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HP Notebook PCs - Setting Up a Wireless Local Area Network in Windows XP

This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs with Windows XP.

Understanding wireless networks

A wireless or WiFi network provides all the functions of a typical wired network, but also provides for roaming. Since the computer connects to the network by radio signals rather than through cables, a person can move from place to place within the network, for example from the office to a conference room, and remain on the network the entire time.
There are three popular types of wireless network connections:
  • An Access Point is a station that transmits and receives network information. An access point connects users to other users within the network and also can serve as the point of interconnection between a wireless network and a fixed wire network. Access points are generally used in large public or commercial networks that provide service for multiple users.
  • An Ad-Hoc wireless network is a peer to peer configuration generally between two computers. Ad-Hoc networks are usually used for a short period of time for the purpose of sharing or transferring files.
  • A Wireless Router is a gateway between an Internet connection or fixed wire network and a wireless network. Most home wireless networks or small business wireless networks use the wireless router to connect users to each other and the Internet.
Perform one or more of the following methods to connect to a wireless local area network.

Method 1: Preparing your notebook

Before you can connect to a WiFi network, your notebook must have a wireless network adapter. Most notebooks require a PCMCIA wireless network adapter to be inserted and installed in the PCMCIA slot. Other notebooks have the wireless adapter built-in to the notebook itself. Notebooks with built-in wireless adapters usually have a wireless on/off button located on the front or side of the notebook.
The following picture is located on or near the wireless on/off button:
Εικόνα : HP wireless symbol
If you are installing a PCMCIA wireless network adapter, follow the instructions provided with the card to install the correct drivers and software.

Method 2: Establish network wiring

If you haven't already, connect your DSL modem or cable modem to the phone or cable TV jack on the wall and determine that you have an Internet connection. If you do not have an Internet connection, you need to contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for setting this up before you can connect to the Internet.

Method 3: Connecting to the WiFi network

With your wireless network adapter installed, your notebook is ready to connect to any access point, wireless router, or ad-hoc network. Use the following steps to setup the network connection:
  1. In Microsoft Windows XP click Start, then Control Panel, and then Network and Internet Connections.
    In Windows ME or 2000, click Start, then Settings, and then Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Network Connections.
  3. Right-click the Wireless Network Connection icon and select Properties (see Figure 2). If this icon is not present, the wireless adapter is not connected or is not turned on.
    Εικόνα : Wireless Network Connection icon
  4. Click the Wireless Networks tab.
  5. On the Wireless Networks tab, each network available within range is listed under Available networks. Click the network that you are connecting to, and then click Configure.
    Εικόνα : Wireless Network tab and Available networks
    If there are no networks listed under Available networks then you are out of range of the wireless router or access point.
  6. On the Association tab the Network Name (SSID) and wireless encryption (WEP) settings can be configured.
    Wireless networks have varying degrees of security. Some wireless networks do not require encryption and the settings on this tab is automatically setup for you. If this describes your network, click OK and continue to Step 8.
    Εικόνα : Wireless encryption settings
    If the wireless network that you are connecting to uses standard encrypted communication, check the Data encryption (WEP enabled) option, and then uncheck the option for The key is provided for me automatically.
  7. Complete the wireless encryption configuration by typing the Network key into Network key: and Confirm network key: text boxes. Then select the correct number in the Key index (advanced) box. See your network administrator or your wireless router software for the required network key and key index.
    Click OK to return to the Wireless Network Connection Properties.
  8. If the settings you have configured are correct, the network name is listed in the preferred networks list. Click OK and close your Control Panel. Your notebook should now be connected to the wireless network.
    Εικόνα : Network Connection icon
You may have to restart your notebook for some changes to take effect.

Method 4: Changes Required to Support WPA

WPA requires software changes to the following:
  • Wireless access points
  • Wireless network adapters
  • Wireless client programs

Method 5: Roaming to another network

When you bring your laptop computer into another wireless network area, Windows attempts to connect to that network. Upon success, you are automatically connected to the network. If Windows does not recognize the new network, refer to the preceding instructions to manually install the wireless network.






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