Network Administration: Configuring Windows XP for Wireless Networking

The first step in configuring Windows XP for wireless networking is to install the appropriate device driver for your wireless network adapter. To do that, you need the installation CD that came with the adapter. Follow the instructions that came with the adapter to install the drivers.

Windows XP has some nice built-in features for working with wireless networks. You can configure these features by opening the Network Connections folder. Choose Start→Control Panel and then double-click the Network Connections icon. Right-click the wireless network connection and then choose Properties to bring up the Properties dialog box. Then, click the Wireless Networks tab to display the wireless networking options.


Each time you connect to a wireless network, Windows XP adds that network to this dialog box. Then, you can juggle the order of the networks in the Preferred Networks section to indicate which network you’d prefer to join if you find yourself within range of two or more networks at the same time. You can use the Move Up and Move Down buttons next to the Preferred Networks list to change your preferences.

To add a network that you haven’t yet actually joined, click the Add button. This brings up the dialog box shown in the illustration below. Here, you can type the SSID value for the network that you want to add. You can also specify other information, such as whether to use data encryption, how to authenticate yourself, and whether the network is an ad-hoc rather than an infrastructure network.