Old computer - wi-fi OK?

  Pineman100 18:21 21 Feb 2008

A friend wants to change her wired broadband modem for a wireless router, and a wireless adaptor fitted to the computer, so she can carry it around the house.

The computer is a Sony laptop, about 7 years old, running XP SP2 Home.

Is there any reason why a computer of this age could have problems going wireless with a USB adaptor?

  Pineman100 18:27 21 Feb 2008

One further thought - I don't think the computer has an ethernet card, so it would not be possible to initially connect to the router with an ethernet cable, to set things up.

Is this a major problem?

  Ashrich 21:59 21 Feb 2008

What is the spec of the laptop ? Lower spec PC's , even ones running SP2 , can have trouble encrypting and decrypting WPA security especially if it is low on memory as well , so a long 256 bit WEP might be called for . See if you can lay your hands on something like a 3Com or Xircom PCMCIA network card , XP sp2 should recognise it right away and make the installation so much easier . If you have to set up wirelessly , don't set the wireless security until the last moment , get everything else going first , making sure it ( the router ) has connected to the internet before finishing .


  Ashrich 22:03 21 Feb 2008

Regarding the USB adapter , Windows may nag you that it isn't in a USB2.0 slot , and it may not run to it's full potential , I have even had to set these up to run at 802/11b ( 11mb/s) speeds before to get them to connect in a USB1.0 or 1.1 slot .


  Pineman100 10:02 22 Feb 2008

I'm comfortable about fitting a PCI card to a desktop PC. But are there any complications to fitting a PCMCIA card to a laptop? Or am I correct in thinking that this is actually an external slot on the machine?

I've only ever set up a wireless network on my own desktop PC, which is fitted with an ethernet card. This involved making an initial connection from the ethernet port to the router with an ethernet cable, before activating the wireless connection. Am I likely to run into difficulties if I can't do this (because the laptop has no ethernet card)?

  Pineman100 10:04 22 Feb 2008

I'm sorry, I think I may have misunderstood your comments. Is the PCMCIA card that you've recommended an ethernet card, or a wireless networking card?

  Ashrich 21:20 22 Feb 2008

I was actually recommending a PCMCIA card for the ethernet connection , but they are also much better for wireless cards as well , and they avoid the USB2.0 problem that older laptops can suffer .


  Pineman100 09:08 23 Feb 2008

So, do I take it that an ethernet cable connection will definitely be essential for the initial setup?

  Ashrich 20:04 23 Feb 2008

It certainly is preferable , otherwise you can keep losing the connection every time a setting is changed , which is tiresome and can cause connection problems for even the tiniest mistake .


  Pineman100 06:06 24 Feb 2008

Ok, Asrich. You've been very helpful. Thank you so much.

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