How to Use a WiFi Card

by Larry Amon

WiFi is a wireless network connection protocol. If you have a WiFi card, you can use it to connect your computer to the Internet at any location that has WiFi access, or "hotspots." You can set up wireless access in your house with a wireless router, or you can just use it for when you take your laptop to places like Starbucks that has free wireless Internet access.

Install your card. If you are installing a card into a desktop, open your computer and install the card into an available slot. If you're installing your card into a laptop, just plug it right into an available PC card slot. Windows XP or Vista will most likely find the card and either use generic drivers or will ask you the location for the drivers. Put in the driver CD that came with the card and point Windows to those drivers. If Windows doesn't use a generic driver or ask you where one is located, just run the setup program on the CD.

Go to a WiFi location. This can be your house if you have a wireless router, a friend's house or a public location. Many places such as libraries and some coffee shops and restaurants offer free WiFi "hotspots."

Search for a network. In some public locations. if you just turn on your computer with your wireless card installed and open a Web browser, it will detect the WiFi automatically and bring up an instruction page for logging in to the network. If you don't see an instruction or welcome page, hit the "refresh" button on your Web browser. If you see nothing, then you will need to locate the network in Windows. Go to the control panel and click on "network connections." Next, click on "find wireless networks." If there are any networks available, a list will appear after a minute and you just need to select the one you want. If the network is not a public network, it will most likely be secured and you will be unable to connect.

About the Author

Larry Amon has been working in the computer field for more than 10 years and has experience writing scripts, instructional articles and political commentary. He has been published online, as well as in "NRB Magazine" and "Delmarva Youth & Family." He started a nonprofit media organization in 2000.