Wireless Network Devices
Wireless devices come in different shapes and sizes. A wireless device is the network
adapter used to make the connection to wireless networks. A wireless network
adapter is the actual hardware device you install into a slot or port in your com-
puter. You must have a wireless network adapter to create a wireless network con-
nection, which in turn allows you to connect to a wireless network.
Most new portable computers offer integrated wireless networking adapters. Older
PCMCIA cards are available for older laptops that go into the PC slot and have a
dongle, but these are increasingly less common to find. PCI cards exist for the desk-
top and workstation. USB adapters are now more prevalent in the market, and they
will work in all computers with a USB slot.
You can find wireless network adapters at just about any store that carries electron-
ics. Most office supply, electronics, and retail stores offer you the ability to purchase
wireless adapters for your computer. Make sure that you purchase the correct card
for the type of wireless technology you are using. If you are in doubt, buy an 802.11g
adapter, since it can use both 802.11a and 802.11b technologies to communicate.
The device to which your wireless adapter connects is a wireless router or a wireless
access point. At the office or out on the town, you may be able to use someone else’s
wireless router or wireless access point to access the Internet. At home, however, you
must purchase the necessary wireless router or a wireless access point. Several manu-
facturers produce wired/wireless router combinations. A wired/wireless router, such
as the LinkSys Wireless G Broadband router, has ports for network cables that use
wired communications as well as receivers for receiving wireless communications.
Installing and Conﬁguring a Wireless Adapter
You must have a wireless adapter or chip in your computer in order to create a wire-
less connection. You can see the devices installed in your computer using Device
Manager. Device Manager allows you to manage the different devices in your system
from a single console. You have the ability to enable or disable devices, update or roll
back the device drivers, and uninstall devices.
You can open the Computer Management console to use Device Manager by follow-
ing these steps:
1. Click Start, right-click Computer, and then select Manage.
2. In the Computer Management console, click Device Manager in the left pane.
3. Your computer’s wired and wireless adapters should be listed under the Net-
work Adapters node. Expand this node by double-clicking it.