Here is the description of the current hardware and software configuration DELL INSPIRON 4000 Current Configuration System Summary
Quantity Part Description
1 PROCESSOR, PIII, 900, 256K, PGA2, D0 1 ASSEMBLY, DOCS, TECHNICAL SHEET, CABLE, BAY (DRIVE BAY), DELL AMERICAS ORGANIZATION, I4000 1 ADAPTER, ALTERNATING CURRENT, EXTERNAL, 20V, 70W, 3W, BELL ATLANTIC 1 ASSEMBLY, PALMREST, INSPIRON, I4000 1 SUBASSEMBLY, LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY, SAMSUNG, EXTENDED GRAPHICS ARRAY, I4000 1 KIT, COVER, HINGE, I4000 1 BASE (ASSEMBLY OR GROUP), NOTEBOOK, ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MFGR., PENTIUM III, C600, I4K, ADD 1 KEYBOARD, 87, US/ENG, C600/I4K, R2 1 CASE, CARRYING, NYLON, NOTEBOOK, I7500 1 BATTERY, 59WHR, 14.8V, 8CELL, DIRECT SHIP 1 MODEM, 56K, V90.PCMCIA, PSION DACOM, WORLD WIDE 1 KIT, DOCS ON FLOPPY DISK, MODEM, PSION DACOM, WORLD WIDE 1 SUBASSEMBLY, COMPACT DISK READ WRITE, SONY, KIT, OMAHA, WORLD WIDE 1 CARRIER, HARD DRIVE, C600/I4000 1 HARD DRIVE, 40GB, FUJITSU 1 CONNECTOR, HEADER, 2X22, FEMALE, 2, S, G, 35K, THIRD HEIGHT, CHIP SET 1 ASSEMBLY, FLOPPY DRIVE, INT/EXT, NOTEBOOK, LIGHT WEIGHT 1 KIT, SOFTWARE, OFCXPSB, ENGLAND/ENGLISH, ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MFGR. 1 KIT, SOFTWARE, MS-MNY-2K1, ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MFGR., ENGLAND/ENGLISH 2 DUAL IN-LINE MEMORY MODULE, 256, 100M, 32X64, 4K, 144, NETSCAPE loaded the latest bios revision A23 replaced Windows 2000 Professional with Windows XP SP2
I want to upgrade my system so that it will be WIFI enabled. In other words I need to logon to the internet from a WIFI hotspot like Starbucks so that I can download large files. Please tell me what hardware and software components I need to install to make this happen.
It would appear that your Dell does not have a built-in Wi-Fi card, so you have buy and external one. You can either get a USB or a PCMCIA card. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
I've had good luck with either the Linksys USB or PCMCIA wireless products. Most wi-fi hotspots are usually G or B wireless, so you want to buy a Wireless G card (which is backward compatible with B). I would not invest the money in a Wireless N card unless you have N already at home.
The nice thing about USB is that it's plug and play - I'm not sure if your Dell has USB 2.0 or not, or if that matters with the wireless.
No matter which one you get, I recommend you unplug or remove the wireless card from the USB or PCMCIA slot when carrying the laptop around. I've seen people bring me busted PCMCIA cards or laptops with broken USB jacks at work because they were too lazy (or clumsy) when carrying their laptops around with the devices still plugged in.
Because nearly all laptops have built in wireless now, check with any friends, co-workers or if you work for a company with corporate wireless, ask an PC IT guy at work if they have any laptop wireless cards they no longer want.
Thank you for your advice on buying the Linksys USB or PCMCIA wireless product for my laptop. That was really helpful. Does it follow from this that if I want to make my home Wi-Fi enabled I should set up my desktop to run with the Linksys wireless broadband router? If so which particular one do you recommend?
In regards to the desktop at home, it depends on where your broadband connection enters your house. In my case, my DSL modem and Broadband router happen to be in the same room with my desktop computer, so it was both convenient and cheaper to connect the desktop to the router using Ethernet. Plus the connection is both more reliable and faster.
Installing wireless in your desktop PC is possible but it would require you to buy another wireless card. If you buy Linksys equipment for the router, PCMCIA card for laptop and let's say a USB or PCI card for the desktop, you're talking about $49 + $49 + $49 at retail prices. Note: Linksys does sell a bundled router plus PCMCIA wireless card but it may be difficult to find in a retail store - you might find one on-line some place.
As for which router, the one I recommend is the Linksys WRT54G. There are other Linksys G routers available with features such as "SpeedBooster" but unless you have the Linksys wireless cards that are also equipped with SpeedBooster, the feature won't be of any help to you.
You might want to look at posts under the Network/Internet/Wireless forum to see what others might have recommended.
Thanks once again for your invaluable advice. I am having difficulty finding a retail store that stock Linksys "G" wireless nework adapter cards. Could you recommend alternative brands that you know are just as reliable?
I suppose NetGear would be next brand I would recommend. I would also recommend you look for reviews on line on any brand you might wish to buy. Some folks I know have D-Link brand products but I have not personally bought any D-Link stuff.
One bit of advice - it's a good idea to use the same brand wireless cards as your router. So if your home wireless router is Linksys, buy linksys cards, etc. This makes it easier in case you have issues and have to call the manufacturer for technical support.
BTW, you can buy wireless equipment and cards form many different places: Fry's, NewEgg (web retailer), Amazon, Circuit City, Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot and Office Max. I think Dell sells NetGear products. Availability and brands vary by store.
One advantage from buying from Amazon is that you can avoid Sales Tax if Amazon does not have a warehouse in your state and depending on the amount of the order, you might qualify for free shipping.
Message Edited by mauisunset on 08-26-200709:16 PM