Note: Some things are changed for ease of example.

For this tech tip, we'll be looking at the different problems/consequences of handling wireless networks as well as looking at the benefits of a wireless network.

If you're running windows vista then your gateway to the wireless and wired world for networking lays in the the dual computer icon like so: (the icon in the middle, parallel to "Friday").

If you right click on this icon, you'll get an array of options you can choose. The most important option is the very last one entitled Network and Sharing Center. It will look like so:

The fist thing I would like to highlight is the first choice on the left side menu, View computers and devices option that enables you to see computers and other hardware connected to the network whether wirelessly or hard wired. If you click on the option, a window like the image below will appear:

This allows you to see all devices that your computer sees. This includes other computers on the same network as you (router or hard wire), shared printers, wireless router(s), and other devices. This particular option can be beneficial if you need to quickly know the IP address of your router (you can do this by right-clicking on your router and then selecting properties) or if you want to access your router via web you can right-click and it'll take you to the necessary web page. If you have more than one computer on the same network you can explore them and share content between the two systems easily and you could also print wirelessly too.

This next part deals with the connections that you can potentially connect to. The networks that my computer picks up on are wifi signals from my router as well as my neighbor's router. I have the choice to connect to either one if I wanted; however, If I wish to connect to my neighbor's I would need a password in order to access his wireless internet hence, Security-Enabled Network.

 

The next part is vital to fixing a common problem encountered by many people that are new to a wireless networking system. If you ever get an error stating that you cannot connect due to previous internet settings for this network, your problem and your solution are in the same place. Example: Let us say that Jon is our best friend so we go over to his house a lot and we do all sorts of things and one of those things is that we enjoy looking for deals online. Jon, one day, decides to purchase a new router and cable modem and decides to set up a 128 bit encryption so no one steals his internet anymore. You help him set it up and later on he messes up on the settings so he resets the wifi router and starts from scratch. You come back the next day, like every other day, and you see how he's doing along with the wife, kids, grandparents, etc. You try to connect but a window pops up stating that you cannot connect because you have previous settings for this particular wifi system. Your solution is to delete that particular wireless network that is saved on your computer by clicking on the Manage Wireless Networks option on the left hand menu of the Network and Sharing Center. Select the network that is giving you trouble (in this case Jon's Network) and delete it. Go back to the Connect to a Network option and then select the proper one and enter the correct information and it'll work like a charm! Note: "Security WEP" isn't really lime green, it was highlighted to make it known that for these connections you must enter in a password, passphrase, or some type of code.

Setting up an internet connection and be done in various ways but it isn't always necessary either. Depending on your needs, you can set up a home network with a broadband connection, wireless connection, setting up a router, wireless ad hoc connection, etc. These are all relative to your type of internet connection of course.. So here's the down low on all of the options. Connect to a Network is the same procedure as connecting to a network through the connect to a network as mentioned previously; however you'll need to specify wireless, broadband, or dial-up. If you choose wireless then you will follow the same procedure as mentioned before. For Broadband (PPoE), you will need to enter in the username and password that your ISP provides for you and enter in that information. For Dial-Up, you'll need the phone number, username, and password your ISP gave you in order to connect to the internet. Note: For Dial-Up, you will need to enter some additional information before you setup the connection.

Connection types

PPoE Connection window

Dial-Up Connection window

The next option on our list is to Setup a wireless router or access point. The access point is usually for small businesses so the business can have printer and file sharing via the access point. For most folks, you'll want to set a wireless router. Windows will provide you with the necessary information on setting up a wireless router and the security that is needed to protect your personal information.

Wireless and access point setup

You can manually connect to a wireless network by providing all the necessary information in order to connect to the wireless router. You'll need the correct network name, the correct security type, encryption type (which is relative to the security type), and the Security Key/Phassphrase.

Manually connect to a Wireless network

The next option is something called an Ad Hoc network setup in which small businesses can be connected to the same network and be able to share info between them easily. The computers must be within 30 feet of each other, however...

Ad hoc network

The next and final option is setting up a network through a workplace. You'll have to decide whether or not you wish to simply "dial into" your workplace or get through via a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN is defined as a network that connects one or more computers to a large network, such as a business network, using the Internet. A VPN is encrypted, so only authorized people have access to it.

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