24 Dec 05
Setting up the computer
Next, install the wireless adapters into each device that you intend to have on the network. Installing USB and PCMCIA cards is straightforward. Follow the instructions in your documentation to install the drivers. The setup utility on the software that came with the adapter should walk you through entering your SSID and turning on encryption. Make sure that your encryption type (WEP or WPA) matches what you put into the router. Type carefully. If you have trouble the first few times because the program hides what you are typing, you can try typing out the code in a text window like notepad, then copy and paste it in.
Installing a PCI card is slightly more involved because you will have to open up your computer case and insert the card into an open PCI slot. Most people are a little nervous about tinkering around inside their computer, but it's not as hard as you would think. If you are really uncomfortable, ask a computer savvy friend to help you the first time or hire a local computer dealer to install it for you.
Configuring your wireless device using Windows XP
If your wireless device is built into your computer and you have Windows XP, you may not have a separate utility to configure your wireless device. Your wireless adapter will probably rely on the configuration utility built in to Windows XP. To configure this utility, open up you control panel and go to Network Connections (your control panel should be in classic view to see this.) Double-click on your wireless connection and go to the "Support" tab. Click on the properties button. If instead of a Local Area Connection window you get the "Choose a wireless network" window, then click on "Change advanced settings" on the left.
Create your connection:
Give your computer two or three minutes to negotiate the wireless connection. You should see a pop-up notification when it connects. Once it connects, you should be able to use your internet and communicate with the other computers on the network just like you would if this computer was wired directly to the network.
If your computer doesn't connect to the wireless network, you are most likely out of range. Get closer to your router and try again. If your computer successfully connects to the wireless network but your computer doesn't seem to be able to use the connection (can't communicate with other computers, can't load the internet, or can't get an IP address,) then you most likely have mistyped your encryption key. In any case, check all your settings and try again.
Note: Windows XP Service Pack 2 has built in support for WPA. Previous versions of Windows XP require an update to use WPA. See the Microsoft Support web site for more information or to obtain the update. If you would rather upgrade to Service Pack 2 (recommended), here is the Service Pack 2 information page.
24 Sept 07