Yes I do have a broadband connection. It's connected to the pc through ethernet cable. I dont mind either wireless or the wires, although because the machines will be quite close, wireless might be better I suppose?
If your'e going wireless you need a wireless router, a wireless pcmcia card for the laptop and a wireless pci or usb dongle for the desktop. You can get some good deals on packages which will include all this if you shop around. After that (assuming your'e using XP) you run the windows wireless network setup wizard.
If you do go wireless try your best to make sure the components are all from the same manufacturer as if they're not, you might run into configuration problems.
Do you have cable or ADSL broadband as the choice of routers can vary.
You say your machines are close to each other. If it is easy to connect them by wire, this would eliminate the potential security risks associated with wireless networking and you would possibly get a more stable connection. Although, wireless is very convenient as you could use the laptop in any location around the house or even the garden. Wireless is quite safe, as long as you set up adequate security measures.
You can get everything from somewhere like PC World, but shop around first. There are a lot of on-line stores offering wireless network starter bundles.
"Ok, how do I connect that to the laptop? " A wireless PCMCIA card should just slot into the relevant slot in the laptop.
see if your laptop and pc are equiped with an rj45 ethernet socket [like a small phone socket] If both machines have these then just get a crossover cat5 cable and plug in. Make sure both pcs belong to the same workgroup I use mshome. If an ethernet card is needed for the pc these are available for about £10 for the laptop you can get a pcmia card with an ethernet socket.
If you decide to go the cheaper route ie. without a router using a crossover cable, bear in mind that you will have to have to main or gateway PC switched on in order to access the broadband connection from the second PC.