Old Computer Question

dask

dark and stormy knight
Joined
Nov 1, 2008
Messages
4,653
Location
Pacific Northwest
I can't remember when I got my Gateway PC but I'm fairly certain it was before wifi became omnipresent. I've looked all over settings and can't find any wireless reference. My Ethernet box has an antenna looking thing sticking out of it. Does this mean I can receive wifi through that if I call Century Link and order it? Is there some sort of card/chip or something I can attach to my computer to make it wifi compatible? Or am I outta luck? I'd like to get wifi for my tablet and iPad but don't want the extra expense if I can't use it for my PC. Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.
 
a dongle thingie, or looks like a usb thumbdrive maybe
i have a few i found, used to need them to connect early laptop
 
Well, I'm a little confused how your internet is set up (or do you simply want WiFi to connect devices?)... In any case, yes, you possibly do not have WiFi in your Gateway PC, but, may have it. Yes, if you're using XP or newer, WiFi is already a part of the OS... BUT, you may not have the hardware as part of the PC. Yes, you can purchase an inexpensive WiFi USB adapter which you simply plug in, and it should set up mostly automatically. Yes, if your ethernet box(?), I assume router, has an antenna, you're likely already WiFi enabled (internet wise) in the home. Blah, blah, blah...

First off... how does your internet get inside your home? As an example, I use cable. The cable line runs to a cable modem. From the cable modem, it then connects via ethernet to a WiFi router. From that WiFi router, an ethernet cable runs to my PC. My PC communicates with other devices (like printers), by sending back to that router and from there to the remote device (I think...). Other devices such as phones and tablets, connect to the net by accessing that router WiFi signal.

So, how does yours all hook up? Also, do your other devices (like your tablet), already have access to the internet?

K2
 
I'll explain it the best I can. My internet comes into the house through a telephone line I used when I had dial up. From there it runs through a tangle of cords and wires I couldn't even begin to unravel leading to a router with four Ethernet ports and an antenna marked with the wifi symbol. I don't have wifi however. My phone bill says I'm only paying for "high speed internet" which I've always thought of as DSL. Anyway, my wife's laptop has wifi but it also has an Ethernet port so I can plug it into the router and go online in the house that way. If I want wifi I have to go to a coffee shop or the public library. Likewise with my tablet and iPad. But I'd like to upgrade to wifi only in the house if I can get my PC to handle wifi. I don't want to pay for high speed Ethernet for one device and shell out an additional amount for wifi just for my other two devices. I'm wondering since my PC is already connected to the internet with an Ethernet cable to my router and that router seems capable of receiving wifi, do I really need the wifi usb adapter? Couldn't I just call the telephone company and sign up for wifi and have it all work out automatically? (Am I a small mind with big dreams?) If not I'd gladly buy the adapter and upgrade to wifi that way if the adapter would actually work.
 
I may be being a little dense, here in UK the majority of internet connections are via the telephone line, the modem/router is capable of supplying both a wired and wireless connection. Check if your router is wireless enabled then you can decided to either carry on using the ethernet cable or buy a wireless adaptor.
You shouldn't have to pay for two different connections get a router that is capable of both.
 
Wifi is a functionality of your router and unrelated to the type of internet account. If your router has a antenna, I assume you already have wifi available in your home. Theoretically. It needs to be activated, for which you need to access the router settings. How to do that depends on the brand and model of your router. If you have those you can search Google or Youtube, I'm sure you will find documentation there.
That's all basically, without any extra costs. Unless your router does not have Wifi and needs be replaced.

Once Wifi is enabled, your other devices can connect via Wifi while your PC remain connected by cable.
 
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Have you actually tried to set up wifi? I agree with the above. You've already got the capability in your router. Question is, do you have it in your PC?

On older PCs, if you look inside the control panel, there's an option to setup a wireless network. If this is present, it probably means that it can connect remotely.

When setting up, (follow the wizard) you will create a special security code, which you can download to a memory stick. Does your router have a USB port? If yes, then you may be able to use the memory stick to activate your wifi connection to your PC.

P.S. If you need a password for your wifi, its probably on the back of the router.
 
@dask ; let's try this from a different angle since you seem hesitant to contact your ISP (internet service provider). With your Ipad charged, switch it on and then search for a network. I've never used an Ipad, so, I'll just point you to the websearch I brought up: ipad search for network - Google Search

Try some of the instructions you'll find on those pages, and use the Ipad to search for a network. If you find one, but aren't sure if it is yours or a neighbor's, simply unplug your router, leave it unplugged, and research using the Ipad. If it is gone, then you have it! Once you confirm whether (or not) you have a wireless network already established, using your Ipad try to connect to it.

After we figure out if you have WiFi in the home already (since you're hesitant to call your ISP), then we can move on to getting your PC hooked up ;)

K2
 
Good idea unplugging the router. Should have thought of it myself. I did search the wifi settings with my Fire Tablet earlier this morning and found a network called myqwest8829 and since my router is from Qwest I typed in the password they gave me a long time ago to use if I ever bought another router from a store, and the password did light up as if it were legitimate when I type it in but this only resulted in an authentication problem. All the other networks have other people's names obviously having nothing to do with me. Later today I will try unplugging the router (after I figure out exactly what to unplug, there's a lot of stuff back there) and see what happens.

