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Installing a Wireless Network Adapter

Today’s computers are usually built with a Wireless Network Adapter (WNA) that gives the device the capability to connect to a network wirelessly. However, for a computer that is being built from scratch, a WNA is usually purchased separately and installed into the computer manually.

For a computer that has been bought off the shelf, the following steps would determine if a WNA has already been installed into the system:

1) Click Start > “Control Panel” > “Network and Internet Connections.”

2) Click on “Network Connections” under the Control Panel icon.

3) In Windows XP, all the network adapters are listed on the Network Connections window of which the Wireless Network adapters are labelled as “Wireless Network Connection.”

Under “Wireless Network Connection,” If an installed adapter shows a red X, then it is not connected. If the Network Connections window is blank, then the purchased computer does not have a WNA installed.

Without such a device, the user would not be able to set up or connect to a network such as the internet wirelessly. This would mean that WNA would need to be installed manually

In the case of a device such as a laptop, turning on the wireless switch on the side, back, or front can be the solution to enabling Wi-fi connection if a wireless network adapter is built in.

There are three ways a WNA can be installed into the computer. These are through the USB port; through a Card bus; and internally through a slot located on the mother- board in the computer. Two of these methods, namely the USB port and Card bus, can only be applied to a portable device such as a laptop; while the motherboard slot method and USB port are mostly associated with the desktop computer. The following describes the steps to take for all three methods.