Hello, I'm hoping I am in the right place and would appreciate any help. I just bought the Dell inspiron 1525 which has a wifi connection already included. I haven't bought a router and I do not have an express card yet. I was told I didn't need either to connect to wireless internet. When I turn on my wifi, it gives me unsecure connections and 1 of the connections says "free public wifi" Do I need a router even though I do not have my own internet set up in order to connect to wireless internet? When I try to connect to an excellent signal it says it cannot connect to my pc. The intel wireless card should already be built in, so I am not sure what I am missing here. It also says that there are wireless networks available.
Please Advise

Congrats for your Dell Machine! Now let me give some background about wireless networks.

First of all wireless networks have different standards and each standars has its own speed and frequency. These standards are defined by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers).

Available standards are:

• 802.11a. This is an outdated wireless technology that offers good performance but is compatible with only a few devices.

• 802.11b. This is the oldest and most compatible wireless technology, and any wireless network device can connect to an 802.11b network. 802.11b is slow, however, and you should use it only for browsing the Web, sending instant messages, and reading e-mail.

• 802.11g. The best choice for new wireless networks, 802.11g works with any device that supports 802.11b, while offering five times the performance. 802.11g is fast enough to stream music and some video (but not high-definition video).

• 802.11n. A future standard that will replace 802.11g and 802.11b networks, while still supporting existing wireless computers. 802.11n can offer better range and performance than 802.11g; however, 802.11n network equipment is more expensive, and most wireless devices do not support it.

Each individual will have different type of wireless netowrk. Router manufacturers keep these standards in mind while making the routers.

You are seeing a list of available wifi networks in your neighbourhood. But whether you are able to connect to these networks depends on your inbuilt wireless card and the range of these available networks.
You don't need a wireless router at your home if you are trying to connect to a publicly avialable unsecured connection. You only need a router if you want to setup your internet to share connection inside or outside your home.

Try connecting to all available wifi networks in your surrounding. If not successfull you might have to buy your own internet connection and setup a wireless router.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks for your input. I do have another question though. If I just have a weak wireless signal, is there anything I can do to my laptop to make it stronger? Or will I have to just have to settle for getting my own internet connection? I have tried everything to connect to the signals I was getting from wifi but no luck. I'm pretty much trying to find the cheapest way to get internet, but also need a good connection.

hey Dmarie3194, ways exist of making a signal stronger but that is done by the owner of the wireless Access point. You will need to get your own Internet connection if you want internet for your laptop. Otherwise, you can only connect to public wireless networks only because they allow you to do that.

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