I also have an older model Dell desk top. It also did not have a wireless network card. When I purchased my laptop, it came with built in wireless. So to eliminate the need to have a bunch of cables running all over the place, I brought two of those USB wireless adapters that plug into your USB port.
BIG mistake. They were a pain in the butt to set up and when I got lucky and got them to work, they would seldom if ever connect.
Then I decided to try a LinkSys card. I went with the LinkSys Wireless G PCI adapter. I only brought one, having learned my lesson with the USB ones. I installed it in my wife's Dell desk top. It pratcially installed itself and has been rock steady from Day 1.
So needless to say, I purchased a 2nd one for my desk top. again, setup was a snap, and again it has also been rock steady. Connects and stays connected with no muss no fuss.
Keep in mind, you need to have a wireless router (duh!) Also you need to hard wire the wireless card initially, but once the install program finds the router you pull the plug and it's full steam ahead.
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