29. Install a Wireless Adapter
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Determine Upgradeability of Current Computers
After you have checked out your system in terms of your system's compatibility with the available WiFi adapters, you can then purchase the appropriate network adapter for your computer. If you are adding WiFi adapters to more than one computer and the computer specifications support it, purchase the same adapter for all the computers. Because a laptop PCMCIA slot card won't work in a desktop or tower computer, you should purchase the different types of adapters you need from the same adapter manufacturer. Using equipment from the same manufacturer will make your life a little easier in that you will be using the same or similar software utilities to configure and manage the network adapters.
If you purchased a wireless G WiFi Router (802.11g), it makes sense to purchase wireless G network adapters. You then get the most out of your router and the WiFi adapters in terms of maximum connection speed. I also suggest that you buy the same brand WiFi adapters and WiFi router to negate any possible compatibility issues (although they are very few documented) between hardware from different manufacturers.
The next step is to install the adapter. For notebook computers, this is a matter of sliding the WiFi card into the expansion slot. If you are upgrading a desktop system and want to install an internal WiFi adapter, you might need a screwdriver to open the case and install the card in a slot on the motherboard. As mentioned previously, the easiest way to upgrade either system type (notebook or desktop) is to go with a USB WiFi adapter; there are no tools required for installation. The steps that follow provide you with information on installing a USB, PCI, or PCMCIA WiFi adapter.
It is important that you read the installation guide that accompanies any WiFi adapter that you purchase. In many cases, a "quick start" sheet is provided that lists the most important steps in the installation process. New hardware doesn't work on your computer until you install the software and drivers (software that allows the device to communicate with the operating system) provided with the hardware device. This software is typically included on a CD. In some cases, you will be advised to install the software before you install the hardware. Depending on the installation steps provided for your WiFi adapter, you might be required to complete Install Adapter Software Utility before completing this current task.
Install a Wireless Adapter
Locate USB Port
Locate an open USB port on your computer that you plan to use to attach the new WiFi adapter.
Install USB WiFi Adapter
Insert the USB WiFi adapter directly into the USB port or attach the optional USB cable from the WiFi adapter to a USB port on your computer. Because Windows XP provides Plug and Play technology (that is, it recognizes the addition of hardware to the system), Windows recognizes the new USB WiFi adapter and the Found New Hardware Wizard opens. Insert the CD that came with your USB adapter and click Next to install the driver for the new USB WiFi adapter. Click Finish when the software driver installation process is completed. You do not have to reboot after installing the device driver. You can now proceed to Install Adapter Software Utility.
Or Locate Open PCI Slot on Desktop Computer
Open the case on your desktop/tower computer. Locate an available PCI slot on the motherboard. If necessary, remove the metal slot cover by unscrewing the screw that currently holds the slot cover in place.
If you are going to install a PCI internal WiFi adapter on a desktop PC, do not use a magnetic screwdriver and make sure that you open the computer's case in an environment where static electricity is not generated, meaning you should work in a room without carpet. You can purchase an anti-static wrist band that connects to the computer case and acts to ground you while you're working on the system. A static charge can easily damage your system, so you should be careful when opening a computer's case and working around the motherboard. To install any internal WiFi adapter, carefully read the installation instructions that came with the adapter.
Insert WiFi Adapter in PCI Slot
Your PCI adapter card has a small notch in the bottom of the card (toward the front of the adapter). Place the short part of the adapter (the part in front of the notch) in the front of the PCI slot. Rock the PCI adapter back toward the rear of the computer to seat the adapter. Press firmly to make sure that the adapter is seated in the slot. Then screw the back of the adapter (the part replacing the metal slot cover) into the back of the computer's case. Replace the computer's case. If your adapter card comes with a detachable antenna, you can screw the antenna into the card where it is exposed at the rear of the computer's case.
When you turn the system on and Windows boots, the Found New Hardware Wizard will open. Insert the CD that came with your PCI WiFi adapter and click Next to install the driver for the new WiFi adapter. Click Finish when the software driver installation process is completed. Proceed to Install Adapter Software Utility.
Or Locate Open PCMCIA Slot on Notebook Computer
Power down your laptop computer. Examine the left and right side of your notebook computer to locate an open PCMCIA slot. Some slots are covered by small plastic hatches that push inward to expose the slot.
Insert PCMCIA WiFi Adapter in Notebook Computer
Slide the PCMCIA adapter into the slot. Slide the card all the way in until it clicks into place. Power on your notebook computer; after Windows boots up, the Found New Hardware Wizard opens. Insert the CD that came with your PCI WiFi adapter and click Next to install the driver for the new WiFi adapter. Click Finish when the software driver installation process is completed. Proceed to Install Adapter Software Utility.