You can quickly setup a wireless network using the wireless configuration feature in Windows XP. Each computer you want part of a wireless network will need a wireless network card installed. Some computer and hardware manufactures come with their own utility to configure the wireless network that replaces the Wireless Zero Configuration (WZC) service. If so, you must use the software provided to configure the network. Sometimes you cannot use the Windows functionality.
Windows XP automatically scans for available wireless networks. If one is present, Windows XP will try to connect to it. Sometimes your computer may not recognize the connection. If this occurs, you can manually configure the wireless network.
Click Start, click Run, type ncpa.cpl, and then click Ok.
In the Network Connections window, right-click the Wireless Network Connection icon, and then click Properties.
In the Wireless Network Connection Properties, click the Wireless Networks tab. If you do not see a Wireless Networks tab, your network adapter may not support the Wireless Zero Configuration service. Make sure the Wireless Zero Configuration service is started and set to automatic.
Under the Preferred networks, click the Add button.
In the Network name (SSID) box, type the name of the access point and select the appropriate settings according to your network requirements. This setting will match the configuration of your access point or router. If you do not have a wireless router or access point, then set the wireless mode to Ad-hoc and use the same network name that matches the other computers.
Under Available networks, click the View Wireless Networks button.
In the Wireless Network Connection dialog box, choose a network by clicking on its name, and then click Connect. Some networks may appear in the list as secured or unsecured. If the network is security-enabled, the Wireless Network Connection will show a gold lock. You’ll need a key (or a secured password or number) to connect to the wireless network.
When a computer running Windows XP with SP2 attempts a wireless connection, it will go through validating the network. Once authentication has succeeded, it will go through the Acquiring network address state. When this happens, an ip address configuration is being obtained using the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). If the connection fails, you’ll receive a Limited or No Connectivity message and an automatic private ip address in the 169.254.x.x range will be assigned.