Step 1 – Get Internet access connected from your phone company, cable company or another Internet service provider. You will need DSL or cable Internet. Dial-up will not work with some routers.
Step 2 – Get a wireless router. You can purchase one at an electronics store, online or at a discount store like Wal-Mart. You can also lease a wireless router from your Internet service provider, but it would be cheaper to buy your own. If you purchased a home networking package, the wireless router may be part of the package so you won’t need to buy your own.
Step 3 – Purchase a USB wireless adapter if your laptop doesn’t have a wireless adapter installed. Purchase the adapter from an electronics store. Pay attention to the packaging to ensure that you are purchasing an adapter with efficient signal strength and range. Look at the diagram on the back of the box to see the distance the wireless adapter will have to be from the router to pick up the signal. For single-level homes, you will be fine with any USB wireless adapter. For homes with multiple floors, you will need one of the stronger wireless adapters so your computers can pick up the signal between floors.
Step 4 – Connect the router to your modem. You will receive a fast access modem for the DSL or cable Internet service. Connect the router to the modem using the Ethernet cable that came with the modem. You do not have to connect the modem or router to the laptop.
Step 5 – Plug the wireless adapter into the laptop, if it is needed. Install any necessary drivers from the CD that came along with the adapter. Windows will start the installation process automatically when you plug the adapter into the laptop.
Step 6 – Connect to the Internet. The wireless adapter will detect nearby wireless signals; one of these signals will be coming from your router. Open up the available networks on your computer by double-clicking on the icon for the wireless adapter in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. The icon looks like two computer screens or signal bars. In the list of available wireless connections, click on yours and then click "Connect." If your connection is secured, you will be asked to enter the security key.