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Help me get wireless internet on this laptop.

Old 06-28-08, 11:06 AM
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Help me get wireless internet on this laptop.

My dad got an old laptop from his place of work, and would like for me to find out how to get wireless internet up and running on it. What he has is an IBM ThinkPad R50.

It's supposed to already have wireless on it, but I suppose his company disabled it. When I press Fn+F5 it brings up the wireless screen and says "IBM Wireless adapters (802.11 or Bluetooth) are not installed on this system."

Does this mean that it's ready to go online and simply needs a USP wireless adapter? If so, what's the cheapest way to go for that? Do I need to install anything in the computer itself, a driver, card, etc...? Thanks a lot!
Old 06-28-08, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Brent L
It's supposed to already have wireless on it, but I suppose his company disabled it. When I press Fn+F5 it brings up the wireless screen and says "IBM Wireless adapters (802.11 or Bluetooth) are not installed on this system."
Some laptops have physical switches on them for manually turning the Wifi on or off. Check if this laptop has such a switch on it, and that it's in the "on" position.

Also, the work may have uninstalled the driver for the wifi. Run the "add hardware" wizard in control panel and let it search for any hardware already in the laptop that's not installed.

Does this mean that it's ready to go online and simply needs a USP wireless adapter?
A USB adapter is definitely the easiest way to go to add wireless if the laptop doesn't already have it. If the Cardbus slot isn't in use, you could use a Cardbus wireless adapter too.

If so, what's the cheapest way to go for that?
Online stores like newegg have fairly good prices on usb wifi adapters:
http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCateg...eless-Adapters

Make sure the adapter matches the type of wifi signal (B,G, or N) and security (WEP, WPA, WPA2) of the access point your friend wants to access.

Do I need to install anything in the computer itself, a driver, card, etc...? Thanks a lot!
Any hardware installed is going to need a driver, USB and Cardbus devices included. The device will come with an install CD.

You could also install a wireless card into the laptop, if you're okay with opening up the laptop and inserting it. You'll need a mini-PCI card for this laptop.

Here's some info on the specifics of that laptop:
http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Category:R50
Old 06-28-08, 04:01 PM
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You may have to get into the Bios and turn on the wireless adapter that way.
Old 06-28-08, 04:54 PM
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Thanks for all the advice Jay!

Originally Posted by Nifty03
You may have to get into the Bios and turn on the wireless adapter that way.
How exactly do you check on that?
Old 06-28-08, 05:23 PM
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Usually, you press DEL when the computer is starting up. Generally, when it lists the video card, system memory and drives etc. It should say something down on the bottom of the screen Press DEL to enter BIOS settings.
Old 06-28-08, 05:27 PM
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Got it.

I didn't see anything about turning on wireless though. I'm thinking I just need to buy a USB adapter afterall.

The router that will be used is a Linksys Wireless-G 802.11g, 2.4GHz SpeedBooster broadband router. What would be the best USB adapter to be used with that router?
Old 06-28-08, 05:31 PM
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Did you try installing the driver from the Thinkpad website?
Old 06-30-08, 11:14 AM
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Are you positive there is not a physical switch? Almost all thinkpads have them. Mine is located on the left front lip - hidden right under it.
Old 06-30-08, 11:50 PM
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I agree with the last two posters. I wouldn't rush off to buy something new when a) there's probably a switch that turns wireless on or off; and b) there's a driver for the wireless adapter available online.

I mean, why waste $49 when there's probably a perfectly good working one on the laptop already?
Old 07-01-08, 12:41 AM
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Have you looked in Device Manager under Network Adapters?
Old 07-01-08, 08:40 AM
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Thinkpads have a millions spot where something can be wrong. All the suggestions above are good places to start, but also check the BIOS. Now you can get there a few ways, if you have the ThinkVantage button use that, if not F1 or F2 during the boot will work as well. Once in, just look for Network adapters and see if it is enabled or not.

Additionally, Thinkpads generally have a switch on the front of the box, lower left hand side. And they can occasionally be on the same side, just on the bottom.

Hope that helps.
Old 07-01-08, 08:50 AM
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macnorton, I did check the BIOS I noticed that in the Network section, I see that it says:

Internal Wireless Device: Enabled

at the bottom of the list.

What does that mean for what I need to do?
Old 07-01-08, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Brent L
macnorton, I did check the BIOS I noticed that in the Network section, I see that it says:

Internal Wireless Device: Enabled

at the bottom of the list.

What does that mean for what I need to do?
Ok that is a good start. I would check to make sure it is enabled at Windows level (meaning check your Network Places and see if there is a wireless connection).

It sounds like all your stuff is good, you may be missing just a driver. Simple Google search might help you.
Old 07-01-08, 08:59 AM
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There is a wireless connection listed in Network Connections, only one is listed there. It says that it's enabled, but it has a x on it. On the lower right-hand of my toolbar the network icon is there, with an X, and it says that a network cable is unplugged.

Could the Windows firewall be blocking it? I can't do anything right now since I'm at work, but I'll be sure to check whatever you guys say when I can get to the laptop again.
Old 07-01-08, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Brent L
There is a wireless connection listed in Network Connections, only one is listed there. It says that it's enabled, but it has a x on it. On the lower right-hand of my toolbar the network icon is there, with an X, and it says that a network cable is unplugged.

Could the Windows firewall be blocking it? I can't do anything right now since I'm at work, but I'll be sure to check whatever you guys say when I can get to the laptop again.
If there is an X on it, that means it is not connected to anything. What happens is, Windows will scan for networks and there should be a list (right click on that and select view wireless networks). All you need to do is select one to connect to and you should be good to go.

However, if your network (or any other) is encrypted, you will need to enter a password to access it.

Also, if your router has a built in firewall you may need to disable the Windows firewall to access it.
Old 07-01-08, 11:00 PM
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Actually, doesn't the "red X" in networking mean that its disabled (and all he has to do is right-click > Enable)? Or are disabled connections ghosted out? I can't remember...
Old 07-02-08, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Rex Fenestrarum
Actually, doesn't the "red X" in networking mean that its disabled (and all he has to do is right-click > Enable)? Or are disabled connections ghosted out? I can't remember...
Depends on how you have it set. If it is disabled it should not appear. However if you have the check box "Show icon in notification area when connected" then the red X would appear since there is no connection.
Old 07-03-08, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by macnorton
Depends on how you have it set. If it is disabled it should not appear. However if you have the check box "Show icon in notification area when connected" then the red X would appear since there is no connection.
Are you taking about the system tray or the Network Connections applet? Because if you're talking about the system tray, you'd be correct. But the OP said that "[t]here is a wireless connection listed in Network Connections, only one is listed there. It says that it's enabled, but it has a x on it", which make me think that he's in the Network Connections applet, in which case it sounds like the wireless connection is disabled somehow. All connections always appear in Network Connections whether they're enabled or not.
Old 07-07-08, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Rex Fenestrarum
Are you taking about the system tray or the Network Connections applet? Because if you're talking about the system tray, you'd be correct. But the OP said that "[t]here is a wireless connection listed in Network Connections, only one is listed there. It says that it's enabled, but it has a x on it", which make me think that he's in the Network Connections applet, in which case it sounds like the wireless connection is disabled somehow. All connections always appear in Network Connections whether they're enabled or not.
In that case, all the needs to be done is right click on the connection and then enable it.

From what has been written so far, everything *appears* to be in working order. I am working under the assumption that the issue lies with connecting to the network.

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