A laptop computer is full of hardware and software components that users don't have direct access, including the wireless network adapter. Compare this to maybe a dial up modem or an Ethernet adapter which have a connection port that users can see and access on the side or back of a computer when they need access to the Internet. Furthermore, when users connect an RJ-11 telephone cable to the dial up modem or an RJ-45 Ethernet cable to the network port, the Windows operating system often automatically recognizes the cables and initiates a connection, even if you have to actively click the "Connect" button. When this connection is made, you often see an icon on the taskbar near the time in the notification icon area.
Wireless network adapters, on the other hand, are harder to find physically and virtually in the operating system. It would make common sense to make wireless Internet connectivity as convenient and easy to find as possible on laptop, since it is a mobile appliance by nature. For many laptop users, however, they actually use the PC on a desktop or table, which means they can have a direct, wired connection to the network.
If you are the new owner of a laptop or simply forgot how to access the wireless network adapter on your system, you can follow a few generalized steps to create the connection.
Open your laptop computer's lid so that you can see the screen and the keyboard. In most cases, manufacturers install the wireless network adapter on the underside or near the front or sides of the laptop's frame. However, you don't need to physically look for the wireless network adapter if you are simply trying to connect to the Internet.
Turn on your laptop. The basic input output system, or BIOS performs a precheck of all the hardware on your computer including for the wireless network adapter. You might even see an LED light turn on for a few brief seconds or stay on near the front edge of your laptop, and this may very well be the wireless network adapter.
Log in to a user's account. If you only have an account with Standard permissions, you may want to log in as an Administrator. Setting up the wireless network adapter may involved administrative level actions.
Hover your mouse over the "Network" icon on the taskbar at the bottom of the desktop. This is near the system time. This network feature is able to automatically find all network adapters on your computer, including wired and wireless.
Click on the "View" option to have the wireless network adapter find nearby wireless networks. This confirms that the operating system has found and detected the installed wireless adapter.
You may have to switch the wireless network adapter to the "On" position at the front of the frame.
Consult your laptop's owner's manual if you need to physically remove the wireless network adapter.
Sources and Citations
- " Selecting a wireless router or another wireless network device." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/selecting-a-wireless-router-or-another-wireless-network-device>.
- " Set up a wireless router." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/set-up-a-wireless-router>.
- " Setting up a wireless network." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Setting-up-a-wireless-network>.
- " Switching between your home and workplace networks." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Switching-between-your-home-and-workplace-networks>.
- " Using Windows Mobility Center." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Using-Windows-Mobility-Center>.
- " View and connect to available wireless networks." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/View-and-connect-to-available-wireless-networks>.
- " What you need to set up a home network." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/What-you-need-to-set-up-a-home-network>.
- " Why can’t I connect to a network?." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/cant-connect-to-a-network>.
- " Why can’t I find a wireless network?." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Why-can-t-I-find-a-wireless-network?un_jtt_redirect>.
- " Why is my wireless signal strength so low?." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Why-is-my-wireless-signal-strength-so-low>.
- " Wireless networking: frequently asked questions." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Wireless-networking-frequently-asked-questions>.
- " Working with the Network Connections folder." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Working-with-the-Network-Connections-folder>.