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Windows XP Wireless Network Configuration

Connecting to Wireless LAN - Click to EnlargeThe computer will attempt to connect to your wireless network. If it is unsuccessfull check that you are entering your network key correctly.

Connected to Wireless LAN - Click to EnlargeWhen you have connected successfully the word Connected will appear next to the network name. If you are using DHCP to assign IP addresses then the computer will acquire its IP address automatically and your connection should be ready to use. If you are not using DHCP then you will need to configure your adaptor manually as described below. If you wish to disconnect from your wlan for any reason simply double click on it and you will prompted to disconnect.

Configuring your IP Address

Choose a Wireless Network - Click to Enlarge WLAN Status - Click to Enlarge

Configuring your IP address is only necessary if you are not using DHCP or if you would like to increase your networks security by not handing out addresses automatically. If you are on the Choose a Wireless Network screen (above left) click on Change Advanced Settings. If you are on the Wireless Network Connection Status screen (above right) click on the properties button on the bottom left.

Wireless Connection Properties - Click to EnlargeIn the Wireless Network Connection Properties screen scroll down until you find Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and double click on it.

TCP/IP General Configuration - Click to Enlarge TCP/IP Alternate Configuration - Click to Enlarge

Wireless TCP/IP Properties - Click to EnlargeIt is in the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties that we finally get to the settings required to make the wireless adaptor work properly. A wireless network adaptor differs from an ethernet adaptor in that we can supply two seperate IP configurations, a general and an alternate configuration (above left and above right) so that it may be used in more than one location without requiring any changes. In either of these panes we can configure the wireless network connections IP address, subnet mask, gateway (or router) address and nameservers. If "Obtain an IP address automatically" and "Obtain DNS server address automatically" are selected by clicking on the circle to the left of the option (which places a dot inside it to show it is selected) then the computer will expect to receive these details from a DHCP server and no further configuration is necessary. This is referred to as being a DHCP client and is the default configuration for any interface on a Windows computer.

If a DHCP server is not available, undesirable or if you are initially configuring a device that does not have a DHCP server enabled by default you may need to manually specify your IP address etc. If you are unsure as to what is required please consider reading our Basic Networking Guide for further information. Our example is configured with an IP address of and has a subnet mask of so that it can talk to all hosts (computers, devices etc) connected to the same network as it with an IP address between and Its default gateway is, which is the address of another host on the same network which may be an adsl modem, wireless router or even another computer that has internet connection sharing enabled. It is through the default gateway that this computer will expect to be able to communicate with other hosts not on its own network. Finally there is the nameserver addresses. These are computers usually run by your Internet Service Provider that translate URLS such as to the IP address of the computer that contains the information your require, for example a website. Check their website or contact them and ask if you dont know what they are. Without nameservers you will not get far on the internet.

Once configured clicked OK on the bottom of Internet Protocal TCP/IP properties and OK once again on the previous screen to save your settings.


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