Okay, one thing you should take note. If you want to connect to the network through network cable itself, you can just switch the wireless switch to off. Your IBM notebook should either have the switch or the Function option. You dont need to remove it.
If you want to connect to the network through wireless, make sure the password you keyed in is correct for that particular access point. If not, it will show that its connected, yes, but having a limited or no connectivity prompt. Proxy settings and IP obtain options should set to auto. Unless you are obtaining network from your work place that specify an IP address for the individuals. If at home, you just set everything to auto.
Disable the network and enable it again, see if it works. You might also wanna disable the thinkvantage wireless connection, and use the default microsoft wireless connection.
And I noticed something when you mentioned, "be connected directly when WE plug in". Your We, does it mean that all of you are unable to connect to the network? If thats the case, try to re-start / power off the router or switch that you guys are connected to. Try and see if all my suggestions work.
Provide more information so we know how's your environment like.