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Windows Vista Wireless Network Configuration

This section illustrates how to configure a wireless network adaptor, a network card that is used on a wireless network. It may also be referred to as a Wireless Network Connection. Click on the images if you wish to see a full size version.

Click on the Start Menu - Click to EnlargeMost settings on your computer are controlled via the Windows Vista Control Panel. To go to the Control Panel simply click on your start menu located in the bottom left hand corner of your screen and click on Control Panel.

Windows Vista Control Panel - Click to Enlarge The Control Panel is divided into different categories that control different aspects of your computer. Inside Control Panel on the left hand side you will see either Classic View or Category View. Make sure the Control Panel is in Category View. Locate the Network and Internet category and click on View Network Status and Tasks underneath it.

Vista Network and Sharing Centre - Click to EnlargeInside the Network and Sharing Centre on the left hand pane you will see Tasks. Click on Manage Network Connections, which is usually the fourth one on the list of tasks you may perform.

Manage Network Connections - Click to EnlargeNetwork Connections allows you to view and configure the network interfaces on your computer. It can have several categories depending on what network connections are present or configured on your computer. Your wireless adaptor will be found in the LAN or High Speed Internet category and will be labelled Wireless Network Connection, followed by a number if you have more than one wireless card.

Connecting to A Wireless Network

Connect/Disconnect - Click to EnlargeTo connect to a wireless network RIGHT click (thats a right click instead of the usual left one) on the Wireless Network Connection, highlight Connnect/Disconnect and click on it (with a LEFT click). This is the quickest easiest way Ive found so far to connect and disconnect from a wireless network using Windows Vista. It is also worthwhile to note that if you are not actually connected to a wireless network and you double click on your wireless network connection the Connect to a network screen below will appear anyway, otherwise the Wireless Network Connection Status screen will appear instead.

Connect to a Network - Click to EnlargeThe Connect to a Network screen displays the result of a scan for nearby wireless networks. Clicking on the Refresh button will make the wireless card scan again and it will display the ESSID or SSID of any nearby available wireless networks. An SSID is like a beacon that an access point or router broadcasts so that the wlan can be identified. Needless to say that your wireless access point or router should be configured before you can connect to it. Double click on the network you wish to join.

Network Key - Click to EnlargeThe computer will attempt to connect to your wireless network. If your network is secured (and it should be!) it will prompt you to type in your network key, which will be the same key that you entered into the configuration of your wireless router or access point.

Successfully Connected to Wireless LAN - Click to EnlargeWhen you have connected a screen will appear stating that you have connected successfully to a network. If you are using DHCP to assign IP addresses then the computer will acquire its IP address automatically and your connection should be ready to use. If you are not using DHCP then you will need to configure your adaptor manually as described in Configuring your IP address on the next page.

Cannot Connect to Wireless LAN - Click to EnlargeIf you are unsuccessfull in connecting to the network you will be prompted to choose between diagnosing the problem or connecting to a different network. The Diagnose the Problem option is a good one if your certain that you are attempting to connect to the right network.

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