Tag Archive for wireless adapters

Do I have wireless on my laptop?

A reader sent the following messages the other day on Twitter:

I am almost certain my laptop doesn’t have a wireless card.
How can I check whether I have a wireless adapter?
If I don’t, which one should I purchase?
Tell me how to check if there’s a wireless card internal.

My first suggestion was to go to the manufacturer’s web site and look up the model number of the laptop, but once they asked how to check the laptop directly, this is the approach I suggested:

Assuming you have a Windows computer, try this:

  1. Click Start > Control Panel > System
  2. Click Hardware > Device Manager
  3. Click the “+” by “Network Adapters”
  4. See if a “wireless” device is listed.

The common wireless designations/varieties are B, G, and N. G being the oldest form, and N the newest. (No, N is not for New. At least, I don’t think so. Anybody know?) Many of the newer ones are backwards compatible, so a G can receive B and G, and many N’s can receive all 3. N adapters are a little expensive, and if the wireless router/transmitter isn’t using N, then there is no advantage. So, I usually recommend getting a Wireless G adapter.

Most wireless adapters are about the same in price. I’d recommend getting one that supports Wireless B and G. You can either get them with a PCMCIA connection or a USB connector. USB is the most versatile. Linksys and D-Link are good wireless adapters. They cost about $40 to $60 at Best Buy or Staples.

Optional:

I am an avid proponent of wireless security. I also prefer wired connections over wireless connections. In urban and suburban areas there are too many sources of interference from other wireless devices, neighboring wireless networks, cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, and microwave ovens. So if you intend on using wireless frequently, I recommend installing Network Magic from Pure Networks (A Cisco company) on your laptop. If you are using wireless at home, you can install it on any other computers in your household. I have seen Network Magic solve countless problems with home wireless networks.

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