Here’s what you need to know (and do) to connect your laptop to a wireless network and get Internet access.
First off, let’s talk common sense. Before you access any wireless network, especially one in a public place, you must have anti-virus software installed and up-to-date on your laptop. Your laptop should also be current with all Windows Operating System Updates.
That said, the next thing you need is to have a laptop with wireless networking capabilities. If you’re not sure whether yours does, do the following to check it out:
- Click on Start | Connect To | Show all connections, or
- Click on Start | Settings | (Control Panel) | Network Connections
- Under “LAN or High-Speed Internet” you should see a wireless connection icon. (If not, see below about installing a wireless network card).
Assuming you have wireless capabilities, continue on doing the following:
- Right-click on the wireless connection icon.
- In the pop-up menu, select “View Available Wireless Networks.”
- In the “Wireless Networking Connection” window, click on the appropriate wireless network.
- Check the box that says “Allow me to connect to the selected wireless network.”
- An icon in the lower right hand corner of your desktop should eventually appear stating that you are connected.
- Open your browser and visit any website you want. If authentication is required on the wireless network, you will be redirected automatically to a login page where you’ll have to log in using an approved Network User Name/ID and the correct password.
That’s all it takes.
Note: If your laptop does not already have built-in wireless networking, you will need to purchase and install, or have installed, a Wireless Networking Card. There are many brands of wireless networking cards. Just make sure you buy a card that is 802.11b or 802.11g compatible. Linksys cards are an excellent choice and I recommend them highly. If you choose another brand, be certain that the card is WiFi Certified. (For a list of 802.11b and 802.11g certified cards, please visit the WiFi Alliance website.)