Linking PCs with a Network : Connecting Wirelessly

10/16/2012 3:09:37 AM
Setting up your own wireless home network takes two steps:
  1. Set up the wireless router or wireless access point to start broadcasting and receiving information to and from your PCs.

  2. Set up Windows Vista on each PC to receive the signal and send information back, as well.

This section covers both of those daunting tasks.

Still haven't installed your wireless network adapter? Head for the previous section, “Installing wired or wireless network adapters.”

Setting up a wireless router

Wireless connections bring convenience, as every cell phone owner knows. But they're also more complicated to set up than wired connections. You're basically setting up a radio transmitter that broadcasts to little receivers attached to your PCs. You need to worry about signal strength, finding the right signal, and even entering passwords to keep outsiders from listening in.

Wireless transmitters, known as Wireless Access Points (WAPs), come either built into your router or plugged into one of your router's ports. Unfortunately, different brands and models of wireless equipment come with different setup software, so there's no way I can provide step‐by‐step instructions for setting up your particular router.

However, the setup software on every wireless router requires you to set up these three basic things:

  • Network name (SSID): Enter a short, easy‐to‐remember name here to identify your particular wireless network. Later, when you tell Vista to connect to your wireless network, you'll select this same name to avoid accidentally connecting to your neighbor's wireless network.

  • Infrastructure: Choose Infrastructure instead of the alternative, Ad Hoc.

  • Security: This option encrypts your data as it flies through the air. Turn it on using the recommended settings.

Some routers include an installation program for changing these settings; other routers contain built‐in software that you access with Internet Explorer or any other Web browser.

As you enter settings for each of the three things, write them on a piece of paper: You need to enter these same three settings when setting up your PC's wireless connection, a job tackled in the next section.

Setting up Windows Vista to connect to a wireless network

After you've set up your router or wireless access point to broadcast your network's information, you must tell Windows Vista to receive it.

To connect to a wireless network, either your own or one in a public place, follow these steps:

  1. Turn on your wireless adapter, if necessary.

    Many laptops turn off their wireless adapters to save power. To turn it on, open the Control Panel from the Start menu, choose Mobile PC, open the Mobility Center, and click the Turn Wireless On button. Not listed? Then you need to pull out your laptop's manual, unfortunately, because it doesn't fully support Vista's wireless networking.

  2. Choose Connect To from the Start menu.

    Windows lists all the wireless networks it finds within range, as shown in Figure 1 . Don't be surprised to see several networks listed — they're probably your neighbors'.

    Figure 1: Vista lists each network's name, security level, and signal strength.

    Vista sums up each available connection three ways, all shown in Figure 17-1 :

    • Name: This is the network's name, also known as its SSID (Service Set IDentifier). Wireless networks frequently overlap, so network names let you connect to the specific network you want. Choose the SSID name you gave your wireless router when you set it up, for example, or select the name of the wireless network at the coffee shop or hotel.

    • Security: Networks listed as Unsecured Network don't require a password: You can hop aboard and start surfing the Internet for free. Unsecured, however, means they aren't encrypted: technical‐minded snoops can eavesdrop. Unsecured networks work fine for quick Internet access but aren't safe for online shopping. A network listed as a Security‐Enabled Network, by contrast, is safer, as the network's password filters out all but the most dedicated snoops.

    • Signal Strength: These little vertical bars work much like a cell phone's signal strength meter: The more bars you see, the stronger the signal. Connecting to networks with two bars or less will be frustratingly sporadic. You might want to reposition your laptop or PC, if possible, or try moving the antennas on the router or wireless adapter.

    If you need to revisit a previous step, click the little blue Back arrow in the window's top‐left corner.

  3. Connect to the desired network by clicking its name and clicking Connect.

    If you spot your network's name, click it and then click the Connect button.

    If you don't spot your network's name, head to Step 6.

  4. Choose whether you're connecting from Home, Work, or a Public Location.

    When you connect, Vista asks whether you're connecting from Home, Work, or a Public Location so that it can add the right layer of security. Choose Home or Work only when connecting to a wireless connection within your home or office. Choose Public Location for all others to add extra security.

    If you're connecting to an Unsecured Network — a network that doesn't require a password — you're done. Vista warns you about connecting to an unsecured network, and clicking the Connect Anyway button lets you connect.

    If you're connecting to a Security‐Enabled Network, however, Vista asks for a password, described in the next step.

  5. Enter a password, if needed, and click Connect.

    When you try to connect to a security‐enabled wireless connection, Vista sends you the window shown in Figure 2 , asking for a password.

    Figure 2: Enter the wireless network's password and click Connect.

    Here's where you type the password you entered into your router when setting up your wireless network.

    If you're connecting to somebody else's password‐protected wireless network, pull out your credit card. You need to buy some connection time from the people behind the counter.

    Don't see your wireless network's name? Then move to Step 6.

  6. Connect to an unlisted network.

    If Vista doesn't list your wireless network's name, two culprits might be involved:

    • Low signal strength: Like any radio signal, wireless networks are cursed with a limited range. Walls, floors, and ceilings sap their strength. Keep moving your computer closer to the wireless router or access point, continually clicking the Refresh button (shown in the margin) until your network appears.

    • It's hiding: For security reasons, some wireless networks list their names as Unnamed Network. That means you must know the network's real name and type in that name before connecting. If you think that's your problem, move to the next step.

  7. Click a wireless network listed as Unnamed Network and click Connect.

    When asked, enter the network's name (SSID) and if required, its password, described in Step 5. (You need to get the SSID and password from the wireless network's owner.) When Vista knows the network's real name and password, your PC will connect.

If you're still having problems connecting, try the following tips:

  • When Vista says that it can't connect to your wireless network, it offers two choices: Diagnose This Connection or Connect to a Different Network. Both messages almost always mean this: Move Your PC Closer to the Wireless Transmitter.

  • If you can't connect to the network you want, try connecting to one of the unsecured networks, instead. Be sure not to enter any passwords, credit card numbers, or other sensitive information, however, and just stick to Web browsing.

  • Unless you specifically tell it not to, Vista remembers the name and password of networks you've successfully connected with before, sparing you the chore of reentering all the information. Your PC will connect automatically whenever you're within range.

  • Cordless phones and microwave ovens, oddly enough, interfere with wireless networks. Try to keep your cordless phone out of the same room as your wireless PC, and don't heat up that sandwich when browsing the Internet.

Video tutorials
- How To Install Windows 8

- How To Install Windows Server 2012

- How To Install Windows Server 2012 On VirtualBox

- How To Disable Windows 8 Metro UI

- How To Install Windows Store Apps From Windows 8 Classic Desktop

- How To Disable Windows Update in Windows 8

- How To Disable Windows 8 Metro UI

- How To Add Widgets To Windows 8 Lock Screen

- How to create your first Swimlane Diagram or Cross-Functional Flowchart Diagram by using Microsoft Visio 2010
programming4us programming4us