Can you use wireless router without network card?

  Pineman100 17:12 26 Jul 2006

A pal of mine in France has asked me to help him set up his laptop with a wireless router (this is called "the blind leading the blind"!), so he can connect to the internet anywhere in his house.

His laptop is about 5 years old and has no network card in it. Is it still possible to set it up to use a wireless router with a USB adapter?

Many thanks for any advice.

  Dell latitude 17:20 26 Jul 2006

he could connect through a wired lan connection or he could buy a pcmcia wireless card. He cannot use wireless without a wireless adapter.

  Pineman100 17:29 26 Jul 2006

Thanks for your response. If he was going to connect through a wired lan connection, wouldn't he need a network card in his computer?

I understand that he would need a wireless adapter to use a wireless router, but I am uncertain whether he could use a USB adapter without having a network card in the machine (I have a feeling that when you set up a router/adapter you first have to connect the computer to the router by wire). Or could he solve the whole thing by fitting a PCMCIA wireless adapter card?

Sorry if this question is all a bit confused - but so am I!

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 17:29 26 Jul 2006

You often appear to have to set up the router with it connected by wire to the PC, before it will work on wireless settings.

  Woolwell 17:32 26 Jul 2006

You can get a USB ethernet adaptor. I used one to set up my wireless router on my previous PC. It worked fine.

  Pineman100 17:36 26 Jul 2006

Thanks for that. Please could you explain in a bit more detail? Do you have to use the USB ethernet adapter just to set up the wireless router, after which it becomes redundant? (I'm assuming that the ethernet adapter does not operate wirelessly). If so, then that sounds an expensive option.

  FelixTCat 17:44 26 Jul 2006


Nearly all laptops have an ethernet connector on them. It is not a network card but a socket on the back just slightly bigger than a telephone socket. There is normally a little logo beside it that looks like 3 desktop computers.

What I am not clear about is the "Is it still possible to set it up to use a wireless router with a USB adapter?" Do you mean that the router has a USB adapter, or what?

There are, broadly, 2 types of adsl modem: one is freestanding, with its own power supply and which connects to the pc by either USB or ethernet; the other plugs directly into the pc's USB port and takes its power from the pc.

Wireless routers are always free-standing and come with or without an adsl modem.

Can you please let us know exactly which of these you have.



  Woolwell 17:50 26 Jul 2006

My understanding is that for most routers you have to connect by wire to configure them. I didn't have a network card or room for one. So I bought a Belkin USB ethernet adaptor and connected by wire. Once set up you can work wirelessly and of course you would not need the ethernet adaptor. However I have had to go back into my router's configuration a few times to get update the firmware, to change settings, to get it going again, etc. I do not know if you can do this wirelessly.
"Anywhere in the house" may be a bit optimistic. It depends on where the router is situated and the thickness, composition of the walls between it and the laptop.
Are you providing advice remotely on or on-site? It can take some time to get working and some scratching of head.

  Dell latitude 17:53 26 Jul 2006

your friend could either get a pcmcia adapter that has a wired lan port or he could get a wireless pcmcia card. I no this because a friend of mine had the same problem and he just ended up buying a wireless pcmcia adapter and it worked great.

  Pineman100 18:09 26 Jul 2006

FelixTCat - the idea was that he would have a USB adapter plugged into the computer, communicating wirelessly with a wireless router that would have a built-in adsl modem. (Nothing purchased yet).

Woolwell - you have confirmed my suspicions that (when first setting up) a wireless router must be connected by wire to the computer. Please could you tell me how much your USB ethernet adapter cost?

Dell latititude - if my pal uses a pcmcia wireless adapter (instead of a usb one) do you know whether these come with an ethernet port built in for connecting to the router by wire to set it up?

Many thanks again to all of you for your help.

  Stuartli 18:13 26 Jul 2006

This well known website may also help:

click here

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

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Alienware 17 R4 2017 review

These brilliant Lego posters show just what children's imaginations are capable of

Mac power user tips and hidden tricks

Comment réinitialiser votre PC, ordinateur portable ou tablette Windows ?