How to Make My Laptop Computer WiFi Ready

By Aaron Wardell

Wireless Internet (also called WiFi) is growing in popularity. Not only is it popular in homes, but it can be found in coffee shops, department stores and other places of business.You can take advantage of wireless Internet access by making sure your laptop is WiFi ready.

Inspect you laptop computer. In Windows, a working wireless adapter is represented by a small computer icon in the lower right hand corner. Double click this icon to view which network you are connected to and information about your network adapter. On a Mac, the WiFi icon is shown in the upper right hand corner as a radio icon. Click it to view your wireless network options.

Enable WiFi if it is disabled. In Windows, enter Device Manager. Right-click on "My Computer" and select "Properties. Select the "Hardware" tab. Click "Device Manager" and look at your network devices. If a wireless network adapter is disabled, enable it by right-clicking and select "Enable." If you don't see a wireless adapter listed, chances are you may need to install one. In a Mac, click on the Apple in the upper left corner and select "About this Mac." Click on "More Info" and look for information about an Airport Card. If you don't see one, install an external adapter.

Install a wireless adapter if your computer needs one. Purchase a USB wireless adapter from your local computer or electronics store and install the drivers and accompanying software according to the manual's instructions. Insert the adapter's driver CD and follow the onscreen instructions. When the drivers are installed properly, insert the wireless adapter into your laptop's USB port. It should be detected automatically and start searching for wireless signals.

Test your laptop's wireless connection. Connect to known wireless networks and make sure your laptop stays connected to them. Use the Internet as you normally would. Take your laptop to a local WiFi hotspot and use the Internet there. Once you've successfully connected to a few of these wireless access points, your computer is officially WiFi ready.