Lesson 3-  Installing a PCI Card Wireless Network Adapter


In Lesson 3 we will install a PCI Card wireless network adapter into our Livingroom computer.  We show how to open different computer cases.  We show how to indentify the PCI or PCI Express expansion slots and the procedure for installing the wireless network adapter into an open PCI expansion slot.  Just like in Lesson 2 we show how to install the configuration software that comes with the adapter.  We will get the computer connected to the router and on the Internet in Section 4.

Recommended Networking Hardware

D-Link DIR-655 Wireless N Router
Encore ENLWI-N Wireless N PCI card

D-Link DWA-140 Wireless N USB adapter
LINKSYS WPC600N Wireless N Cardbus Adapter


ENCORE ENHWI-N Wireless N Router


ENCORE ENUWI-N Wireless N USB adapter



Installing the Configuration Utility and Driver

It’s the same manufacturer as the USB adapter so the install is very similar.  We just choose the PCI card driver instead of the one for USB.

Installing the PCI Card Wireless Adapter

We need to open the case so first lets shut down the computer.

The way you open the case is a little different for each computer.  Most cases open from the left side.  There are usually 2 or 3 screws on the back of the case you need to remove.  Some cases also have a lever that needs to be pulled and the side of the case will slide back and off.  See your computers manual for exact instructions for getting inside the case.

This is a home theater PC which is meant to lay down flat, so the case opens from the top.

If you have built your own computer, following our Home PC Builder videos, you already know how to install a PCI card.

Before we can add the card we have to remove the metal plate just inside the back of the case.

This plate is usually held in place by a screw.  On some cases there is a plastic clip that needs to be pulled back.

On this case the plate comes right out, but on some cases you have to pry it out.  If you have to pry the plate out, use a screw driver and pliers, because the edges will be sharp.

Position yourself so that the screw hole is on your left side.

To install the wireless adapter PCI card, hold it by its face plate and the edge of the board, so that the chips are facing the bottom of the case.

Place the card at the opening of the slot, so that the face plate will go just to the left of the motherboards edge.

Then push the card straight into the slot until it’s seated and the face plate is up against the screw hole

Then secure the card to the case with a screw.

If you have bought a PCI Express card it installs the same way into an open PCI Express slot on the motherboard.

The wireless network card has connections on the back to screw in the antennas.

Next we’ll close up the computers case and turn the computer on.

Once in Windows it will find the card we just installed and load the drivers for it automatically.

Just like the USB wireless adapter we put into the last computer down by the clock we have an icon that gives the name of the device and says it’s disconnected.  We’ll get it connected to the router and online in Section 4.