The laptop is very ancient (Win98!) and seems only to have its infrared port. Don't worry about this one, it's not important.
I just really need the two desktops connected. My router is a etec adsl modem router - I have gone through the user guide but cannot find any of the sets of initials you ask about. I am sorry, I am a total beginner on this sort of thing.
I just had a gut feeling that sending off for a little gadget to plug into the PC was not a good idea without taking some advice.
Hmmm, well, it would help a lot if I knew what encryption protocol you will be using. Etec is not a brand that springs to mind when I think "network hardware" so I know nothing of its products. I tend to see the usual Linksys, Draytek, Belkin et al in common use.
I'll take a stab and guess that you won't be using WPA2 and hope that you certainly won't be stuck with WEP! For the desktop: click here, which you can buy from eBuyer click here= If it has a setup CD, don't run it in case it installs management software - XP is not happy with that, so just pop it in and boot up as you would with any piece of hardware, then let the New Hardware wizard get the driver from the CD.
For the laptop, you will need management software unfortunately. click here Use that.