<<< I plugged in the dongle thingy to the laptop(whats its proper name?) >>>
It is a "USB 2.0 Wireless Network Adapter", but they're frequently just called "dongles" ;)
You need to make sure the Netgear Router has its wireless capability switched on and that it is set to broadcast its SSID (the wireless network name).
If the USB adapter has been properly installed in the laptop as "new hardware", you need to run its software (or Windows' own wireless networking software) to scan for "Available Wireless Networks", find and highlight the one that matches your router's SSID (network name) and select the option to "Connect" to it. Once "Connected", the wireless adapter should get its IP address by DHCP from the router and you should have network and internet access.
There is a difference between the Wireless Network Adapter and Router communicating with a good signal and "Connecting" (as in "logging in") to your Wireless network. Once you have that working, you need to secure your wireless network by enabling WEP or, preferably, WPA encryption. This is set up in the router's security settings and then you need to enter the correct encryption key into the Wireless Adapter in order to connect to the router.