How to Use a Neighbor's Wi-Fi Internet Connection

By Jonah Quant

Wireless network signals travel for hundreds of feet from the location of the access point; if that point is connected to the Internet, anyone within the radius of the signal can, in principle, access the Internet over that Wi-Fi network. You can connect to a Wi-Fi network belonging to your neighbor, as long as you acquire their authorization in advance.

Step 1

Click "Start," then "Control panel."

Step 2

Select "Network and Internet," then click "Network and Sharing Center."

Step 3

Click "Manage wireless networks" on the left side of the window. A list of wireless networks within range of your computer appears.

Step 4

Find your neighbor's Wi-Fi network on the list. If it's not listed, you aren't getting a strong enough signal to use it from your location. Try an alternate location.

Step 5

Ask your neighbor if they allow you to use their Wi-Fi network. Do not join the network without having secured this authorization, for several reasons: it is illegal to access computing or network resources without the owner's authorization; your neighbor can be held liable for any adverse consequences arising from your Internet activities; and the network bandwidth you use may impact the performance of applications your neighbor needs to run on his or her network.

Step 6

Obtain the network key from your neighbor. Many Wi-Fi networks are encrypted and require a key.

Step 7

Follow Steps 1 through 3 to bring up the list of wireless networks in range of your computer. Click the entry for the neighbor's network, then click "Connect." Enter the network key when prompted. After a short delay, your computer will join your neighbor's Wi-Fi network and you can start accessing the Internet.