I'm hesitant to call my ISP because I don't want to sign up for wifi if my PC won't get it and after checking settings as suggested by Foxbat I'm convinced it can't. I will need one of those dongles J Riff mentioned above. I will eventually contact them once I get some of this preliminary stuff straightened out. Thanks for all the tips and suggestions so far. It is much appreciated.
 
You don't need to contact your ISP. You already have wi-fi.

Wi-fi is a function of the router; not an additional ISP service.

You already confirmed that the router has an antenna marked "wifi" and the network named with the brand-name of the router is almost certainly yours.
 
@dask ; I assume you're running Windows-XP or newer on your PC. If so, WiFi is possible. That said, you don't have to run your PC from WiFi unless you want to. I don't (as I explained), but other devices (wireless things such as tablets) can access my wireless router connection. I'm not sure how things work where you are... yet unlike cable-tv where you must pay for each unit connected (via its own converter box), internet access over a WiFi network is NOT item by item regulated... IOW, they don't charge for each PC, tablet, phone, etc.. Just the single connection.

From there, who you allow to access it is up to you (by setting up a password). First off, try unplugging your router (just the power cord) and see if one of those wireless connections on your Ipad/tablet vanishes (or becomes disabled). That will tell us a lot. Also, do you own the router, or are you renting it from your ISP?

K2
 
You don't need to contact your ISP. You already have wi-fi.

Wi-fi is a function of the router; not an additional ISP service.

You already confirmed that the router has an antenna marked "wifi" and the network named with the brand-name of the router is almost certainly yours.
This makes sense and I hope you are right, but to connect I need a password and the only password I have is the one Qwest gave me to use should I ever buy a new router in a store, and this password does not work. It only results in an "authentication problem." If myqwest8829 is indeed my door into wifi, I will be left with no other alternative than to call my ISP for some kind of assistance. (As far as I know, that is.)
 
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@dask ; I assume you're running Windows-XP or newer on your PC. If so, WiFi is possible. That said, you don't have to run your PC from WiFi unless you want to. I don't (as I explained), but other devices (wireless things such as tablets) can access my wireless router connection. I'm not sure how things work where you are... yet unlike cable-tv where you must pay for each unit connected (via its own converter box), internet access over a WiFi network is NOT item by item regulated... IOW, they don't charge for each PC, tablet, phone, etc.. Just the single connection.

From there, who you allow to access it is up to you (by setting up a password). First off, try unplugging your router (just the power cord) and see if one of those wireless connections on your Ipad/tablet vanishes (or becomes disabled). That will tell us a lot. Also, do you own the router, or are you renting it from your ISP?

K2
K2, I have Windows 8.1 and I bought my router from Qwest when I switched from dial up to high speed/DSL. Later today I'll unplug the router and try to figure out which network is mine if I indeed have one.
 
K2, I have Windows 8.1 and I bought my router from Qwest when I switched from dial up to high speed/DSL. Later today I'll unplug the router and try to figure out which network is mine if I indeed have one.

If you have 8.1, your PC software is already setup for WiFi... If it (8.1) came on the PC, then the PC hardware likely is as well. That said... are you using the Gateway computer here, now? If so, and if you don't wish to move it to another room, then you have nothing further to do regarding your PC's connection. So it is a matter of getting access with your other devices.

K2
 
If you have 8.1, your PC software is already setup for WiFi... If it (8.1) came on the PC, then the PC hardware likely is as well. That said... are you using the Gateway computer here, now? If so, and if you don't wish to move it to another room, then you have nothing further to do regarding your PC's connection. So it is a matter of getting access with your other devices.

K2
My Gateway came with Vista. I switched to Windows 8 maybe five years ago or so and it automatically upgraded to 8.1 one night by itself. Honestly. Right now I'm using free wifi in a coffee shop on my iPad.
 
A friend of mine just wrote me this:"I'm afraid that just buying a router will not give you Wifi capability. You will need something from your carrier to bring the signal into your home. The router then spreads the signal throughout your house and makes it stronger." Is this in the ballpark?
 
Okay, I unplugged the router and it appears "myquest8829" is my network as it disappeared when all the others remained. But I still need a password to access it and as far as I know I don't have one. So unless I'm mistaken I will have to call Century Link for help. Having wifi without access to it is no different from not having wifi at all.
 
[QUOTE="dask, post: 2367709, member: 22538"
A ... and the only password I have is the one Qwest gave me to use should I ever buy a new router in a store ...

B ... and this password does not work. It only results in an "authentication problem.
[/QUOTE]

I find quote A a bit odd. Unless things go vastly different from where I live, every router comes with it's own default password (though they may all be the same for the same model). Giving you a password for a new router (of yet unknown model, but presumably the same brand) doesn't make much sense to me.

As for B; this password you have is more likely needed when you want to access the router settings and not for making a Wifi-connection. If you have never used the Wifi capability of your router it is possible that security- and password-settings for Wifi has never been set-up.
 
[QUOTE="dask, post: 2367709, member: 22538"
A ... and the only password I have is the one Qwest gave me to use should I ever buy a new router in a store ...I find quote A a bit odd. Unless things go vastly different from where I live, every router comes with it's own default password (though they may all be the same for the same model). Giving you a password for a new router (of yet unknown model, but presumably the same brand) doesn't make much sense to me.

I was told by Qwest to make sure the router I bought (if I were to buy one) was ADSL 2+ compatible and gave me a username and password I would need to use it which I wrote down and taped to the CPU. Odd or not that's the way it was.
 

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