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How to connect devices to a WiFi network

By Nathan Taylor | 6:34 am 05/01/2013

Wireless WiFi networks have become almost ubiquitous in both home and business. The router that you use to connect to broadband internet probably has one. Your office likely has one too, and there are many ‘hotspots’ in restaurants and other public places that offer wireless access as well.

WiFi lets you talk to the internet without using any cables. At home or in an office, you can access your broadband connection over the airwaves, and through that enjoy full and fast access to the internet and the world wide web.

The range of devices that now supports WiFi is staggering: PCs, mobile phones, tablets, cameras, television sets, home AV equipment, media players, game consoles – even some white goods. Fortunately, setting them up to connect to a wireless network is very easy.  To get started, you’ll need:

i) A wireless network. It can be your own home’s WiFi network, a private office network, or a public wireless hotspot

ii) A device with wireless support (for example, a WiFi-enabled phone or laptop PC).

 

A WiFi network lets all your wireless devices access the internet over the airwaves, so no need to trail cables all over the house.

Find out the network name and password

The only things you need to know to connect to a wireless network are the network’s name and password.

Every wireless network has a name, called an SSID (Service Set Identifier). Whoever sets up the network chooses the name. If you set up you own wireless network at home, you will have been given a chance to give it a name when configuring the router or access point.

Most wireless networks will also have a security password (some public networks do not, however – these are known as open networks). The password gets you past the encryption on the wireless network, and you won’t be able to connect without it.

If the wireless network uses older WEP security, the password will likely be a string of hexadecimal characters – that means numbers and letters between A and F. For example: 866532BDBA. If the network uses newer WPA security, it will more likely be a regular word.

Open wireless settings

Now it’s time to start configuring your device. To do that you’ll need to access its wireless settings.

On an Apple device, like an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, you get to wireless settings by tapping on ‘Settings’ on the home screen. Then just tap on ‘WiFi’.

The Settings icon is the starting point for configuring your iThing for WiFi.


On an Android smartphone or tablet, you can also access WiFi settings by tapping on the Settings button. Then tap on ‘WiFi’. On many devices you can also access wireless settings by tapping on the notifications bar and selecting WiFi from the pop-up menu.

In Windows 7, if WiFi is switched on, you’ll see an icon (highlighted in red box, below) in your task bar at the bottom right of your screen. To access wireless settings all you have to do is click on it.

The Windows 7 wireless network icon.

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