How to Set Up a Wireless Internet Connection on Windows XP Professional

By Jesse Adams

Wireless Internet--or "Wi-Fi," as it is commonly known--allows you much more freedom than a traditional wired connection. With a wireless connection, you do not have to worry about positioning your desktop computer close to the router or Internet source, or be tethered to one particular area with your laptop. Setting up Windows XP Professional to connect to a wireless signal involves configuring a router as well as network settings.

Things You'll Need

  • Wireless router or other wireless Internet source
  • Wireless router documentation
  • Wi-Fi card or integrated wireless receiver
  • 2 Ethernet cables

Router Setup

Step 1

Position a wireless router near your cable or DSL modem.

Step 2

Locate the Ethernet port on the back of the modem. The Ethernet port looks like a large telephone jack.

Step 3

Insert one end of an Ethernet cable into the port on the modem and the other end into the port labeled "WLAN" on the back of the wireless router. Depending on the brand of your router, the WLAN port may be labeled "WAN" or "Internet."

Step 4

Connect the router to its power source and wait approximately one minute.

Step 5

Ensure that the "WLAN" (or WAN/Internet) light on the front of your router is illuminated.

Step 6

Insert an Ethernet cable into one of the ports on the back of the router and connect the other end of the cable to your computer.

Step 7

Follow the directions in the user manual for your router to set up the router to broadcast a wireless signal. The specific method of doing this will differ depending on the router.

Step 8

Disconnect the Ethernet cable from your computer.

Set Up XP Professional with Service Pack 2

Step 1

Right-click the wireless network symbol in the Windows taskbar at the bottom right corner of your screen, near the clock. (It looks like a small computer with three waves emanating from it with a red X.)

Step 2

Choose the "View Available Wireless Networks" option.

Step 3

Highlight the wireless connection you want to use and click "Connect."

Step 4

Type your network key or password if prompted to do so and click "Connect." You should have created this in Step 7 of the previous section when you configured your router.

Set Up XP Professional Without Service Pack 2

Step 1

Click the Start menu and open the Control Panel.

Step 2

Click the "Network and Internet Connections" icon.

Step 3

Double-click "Network Connections."

Step 4

Right-click the "Wireless Network Connection" icon.

Step 5

Choose the "View Available Wireless Networks" option.

Step 6

Highlight the wireless network you want to join and click "Connect."

Step 7

Type your network key or password if prompted to do so. You should have created a network key in Step 7 of the first section, when you configured your router.

Tips & Warnings

  • In order for a wireless connection to be made, your computer must have a wireless adapter. Most computers have an integrated adapter, but some may require an external device, usually connected via USB.
  • It is important to keep up with your Windows updates, particularly with Service Pack 2. The process of setting up a wireless connection is much easier with SP2.
  • Section 1 is only necessary if you are setting your Internet connection for the first time. If you are connecting to a work, school or other network, skip to Section 2 or 3.