How to Connect to a Wireless Network

By Alan Hughes

Network connectivity surrounds most people today, especially in metropolitan areas, and it is almost expected that you can open your laptop and connect to a nearby network for Internet access. Open or unsecured networks are relatively easy to join, but secured networks require a few pieces of critical information before you can connect.

Step 1

Scan for available wireless networks by clicking on the wireless management icon in the system tray at the lower right-hand area of the screen.

Step 2

Select the network you want to join and determine its security status. Whether it is secured or unsecured there should be a statement indicating the status beside the network name. If it an unsecured network proceed to the next step, but if the network is secured, skip to Step 4.

Step 3

Click the "Connect" button to connect to the unsecured network. Windows automatic IP addressing will set up your IP addressing parameters and establish the connection to the network. It is important to remember that when you connect to an unsecured network your computer becomes unsecured and is a potential target for hackers.

Step 4

Ask the network administrator for the required security information of a secured network, which is typically the encryption type and the security passphrase.

Step 5

Click "Connect" on your wireless network selection. Enter the security passphrase when prompted and Windows will set up your IP address and connect you to the secured network.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use caution when connecting to unsecured networks.