How to Access a WiFi Network

By Adrian Grahams

If you're away from your home or the office then you can use Wi-Fi wireless Internet networks to go online. Many restaurants, stores, hotels, libraries and airports now provide free or paid Wi-Fi Internet access hotspots. To access a Wi-Fi network you'll need a laptop computer with wireless connectivity. Most modern laptops come with a built-in wireless adapter. You will usually also need to know the network security password to be able to log on to the Wi-Fi network. Some establishments offer free Wi-Fi as a service to customers, while others offer paid subscription cards that include a network password.

Step 1

Switch on the laptop computer's integrated Wi-Fi adapter. This is usually a switch or button on the front or side of the device with a "Wireless" or "Wi-Fi" label or icon.

Step 2

Click the "Network" status icon on the right of the computer's desktop taskbar.

Step 3

Locate the "Wireless Network Connection" section in the pop-up window.

Step 4

Read through the list of Wi-Fi networks. Your computer will automatically detect and list all the Wi-Fi networks available at your location.

Step 5

Click the Wi-Fi network that you want to access. The Wi-Fi network name usually incorporates the name of the organization or establishment hosting the wireless Internet hotspot.

Step 6

Click the "Connect" button beside the network name. This opens the "Connect to a Network" dialog box.

Step 7

Type the network password or security code into the input field. If you bought Internet access from the host establishment you'll find the the password or code printed on the access card you were given. If you're accessing an open network you won't need to enter a password.

Step 8

Launch your Web browser, email application or online service on the computer to access the Internet.

Tips & Warnings

  • In Step eight, you might need to enter the network password or security code again when launching the Web browser, depending on the configuration of the establishment's Wi-Fi network.
  • Many smartphones and mobile devices also include integrated wireless adapters. These usually detect and connect to Wi-Fi networks automatically.