This is quite an old recurring problem that more and more users encounter with the Broadcom 802.11g Wireless Network Adapter card pre-installed on Dell Inspiron desktops. Reality check, the said hardware is not actually a Broadcom WLAN card but an ASUS manufactured PCI WLAN. A possible Dell error during factory installation might have caused all systems to be preinstalled with a WinVista-compatible Broadcom driver for the said ASUS card. What added to the frustration of all users is that the Dell support website didn’t provide any updates earlier on.
Anyway, let’s scrap the tedious story-telling and proceed to the fix. An updated driver was posted by Dell only last May 29, 2008 to fix this issue. However, you may need to go through some kinda technical troubleshooting first before you can successfully go on wireless. Here are the steps:
1. The issue with the installation of the ASUS driver to the Dell system is due to the fact that the originally pre-installed Broadcom driver can’t be removed inside WinVista when the card is presently and physically connected to the board. The resolution would be to take the ASUS WLAN card physically out of the system, which means having to go through the whole process of removing the cover and stuff. (For a more detailed information on tearing the system down, check the Dell support website.)
2. After the WLAN card is physically removed from the system, download the ASUS Driver R181040.exe (if link doesn’t work, go to the Dell’s support website) into your desktop. Do NOT hit on RUN, just click on SAVE.
3. After successfully downloading the ASUS Driver, shut the computer down and install the ASUS WLAN card physically back to the system.
4. Reboot the system and go back to the R181040.exe file, unzip the contents by following the prompts and install the driver.
5. Check the device manager to verify if the driver is installed properly and make sure ASUS 802.11g Wireless Network Adapter (before it’s Broadcom 802.11g Wireless Network Adapter) under Network Adapters.
6. Wholah! You should be able to set-up your wireless network now!
DISCLAIMER: If all these fails, which I doubt will, please contact your computer or hardware manufacturer for support.