Windows 8 provides a simple interface for connecting to wireless networks. The procedure varies depending on whether or not the network broadcasts its name (or SSID - service set identifier). If the name is broadcasted, connecting to the network is as simple as entering a password. Users of Windows 7 won’t have any trouble, but if you’re switching from an older operating system or you just need a refresher, read on.
Connecting to a Broadcasting Wireless Network
When a network broadcasts its SSID, it will appear in a list of available networks on all computers or devices within its range. To access this list in Windows 8 from the Desktop, simply click or tap the network icon from the system tray.
To access the list of available networks from the Start screen, move your cursor to the bottom right corner of the screen to open the charms. Click or tap "Settings" and then "Network."
Locate the network you wish to connect to and click or tap on its name. Hover over a network for a couple of seconds to see what security type it uses and its wireless protocol. Select "Connect automatically" if you use this network regularly and Windows 8 will automatically connect to the network any time you’re within range.
Click or tap "Connect" to continue.
NOTE: The airplane mode slider at the top of the list disables your wireless network adapter which will prevent your computer or device from attempting to connect to any networks which preserves battery life when you don’t need to work online.
Windows will scan for the security settings of the network and then prompt you for a security key. Enter the key carefully to ensure accuracy and click or tap "Next."
Once connected, you’ll be able to choose whether or not to enable sharing on the network. If you are on a private network, such as one in your home, you should select Yes. If you are on a public network, you should select No.
Once you’ve successfully connected, the networking icon will change to depict the strength of your connection.
Disconnecting is as simple as finding the network name in the list and selecting "Disconnect."
Troubleshooting Connections to Wireless Networks
If you followed the previous steps closely and you still are unable to connect to your broadcasting wireless network, 7 Tutorials has a few articles that you can reference for help:
- Troubleshoot Internet Connection Problems over a Wireless Network - Windows has a built-in utility that can help determine the cause of your connectivity issues. This article details how to use it.
- Troubleshoot Wireless Network Connection Problems by Yourself - This article provides a series of flowcharts that help determine common networking issues. By answering simple questions in series, you can troubleshoot common issues yourself.
- Fix Troublesome Wireless Connections by Removing their Profile - If an existing network stops working, security settings may have changed or your network profile could be corrupt. This tutorial will detail the procedure for removing a profile and reconnecting.
That’s all there is to it. With the steps mentioned above you can check for available networks and connect to those you have access to. Look out for open networks in public places. They won’t require the use of a security key for access, but they can put you at risk. Avoid transmitting sensitive information unless you're behind a safely encrypted connection and always use a firewall and antivirus/spyware application. We have some useful recommendations for you to read at the end of this article.