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Wireless Local Area Network

Dell™ Latitude™ D610 User's Guide

  Overview

  Connecting to a Wireless Local Area Network



Overview

A WLAN is a series of interconnected computers that communicate with each other over the air waves rather than through a network cable connected to each computer. In a WLAN, a radio communications device called an access point or wireless router connects network computers and provides Internet, or network, access. The access point or wireless router and the wireless network card in the computer communicate by broadcasting data from their antennas over the air waves.

What You Need to Establish a WLAN Connection

Before you can set up a WLAN, you need:

Checking Your Wireless Network Card

Depending on what you selected when you purchased your computer, the computer has a variety of configurations. To confirm that your computer has a wireless network card and to determine the type of card, use one of the following:

Start Button and Connect To Option

  1. Click the Start button.

  2. Point to Connect To, and then click Show all connections.

If Wireless Network Connection does not appear under LAN or High-Speed Internet, you may not have a wireless network card.

If Wireless Network Connection appears, you have a wireless network card. To view detailed information about the wireless network card:

  1. Right-click Wireless Network Connection.

  2. Click Properties. The Wireless Network Connection Properties window appears. The wireless network card's name and model number are listed on the General tab.

NOTE: If your computer is set to the Classic Start menu option, you can view network connections by clicking the Start button, pointing to Settings, and then pointing to Network Connections. If Wireless Network Connection does not appear, you may not have a wireless network card.

The Order Confirmation for Your Computer

The order confirmation that you received when you ordered your computer lists the hardware and software that shipped with your computer.

Setting Up a New WLAN

Connecting a Wireless Router and a Broadband Modem

  1. Contact your Internet service provider (ISP) to obtain specific information about the connection requirements for your broadband modem.

  2. Ensure that you have wired Internet access through your broadband modem before you attempt to set up a wireless Internet connection.

  3. Install any software required for your wireless router. Your wireless router may have been shipped with an installation CD. Installation CDs usually contain installation and troubleshooting information. Install the required software according to the instructions provided by the router manufacturer.

  4. Shut down your computer and any other wireless-enabled computers in the vicinity through the Start menu.

  5. Disconnect your broadband modem power cable from the electrical outlet.

  6. Disconnect the network cable from the computer and the modem.

NOTE: Wait for a minimum of 5 minutes after disconnecting your broadband modem before you continue with the network setup.
  1. Disconnect the AC adapter cable from your wireless router to ensure that there is no power connected to the router.

  2. Insert a network cable into the network (RJ-45) connector on the unpowered broadband modem.

  3. Connect the other end of the network cable into the Internet network (RJ-45) connector on the unpowered wireless router.

  4. Ensure that no network or USB cables, other than the network cable connecting the modem and the wireless router, are connected to the broadband modem.

NOTE: Restart your wireless equipment in the order described below to prevent a potential connection failure.
  1. Turn on only your broadband modem and wait for at least 2 minutes for the broadband modem to stabilize. After 2 minutes, proceed to step 12.

  2. Turn on your wireless router and wait for at least 2 minutes for the wireless router to stabilize. After 2 minutes, proceed to the step 13.

  3. Start your computer and wait until the boot process completes.

  4. See the documentation that came with your wireless router to do the following in order to set up the wireless router:

  5. If necessary, configure your wireless network card to connect to the wireless network. See Connecting to a Wireless Local Area Network.


Connecting to a Wireless Local Area Network

NOTE: Before you connect to a WLAN, ensure that you have followed the instructions in Setting Up a New WLAN.
NOTE: The following networking instructions do not apply to internal cards with Bluetooth® wireless technology or cellular products.

This section provides general procedures for connecting to a network via wireless technology. Specific network names and configuration details vary. See Setting Up a New WLAN for more information about how to prepare for connecting your computer to a WLAN.

Your wireless network card requires specific software and drivers for connecting to a network. The software is already installed.

NOTE: If the software is removed or corrupted, follow the instructions in the user documentation for your wireless network card. Verify the type of wireless network card installed in your computer and then search for that name on the Dell Support website at support.dell.com. For information on the type of wireless network card that is installed in your computer, see Checking Your Wireless Network Card.

Determining the Wireless Network Device Manager

Depending on the software installed on your computer, different wireless configuration utilities may manage your network devices:

To determine which wireless configuration utility is managing your wireless network card:

  1. Click the Start button, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.

  2. Double-click Network Connections.

  3. Right-click the Wireless Network Connection icon, and then click View Available Wireless Networks.

If the Choose a wireless network window states Windows cannot configure this connection, the wireless network card's client utility is managing the wireless network card.

If the Choose a wireless network window states Click an item in the list below to connect to a wireless network in range or to get more information, the Windows XP operating system is managing the wireless network card.

For specific information about the wireless configuration utility installed on your computer, see your wireless network documentation in the Windows Help and Support Center.

To access the Help and Support Center:

  1. Click the Start button and click Help and Support.

  2. Under Pick a Help topic, click Dell User and System Guides.s

  3. Under Device Guides, select the documentation for your wireless network card.

Completing the Connection to the WLAN

When you turn on your computer and a network (for which your computer is not configured) is detected in the area, a pop-up appears near the network icon in the notification area (in the lower-right corner of the Windows desktop).

Follow the instructions provided in any utility prompts that appear on your screen.

Once you have configured your computer for the wireless network that you selected, another pop-up notifies you that your computer is connected to that network.

Thereafter, whenever you log on to your computer within the range of the wireless network that you selected, the same pop-up notifies you of the wireless network connection.

NOTE: If you select a secure network, you must enter a WEP or WPA key when prompted. Network security settings are unique to your network. Dell cannot provide this information.
NOTE: Your computer can take up to 1 minute to connect to the network.

Enabling/Disabling the Wireless Network Card

NOTE: If you are unable to connect to a wireless network, ensure that you have all the components for establishing a WLAN (see What You Need to Establish a WLAN Connection), and then verify that your wireless network card is enabled by pressing <Fn><F2>.

You can turn your computer's wireless networking function on and off by pressing the <Fn><F2> key combination.


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