Do you mean you used a Netgear PC card to enable your laptop to connect via wireless, a PCMCIA card?
Is the wireless card picking up any wireless networks around you (my Sky Netgear one picks up about 3 or 4)?
If it is then the lappy is 'seeing' wireless networks then so it's just the router that needs setting up.
Have you set the SSID to 'broadcast'?
If yes then your laptop should detect your router.
Have you set a WEP or WPA passphrase?
Set the passphrase on the laptop to the same as the one on the router.
This should allow you to connect to the router/net now.
Remember to turn off SSID broadcast and the default username and passwords for the router when it's all up and running.