How to Make Your Laptop Wireless

Older laptops manufactured before the 2000s -- when Wi-Fi became popular -- lack wireless capabilities, preventing the computers from detecting or producing wireless radio signals. To connect to a Wi-Fi hot spot, a laptop needs a functional wireless local area network adapter, or wireless adapter. Installing a wireless N USB adapter to your laptop will enable it to connect to any N-standard or earlier routers.

Step

Connect an 802.11n wireless adapter to the USB port on the side of the laptop.

Step

Insert into the disc drive the software included with the wireless adapter. If the setup application fails to launch, click "Start," "Computer" or "My Computer" and then double-click the drive containing the setup disc.

Step

Follow the on-screen directions to install the associated software. When setup completes, check the indicator light on the side of the adapter to confirm that the wireless antenna is active.

Step

Click the Wireless Network Connection icon in the system tray. Select a Wi-Fi hot spot to connect to and then click "Connect."