop. (pc card insertion end image by Georgios Alexandris from

Wireless Internet is practically everywhere, in your local coffee shop as well as at home. Using a wireless network at home offers the advantage of adding additional computers to the network without the worry of cables or the need to place computers close to the network hub. While newer laptops include wireless networking, older laptops often do not. The single greatest advantage to mobile computing is the ability to connect to the Internet whether at home, work, or anywhere in between. Any laptop with a 32 bit PCMCIA port can add a wireless network card that will allow you to connect to wireless networks.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 32 bit PCMCIA port
  • PCMCIA wireless network adaptor

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  1. 1

    Insert the PCMCIA wireless network adaptor in the PCMCIA slot of your laptop. Make sure the card is firmly pushed all the way into the slot.

  2. 2

    Download and install the most recent software drivers from the manufacturer's website.

  3. 3

    Wait for the operating system to notify you that the hardware has been correctly installed and is ready to use. If the hardware does not include software that automatically configures your wireless connection, proceed to the section for your operating system.

  1. 1

    Log on to Windows XP as an administrator.

  2. 2

    Click the "Start" button then click on "Control Panel." Click "Network and Internet Connections" then "Network Connections."

  3. 3

    Select the "Wireless Network Connection" icon then click "View available wireless networks" under the "Network Tasks" section.

  4. 4

    Choose your preferred connection (if multiple connections are available) from the list of available wireless networks and click the "Connect" button.

  1. 1

    Click the "Start" icon.

  2. 2

    Click "Connect to."

  3. 3

    Choose your wireless network and click "Connect."

  1. 1

    Right-click on the wireless network icon located on the right side of the Task Bar.

  2. 2

    Click "Connect to a Network."

  3. 3

    Select the desired wireless network and click "Connect."

Tips and warnings

  • If the wireless network requires a passphrase or key code, you will need to enter the correct information before connecting.

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