A wireless network is a network to which properly equipped computers can connect via radio signal instead of physical cables. Wireless networks are commonly called WiFi networks, and are usually the main way for laptop users to connect to the internet when out and about with their computers. This video explains how to connect to a wireless network from your computer and how to setup your computer to either be visible or invisible to other computers on your network.
- [Voiceover] A wireless network is a network to which properly equipped computers can connect via radio signal instead of physical cables. Wireless networks are commonly called Wi-Fi networks, and are usually the main way for laptop users to connect to the internet when out and about with their computers. Like a regular wired network, a Wi-Fi network does not necessarily have to offer internet access, although internet access is probably the most common reason people set up Wi-Fi networks. These days, you can find wireless internet or Wi-Fi signals just about anywhere - in homes, offices, hotels, and restaurants. All you need to connect to a Wi-Fi network is a computer with Wi-Fi capabilities, whether built-in or through a Wi-Fi card you can plug into your computer.
But one thing to bear in mind is that most wireless networks are often password-protected or in the case of Wi-Fi networks you find in restaurants or hotels, you also often have to pay to access their Wi-Fi networks. So even though you may have the hardware to connect to a wireless network, you might be limited or locked out by password protection or fees. In the case of connecting to your own wireless network, you'll know any passwords you set up, and if you need to get on your work or school's Wi-Fi networks, you should be provided with the necessary passwords. Pretty much all current laptop PCs come with Wi-Fi abilities built in, and many desktop models have Wi-Fi as well.
If you have a desktop PC though and you have the choice, you should opt to connect to your network via ethernet rather than Wi-Fi since a wired connection is usually more consistent and stable, generally more secure, and often allows you to transfer files between other wired computers at a much faster speed than wireless connections. All right, so to connect to a wireless network, you should see a network icon in your taskbar, like we see here. Now, if you're also plugged into a wired connection, you'll see the wired connection icon which is what I currently have. If you don't have an ethernet cable plugged in to your computer, you'll see a Wi-Fi signal icon here.
Now, if you don't see any icon down here, just right-click in the taskbar and choose properties. Then click the customize button here next to notification area, and click turn system icons on or off. Here, just make sure the network switch is switched to on. Notice if I turn that off, that item disappears, so I'm going to make sure that's on. Again, this icon will look different if you only have a wireless connection. So I'll go ahead and close these. So, clicking this icon gives you a list of all the nearby Wi-Fi networks your computer has detected.
The Wi-Fi icon next to each one of these also shows you how strong the signal is. I can see the ones at the top are pretty strong, but the ones at the bottom are only showing me about three bars each. Click a network to reveal the connect button. You'll also want to check connect automatically if you want your PC to automatically connect to this network in the future without first asking you. This can be a convenient time-saver, especially for networks you use all the time like your home or office network. Then click connect to join the network. If the network you're trying to join is password-protected, you'll then be prompted to type the password in at this point.
And I'll click next. Now, the first time you connect to any new network, you're going to see this message asking if you want your PC to be discoverable by other PCs and devices on the same network. If you're on your home or work network, it's probably okay and convenient to click yes. That way, you can share files with other computers on your network, but if you're on a public Wi-Fi network, like a coffee shop or a hotel lobby, for example, you shouldn't click yes. But in this case, I am on my office network. So, I'll click yes, and once you've made that choice, in just a few moments, you'll be connected. You can see I'm now connected to lyndaeast_wireless, and at this point, you're free to connect to other computers on your network or to surf the web.
Now, if you followed these steps and were unable to connect, or it looks like you're connected, but you can't get online, first, make sure you're close enough to the Wi-Fi signal. Ideally, you want the signal strength indicator to be completely full. If you're connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, you might have to pay to use the service. In most cases, you'll just need to open up your web browser and try to open a webpage. You'll then be redirected to a page in which you'll be asked to submit your credit card information or your room number in some hotels before you can proceed. When you come across Wi-Fi networks like that, just follow the on-screen instructions. But for the most part, connecting to a wireless network from your PC is a simple matter of selecting the network from the list of available networks and then clicking connect.
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- What is a computer?
- Purchasing a laptop vs. desktop
- Understanding files and folders
- Opening and saving files
- Working with software
- Setting up printers and Bluetooth devices
- Connecting to networks to go online
- Setting up email
- Receiving and sending email
- Searching the web