Wi-Fi technology provides users with wireless high speed Internet. (see Ref. 1, pg. 8) If you've never used Wi-Fi before, accessing the network can be confusing. Connecting to a secure network always requires a password, but you can access unsecured networks without a password for on-the-go Internet browsing. With a few clicks on your Windows 7 or Vista desktop, you can find out what networks are available in your area, and you can connect to any unsecured Wi-Fi signal.
Click on the network icon in the right-hand corner of your computer screen. The icon is indicated by a series of vertical bars. (see Ref. 2)
Click on any networks that feature a shield icon and exclamation point. These are unsecured networks. Wi-Fi without this icon requires a password. Networks are ranked by signal strength, so select the topmost network for the best signal quality. If you don't see any networks, click the "Wireless Network Connection" option to expand the list of networks. If you still see no lists, check your laptop's Wi-Fi switch and ensure you are within range of a functioning wireless router. (see Ref. 3)
Click "Connect" to access the network. (see Ref. 2)
Click on "Public Location" when a prompt asks you to identify the type of network. When you select the public network option, your computer restricts the information shared over the network, providing you with better privacy on an unsecured network.
If you're in a coffee shop, library or other public location and the Wi-Fi requires a password, ask a customer service representative for the password. In many cases, all you need to do is ask for the password. If your computer does not detect any available networks, network identification problems usually arise when the wireless network is out of range or is too busy. (see Ref.3)