Buying new laptop - what do I need to go wireless?

  Jeecie 10:37 29 Jan 2007

Hi Guys... How do I make a new laptop go wireless broadband?

I've got an existing tower PC on Win XP Home Edition + ADSL BT broadband (not wireless). We want to put this upstairs with the broadband going to this PC as the main connection.

The idea is that we free up space in our tiny house and have a laptop downstairs (not bought it yet but thinking of getting this one from Acer click here ). We thought we could maybe make the laptop connect to the broadband wirelessly - that way I could do my shopping & browse the web with it on the sofa... and my other half wouldn't become an internet widower (otherwise he'll be sitting downstairs watching the telly on his own!).

Do I need to get network cards too or something? I'm not too fussed re: network - I've got USB flash drives so I can move files easily if I need to print stuff on the old PC... but I guess it would be a bonus not to have to run up the stairs all the time... would I have to have both machine running on sam version of Windows (the Acer model comes with Win XP Media Edition)?

P.S. We're thinking we need to but the laptop today/tomorrow as our credit-card is running a 3% cashback offer and that runs out after 31st January (and £18 back is a couple rounds in the pub for us)!

  fitshase 11:12 29 Jan 2007

2 Options:-

1. Buy the laptop and but a wireless PCI card for the desktop PC.

Install the wireless PCI card in the desktop PC and run the network setup wizard on it to enable file, printer and internet sharing.

Run the same network wizard on the laptop.

You can then connect to the internet via the desktop machine as long as the desktop machine is switched on.

2. Buy the laptop and buy a wireless ADSL router.

The router will replace your current ADSL modem. Plug the router into the desktop computer with cable supplied and run the setup (you will need your ADSL account details handy).

Now, run the wireless utility on the laptop and it will pick up your wireless router. You can then add encryption to it if necessary once everything is working.

This option means you can use the internet on the laptop at any time without the desktop being switched on.

With both options, you can share the printer and install it on the laptop meaning you can print using the printer connected to the desktop as long as the desktop is switched on. It also means you can share files.

  Jeecie 11:27 29 Jan 2007

Thanks fitshase.... so let me get this straight in my head

Option (1)... it's effectively the PC tower that becomes "wireless" - therefore I'd be plugging my router into the laptop (ie. sticking cable from the phone into router + cable from router into laptop)? Would I have to run CD-disk of software that comes with the wireless PCI card on both machines (luckily I do have a PCI slot still empty on my Motherboard)? Quote: "You can then connect to the internet via the desktop machine as long as the desktop machine is switched on." unquote... does that mean to get internet on the laptop the PC-tower has to be switched on first?

Option (2) sounds better to me... does this option mean I don't need and modem/router wires running into my laptop ... so I can stick it on my lap, laze around on the sofa and not trip myself up on trailing wires when I go to make a cup of tea ;) ?

With either option would I need some kind of dongle / card stuck into the back (or inside) of the laptop please?

3rd option... is there anyway (would it save money) that I can use my existing router on the PC + buy some add-on hardware for both machines?

Thanks loads

  fitshase 12:15 29 Jan 2007

Sorry, to clarify:-

Option (1).... plug the wireless PCI card into your desktop and leave your current router plugged into the desktop. Run the Windows XP Network Setup Wizard (control panel). The desktop now becomes the gateway to the internet and your laptop connects to the internet through the desktop. This is the cheapest option but means that, in order to get on the internet on the laptop, you need to have the desktop switched on.

Option (2).... replace your current router with a wireless router. This means that the wireless router is plugged into the desktop (as your current router is) and your laptop connects wirelessly to it. This option means you don't have to have the desktop machine on to get on the internet on the laptop.

Option (3).... but a wireless access point and plug this directly into a spare ethernet port on your current router. This will effectively turn your current router into a wireless one. However, these can be tricky to set up and get working, especially if you are mixing brands.

The laptop you have posted the link to looks like it has wireless capabilities built in so you shouldn't need anything else.

If you don't mind leaving the desktop switched on, go for option (1). If you want to access the web from the laptop regardless of the desktop status, go for option (2).

  Jeecie 09:50 31 Jan 2007

Quick update.. I've ordered the new laptop £582.13 inc. VAT + next day delivery. Hopefully it will arrive tomorrow it the Acer Aspire 9301AWSMi Laptop... had some good reviews click here and click here NB: to see the review on this second website you need to login as a registered user... I typed in "guest" (all lower case) and it worked!!

I'm opting for Option (2), so all I need now is to buy myself a wireles router - any suggestions or recommendations around the £50 mark would be gratefully received!! (I'm on a BT Broadband connection if that affects the choice of router-models.) We've only got a 2-up, 2-down house so distance shouldn't be a challenge (I hope!).

  Jeecie 12:43 31 Jan 2007

Hi as my query on how/what option to go for has been answered... I'm marking this thread as Resolved.

So... I've started a new thread in the "Consumerwatch" section click here on the topic of which model wireless router to purchase.

Thanks to fitshase for your help - much appreciated!!

Jeecie :)

  fitshase 22:30 31 Jan 2007

No probs. My recommendation would be a Netgear wireless router. I have 2 (one has been in use about 5 years and the other 3 years) without a problem.

The new thread will get some good recommendations.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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