The wireless adapter hardware and software are all in the laptop. I know this fact now because after I bought an external wireless adapter and got it installed, my inbuilt one that was not functioning started working when I took out the external adapter that I just bought. Then the following day, I was back to square one, and it stopped functioning : not seeing the wireless networks around. I put back the external wireless adapter that I bought, and worked with it, but when I removed it, my internal wireless hardware started working again, and stopped working the following day when I turned on my laptop. In short ,it appears to activate when I run certain applications like trying to add a printer to the wireless network.