Managing wireless connections

A wireless network, or Wi-Fi as it is also called, gives you the liberty to stay connected to the internet nearly anywhere in the house. This article explains what you need to know to connect to, and manage, your wireless connections.

Internet is usually provided to you as a service, just like your electricity and telephone line are. In your house is a modem which provides access to the internet, although the functions are very different, think of it like your power meter. Next is the router, which creates a network which allows multiple computers to share the internet connection – again, think of this as your power distribution board. Sometimes the modem and router are combined into a single device, and it is the router which provides the wireless signal your computers and phones use to gain access to the internet. This article presumes your model and router are already set up.

The first step to connect to a wireless connection is to click the wireless icon in the group of icons next to the computer time, in the bottom right hand corner. This looks like a bar graph and once connected indicates the strength of your connection. When you click it, a list of available connections will open.

Click the name of your network in this list, tick the “Connect Automatically” option and then click Connect. For secure networks, you will need to enter the correct password, and click next. If you do not know what this password is, it can sometimes be found on a label on the router, otherwise you will need to ask the person who set up your router for it.

At this point, you may be asked whether you want to turn on network discovery for this connection. This setting allows you to access shared folders on other computers connected to the same network, and vice-versa. You should always decline this option if you are connecting to a public network to protect your computer.

If your connection list displays “No connections are available”, the wireless function on your laptop may be disabled. Right click the network icon, select “Open network and sharing centre” and then click the “Change adaptor settings” option. Locate the Wi-Fi connection, right click it and select “Enable”. Your laptop may also have a Wi-Fi button, or function key to enable or disable the wireless connection and is usually identified by a broadcast tower icon.