This is a stupid question but is there an easy way to tell wheather or not i have a wireless card (other than opening the comp and looking inside) with out having acess to a wireless net work.

The reason i ask is that i was going to buy a usb wireless adapter for use in atlanta. The lap top isnt mine. THe person who gaveme the laptop insists there is a wireless card in it but i havent seen any proof and dont have a network at home to connect to. I looked in the device manager under network adapters and all I found was “3COM EtherLink XL 10/100 PCI TX NIC 3C905B-tx” I believe this isd just my network card that i use for my home netork ( not wire less)\

Please help so i can save some money if there is a card in this already

Nah, no stupid questions, only stupid answers. XP

Well, off the top of my head I can say that I would severly doubt a wireless network card would be in a laptop that you would not be able to see with a quick glance. Namely, the antenna will need to be visible to be at all practical and all laptops I’ve seen use an expansion slot (usually on the sides, about twice as tall as a floppy but half the width. It’s a port you can pop things in and out for quick mobility) for wireless connection.

If the computer recognises it as installed, it should be in the device manager. It’s POSSIBLE that its in there and the drivers just werent installed at all/correctly, but very unlikely.

Again, you should be able to see a wireless card as it should have a small but visible antenna.

Though, I could be wrong, and the best solution is to ask the guy in person where the wireless card he has in it is.

well there is nothing in the expansion slot and what you said is what i thought so now i pose another question wireless card or USB?

Wireless Card, USB has cables…isn’t getting rid of cables the point of wireless?

Incorrect–my laptop has an internal card, with no antennas poking out anywhere. (Hence I can chill here outside Preston and still get my CD fix.) And I’ve seen USB wireless adapters that can be used sans antenna–just plug and go. My brother used one on his desktop that he didn’t want to crack the case on with no problems, but YMMV.

In every laptop I’ve seen, pressing (Fn)+F2 will normally enable or disable the wireless if it’s installed internally. If that doesn’t do anything, then odds are you don’t have wireless.

Why don’t you just search the internet for your laptop brand/model and see if a wireless network card was even an option.

Also, if you do not see some kind of indication on the keyboard, either by a key to turn the card on/off or some sort of wireless symbol or status light as an indication on if the card is on/off.

Some thing similar to this http://www.zdnet.be/images/nw0406/040610_wifiboost_kl.jpg.

You could even look in the Control Panel and there would probably be something in there to change settings if a wifi card existed.

Well i have decided i dont have a card perhapse it was removed at some point. I am thinking about getting a wireless usb adapter because it would also work with my desk top and the computers at school If any one can think of a problem with this let me know. If you think this may not be the best choice againlet me know

Thank you

That’s incorrect also, I just tried mine and it didn’t do anything :stuck_out_tongue:

To see if you have an internal wireless card, go to Start–Run.

type “cmd” press enter.

Type “ipconfig /all” and hit enter.

If you see a blurb about “Ethernet Adaptor Wireless Connection” you have one.

If not, you don’t.

The (fn + F2) is actually true; however, it may be just Dell specific.

My Dell laptop has a little blue radio tower with waves coming off of it on the F2 key.

Also, If I want to disable my wireless I simply push both of those buttons and I get a disabled or enabled icon on my screen.

Cory’s way is a good way. Sometimes “ipconfig” isn’t in the path and doesn’t work though. It will give you an error if it doesn’t work. If it says wireless you are definetly good though.

Other things:
You could look in Device Manager (Start, Settings, Control Panel, System, Hardware tab, Device Manager button, then expand Network adapters.
The wireless card may have to be enabled in the BIOS.

That would only work if the device is enabled. If it’s in there and it’s disabled, then it wouldn’t display on it.


Did you ask the person you got it from how to enable it/where it is? The person who owns the laptop will likely be able to better help you then we can with the limited information you are giving us.


Assuming it hasn’t been removed, any laptop that comes with an internal WiFi card will have an FCC warning/ID sticker on it, usually the bottom. It will be a bit more lengthy then the usual ‘this device must accept any interference yadayadayda’, and go on to include a FCC ID number. If you have an FCC ID number, your capable of broadcasting something.

Also, every wireless adapter I’ve ever seen comes bundled with some software, usually some sort of GUI that lets you browse available networks and configure security options .etc. Normally, that software loads on boot, and will at least yell at you that it can’t find any open networks in range. It sounds like the laptop does not have a wireless card.

On the topic of USB adapters, I’ve had great luck with

This guy from Belkin. But, I suspect that just about all the little wireless USB hubs are pretty much the same. It shouldn’t cost you more then 20, if that.

-Andy A.

Ah, well internal cards are nifty. I didn’t think about that ^^;

As for USB adapters, you’d still be able to tell if there was one in there.

hey man, i dont kno if this is going to help you or not…but from my experience (and i’ve heard about this too) SMC routers hav a hard time with other brands wireless cards/access points, etc for whatever reason. Myself, as well as my school is having problems with Wireless Routers by SMC, but i am not sure wether their NIC’s (network interface card) are the same way, or not, but watch out for that…just a friendly word of advice

Good luck with your purchase,


on my laptop i have a button on the outside of my laptop that i can turn the wireless on and off

if you right click the “My Network Places” icon on the desktop and then click properties, it will open a window that shows all installed network devices, regardless if its enabled or disabled.

If you don not have that icon on your desktop, right click on the desktop (not on any icons) and select properties. then select the “Desktop” tab at the top. at the bottom of the window you will see a button that says “Customize Desktop.” Click that button nd you will see a few check boxes at the top. find the one that says “My Network Places” and check it. Click apply and then OK.

then start at the top of this post.

Of course, it all depends on who you ask. SMC routers have given me the least trouble out of SMC, Linksys, netgear, dlink, and Siemans routers. And that’s with Cisco, linksys, dell, and siemans cards.

PS, the wireless enable/disable is fn-f5 on my ibm laptop.